Pearson leads Canucks to 3-2 shootout win over Kings
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Vancouver fans got a glimpse of the future Thursday when defenseman Quinn Hughes made his NHL debut and the Canucks kept their faint playoff hopes alive.
Tanner Pearson scored in the fourth round of the shootout and the Canucks beat the Los Angeles Kings 3-2.
Brock Boeser and Alex Edler scored in regulation for the Canucks, who are seven points behind Colorado for the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference with four games to play. The win snapped a three-game losing skid for the Canucks.
Hughes, selected seventh overall by Vancouver in 2018, earned an assist in his NHL debut.
“I’m just trying to take it one step at a time and learn every day,” he said. “From game one to game two I’ll be better and from game two to game three I’ll be better. I’ll just try to keep building.”
Watching the talented young player in action was fun, said Vancouver coach Travis Green.
“He’s got special talent, that’s for sure,” he said. “It doesn’t look like he lacks confidence which you want in your guys that are skilled. You want them to make plays and he made a few tonight that obviously are very exciting.”
Austin Wagner and Adrian Kempe scored for the Kings.
Vancouver goalie Thatcher Demko made 37 saves in regulation. Jonathan Quick stopped 36 of 38 shots for the Kings.
Kings coach Willie Desjardins said both teams played hard.
“I liked the fact we came back in the third, found a way to tie it up, but then you certainly wish you could have gotten a little bit more at the end,” he said.
Los Angeles opened the scoring 12:56 into the first period when Wagner poked the puck at Demko from the side of the net. The goalie flattened out in his crease but couldn’t contain the rebound. Instead, it popped out to a waiting Wagner who chipped the puck off the crossbar and into the net.
Vancouver responded on the power play midway through the second, after Kings right-winger Carl Grundstrom was called for interference.
Canucks rookie Elias Pettersson got the puck to Edler at the point and he scored on a hard shot between Quick and the post.
The goal was the 94th of Edler’s career, making him the Canucks’ franchise leader in goals by a defenseman.
“It is special,” Edler said of the feat. “There are some pretty big names up there ... It’s a special milestone.”
It was the Canucks’ newest defenseman who set up the second goal of the night less than a minute later.
Hughes made a move pas Kings center Tyler Lewis below the Kings’ goal line, escaping his check and gaining time and space to get back out front and put a shot on net. His shot ricocheted off the post to Boeser, who fired a wrist shot past Quick.
Kempe tied the score again 11:47 into the third period after Canucks left-winger Loui Eriksson turned the puck over in the defensive zone.
Lewis picked it up and sent a cross-ice pass to Kempe at the hash marks and the Kings center sent a wrist shot past Demko.
The Vancouver trio of Hughes, Boeser and Pettersson put on a show in overtime, but couldn’t score.
NOTES: Dustin Brown played his 1,112th game for the Kings on Thursday, setting a franchise record. The 34-year-old right-winger passed Dave Taylor. After spending his entire playing career with the Kings, Taylor became the team’s general manager and drafted Brown 13th overall in 2003. ... Vancouver defenseman Ben Hutton returned to the lineup after missing 11 games with a fractured foot.
Kings: Host Chicago on Saturday.
Canucks: Host Dallas on Saturday.