Canucks top Penguins 5-1 for 2nd straight after opening skid
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Bo Horvat scored twice, Andrei Kuzmenko had a goal and an assist and the Vancouver Canucks won their second straight after a season-opening skid, beating the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-1 on Friday night.
Tanner Pearson and J.T. Miller also scored, Ilya Mikheyev had two assists and Spencer Martin made 34 saves. On Thursday night in Seattle, the Canucks beat the Kraken 5-4 to end their season-opening losing streak at a franchise-record seven games.
“Obviously there’s a lot more energy, obviously the smiles on our faces,” Horvat said. “But I mean, we’ve got to dig ourselves out of the hole here. Obviously, we put ourselves in this situation. Just because we won two games, you can’t be satisfied. We’ve got to keep going here.”
Rickard Rakell scored for Pittsburgh and Tristan Jarry made 24 saves. The Penguins have lost three straight in regulation to fall to 4-3-1.
“I just don’t think we’re putting a 60-minute effort together, and it’s hard to win in this league when you don’t,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said.
Weariness appeared to creep into the home side’s game, with the Penguins outshooting the Canucks 30-19 across the second and third periods, but Martin held fast for the victory. The 24-year-old goalie is 4-0-4 with Vancouver.
“Eight games now and he’s gotten points in eight straight, so I haven’t seen him do anything negative,” Canucks coach Bruce Boudreau said. “And that’s great when you can have your other goaltender doing that, that makes an inner competition a little bit.”
The Canucks took a 2-1 lead into the third period and struggled in the opening minutes, fighting mightily to get out of their own zone.
Martin said he wasn’t concerned.
“Honestly, I don’t think they had much,” he said. “We did a fantastic job, obviously. They have a lot of firepower there. They did a good job getting behind the net, I thought, but we kept them to the perimeter. So it was a good game.”
After the barrage, Vancouver erupted with three goals in just over seven minutes.
Kuzmenko tipped in a long shot from defenseman Luke Schenn and Horvat scored on a power-play before Miller added an empty-netter with 2:10 remaining.
Third-period collapses have become a trend for the Canucks this season, and Boudreau said his group appeared as if “the weight of the world was lifted off (their) shoulders” after weathering the adversity.
“Every other third period has been like ‘Oh, what’s gonna happen that’s negative?’” Boudreau said. “And I think once we got through the first three minutes, and it was like, ‘OK, let’s go.’ And everybody just played. … And I thought it was really good.”
Vancouver acquired defenseman Ethan Bear and forward Lane Pederson from Carolina a few hours before the game for a fifth-round draft pick. The 25-year-old Bear has not played this season after finishing with five goals and nine assists in 58 games for the Hurricanes last season. Carolina will retain $400,000 of Bear’s $2.2 million contact. Pederson, also 25, is scoreless in four games this season for the Chicago Wolves in the American Hockey League.
Penguins: At Seattle on Saturday night.
Canucks: Host New Jersey on Tuesday night.
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