Eriks­son posts 3 points in Canucks’ win over Pan­thers

The Daily Courier - - SPORTS -

VAN­COU­VER — Canucks de­fence­man Ben Hut­ton says his team had some­thing to prove when they lined up against the Florida Pan­thers on Sun­day night.

“We’ve got some bad blood with them. Ob­vi­ously, ev­ery­one knows that,” he said.

When the squads last met in Oc­to­ber, Van­cou­ver’s star rookie Elias Pet­ters­son was the vic­tim of a con­tro­ver­sial hit by Pan­thers de­fence­man Mike Math­e­son. No penalty was called on the ice and Pet­ters­son ended up miss­ing two weeks with a con­cus­sion.

The Canucks (21-21-5) weren’t about to for­give and for­get. They out worked the Pan­thers (17-19-8) en route to a 5-1 win Sun­day.

“We wanted to come out and play hard,” said Hut­ton, who scored the even­tual gamewin­ning goal. “Play within the rules, but play hard. And make sure ev­ery­one knows that you can’t really mess with one of us.”

Math­e­son — who was handed a two-game sus­pen­sion by the league for the hit — was chal­lenged to drop the gloves sev­eral times but didn’t take the bait. Ev­ery time he touched the puck, loud boos em­anated from the Van­cou­ver crowd.

Van­cou­ver de­fence­man Erik Gud­bran­son said his team was good about not cross­ing the line with Math­e­son.

“You don’t want to do any­thing stupid in a one-goal game,” he said. “Guys tried, tried early. But at a cer­tain point, if he’s not will­ing to do it, that’s on him. We’ve got to go and win two points.”

In­stead, Gud­bran­son went head-to-head with Florida’s Michael Healy, ex­chang­ing blows for nearly a minute in the first pe­riod.

“Hockey’s still hockey. The blood boils,” Gud­bran­son said. “And it was a good show­ing by our team.”

Canucks coach Travis Green said he didn’t en­cour­age his team to bring ex­tra in­ten­sity to Sun­day’s match up.

“I never talked about it once and I don’t know if they talked about it as a team, but I thought they re­sponded ex­actly how you should — won the game,” he said. “No one did any­thing cheap or dirty and that’s it, end of story.”

Loui Eriks­son tal­lied a goal and two as­sists for Van­cou­ver in the vic­tory.

Mid­way through the sec­ond frame, the left­winger picked off a pass from Mike Hoff­man at the Pan­thers’ blue-line and drove into the of­fen­sive zone. Eriks­son fin­ished with a wrist shot in be­hind Florida net­min­der Roberto Luongo.

He ad­mit­ted that scor­ing has been tough lately, so find­ing the back of the net was a re­lief.

“It hasn’t come easy. So all you can do is just work hard and just keep work­ing. And things will turn around,” Eriks­son said. “It was def­i­nitely nice to score that one tonight. And now on to the next one.”

Brock Boeser and Jay Bea­gle both put away empty-net­ters for the Canucks, and Markus Gran­lund added one more goal, scor­ing with just 11 sec­onds left on the clock.

Frank Va­trano tal­lied the Pan­thers’ lone goal. Florida has now lost six games in a row.

“We had some guys, es­pe­cially some of our big guys, have very av­er­age if not be­low-av­er­age games and you can’t win hockey games that way,” said Pan­thers coach Bob Bough­ner.

Ja­cob Mark­strom stopped 23-of-24 shots for the Canucks and Luongo put up saves 31 for the Pan­thers.

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