The Canucks persevered for a 5-2 win over the Seattle Kraken on Tuesday but the victory wasn’t enough to keep Vancouver’s faint playoff hopes alive.
Quinn Hughes had a goal and two assists and set a franchise record for points by a Canucks’ defenceman. Oliver Ekman-Larsson added one of each, Sheldon Dries, J.T. Miller and Luke Schenn all scored and Conor Garland contributed three assists.
Jordan Eberle and Connor Geekie replied for the Kraken (26-47-6) in a penalty-filled second period.
Vancouver (39-30-11) was playing without all-star goalie Thatcher Demko, who head coach Bruce Boudreau said had a “little bit of an ouch.” Spencer Martin took over the Canucks’ net and stopped 31 of 33 shots for his second NHL win.
Joey Daccord made 22 saves for Seattle, who lost their third straight.
Despite the win, the Canucks were officially eliminated from playoff contention when the Dallas Stars secured their post-season berth with a 3-2 shootout win over the Vegas Golden Knights.
It’s the second year in a row that Vancouver will miss the playoffs.
Hughes capped his milestone night with a goal 15:59 into the third.
The defenceman and Garland escaped the defensive zone on a two on one, and Garland sliced a pass across the slot to Hughes who tapped it in for his eighth goal of the season and his 66th point.
A lucky bounce helped the Canucks put away their fourth goal of the night.
Daccord stopped a shot in tight from Matthew Highmore, but saw the puck bounce off his stick and up over his head, landing in the crease behind him. Schenn knocked it in over the goal line 13:08 into the third to make it 4-2.
Vancouver took a 3-0 lead into the first intermission but struggled to protect the lead. The home side was outshot 26-14 across the second and third periods.
Penalties dismantled the Canucks’ game in the second. Vancouver was called for five separate infractions across the frame and had to weather three minutes and 42 seconds of five-on-three play.
The Kraken cut the deficit to a single goal 9:12 into the second. Riley Sheahan dished a puck to Geekie from along the end boards and the forward sent a shot up and over Martin’s glove to make it 3-2.
Seattle got on the board with a power-play tally 4:59 into the period after Brad Richardson was called for tripping.
Eberle sent a shot into the top corner from in tight for his 20th goal in a Kraken jersey.
Vancouver was 1-for-3 with the man advantage Tuesday and Seattle went 1-for-8.
Ekman-Larsson gave the Canucks a 3-0 advantage with a power-play goal midway through the first after Carson Soucy was called for cross-checking.
Using a screen in front of the net, the Vancouver defenceman fired a shot from just inside the blue line to notch his fifth goal of the season 15:05 into the game.
Vancouver outplayed the visitors mightily through the first, with the Kraken going the first 11 minutes without a shot on goal despite a two-minute power play.
The Canucks went up 2-0 just 3:34 into the first when Garland slipped Miller a back pass and the feisty forward unleashed a blast from the high slot, sending the puck sailing past Daccord’s glove.
Hughes got a secondary assist on the play, his 64th point of the season. The tally sets a new single-season record for points by a Canucks defenceman, passing a mark set by Doug Lidster in 1986-87.
Hughes set a franchise record for assists by a defenceman on Saturday when he notched his 56th of the season in Vancouver’s 6-3 loss to Calgary.
Dries opened the scoring 2:46 into Tuesday’s game with a shot from inside the faceoff circle off an odd-man rush.
The Kraken will host the L.A. Kings on Wednesday. The Kings will then head north to take on the Canucks in Vancouver on Thursday.
NOTE: Seattle defenceman Vince Dunn missed the game and is listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury. … Kraken right-winger Daniel Sprong played his 200th NHL regular-season game. … The Canucks, playing their first game in Vancouver since the death of Guy Lafleur on Friday, played a video tribute for the hockey legend during the signing of O’Canada.
Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press