Quinn Hughes scored 51 seconds into overtime and the Vancouver Canucks kept their dim playoff dreams alive with a 5-4 win over the visiting Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday.
The result moves Vancouver within three points of Vegas, with both teams grasping for the Western Conference wild card spots.
Elias Pettersson had goal and a pair of assists for the Canucks (36-28-10) in regulation, while Bo Horvat had one of each. Vasily Podkolzin and Brad Richardson rounded out the scoring for the home side, which has won four straight games.
Shea Theodore knotted the game with a pair of goals in the third period, Alec Martinez had a goal and an assist and Michael Amadio put away a goal for the Golden Knights (40-30-4).
Vancouver got a stellar 41-save performance from Thatcher Demko and Robin Lehner stopped 22-of-27 shots for Vegas.
OT QUINNER!!!!!!! pic.twitter.com/EYfqRaXcW0— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) April 13, 2022
The Golden Knights pulled Lehner with 1:46 left on the game clock in favour of an extra attacker.
With 41.4 seconds to go, Theodore launched a rocket from the top of the faceoff circle and the puck flew over Demko’s glove for the equalizer.
Theodore brought Vegas within one 6:27 into the third period, whipping a shot past Demko’s blocker side from the faceoff dot.
The native of Langley now has 12 goals on the season.
The Golden Knights were a force to start the third, outshooting the Canucks 8-0 across the first 10 minutes of the frame.
Pettersson set up Vancouver’s fourth goal of the night with a highlight-reel play midway through the second, intercepting the puck in the neutral zone and streaking down the ice with Richardson on a two-on-one.
He appeared poised to shoot in tight but instead sent a no-look pass across the slot to Richardson, who tapped it into the yawning net.
Vegas cut the deficit to a single goal 4:35 into the second when Amadio’s shot from the low slot deflected in off of Horvat to make it 3-2.
Vancouver took a two-goal cushion 79 seconds earlier when Conor Garland sprang Pettersson for a breakaway and the star forward fired a laser on net. Lehner made the stop, then fell backward with the puck falling between his legs and Vegas defenceman Zach Whitecloud pushed it in over the goal line with his skate.
Officials on the ice initially waved the goal off but after a video review, Pettersson was credited with his 26th of the season and the Canucks took a 3-1 lead.
Vancouver opened the second with more than a minute and a half left on a power play after Evgenii Dadonov was called for high-sticking late in the opening frame.
Stationed in front of the net, Podkolzin took a slap pass from Pettersson and looked to snap a shot past Lehner. His initial attempt hit the post but the Russian rookie collected his rebound and popped it in past the netminder.
His 11th goal of the season, coming 1:27 into the second, put the Canucks up 2-1.
Vancouver went 2 for 3 on the man advantage Tuesday and Vegas failed to score on three power plays.
The Golden Knights dominated the action through much of the first period and finally got on the board at the 16:59 mark.
Martinez sent a puck soaring from above the faceoff circle, with the shot ticking off Vancouver defenceman Travis Dermott in front of the net before skittering in past Demko.
The equalizer marked Martinez’s first goal of the season.
The Canucks were being outshot 13-5 when the Golden Knights put away the equalizer, forcing Demko to make some big stops.
The all-star goalie robbed Jack Eichel 13:40 into the first, diving across the crease and knocking a shot out of mid-air with his chest to deny the Vegas centre on the back door.
Much of the crowd had barely settled into their seats when the Canucks opened the scoring.
Alex Pietrangelo was called for tripping Horvat just 57 seconds into the game and Vancouver was quick to capitalize on the man advantage.
A quick passing sequence saw J.T. Miller dish the puck to Alex Chiasson at the goal line and Chiasson send it to Horvat at the hash marks. The Canucks captain ripped a snap shot, beating Lehner for his 31st goal of the season.
The tally extended Horvat’s scoring streak to five straight games, with five goals and two assists across the stretch.
The Canucks will continue a five-game homestand Thursday when they host the Arizona Coyotes. The Golden Knights will face the Flames in Calgary the same night.
NOTES: Mark Stone returned to the Golden Knights lineup after missing 26 games with a back injury. … Chiasson notched an assist on Horvat’s goal and now has helpers in four straight games.
THE CANADIAN PRESS