Canucks can’t hold early lead, lose in overtime against Penguins

Rickard Rakell scored twice in regulation, Sidney Crosby notched two assists, and Erik Karlsson buried the winner in overtime to lift the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 4-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks.

VANCOUVER — The head coach of the Vancouver Canucks was blunt in his assessment of his team’s performance in the 4-3 overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

“We’re hanging in there but we need some individuals to up their game, some guys are just OK. It’s been OK for a while and you have to contribute,” said Rick Tocchet before adding his further thoughts.

“Hopefully we get some guys’ legs back and their brains back because we’ve been sloppy.”

Erik Karlsson scored the game-winning goal at 1:42 of overtime to lift the Pittsburgh Penguins to their third consecutive victory on Tuesday night at Rogers Arena.

Mike Sullivan, the Penguins head coach, praised his team’s resiliency in the overtime win.

“We got down a couple of goals and we just stayed with it, just kept competing and I think we’re capable of coming back in games and tonight was evidence against a really good team,” he said.

“I thought it was a really good hockey game.”

Rickard Rakell, with two goals, and Lars Eller added the others in regulation for Pittsburgh (27-21-8).

Tristan Jarry made 32 saves between regulation and overtime.

J.T. Miller, with a goal and an assist, Nils Hoglander and Brock Boeser scored for Vancouver (38-17-6), with Tyler Myers grabbing an assist.

Thatcher Demko stopped 36 shots.

Tocchet was unsparing in his criticism of his team’s performance.

“There was a lot of self inflicted turnovers,” he said.

“I thought there was some sloppy stuff some detailed stuff. Some guys looked tired out there … I thought there was a lot of average guys out there.”

The message of frustration was repeated by Miller.

“(We) had a pretty good first period, and then just proceeded to turn the puck over and get loose and let a team where, if we had the mentality of winning the game today, we could have killed them in the second period.

“And instead we let them back in the game and we only got a point today. It’s frustrating.”

Down 2-0 entering the second period, Rakell scored twice in just over seven minutes to tie the game. 

The first came 2:13 into the frame, as he dangled his way through the defence and buried it past Demko off an assist from Sidney Crosby. The helper was Crosby’s 1,000th career even-strength point.

“He’s had a remarkable career to this point and he’s shown zero signs of slowing down,” said Sullivan about Crosby, adding that he’s “run out of superlatives” for describing the forward’s performance.

“He’s the heartbeat of our team and he’s playing an inspiring game for us and so when he reaches these milestones, it doesn’t at this point surprise us because there’s a lot of them, but I think it just speaks volumes for how consistently well he’s played for so long.”

Rakell scored his second at 9:36 with a 5-on-3 advantage, with Crosby finding him wide open in front to score into a gaping net.

“It was great pass from (Crosby) and I had a wide-open net,” said Rakell. 

“Things didn’t really go our way at the start of the game but it was still just a one-goal game and that gave us hope to just try to come back in this game, do everything we can and I think that’s what we did.” 

Miller restored Vancouver’s lead at 10:05 of the second. He stripped a Penguins defenceman on the forecheck and bore down on Jarry to score his 30th goal of the season.

Eller knotted the contest at 9:45 of the third when he skated into the slot and roofed a wrist shot through traffic to eventually send the game to overtime.

Hoglander opened the scoring for the Canucks at 10:23 of the first period, burying the puck home after a scramble in front.

Boeser doubled the lead with 2:17 left in the first, converting on a one-touch pass from Miller for his 34th of the season.


Canucks: Hosting the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday.

Penguins: Travel to Seattle to play the Kraken on Thursday.

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