Vancouver head coach Rick Tocchet didn’t mince words after his Canucks lost back-to-back games for the first time since Oct. 19.
Jordan Eberle had a goal and two assists as the Seattle Kraken left Rogers Arena with a 4-3 victory on Saturday night. The two consecutive losses for the Canucks comes on the heels of a run of seven wins in eight games. Vancouver now sits in second in the Pacific Division.
“Our changes were awful. Long shifts, that’s .500 hockey. You can’t win that way. It wasn’t good enough,” Tocchet said. “Awful changes and long shifts and that’s what happens.”
“I think that we all know we have a good team in here,” added Canucks defenceman Quinn Hughes. “We’re going to win lots of hockey games this year and we’re not going to go on 10-game winning streaks the whole year.”
Jamie Oleksiak, Yanni Gourde and Matty Beniers added the other goals for Seattle (7-8-4), which has won back-to-back games for the second time this season. Philipp Grubauer made 21 saves.
“More than not, we’ve found ways to lose games in third periods rather than find a win. So it was nice to find a way to win here against a really good team that has obviously been pretty good at home,” Eberle said. “Hopefully, this kick-starts us in the right direction.”
“That’s the way you have to win on the road,” added Seattle head coach Dave Hakstol. “We found a good level and we played hard for 60 minutes… Specialty teams were good, goaltending was good, and that’s how you win on the road.”
J.T. Miller, Hughes and Nils Hoglander scored for Vancouver (12-5-1). Thatcher Demko stopped 22 of 26 shots for the Canucks.
Miller and Hughes are tied with teammate Elias Pettersson, who had an assist Saturday, for the NHL lead in points with 28 apiece.
Miller shared his team’s frustration with Saturday’s loss, despite a late rally that saw the Canucks pull a goal back with nine seconds left in regulation.
“Sometimes you can lose games in a better fashion than others. We had an opportunity to salvage something and we got outworked,” Miller said.
Eberle set up Beniers at 6:47 in the third period for the eventual game-winner that put Seattle ahead 4-2.
Hoglander scored with just nine seconds left in the game, tipping in an airborne puck in front of the net.
After ending the second period with a 2-2 tie, Gourde restored the Kraken’s lead at 4:19 of the third. Eeli Tolvanen sent a cross-ice pass to Will Borgen, who popped it in front of the net for Gourde to convert on a tap-in.
Hughes netted his seventh of the campaign to tie the game at 2-2 for the Canucks at 15:47 of the second period. Vancouver won the face off in Seattle’s defensive zone, with Hughes and Filip Hronek playing a one-two that ended with a Hughes slapshot.
Eberle gave Seattle its first lead at 13:04 of the middle frame, one second after a Kraken power play ended. He tipped a shot by Oliver Bjorkstrand, but the puck got stuck in Demko’s gear before falling out and trickling over the line.
Oleksiak made it a 1-1 contest at 5:43 of the second. He took a pass from Beniers at the point and scored on a slapshot in the slot.
Miller opened the scoring at 5:34 of the first period. After Tyler Myers’s point shot was partially blocked by Grubauer, Miller slipped in behind to tap it in for this 10th goal of the season.