VANCOUVER — Bo Horvat scored twice, and the Vancouver Canucks defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-1 at Rogers Arena on Friday.
Andrei Kuzmenko had a goal and an assist, Ilya Mikheyev had two assists, and Spencer Martin made 34 saves for the Canucks (2-5-2), who defeated the Seattle Kraken 5-4 on Thursday for their first win of the season.
“[Tonight] was obviously one of our more complete games we’ve played all season, against a good hockey team that was well rested, and we were coming off a back to back,” Horvat said. “So, I’m proud of our guys. I’m proud of the way we came out and played tonight, despite the adversity.”
Vancouver surrendered multigoal leads in each of its first four games of the season and was outscored 16-4 in the third period entering Friday.
“It’s two games, but you could tell it was like the weight of the world was lifted off our shoulders, quite frankly,” Canucks coach Bruce Boudreau said. “Because every other third period has been like ‘Oh, what’s going to happen that’s negative?’ And I think once we got through the first three minutes, it was like, ‘OK, let’s go.’ And everybody just played and I thought it was really good.”
Video: [email protected]: Horvat doubles the lead on the power play
Rickard Rakell scored, and Tristan Jarry made 24 saves for the Penguins (4-3-1), who have lost the first three of a four-game road trip that concludes in Seattle on Saturday.
“We just got to stop the bleeding, figure it out,” Rakell said. “Probably a good thing that we have a game tomorrow again. We’ve just got to go after it.”
Pittsburgh started the season 4-0-1, scoring six goals in each win, but has been outscored 15-5 on the road trip.
“I think at some points, maybe some urgency, execution,” Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said when asked what’s missing. “We had some looks maybe to get back in the game, a few of them, and we didn’t, especially tonight. I don’t think it’s the same thing necessarily, but if anything’s been consistent, it’s been our starts that we’ve struggled with, so we’ve got to establish that.”
Tanner Pearson gave the Canucks a 1-0 lead at 13:52 of the first period, tapping in a backdoor pass from Mikheyev seven seconds after a slashing penalty to Penguins defenseman Pierre-Olivier Joseph expired.
Video: [email protected]: Pearson directs pass over the goal line
Horvat scored 32 seconds into the second period on a power play to make it 2-0, but Rakell cut it to 2-1 on a power play at 16:03, tapping in a loose puck in the crease after Martin stopped Bryan Rust’s shot from the slot.
Kuzmenko restored Vancouver’s two-goal lead, deflecting a Luke Schenn point shot to make it 3-1 at 10:28 of the third.
“Confidence is an amazing thing,” Boudreau said, “And it looks like we’re gaining a little bit right now.”
Horvat pushed it to 4-1 at 16:42 on a power play, tipping in an Oliver Ekman-Larsson point shot for his team-leading sixth goal, and J.T. Miller scored into an empty net during a 5-on-4 at 17:50 for the 5-1 final.
“Obviously there’s a lot more energy, obviously the smiles on our faces,” Horvat said of the feeling in the locker room. “But 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.”
Martin, who hasn’t lost in regulation in two seasons with the Canucks (4-0-4) and is 1-0-1 this season, stopped Rakell on a breakaway at 6:13 of the first and made a sprawling save on a rebound attempt by Crosby at 8:14 of the second on a power play.
“It probably feels good for everybody, but especially me, just to get my season started off in a good way,” Martin said.
NOTES: Pittsburgh forward Jake Guentzel missed his fourth game after he was hit in the ear on a shot from Penguins defenseman Kris Letang in a 6-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Oct. 20. … Penguins forward Jason Zucker missed his second game with an undisclosed injury. … Vancouver forward Jack Studnicka, who was acquired Thursday from the Boston Bruins, took part in warmups but did not play. … Defenseman Ethan Bear was acquired from the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday and is expected to join the Canucks on Saturday.
Source : NHL News