Kuzmenko's overtime goal gives Canucks 5-4 win over Stars
DALLAS - Andrei Kuzmenko scored 48 seconds into overtime and Vancouver goaltender Thatcher Demko won his first game in almost three months as the Canucks beat the Dallas Stars 5-4 on Monday night.
The winning goal was reviewed for being offside after Anthony Beauvillier backed into the offensive zone with the puck on his stick but was allowed.
"We haven’t had good luck on the reviews so, yeah, it was nice to get that on our side," Canucks coach Rick Tocchet said. The Canucks improved to 6-6-2 under Tocchet, who replaced Bruce Boudreau on Jan. 22.
Kuzmenko’s goal was his 28th, tying him with Elias Pettersson for the team lead.
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"He was just OK tonight," Tocchet said of Kuzmenko, a 27-year-old in his first NHL season, "but he came up with the big goal. That’s what clutch players do."
Beauvillier scored two goals along with the overtime assist and Sheldon Dries and Vasily Podkolzin also scored for the Canucks.
Demko was activated earlier Monday, played for the first time since Dec. 1, and stopped 34 shots. He missed the previous 35 games with a lower-body injury.
Demko, who had a 2.72 goals-against average as Vancouver’s No. 1 goalie last season, called it "a pretty crazy day."
"There was a little bit of anxiety," he said. "You want to make sure you’re ready to go and hop back in. It feels great."
Jamie Benn, Roope Hintz, Nils Lundkvist and Evgenii Dadonov scored for Dallas, the latter in his Stars debut after being acquired from the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday. Benn also had an assist.
Dallas coach Peter DeBoer said he didn’t expect the overtime goal to be overturned.
"That’s why I left the bench," DeBoer said. "I think that was kind of a fingers-crossed moment."
Jake Oettinger made 16 saves for the Stars, who have a franchise-record 10 overtime losses this season in 12 overtime games. Dallas leads the Central Division by two points over the Colorado Avalanche but has lost its last three home games to teams outside the playoff race – Vancouver, Chicago (after leading 3-0) and Columbus.
The Canucks came in with the league’s worst penalty-killing unit (66.3%) but limited the Stars to one power-play goal in five chances, to Hintz. They conversely also allowed their league-worst 11th shorthanded goals, to Benn.
Dadonov arrived in Dallas having not scored in his final 14 games with Montreal.
Beauvillier has six goals and 10 points in 11 games since being acquired from the New York Islanders on Jan. 30 for Bo Horvat.
Quinn Hughes’ three assists give him 57 points in 56 games. He’s on pace to break his Canucks record for defenseman points in a season set last year (68).
ON THE RUSH
Forward Vitali Kravtsov made his Canucks debut after being acquired from the New York Rangers on Saturday while the Rangers were in Washington. Kravtsov took an Uber back to New York, saying the ride took "four hours, four and a half maybe."
Said Tocchet: "That Uber guy must be going F-1."
Vancouver F J.T. Miller didn’t play because of a lower-body injury and is expected to miss at least a week according to Tocchet. … The Canucks acquired F Josh Bloom on Monday from the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for D Riley Stillman. … Stars D Esa Lindell played his 500th career NHL game while Canucks F Conor Garland appeared in his 300th.
Canucks: Begin a season-long six-game homestand on Thursday against the Minnesota Wild.
Stars: Host the Arizona Coyotes on Wednesday to begin a back-to-back.