Canucks open new era on high note, best Blackhawks

Andrei Kuzmenko scored twice, and the host Vancouver Canucks supplied new head coach Rick Tocchet with a win in his first game behind the bench by beating the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2 on Tuesday.

Dakota Joshua, Sheldon Dries and Bo Horvat also scored for the Canucks, while Elias Pettersson and Luke Schenn both collected two assists. Goaltender Collin Delia made 12 saves for Vancouver, which snapped a three-game losing skid.

Patrick Kane and Sam Lafferty replied with goals for the Blackhawks, who received a 43-save effort from goalie Petr Mrazek.

Tocchet took the coaching reins after Bruce Boudreau was fired on Sunday, and his players responded by breaking open a tie game with a pair of goals 34 seconds apart in the middle of the third period.

With the score tied 2-2, Joshua gave the Canucks their first lead of the night at 11:34 of the third. Seconds after the Blackhawks failed to score on an odd-man rush, a three-on-two break the other way ended when Joshua converted a rebound for his seventh goal of the season.

Dries doubled the lead soon after when he made a nifty play by putting his stick between his own legs on a rebound opportunity to net his sixth marker of the season.

Horvat rounded out the scoring with an empty-net goal, his 31st of the season, to cap a well-deserved Canucks win.

Despite the Canucks dominating the first period, Kane opened the scoring at the 17:49 mark when he whipped a long wrist shot into the top corner of the net for his ninth goal of the season.

The Canucks were finally rewarded when Kuzmenko scored his first goal of the night at 7:02 of the second period. Ilya Mikheyev’s shot was stopped, but Kuzmenko was on the spot for the rebound tally.

The Blackhawks took a second lead when Lafferty scored for the seventh time this season at 12:06 of the second period.

However, Kuzmenko responded again at 15:47 of the period with a textbook redirect of Pettersson’s pass for his 21st goal of the campaign.

With his tallies, Kuzmenko has collected four goals and three assists in a five-game point streak.