SEATTLE — Thatcher Demko made 30 saves to win his seventh straight game for the Vancouver Canucks, 5-2 against the Seattle Kraken at Climate Pledge Arena on Saturday.
Tanner Pearson had a goal, an assist, and a fighting major for a Gordie Howe Hat Trick for the Canucks (16-15-3), who had five players score to improve to 8-0-1 under coach Bruce Boudreau.
“When you get all four lines scoring, that’s music to a coach’s ears,” Boudreau said. “I mean, it’s balanced scoring and it makes it difficult for other teams to play against you when everybody’s smart.”
Will Borgen scored his first NHL goal, and Philipp Grubauer made 30 saves for the Kraken (10-19-4), who have lost five straight (0-4-1).
“We put two pucks directly on their tape in scoring areas and there were some reasons that those plays came out,” Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said. “Those can’t happen. So that’s the bottom line. Look at the first goal, and the third goal, those are pucks that are in our possession, and they ended up on their tape without a whole lot of pressure. Those are really tough plays to put on your goaltender.”
Vasily Podkolzin gave the Canucks a 1-0 lead at 8:53 of the first period with a quick wrist shot after he intercepted a Borgen clearing pass from behind the goal line.
Nils Hoglander made it 2-0 at 14:49 when he lifted a rebound over Grubauer in the crease on the power play. Vancouver outshot Seattle 14-6 in the first period.
“It was the best first period I think we’ve had since I’ve been here,” Boudreau said. “It makes life a lot easier when you get a lead on a team that hasn’t come back too often, so it was a good first.”
Calle Jarnkrok brought the Kraken within 2-1 at 9:10 of the second period with a slap shot past a screened Demko.
Tyler Motte made it 3-1 when he received a pass in front from Matthew Highmore at 4:46 of the third period.
“That’s part of my game,” Motte said. “Something I think I can contribute. Obviously you always want to do more. It takes some pressure off some of the top guys, [and] there are more parts of the game than just scoring, but obviously it’s a big help.”
Borgen, playing his 22nd NHL game, cut it to 3-2 at 10:43 with a slap shot from the blue line.
Conor Garland extended the lead to 4-2, 46 seconds later, at 11:29, with a shot past a screened Grubauer.
“We had one of our best starts,” Motte said. “That was definitely a focus for especially the first five minutes. Sometimes that will just carry on through the first period and the second. You kind of keep pushing from there but it’s definitely a focus that we want to continue.”
Pearson scored into an empty net at 17:43 for the 5-2 final. J.T. Miller had an assist to extend his point streak to nine games (three goals, 10 assists).
Seattle is 1-6-2 in its past nine games.
“We’ve just got to keep battling,” Hakstol said. “That’s the bottom line. We were our worst enemy in a couple of areas tonight. I talked about it coming in. When you have challenges through injuries and availability for the lineup, it’s an opportunity for people to step up, step in and do a good job, and we have to have people taking advantage of those opportunities.”
NOTES: Canucks defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson had an assist in his 800th NHL game. … Kraken forward Ryan Donato had five shots in 16:15 after missing two games in NHL COVID-19 protocol. … Kraken defenseman Vince Dunn participated in the morning skate after coming off COVID-19 protocol but did not play. … Jarnkrok has scored five points (two goals, three assists) in a three-game point streak.