J.T. Miller had a goal and an assist and the Vancouver Canucks beat the Anaheim Ducks 3-2 on Tuesday night.
Elias Pettersson had two assists and crossed the 100-point mark for the season, Brock Boeser and Andrei Kuzmenko had power-play goals, and the Canucks got their third win in four games.
“It means I can breathe out again,” Pettersson said. “I’m very happy with it. Something I didn’t think about before this season. Couldn’t have done it without the guys.”
Thatcher Demko made 33 saves in what was scheduled to be his final start of the season. He ended the campaign with 11 wins in his final 17 games after missing three months because of a lower-body injury.
“Since he’s been back, the team has had a new identity, and I think we’re playing pretty well,” Miller said.
Drew Helleson scored his first NHL goal, Mason McTavish had a power-play goal, but the Ducks lost their 12th game in a row. Lukas Dostal made 33 saves.
“Both games I’ve played, we’ve battled, and they’ve been tight games. It shows the character in here,” Helleson said.
Miller put the Canucks back in front 1:26 into the third period, positioning himself at the top of the crease to put in the rebound of Phillip Di Giuseppe’s shot.
Helleson tied it at 2-2 with 4:28 left in the second period, collecting his first career point on a slap shot from the blue line. A second-round draft pick by Colorado in 2019 and acquired by Anaheim in the Josh Manson trade last season, Helleson made his NHL debut in a 5-4 overtime loss to the Avalanche on Sunday.
“I kind of blacked out, and then I just looked up to see [Trevor Zegras] skating towards me. He was smiling even bigger than I was, so it was pretty cool to see how everybody reacted,” Helleson said.
The Canucks relied on some precision puck movement on the power play to take a 2-1 lead out of the first period, starting with Boeser opening the scoring with 7:46 left off tic-tac-toe passes from Pettersson and Miller.
Pettersson joined Pavel Bure, Alexander Mogilny, Markus Naslund, and Henrik and Daniel Sedin as Canucks to have 100-point seasons. Bure did it twice.
“I know it meant a lot to him,” Miller said. “Seriously, he’s been our best player all year. Would have been a shame to see him not get it, but there was no doubt he was going to get it.”
Kuzmenko got his 39th goal of the season on a breakaway set up by a stretch pass from Akito Hirose to make it 2-0 with 3:48 remaining.
The Ducks got on the board with their first power play, thanks to McTavish’s one-timer in the right circle from Cam Fowler with 2:40 to go.
Firsts all around
Ducks D Jackson LaCombe, a second-round draft pick in 2019, made his NHL debut. It was especially fortuitous timing since he got to be on the bench when his childhood friend Helleson found the back of the net.
“Great shot by Helle. It was cool to be a part of it, for sure,” LaCombe said.
McTavish did not play in the third period because of an upper-body injury ... Demko had the secondary assist on Kuzmenko’s goal. It was the goalie’s fourth career point.
Canucks: At Arizona on Thursday night.
Ducks: Host Los Angeles on Thursday night.