Elias Pettersson scored twice and the Vancouver Canucks will head into the NHL all-star break on a win after downing the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-2 on Friday.
Quinn Hughes had a goal and a helper for the Canucks (20-26-3) and Bo Horvat contributed a career-high four assists.
Ilya Mikheyev and Dakota Joshua also scored for the home side, while J.T. Miller and Brock Boeser each added a pair of assists.
Kirill Marchenko replied with two power-play goals for the Blue Jackets (15-30-3).
Vancouver’s Collin Delia made 23 saves and Joonas Korpisalo stopped 29-of-34 shots for Columbus.
Both teams have struggled mightily this season and came into the game lingering near the bottom of the NHL.
Columbus bit into the lead when Vancouver defenceman Tyler Myers was sent to the box for tripping midway through the third period.
Marchenko swiped at a puck from below the goal line, sending it into the back of Delia’s leg before it popped into the net for the rookie’s second goal of the night. He now has 13 goals in 26 games.
Pettersson put the Canucks up 5-1 with a power-play goal 12:52 into the final frame, firing a blistering shot on net from high in the face-off circle. Korpisalo got a piece of the shot but it dribbled across the goal line for Pettersson’s second goal of the night and 21st of the season.
Joshua scored 8:20 into the third on an errant pass. The depth forward looked to send a puck across the slot to Brock Boeser, but the puck hit Columbus defenceman Adam Boqvist in the leg and caromed into the net to make it 4-1.
Vancouver took a two-goal cushion into the first intermission thanks to a lucky bounce.
Mikheyev unleashed a blast from above the face-off circle and his shot ricocheted off the end glass, hitting Korpisalo’s skate and skittering into the net.
It was the Russian winger’s 13th goal of the season and marked his 100th NHL point.
Earlier in the frame, a scrum erupted when Sean Kuraly slammed Vancouver’s Andrei Kuzmenko into the glass, prompting a multiplayer tussle in the Blue Jackets’ end.
Kuraly was called for boarding and Vancouver capitalized on the man advantage when Hughes sent a long bomb through traffic from the point. The tally put the home side up 2-1 at the 13:21 mark.
Both the Canucks and Blue Jackets went 2 for 4 on the power play Friday.
An early penalty saw both sides score.
With Miller in the box for slashing, Horvat picked the puck off Patrik Laine and streaked down the ice with Pettersson on a two-on-one. The Canucks captain sliced Pettersson a pass at the hash marks and the Swedish centre wrapped it around Korpisalo’s outstretched leg for his 20th goal of the season 1:25 into the game.
Thirty-three seconds later, the Blue Jackets replied when Marchenko, stationed in the slot, tipped in Boqvist’s shot to tie the score at 1-1.
Laine also registered an assist on the play, extending his point streak to five games with two goals and six helpers across the stretch.
Ups and downs
Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin announced Friday that forward Lane Pederson had been put on waivers for the purpose of assignment to the American Hockey League’s Abbotsford Canucks. Pederson played 10:58 against Columbus, spending much of the night on a line with Pettersson and left-winger Andrei Kuzmenko.
Vancouver’s now off for the all-star break. The Canucks will resume their campaign with a four-game road swing, starting with a matchup with the Devils in New Jersey on Feb. 6.
The Blue Jackets will take on the Kraken in Seattle on Saturday.