LOS ANGELES – The Vancouver Canucks were winning even without Brock Boeser and Elias Pettersson stuffing the stat sheet.
Now they seem to be rediscovering their connection, as the Los Angeles Kings found out the hard way.
Boeser had a hat trick, Pettersson added a goal and three assists, and the Canucks defeated the Kings 5-3 on Wednesday night.
“They were finding seams, picking pockets, scoring goals like it was no (problem),” said Vancouver forward Bo Horvat, who had a power-play goal and an assist. “They’re fun to watch, (it’s) fun to play with those guys on the power play, and my job is to give ’em outs in the middle.”
Jacob Markstrom made 21 saves, and the Canucks improved to 8-1-1 in their past 10 games.
Boeser put Vancouver back in front 3-2 at 15:17 of the second period when Pettersson’s pass started a breakaway as the Kings were making a line change. But the duo was even more dangerous on the power play, helping the Canucks score on four of six chances with the man advantage.
Boeser completed his third NHL hat trick 55 seconds into the third when his shot redirected in off Drew Doughty’s skate during a power play to give the Canucks a 4-2 lead.
Pettersson made it 5-2 at 15:46, getting Vancouver’s fourth power-play goal. He has two goals and 10 assists during a five-game point streak, including consecutive games with three assists.
“Our power play is really clicking right now, and I think we’re starting to really have some good chemistry up there just kind of reading and knowing what each guy is going to do. So I think that’s huge and we’ve got to make sure we keep going,” said Boeser, who has five goals in his last three games.
Pettersson had three goals through his first 11 games after scoring 28 times in 71 games during his rookie season, leading to questions about a sophomore slump. Boeser, who added an assist for his own four-point game, laughed off those concerns and noted the impact Pettersson was having as a playmaker.
“People don’t understand the second year is a lot tougher than the first year. He’s having to fight for every inch of ice, so he’s learning and he’s still producing for our team,” said Boeser, pointing to Pettersson’s slap pass that set up his power-play goal to tie the game 1-all at 17:39 of the first period.
Horvat then redirected Quinn Hughes’ one-timer from long range with 26 seconds remaining to take a 2-1 lead into the dressing room.
Anze Kopitar had two assists and passed 900 career points, but the Kings lost their fourth straight. Jeff Carter scored twice, Adrian Kempe also had a goal and Jonathan Quick made 44 saves.
Carter put the Kings ahead 1-0 at 3:53 after faking out Markstrom and beating him with a backhand. Kopitar had the primary assist, finding Carter alone in the slot on the rush, for his 900th point in 1,016 games.
Kopitar became the fifth Kings player with 900 points, joining Marcel Dionne, Luc Robitaille, Dave Taylor and Wayne Gretzky.
Carter added a consolation goal at 18:49 of the third period.
Kings coach Todd McLellan shuffled his lines and changed personnel following a lackadaisical end to their four-game road trip, only to see his team allow five goals for the fourth consecutive game.
“We’ll have to do a deep look at who’s getting scored on and why they’re getting scored on,” McLellan said. “We’ve already done it, but we’ll do it again.”
NOTES: Canucks LW Micheal Ferland did not return after sustaining an upper-body injury in the first period. Ferland’s last game action was a fight with Kings LW Kyle Clifford. … Kings RW Tyler Toffoli was a healthy scratch, ending his streak of consecutive games played at 207. … Kempe scored his first goal of the season while playing in his 200th NHL game. . Hughes had three assists.
Canucks: Visit the Anaheim Ducks on Friday.
Kings: Host the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday.
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