Kuzmenko nets hat trick as Vancouver Canucks down Anaheim Ducks 8-5

VANCOUVER — Andrei Kuzmenko scored his first NHL hat trick and added an assist Thursday as the Vancouver Canucks posted a crucial 8-5 victory over the visiting Anaheim Ducks.

Elias Pettersson had a goal and three helpers for the Canucks (3-6-2), while Bo Horvat scored twice, including an empty-net strike, and had an assist. J.T. Miller and Dakota Joshua also found the back of the net and Quinn Hughes contributed two assists.

Troy Terry scored and notched two assists for the Ducks (3-7-1), while Trevor Zegras and Ryan Strome posted one of each. Max Comtois and Max Jones rounded out the scoring for the visitors.

Spencer Martin stopped 26-of-31 shots for Vancouver and Anaheim's John Gibson made 39 saves.

Both teams erupted in the third period, combining for seven goals in less than 15 minutes.

The Canucks took a late penalty and the Ducks tried to press by pulling Gibson. Vancouver took advantage with Horvat sending a shot into the empty net with 56 seconds left on the clock.

Down by three, Anaheim clawed a goal back 17:38 into the final frame when a rebound bounced off Jones in the crease and in past Martin to make it 7-5.

Kuzmenko put away his third of the night 16:48 into the frame, blasting a shot past Gibson from the high hash marks. Hats rained down on the ice in response.

The tally came just two minutes after his second goal of the night, which put the Canucks up 6-4.

Earlier in the third, the Ducks cut into the home side's lead with a power-play goal after Joshua was called for tripping.

Zegras fired a long shot on net and the puck slid past Martin glove side.

Both the Canucks and Ducks were 2-for-3 with the man advantage Thursday.

Comtois stemmed a three-goal outburst by Vancouver 7:51 into the third, sending a backhand shot past Martin on a breakaway to make it 5-3.

The Canucks pulled ahead 6:30 into the third when Joshua poked a puck into the Ducks' net through traffic, giving the home team a 4-2 lead.

Anaheim challenged for goaltender interference arguing Vancouver's Jack Studnicka spun Gibson out of position. But after video review, officials ruled Studnicka was making a play on the loose puck and the goal was good.

The call was a costly one for the Ducks, who were handed a delay-of-game penalty.

Vancouver was quick to convert. Kuzmenko, standing below the goal line, collected a pass from Pettersson and tapped it in behind Gibson to put the home side up 5-2 just 24 seconds into the power play.

The Ducks cut their deficit to 3-2 with a goal late in the middle frame.

Trevor Zegras slipped a pass to Strome and he fired a wrist shot past Martin from the faceoff circle with 46 seconds to go in the period.

The Canucks went up 3-1 earlier in the frame after Horvat picked a puck out of a crowd in front of the crease and dished it to Miller. Stationed at the side of the net, the feisty forward tapped it in for his sixth goal of the season.

Miller's tally extended his point streak to five games with seven points (four goals, three assists) across the stretch.

The home side took a 2-1 lead midway through the second thanks to a slick move by Pettersson.

Mikheyev sent the star centre a pass from along boards and Pettersson kicked the puck to his stick before whipping a shot past Gibson at the 9:07 mark.

Vancouver levelled the scoring seconds before the first intermission, capitalizing on the man advantage after Comtois was called for tripping.

Quinn Hughes unleashed a long bomb from inside the blue line and Horvat tipped it in from the low slot to make it 1-1 with 19.7 seconds to go in the opening frame.

The Canucks captain now has goals in three straight games.

The Ducks put away a power-play tally of their own 16:30 into the first after Oliver Ekman-Larsson was called for tripping.

Terry wove around Canucks defenceman Tyler Myers and popped a shot over Martin to open the scoring.

The right-winger leads Anaheim in scoring with 15 points (five goals, 10 assists) on the season.

FOREVER A CANUCK

Vancouver held a pre-game ceremony for former defenceman Kevin Bieksa, who signed a one-day contract to officially retire a Canuck on Thursday. The 41-year-old played 13 seasons in the NHL and put up 278 points (63 goals, 215 assists) over 808 games for Vancouver and Anaheim.

HOME ICE ADVANTAGE?

The Ducks came into Thursday's game having won four straight in Vancouver dating back to March 2019. Anaheim also had points in seven straight games against the Canucks (6-0-1).

UP NEXT

The Canucks wrap a four-game homestand on Saturday against the Nashville Predators. The Ducks take on the Sharks in San Jose the same night.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 3, 2022.

Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press