Motte, Canucks send Kraken to fourth straight loss, 5-2
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Tyler Motte and his linemates have earned the trust of Vancouver Canucks coach Bruce Boudreau.
Now, the fourth line is transforming that trust into confidence on the ice — and putting up points in the process.
Motte had a goal and an assist, and the Canucks beat the Seattle Kraken 5-2 on Monday night.
Motte’s linemate, Juho Lahmikko, chipped in with two assists and Matthew Highmore rounded out the line’s production with another assist.
“When we’re playing with confidence and we’re rolling, it’s nice,” Motte said. “We play simple, we play hard and fast, create a few turnovers and we’re going to continue to generate a little bit of offense. I think, for us, it’s making sure we’re taking care of the d-side of it, too. We’re not giving them much there.
“I’ve got to be honest with you, it’s fun playing with those guys.”
The trio takes direction really well, Boudreau said.
“They do what you ask them to do and they can all skate,” Boudreau said. “They pressure, pressure, pressure. Where they used to just hold their own, now they can score some goals and that makes them even more valuable in my mind.”
Travis Hamonic, Vasily Podkolzin, Bo Horvat and Tanner Pearson also scored for the Canucks. Elias Pettersson and J.T. Miller also had two assists apiece.
Jared McCann, who was playing in his 400th NHL game, and Mark Giordano scored for the Kraken, who lost their fourth straight game.
Vancouver, which was coming off a 7-4 loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday, is 6-3-1 in its last 10 games.
Thatcher Demko stopped 25 of 27 shots for the Canucks. Kraken goalie Chris Driedger made a season-high 41 saves. Vancouver’s 46 shots was also a season high.
Pearson scored into an empty net with 92 seconds left. The goal drew chants of “Bruce, there it is!” from the crowd in tribute to Canucks head coach Bruce Boudreau.
Seattle got a chance to cut into the deficit late in the third period when Vancouver’s Matthew Highmore was called for interference. The best shot of the man advantage came from the Canucks when Motte picked off a pass, orchestrating a two-on-one with J.T. Miller. Driedger made a pad save on Miller’s shot.
Vancouver came into the final period on a power play after Alex Wennberg was called for slashing late in the second.
Horvat scored 35 seconds into the third. Miller sliced a pass to the Canucks captain from along the boards and Horvat sent a rocket past Driedger.
“The goal early in the third, that’s one we need a kill on,” Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said. “It’s a big difference, one-goal game than a two-goal game so that made it a little steeper hill to climb. That being said, we had some pretty good energy in the third period and we just weren’t able to get it within one.”
Vancouver was 1 for 4 with the man advantage. Seattle failed to score on four power plays.
The Canucks outshot the Kraken 18-4 in the second period.
Stationed at the side of the net, Podkolzin restored Vancouver’s lead 16:41 into the frame. Quinn Hughes’ initial shot hit Adam Larsson in the crease and Podkolzin quickly capitalized, batting in the lose puck to make it 3-2.
Hamonic scored his first goal of the season earlier in the period, the 200th point of his NHL career. The defenseman fired a shot between Driedger and the post to knot the score at 2-all.
Driedger said the second period wasn’t his team’s best.
“I don’t know exactly what happened, but they just outworked us out there,” he said. “I thought we actually had a pretty good first. We recovered well after that first one against, which is good to see. I thought we showed a little bit of resilience in the first, score two goals to take the lead. We just needed to keep that up and unfortunately we didn’t do that, didn’t have the answer.”
Seattle took a 2-1 lead into the first intermission thanks to Giordano’s short-handed score.
With Vince Dunn in the box for interference, the veteran defenseman beat Pettersson to a pass in the Canucks end and zipped up the slot, sending a shot in over Demko’s stick 14:26 into the frame.
Boudreau started Motte and his linemates Monday in a bid to get a better start.
“They could all skate and if we won the draw and got the puck deep, I knew they would just be hounding the puck really well and that’s what we hadn’t been doing in recent games,” Boudreau said.
Fans were still filtering into Rogers Arena when Vancouver opened the scoring just 11 seconds into the game.
Lahmmikko picked up the puck behind Seattle’s net and fed Motte from below the goal line. He jammed a wrist shot past Driedger and put the Canucks up 1-0 with his sixth goal of the year.
Motte’s goal was the quickest an NHL player has scored this season, topping the tally L.A. Kings winger Viktor Arvidsson scored in 12 seconds against the Philadelphia Flyers on Jan. 1.
The Kraken drew level 3:12 into the game off a two-on-one rush. Marcus Johansson carried the puck up the ice and dished it to McCann, who was waiting back door for the easy tap-in.
McCann’s 21st goal of the season came against the team that drafted him 24th overall back in 2014.
NOTES: Miller extended his point streak to four games, with seven points (two goals, five assists) across the stretch. … Giordano leads all active NHL defensemen in short-handed goals with 11 over his career. … Vancouver recalled defenseman Madison Bowey from the Abbotsford Canucks of the American Hockey League on Monday. … Monday marked the Kraken’s first regular-season game in Vancouver.
Kraken: Host the New York Islanders on Tuesday night to open a two-game homestand.
Canucks: Host Calgary on Thursday night to finish a three-game homestand.
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