Bo Horvat leads Canucks to shootout victory over Kings

Bo Horvat scored twice in regulation and once to extend the shootout to get the Canucks a 4-3 win in pre-season over the Kings.

VANCOUVER — Bo Horvat says one of his newest Vancouver Canucks teammates has some similarities with a familiar face.

Swedish centre Elias Pettersson had two assists in the Canucks’ 4-3 shootout victory over the L.A. Kings Thursday night, and Horvat said the 19-year-old reminds him a bit of Henrik Sedin.

The former Canucks captain put up 830 assists over 17 years in Vancouver before he and his twin brother Daniel Sedin retired at the end of last season.

“It must be the Swedish connection or something like that,” said Horvat, who had two goals and an assist in regulation Thursday night, and popped another puck past L.A. goalie Peter Budaj in the shootout.

Nikolay Goldobin scored the shootout winner while Sven Baertschi put up Vancouver’s third goal in regular time.

Tanner Pearson, Emerson Etem and Adrian Kempe all scored for the Kings in regulation.

Kings goalie Jack Campbell stopped 22 of Vancouver’s 23 shots in the first two periods, before he was relieved by Budaj, who turned away 7-of-9.

Vancouver netminder Jacob Markstrom stopped 29-of-32 shots.

Pettersson had one creative setup that saw him make a pass between not only his own legs, but those of Kings defender Jake Muzzin, too.

He makes the right plays at the right times, Horvat said.

“He’s super smart,” said the 23-year-old centre. “And to have that patience and that skill at such a young age, he’s just going to continue getting better.”

Getting involved in some of the scoring felt good, Pettersson said, adding that he’s starting to develop chemistry with his teammates.

“I think it feels better each and every day, training with each other and playing with each other,” he said.

But the young athlete was critical of his face-off performance, using a four-letter expletive to describe his play. Pettersson won just 2-of-9 battles in the circle.

“So I need to work on that,” he said.

Canucks coach Travis Green also noticed the rookie’s dismal face-off stats, but said Pettersson did some good things, too, on Thursday night.

“You can see he’s a really special offensive talent. And I’m happy with what I’m seeing out of him, for sure,” Green said.

“He’s a smart person, smart player, committed. He wants to do well, wants to get better. And that’s a real good start, for a young guy to start with those traits already.”

Thursday marked Vancouver’s first victory in pre-season play after the Canucks were downed Tuesday by the Edmonton Oilers and Wednesday by the Calgary Flames.

Green said his team got “a little too cute” in the second period of Thursday night’s contest, where they went down 3-1. But the coach liked the way his players battled back in the third and stayed physical, chalking up 36 hits over the course of the game.

“We want to be a team that’s aggressive,” he said. “We’ve talked about being a team that’s hard to play against.”

Vancouver now has four exhibition games left, all on the road. The Canucks start with a visit to Calgary on Saturday.

NOTES: Vancouver’s Brock Boeser made his return to the ice Thursday night. The 21-year-old’s rookie season was cut short by a lower-back fracture in March. He tallied 29 goals and 26 assists in 62 games for the Canucks last year. … Kings right winger Jonny Brodzinski left the game with an upper-body injury and is expected to be re-evaluated on Friday. … Canucks coach Travis Green said he expects to make another round of cuts on Friday.

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