Pettersson Scores Twice, Leads Canucks Past Wild 5-2
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Scoring was nice for Elias Pettersson. Winning was even better.
The speedy rookie scored a pair of the goals, the second on a third-period breakaway, to lead the Vancouver Canucks to a 5-2 win over the Minnesota Wild on Monday night.
The victory snapped the Canucks' two-game losing streak and came on the heels of Vancouver's 5-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday.
"It's always fun to score," said Pettersson, who is the 21st player in NHL history to score at least seven goals in his first seven games. "But I think the biggest thought in the team was to bounce back from our last home game and we did that."
Pettersson, who was picked fifth overall in the 2017 draft, leads all NHL rookies in goals and in points with 10.
His opening goal came at 6:51 of the second period. He took a pass from defenseman Michael Del Zotto and shot a one-timer past Minnesota goaltender Devan Dubnyk.
"If I got the puck I knew I would do a one-timer," Pettersson said. "It was a good pass, right in the wheelhouse."
The second goal early in the third had the crowd of 16,546 on their feet cheering. First, Pettersson blocked a shot at the blue line. Then, Brock Boeser passed the loose puck to the streaking 19-year-old from Sundsvall, Sweden, who beat Dubnyk high on the blocker side.
"Good defense leads to good offense, so I want to do what I can do best in the situation," Pettersson said. "In the defensive zone, if you have to block a shot for us to win, you do it."
Head coach Travis Green praised Pettersson's hockey sense.
"He's got a really good mind for the game, his details are sharp," Green said. "He understands the defensive side of the game.
"He's caught onto it real quick playing center and he'll be better. He's going to get better in his own zone and he is every game. He's a good player, does a lot of good things."
Markus Granlund and Jake Virtanen, on the power play, also scored for the Canucks, who snapped the Wild's five-game winning streak. Ben Hutton scored into an empty net with 39.1 seconds remaining.
Jordan Greenway scored his first NHL regular-season goal, and Ryan Sutter added a power-play goal for the Wild.
Wild head coach Bruce Boudreau said his team paid the price for a slow start. Minnesota gave up the opening goal for the eighth time in the last nine games.
"You keep doing that too often, I told them, it's going to happen," Boudreau said. "Nobody is able to come back all the time if you're going to start that slow."
He also was frustrated his team took five penalties and gave up a power-play goal.
"If you look the top-six players are playing too much and the bottom-six players aren't playing enough," he said. "That's all due to penalties.
"To me, the third and fourth lines are playing good most nights. I think they deserve to play a little more."
Boudreau was curt in his assessment of Pettersson.
"He's going to be a good player for a long time," he said.
One positive for the Wild was Greenway scoring his first goal. He collected a rebound of his own shot, then scored on scramble in the first period.
"It was good for sure," said the rookie, who was recalled Sunday from a two-game stint in the AHL where he had a hat trick Saturday. "It would have been a lot nicer to get a win with it.
"I really wanted to get the pucks to the net, go to the net. It worked out for me. I might keep doing it."
Greenway did have a goal in the playoffs last year.
The excitement provided by Pettersson overshadowed a 37-save performance by Canuck goaltender Jacob Markstrom.
"He was great tonight, he wasn't just good," said Green. "They had the heat on us and . . . (Markstrom) was a rock back there."
Dubnyk, making his third consecutive start, stopped 26 shots for Minnesota.
NOTES: Canucks center Brandon Sutter left the game early in the second period favoring his right shoulder after falling awkwardly into the boards. "He's hurt and it's not day-to-day, so it will be at least weeks," Green said. ... Horvat has four goals and two assists in his last seven games. . Canucks goaltender Anders Nilsson could miss up to three weeks after fracturing the finger on his blocker hand during Saturday morning's skate. Backup Richard Bachman has been recalled from the AHL Utica Comets. ... The Wild opened a seven-game, 14-day road trip, the longest in franchise history.
Minnesota: At Edmonton on Tuesday.
Vancouver: Home against Chicago on Wednesday.