VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Oct. 19 (UPI) -- The effort was less than perfect, but it was enough to keep the Toronto Maple Leafs unbeaten on the road.
Shayne Corson scored twice as the Maple Leafs built a three-goal lead and overcame a hat trick by Markus Naslund en route to a 6-5 triumph over the Vancouver Canucks.
Corson did his damage in a three-goal first period that put Toronto ahead for good. He fired a slap shot from the top of the left faceoff circle over the left shoulder of goaltender Dan Cloutier to open the scoring at 4:40.
Jonas Hoglund made it 2-0 at 11:06, beating Cloutier from the slot off a pass from Mats Sundin. After Naslund got the Canucks on the board 26 seconds later, Corson restored the Leafs' two-goal lead at 15:01 by lifting his own rebound over Cloutier's glove.
"It's nice, but it's still early in the season," Corson said. "I thought we played pretty good. We have four solid lines and confidence in all four. That's what we want to have -- four lines that can contribute on any given night."
"(Corson) was pretty good early on, as many of our forwards were. And then they quit working and we saw the result," Toronto coach Pat Quinn added. "He was sharp early. He's feeling better and I think it's showing for him."
Alyn McCauley and defenseman Aki Berg scored in a 3 ½-minute span of the second period and Gary Roberts' goal 1:57 into the third extended Toronto's lead to 6-3.
But Naslund almost helped Vancouver extend its unbeaten streak to four games. He converted a penalty shot at 5:33 and completed his fifth career hat trick just over four minutes later to get the Canucks within a goal.
Vancouver failed to convert a power play in the final eight minutes and Naslund drew a holding penalty after taking down Roberts in front of an empty net with 11 seconds to play.
Toronto has won the first two on a three-game road trip and is 3
1 away from home this season.
"It's not exactly the way either team wanted to play the game," Corson said. "We both made some mistakes in our own zone that cost us. The main thing is we found a way to win the hockey game. It seems when we come in here, the building's full of energy and crazy things happen."
Crazy is a good way to describe what happened with 14:27 left in the third period. Naslund was cutting behind the net when he was taken down. But referee Mike Leggo ruled that goalie Curtis Joseph threw his stick at the puck and awarded a penalty shot.
"At 6-3, it looks pretty good. And then we get one of the strangest calls I've ever seen in my 40 years of pro hockey," Quinn said. "He said he thought he threw his stick -- not the guy who called it, the other guy said that. Their guy wasn't in scoring position irregardless."
"I thought he was going to wrap it around the other side of the net and I lost my stick. I lost it," Joseph explained. "Whether I threw it or not is very debatable. I don't know, it was close. He had a yawning cage on the other side, let's put it that way."
Naslund converted in spectacular fashion, feigning a move to his backhand, then decking from forehand to backhand and back again. Just over four minutes later, he scored more conventionally off a feed from Andrew Cassels, who had three assists.
"I don't care about my personal things. I just wanted to get this win so we could get back to .500. We didn't," Naslund said. "Now we're two back and it's going to take a lot of hard work to get back to .500."
"He certainly put a performance in tonight," Canucks right wing Trent Klatt said. "It was a game Nazzy needed to have. It's going to do wonders for his confidence."
Vancouver had a 30-18 advantage in shots but played poorly in its own zone.
"You can't be happy with the way our team played when you give up six goals," Canucks coach Marc Crawford said. "We gave up a number of goals on second chances. Five of the goals were coverage mistakes, and that's far too many. We at times looked very porous in our defensive zone."