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Canucks continue winning ways in Seattle, crush Kraken 5-1

After hitting their first rough patch of the season, the Vancouver Canucks produced a strong response against their closest rival.

Teddy Blueger scored his first goal of the season on a short-handed breakaway early in the first period, Sam Lafferty and Nils Hoglander scored three minutes apart in the third period, and the Canucks beat the Seattle Kraken 5-1 on Friday night.

Dakota Joshua scored on a rebound in the second period and Quinn Hughes picked up another assist to remain the top point scorer in the NHL as the Canucks evened the season series with their Pacific Northwest rivals.

“I think everybody’s waiting for us to fall apart. These are nice wins,” Vancouver coach Rick Tocchet said.

With a significant contingent of Canucks fans in attendance, Vancouver won for just the second time in its past five games.

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The Canucks went 11 of 12 games with at least a point, but losses to Calgary, Seattle and Colorado had stemmed some of Vancouver’s early momentum.

The Canucks also improved to 4-1-0 in Seattle since the Kraken joined the league.

“I wouldn’t have called it an ugly win. I thought it was a good win for us,” Hughes said. “Obviously they had some good looks, but we had some looks, too.”

Thatcher Demko made 23 saves and was excellent in the second period when Seattle controlled play but couldn’t get a shot past the Vancouver goalie.

Blueger gave Vancouver the early lead, taking advantage of a turnover by Seattle defenceman Justin Schultz at centre ice while on the power play and beat Kraken goaltender Joey Daccord.

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Joshua doubled the lead at 12:07 of the second period finding himself in the right spot to tap the puck past Daccord after Conor Garland’s initial shot was saved.

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Lafferty gave the Canucks a 3-1 lead at 9:43 of the third redirecting Filip Hronek’s slap shot past Daccord. Hughes picked up a secondary assist on the goal, extending his points streak to 10 straight games, the longest active streak in the league.

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Hoglander scored at 12:38 and Ilya Mikheyev provided the capper at 17:30 just after a power play ended. Vancouver received seven points from its third and fourth forward lines.

“Those guys put a lot of effort in a lot of games. They’ve been getting the chances and just haven’t scored, so I’m happy for those guys,” Hughes said.

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Seattle stumbled at its first chance to climb above the .500 mark after a sluggish start to the season. The Kraken had picked up points in five straight games.

Tye Kartye scored Seattle’s goal at 17:29 of the second period, his first goal in 15 games. Daccord made 22 saves.

The Kraken failed to score in the first period despite being on the power play for eight minutes, although Matty Beniers had a goal overturned as Seattle was offside.

“It’s not an effort issue, it’s a readiness issue,” Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said.

“They were the more ready team at the drop of the puck, and you saw that in our execution in the first five minutes of the hockey game.”

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Stan Smyl taking on new role with Vancouver Canucks

Seattle lost forward Brandon Tanev to an apparent left leg injury late in the first period when he took a hit at centre ice from Hoglander and tumbled to the ice.

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Tanev suffered an injury to the same leg in the season opener against Vegas on an illegal hit to the head by Brett Howden that resulted in a suspension. Tanev missed about a month and returned on Nov. 13.

UP NEXT

Canucks: at San Jose on Saturday.

Kraken: at Chicago next Tuesday.

BOTTOM LINE

San Jose has a 3-15-2 record overall and a 1-6-0 record in Pacific Division games. The Sharks rank 10th in NHL play serving 10.6 penalty minutes per game.

Vancouver has a 14-6-1 record overall and a 6-2-0 record in Pacific Division games. The Canucks are 9-2-1 when they commit fewer penalties than their opponent.

The teams play Saturday for the third time this season. The Canucks won the previous matchup 3-1.

TOP PERFORMERS

Fabian Zetterlund has scored four goals with three assists for the Sharks. Mike Hoffman has five goals over the last 10 games.

Quinn Hughes has scored eight goals with 24 assists for the Canucks. J.T. Miller has seven goals and seven assists over the last 10 games.

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LAST 10 GAMES

Sharks: 3-6-1, averaging two goals, 3.8 assists, 4.3 penalties and 11.4 penalty minutes while giving up 3.9 goals per game.

Canucks: 6-4-0, averaging 3.7 goals, 6.8 assists, 3.2 penalties and 7.8 penalty minutes while giving up 2.8 goals per game.

INJURIES

Sharks: Logan Couture: out (lower body), Filip Zadina: day to day (undisclosed), Oskar Lindblom: out (lower body), Jan Rutta: out (undisclosed), Mitchell Russell: out (undisclosed), Kevin Labanc: day to day (upper body), Alexander Barabanov: out (finger).

Canucks: Pius Suter: out (undisclosed), Guillaume Brisebois: out (upper-body), Carson Soucy: out (foot), Tucker Poolman: out (head).

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