VANCOUVER — Twice the Canucks went behind by two goals, and twice Vancouver found a way back.
That way back culminated with an overtime winner from captain Quinn Hughes to seal a 4-3 comeback win over the New York Islanders on Wednesday.
Hughes scored the winner after he was sprung free by J.T. Miller at 2:36 of overtime. Hughes fired a wrist shot past Ilya Sorokin.
“We believe in ourselves, we think we have a really good team and I think there was a feeling we were going to win that game the entire game,” Hughes said afterwards.
“Those are the points that are going to matter in March and April.”
Vancouver starter Thatcher Demko stopped 30 of 33 shots while his Islander counterpart Sorokin turned away 39 of 43.
Vancouver (12-3-1) tied the game on Filip Hronek’s power-play goal midway through the third period. The Canuck converted a two-man advantage with New York’s Noah Dobson and Jean-Gabriel Pageau both serving minor penalties.
The Canucks went three for six on the power play in the night, with Islanders head coach Lane Lambert upset about his team’s inability to kill off penalties.
“I didn’t like our penalty killing. I thought we were too passive. I think when you are getting scored on, you start to sit back. That’s what happened a little bit with that and then you can’t take two penalties on the same play. I’m sorry, it just can’t happen,” he said after his team’s sixth straight loss.
Hronek’s goal was his first of the season, and first as a Canuck, stretching his point streak to 14 in 11 games.
The Islanders (5-7-3) scored first with Pierre Engvall shooting five-hole on Demko on a cross-ice feed from Oliver Wahlstrom for a power-play goal.
New York led by two just a minute and a half later with another power-play goal. Demko made the initial save on Brock Nelson, who then scooped the puck over the sprawling netminder.
“I thought after the first period, they got those two power play goals, we were a little bit sloppy in some parts of our games,” said Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet. “I thought the mood after the first, I was talking to the coaches, and they were really good. It wasn’t cocky, it was ‘We’re two down but there’s plenty of time left.’”
Former Canuck Bo Horvat’s first touch of the puck back at Rogers Arena was greeted with a hearty round of boos, but he was later cheered during the team’s video tribute to his time in Vancouver.
Horvat was traded to the Islanders on Jan. 30, 2023, to end his nine-year stint in Vancouver.
He made it 3-1 at 8:33 of the second period on a quick one-two with Matthew Barzal before finding a way past Demko.
“I was emotional through the whole warm-up. It brought back a ton of memories and just the whole tribute and everybody, the way they reacted, it just meant a lot to me. So it was pretty special and I had a lot of good times here, a lot of firsts and a lot of memories, so it was a special night,” Horvat said. He added that it was too bad they couldn’t get the two points, but the night was one he won’t forget.
Vancouver’s Miller scored his 10th of the season and a power-play goal at 4:39 of the second period with a one-timer off a pass from Elias Pettersson.
Miller then turned provider as he fed Brock Boeser in the slot to cut the Islanders’ lead back down to one.
UP NEXT: The Canucks are in Calgary to face the Flames on Thursday. The Islanders head to Seattle to face the Kraken on Thursday.
NOTES: The Canucks hosted a Diwali celebration night, with musicians and performers outside the arena … Defenceman Carson Soucy will miss six to eight weeks with a lower-body injury after blocking a shot … Pius Suter was a surprise scratch for Vancouver having scored four goals in his last six games … Canucks forward Andrei Kuzmenko left the game in the third period after taking a shot from Miller on the chin.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 15, 2023.
Nick Wells, The Canadian Press