Vancouver eliminated from Stanley Cup Playoffs
by Kevin Woodley / NHL.com Independent Correspondent
VANCOUVER — Quinn Hughes had a goal and two assists to break the Vancouver Canucks’ 35-year-old single-season record for points by a defenseman in a 5-2 win against the Seattle Kraken at Rogers Arena on Tuesday.
Hughes has 66 points (eight goals, 58 assists) in 74 games, three more than Doug Lidster, who set the record in 1986-87 (63 points; 12 goals, 51 assists).
“It wasn’t really on my radar when the season started,” Hughes said of the points record. “I think maybe when I hit the 50 mark I was like, ‘Okay, I could probably do this.’ But, honestly, we were so close and you’re pushing so hard for the playoffs the entire time, that was the dominant thing on my mind. … But I also knew that if we were going to get there, we were going to have to play good hockey, so I figured the two were kind of connected.”
Oliver Ekman-Larsson had a goal and an assist, and Conor Garland had three assists for the Canucks (39-30-11), who were eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs during the game when the Dallas Stars defeated the Vegas Golden Knights 3-2 in a shootout.
“It’s definitely disappointing, but we’ve got to be a little proud of ourselves and the way we pushed for the last three and a half months,” Hughes said. “I really do think that can carry us next year and I think our culture is really improved.”
Spencer Martin made 30 saves to help Vancouver end a three-game skid (0-2-1). It was his fourth start of the season, and first since Jan. 27 with Thatcher Demko (undisclosed injury) and Jaroslav Halak (upper-body injury) unavailable. Martin is 2-0-2 with a 1.69 goals-against average and .953 save percentage this season.
“For me, it’s just exciting, gives me an opportunity show I can play at this level,” Martin said. “My goal is to be full-time and full-time right now, so every chance I get to play or practice with these guys, I’m trying to show I can hang around and help them next year and going forward. I’m not taking anything for granted.”
“First sleepy start we’ve had in a while and they capitalized on a couple early chances,” Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said. “Most times you really struggle to recover from a start of a period like that. Give our guys credit for recovering.”
Sheldon Dries made it 1-0 at 2:46 into the first period. He kept the puck on a 2-on-1 and scored from the right face-off circle.
J.T. Miller made it 2-0 at 3:34, scoring on a one-timer from the high slot off a backhand rush pass from Garland.
Seattle didn’t record its first shot until 11:34 of the first period, and the shots were 12-1 when Ekman-Larsson made it 3-0 at 15:05 on a screened power-play point shot.
The Kraken outshot the Canucksr 20-3 over the next 20 minutes, which included two 5-on-3 power plays.
“It was a tough start,” said Daccord, who was making his fourth start of the season and first since Jan. 21, after being recalled from Charlotte of the American Hockey League on Monday. “But I thought the team, especially in the second period, came out ready to go. We started skating and played really well in the second and third. I’ve just got to be better.”
Eberle made it 3-1 at 4:59 of the second period, finishing a pass from rookie Matty Beniers one second after the first penalty on the second 5-on-3 power play ended.
Geekie cut it to 3-2 at 9:12 with a one-timer from low in the left face-off circle off a Riley Sheahan pass from below the goal line.
“That’s one I got to stop,” Daccord said. “I really felt we were going to tie it up and obviously that was a buzzkill and took the wind out of our sails and pretty much ended the game. So that one’s on me and I’ll learn from it and I’ll be better.”
Hughes finished a 2-on-1 with Garland at 15:59 for the 5-2 final.
“I feel my last 40 games have been the best in my career by a lot,” Hughes said. “Just my overall game, not the points. My rookie year I had a lot of points, but I wasn’t controlling shifts out there. I think I’m doing a better job with that.”
NOTES: Seattle finished 1-for-8 on the power play. Vancouver was 1-for-3. … Beniers has six points (three goals, three assists) in seven games since becoming the first draft pick to sign with the Kraken on April 11. The 19-year-old forward was selected No. 2 in the 2021 NHL Draft. … Seattle forward Daniel Sprong had four shots on goal and one hit in 16:59 of ice time in his 200th NHL game. … Kraken defenseman Vince Dunn missed the game and is day-to-day with an upper-body injury. Dennis Cholowski, who was recalled from Charlotte on Monday, took his spot in the lineup and had three shots on goal, one hit and one blocked shot in 17:13 of ice time. … Demko is day to day. … Canucks defenseman Travis Dermott (illness) and forward William Lockwood (upper-body injury) were late scratches.