The Vancouver Canucks didn’t have much success when trailing after two periods last season.
In 2016-17, they’re already 2 for 2.
Brandon Sutter scored 32 seconds into overtime Sunday as the Canucks came from three goals down, including a 3-1 deficit after 40 minutes, to defeat the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3.
Sutter, who buried the only shootout goal in Saturday’s 2-1 victory over Calgary, grabbed the puck in his own zone and got a step on a Carolina defender before beating Eddie Lack on a quick shot for his first of the season over the blocker on a 2-on-1 rush for the Canucks’ second straight comeback win.
“Mr. Clutch finishes it off again,” said Vancouver defenceman Ben Hutton, who tied the game with under six minutes to go in regulation.
The Canucks were a paltry 3-30-1 when down after two periods in 2015-16, but already have two wins under those circumstances early this season after tying Saturday’s game with the Flames late in the third.
“To come from behind twice like that in our own rink is big, something that we didn’t do very well last year,” said Sutter, who also had an assist. “It seemed like those close games at the start of the year last year, we ended up losing in overtime and shootouts.”
With the Canucks predicted to finish at or near the bottom of the overall standings by many experts, head coach Willie Desjardins said the fast start can only help get his message across.
“I’d like to say it probably doesn’t make a difference, but I do think it makes a difference,” said the third-year coach. “It’s hard if you go out and lose. It’s just tough. I think today, though, if we’d won or lost there would be belief because we played the right way.”
Markus Granlund, with a goal and an assist, and Bo Horvat also scored for Vancouver (2-0-0), which got 19 stops from Jacob Markstrom.
Justin Faulk had a goal and an assist, while Victor Rask and Teuvo Teravainen also scored for Carolina (0-0-2), which blew a 4-1 third-period lead in its season-opening 5-4 overtime loss to Winnipeg on Thursday.
“It’s not good. It’s obviously something we are going to have to address,” said Lack, who finished with 27 saves against his former team. “If we’re going to make the playoffs we can’t do that.”
Carolina led 2-0 after Rask, with his second, and Teravainen, with his first on a power play, scored goals 1:24 apart late in the opening period before Faulk made it 3-0 with his first at 5:28 of the second.
Vancouver had played well in spurts early and finally got on the board when Horvat scored at 12:03 of the middle period after taking a rebound off the end boards and making a strong move to the net just as a Carolina penalty expired.
“It would be nice if we stopped (falling behind),” said Horvat. “It would be nice if we got a lead, but at the same time it shows great character.”
The Canucks then cut the deficit to one just 1:11 into the third when Granlund finished off a nice passing play with Sutter and Jannik Hansen for his first of the campaign after Faulk turned the puck over in his own zone.
Vancouver continued to press and Hutton tied the game with 5:50 left in regulation with his first from the slot past Lack, a fan favourite during his two seasons with the Canucks before he was traded to Carolina following the 2014-15 season to pave the way for Markstrom to assume the backup role behind Ryan Miller.
“These games are so tight,” said Sutter, who played just 20 times in his first year with Vancouver because of various injuries. “Look at the two games — a couple inches here, a couple inches there. We felt like tonight we played pretty well.
“To find a way to come back, especially from 3-0, is huge.”
Notes: The Canucks continue a four-game homestand Tuesday against St. Louis. ... The Hurricanes play their third of six straight on the road to start the season the same night in Edmonton.Report Typo/Error