Elias Pettersson can be a tough critic.
Pettersson was asked how good goaltender Jacob Markstrom was in the Vancouver Canucks’ 1-0 overtime win against the Carolina Hurricanes Thursday night.
“He can always be better,” said Pettersson, managing to keep a straight face for a few seconds.
“I’m just kidding. He was awesome.”
Pettersson won the game with a goal 40 seconds into overtime to collect his 100th NHL point and Markstrom made 43 saves for his first shutout of the season and fourth of his career.
“It’s not a pretty win but it’s a huge two points for us,” said Pettersson, last year’s rookie of the year who played in his 103rd game. “Maybe they had the most chances (but) Marky stood on his head all game long. It’s just great we can win a game like this.”
The teams were tied 0-0 after 60 minutes despite Carolina outshooting Vancouver 42-24. In the third period alone, Markstrom stopped Brett Pesce on a breakaway and gloved a shot from Sebastian Aho who had had been left alone in the slot.
The win helped Markstrom rinse the bad taste out of his mouth after a 4-1 loss to Toronto on Tuesday.
“I feel like I corrected the stuff I didn’t like in the Toronto game,” said Markstrom. “I was a little too excited and a little tense in that game. I just wanted to be a little bit more loose and relaxed.”
The more shots he faced, the more Markstrom looked to be in a groove.
“That’s the mindset you’ve got to have all the time,” he said. “Even when you let in a goal you keep going back to that same mindset.
“The next puck, that’s all that matters. Whatever happens previous doesn’t matter.”
The winning goal came after Vancouver’s Brock Boeser tried to make a centring pass, only the puck hit a stick laying on the ice. Pettersson settled it down and flipped a backhand over the shoulder of Carolina goaltender Petr Mrazek.
“I was ready for the bounce,” he said. “I saw the puck was flat on the ice. I guessed right.”
Pettersson, whose 13 goals ties him with J.T. Miller for the most on the Canucks, was pleased his 100th point came on a crucial play.
“It means a lot,” he said. “It goes by fast. It feels like yesterday I played my first game.”
The Canucks (16-12-4) improve to 4-4-0 in their last eight games. The Hurricanes (19-11-2) saw a three-game win streak snapped. Carolina is 10-4-1 in the last 15 games.
Mrazek made 25 saves for the Hurricanes, including stopping Jake Virtanen on a third-period breakaway.
Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour said Markstrom was the difference.
“We just didn’t capitalize,” he said. “We had plenty of opportunities and just didn’t find a way to get it in.
“We hit a hot goalie. He was the difference in the game. He was phenomenal. So, you tip your hat and you move on.”
Brind’Amour was frustrated over a call in the second period where Aho looked to have scored on a delayed penalty. The goal was waved off because the whistle had blown a fraction of a second earlier when the referee believed the Canucks had gained control of the puck.
“I think they jumped the gun there blowing the whistle,” he said. “It’s unfortunate, cost us a point.”
Besides making several big saves, Markstrom provided some excitement in the second period when he dashed from his net in a bid to beat Carolina’s Warren Foegele to a loose puck. Foegele attempted to chip the puck over a sprawling Markstrom, but the Canuck netminder got a piece of it. The puck rolled into the corner and Markstrom managed to scramble back into his net.
“I thought I had a step,” said Markstrom. “It’s just reflects. When I feel like I’m going to be first on the puck, I like to kill the play. That’s just part of my game.”
There was a comical moment later in the period when, after making another stop, Markstrom lost the puck in his equipment. Tim Schaller finally retrieved it by reaching down the goaltender’s back.
Vancouver defenceman Tyler Myers said the game was closer than the shots indicated.
“It was a strange one,” he said. “It wasn’t as lopsided as the shots showed. Marky made some Grade A saves and kept us in it.”
NOTES: The Canucks called up goaltender Michael DiPietro from Utica of the AHL after Thatcher Demko suffered a concussion in practice Wednesday. Vancouver forward Micheal Ferland (upper body) was injured Tuesday night in his second game back after missing 17 games with a concussion. Head coach Travis Green said he is not in concussion protocol. Carolina forward Ryan Dzingel played in his 300th NHL game. The Hurricanes have never beaten the Canucks in overtime, having lost nine times and tied six times.