Ben Hutton had a number of thoughts dancing in his head as he snaked his way towards Arizona Coyotes goalie Louis Domingue.
Usually all smiles, it’s been a tough start to the season for both the second-year defenceman and his Vancouver Canucks.
At least for one night, the big grin was back.
Hutton scored on a penalty shot at 2:34 of overtime Thursday as the Canucks fought back from two goals down to defeat the Coyotes 3-2.
“There was a lot going through my mind,” said Hutton. “I knew we needed this win.”
Hutton beat Domingue on a slick backhand through the five-hole for his second goal of the campaign after being hooked on a breakaway by Dylan Strome.
“That’s the move I use in practice,” said Hutton. “I’ve never attempted it in a game, obviously. I was a little nervous going into it, but it worked out. It’s a big two points.”
Hutton and defence partner Erik Gudbranson have struggled on many nights through 18 games for the Canucks (7-10-1), who entered play having lost 11 of their last 13, including Tuesday’s ugly 7-2 loss to the Rangers.
“Definitely a little relief,” said Hutton. “I haven’t been playing my best at the start of the season.
“I got a career-high in goals with that goal, so that’s nice.”
Daniel Sedin, with a goal and an assist, and Brandon Sutter also scored for Vancouver, which got 34 saves from Jacob Markstrom.
“We’ve got to build on this and get a little bit better,” said Sedin. “We still gave them a few too many chances in the third and weren’t good enough the first half of the game either.”
Brad Richardson, who was later carted off on a stretcher with an injured right leg, and Anthony DeAngelo replied for Arizona (5-9-2).
Domingue stopped 39 shots for the Coyotes, who have lost four in a row after also falling in OT to Calgary on Wednesday.
“We gave too many scoring chances on both sides,” said Domingue. “They had a lot, we had a lot and we lost the skills competition again.”
Tied 2-2 after 40 minutes, Domingue made a nice glove save on Vancouver’s Loui Eriksson six minutes into the third period before a sliding Max Domi partially blocked a Henrik Sedin effort on the backcheck.
Domi was then denied at the other end on a great backhand that Markstrom, who started in net for the Canucks for the second straight game with Ryan Miller out with the flu, got with his glove.
Daniel Sedin had another golden opportunity with under three minutes to go, but Domingue was there.
“Keep going,” Sedin said of what the message was on the bench. “It’s been about the process all year long. I know it’s been tough. We’ve lost a lot of games.”
The Coyotes opened the scoring 1:22 into the second when Richardson’s shot off the rush ticked the stick of Vancouver defenceman Alexander Edler and past Markstrom shortside for his fifth. The Canucks challenged the play for offside, but the call stood.
DeAngelo made it 2-0 on a broken play at 10:45 after Markstrom overcommitted to Martin Hanzal at the side of the Vancouver net. The puck slid off Hanzal’s stick and into the slot where DeAngelo’s deflected effort floated into the empty goal for his second.
Things were looking good for the Coyotes at that point, but Richardson crumpled to the ice in agony with a right leg injury a few minutes later after a collision with hulking Canucks defenceman Nikita Tryamkin, who stands six-foot-seven and weighs 265 pounds.
Medical staffs from both teams attended to Richardson for several minutes before loading him onto a stretcher. The 31-year-old was taken to hospital by ambulance for further evaluation, and the Coyotes said they expect to update his condition on Friday.
“It’s a big hole we have to fill in the middle,” said Domingue. “He plays crucial minutes in crucial areas of the game, but just the fact he goes down like that, it is a big bummer for our team.”
Vancouver cut the deficit to 2-1 with 4:15 left in the period when Sutter took a pass from Daniel Sedin and buried his fourth, and third in as many games.
The Canucks’ much-maligned power play got them level just 2:13 later when Henrik Sedin threw a nice backhand pass across to Edler, who in turn found Daniel Sedin in the slot for his sixth.
“Again, we came from behind and got the win,” said Hutton, whose team fought back to beat Dallas in OT on Sunday. “That’s not the way we draw it up. We’d like to come in and get the lead and maintain the lead, which would be nice. But coming from behind just shows the character in this locker-room.”
Notes: Vancouver gave up the first goal for the 16th time this season. ... Thursday was Hockey Fights Cancer night at Rogers Arena. The Canucks wore special lavender jerseys in warmups with names on the back of the people they’re fighting for. ... Vancouver called up goalie Michael Garteig from the ECHL with Miller out.Report Typo/Error