Kuzmenko has first hat trick, Canucks beat Ducks 8-5
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Andrei Kuzmenko had three goals and an assist in his first NHL hat trick as the Vancouver Canucks beat the Anaheim Ducks 8-5 Thursday night.
Elias Pettersson had a goal and four assists, Bo Horvat had two goals and an assist, and J.T. Miller and Dakota Joshua also scored for the Canucks. Quinn Hughes had two assists and Spencer Martin had 26 saves.
Troy Terry had a goal and two assists, and Trevor Zegras, Ryan Strome, Max Comtois and Max Jones also scored for San Jose. John Gibson made 39 saves.
The Canucks took a 3-2 lead into the third before the teams erupted for eight goals in a 14 1/2-minute stretch.
“We’re never going to turn down a win. We don’t have enough of them,” Vancouver coach Bruce Boudreau said. “The offense was going well but in the end it’s going to take defense to win and I thought we gave up too many chances.”
Joshua poked a puck into the Ducks’ net through traffic at 5:30 to give the Canucks a two-goal lead.
Anaheim challenged for goaltender interference, arguing Vancouver’s Jack Studnicka spun Gibson out of position. But after video review, officials ruled Studnicka was making a play on the loose puck and the goal was good.
Vancouver was quick to convert again on the ensuing power play for delay of game as Kuzmenko tapped a pass from Pettersson and past Gibson at 5:54 to make it 5-2.
Comtois got the Canucks back within two with a backhander on a breakaway at 7:51, and Zegras scored on a power play when his long shot slid past Martin with 6:25 left to make it 5-4.
“It was a wild game,” Anaheim coach Dallas Eakins said. “I think the turning point was our challenge that went against us. So difficult night on the road for sure.”
Kuzmenko scored 2 minutes apart to help the Canucks pull away. The second — his third of the night — came when he fired a shot from the high hash marks with 3:12 remaining with the fans throwing hats on the ice in response.
“(I’m) beginning to feel really good here,” Kuzmenko said through his translator and teammate Vasily Podkolzin. “(I’m) beginning to get this game, the NHL rules, and just keep going.”
The 26-year-old Russian rookie left wing now has six goals and four assists in 11 games.
“He’s adjusted, learned quick on the fly and he puts in a lot of work, he shoots a lot of pucks,” teammate Luke Schenn said. “So he’s done a great job for us. He’s getting better as we go here.”
Anaheim scored when a rebound bounced off Jones in the crease and in past Martin 50 seconds later.
After Vancouver took a penalty, the Ducks pulled Gibson for a 6-on-4 advantage, but Horvat scored an empty-netter with 56 seconds left to cap the scoring.
Terry scored a power-play with his team leading 15th point (five goals, 10 assits) for Anaheim, and Horvat tied it for Vancouver late in the first when he scored in his third straight game.
Pettersson gave the Canucks the lead when he got a pass from Ilya Mikheyev, kicked the puck to his stick, and fired it past Gibson at 9:07 of the second.
Miller made it 3-1 four minutes later with his sixth of the season as he extended his points streak to five games (four goals, three assists).
Strome pulled the Ducks within one as he got a pass from Zegras and beat Martin from the faceoff circle with 46 seconds to go in the middle period.
FOREVER A CANUCK
Vancouver held a pregame ceremony for former defenseman Kevin Bieksa, who signed a one-day contract to officially retire with the Canucks. The 41-year-old played 13 seasons in the NHL and put up 278 points (63 goals, 215 assists) over 808 games for Vancouver and Anaheim.
Ducks: At San Jose on Saturday night.
Canucks: Host Nashville on Saturday night to finish a four-game homestand.
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