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Miller, Canucks trounce Kings 8-2 in season’s home opener

VANCOUVER – J.T. Miller had a career-high four-point night on Wednesday, helping his Vancouver Canucks to a 8-2 win over the L.A. Kings.

Miller had a goal and three assists for Vancouver (1-2-0), while Brandon Sutter had two goals and an assist and Chris Tanev registered a goal and a helper.

Canucks Elias Pettersson, Josh Leivo and Alex Edler also scored, and rookie defenceman Quinn Hughes notched his first NHL goal.

Tyler Toffoli and Sean Walker scored for L.A. (1-2-0).

Canucks netminder Jacob Markstrom faced a barrage of shots and made 37 saves.

Jonathan Quick stopped 17-of-25 shots.

The victory marked the Canucks’ home opener and the club used the opportunity to name Bo Horvat as the franchise’s 14th captain before the puck dropped.

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Vancouver’s first big chance of the night came on a power play 5:26 into the first period after Walker was called for tripping.

Hughes wound up and sent a slap shot flying from the point, sending the puck soaring past Quick. It was the rookie defenceman’s first NHL goal.

Sutter widened the lead 42 seconds later after the Kings failed to clear the puck. The veteran centre took a wrist shot from the face off dot and beat Quick glove side.

A bit of patient play by Sutter early in the second period set up Vancouver’s next goal.

After getting the puck in the slot, he waited for help and found Pettersson, sending a spinning back-handed pass to the Swedish centre’s tape. Pettersson put away a smooth wrist shot to give the Canucks a three-goal lead.

The Kings responded 7:28 into the second frame. Carl Grundstrom got a crisp pass off to a wide-open Toffoli and the right-winger streaked deep into Vancouver territory, slipping a shot past Markstrom’s skate on the breakaway.

L.A.’s Ilya Kovalchuk inadvertendly helped on the Canucks’ fourth goal of the night.

Miller sent a back-handed pass into traffic from down low and the puck bounced off Kovalchuk and in.

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The goal was Miller’s first in a Canucks’ jersey. The forward was traded to Vancouver from Tampa Bay last June.

L.A. kept pressing in the third period and added a second goal 6:51 in after Anze Kopitar left a drop pass for Walker along the boards. The defenceman picked up the puck and got a shot past Markstrom high on the glove side to bring the score to 4-2.

But the Canucks weren’t content with a two goal lead.

Just 40 seconds after the Kings’ goal, Brock Boeser connected with Hughes, who sent a hard shot flying at the L.A. net. Tanev tipped it in for his first goal of the season and his 100th NHL point.

Miller set up the next tally, getting the puck to Edler. The veteran defenceman put a slap shot past Quick to make it 6-2 with 10 minutes left on the clock.

Less than two minutes later, the Canucks’ new captain sent a pass across the top of the Kings’ crease and Leivo tipped it in.

Sutter sealed the score 16:03 into the final frame with a long back-handed shot.

However, Kings defenceman Drew Doughty dug the puck out of the net and play continued for a few moments before the horn was blown.

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The play was reviewed and officials deemed it was a good goal.

Despite the final score, the Kings had ample opportunities, including on four power plays. One man advantage saw L.A. take Vancouver five-on-three.

The Canucks’ penalty remained stedfast, however. Vancouver has yet to allow a power-play goal this season.

NOTES: Kings defenceman Alec Martinez headed to the dressing room early in the third period after taking a puck to the back of the head. He returned to the bench before the end of the game. … Sutter, Tanev and Edler were all named assistant captains for the season.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 9, 2019.