VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Tyler Motte’s teammates tried hard to help him get his first NHL hat trick. Instead he had to settle for his first career two-goal game.
Motte scored 11 seconds apart midway through the second period, leading the Vancouver Canucks to a 4-1 win over the New York Rangers on Wednesday night.
“I was just happy to get two chances and I was just happy to get them in the back of the net,” Motte said.
The 24-year-old center has quietly contributed on offense this season, tallying a career-high nine goals and seven assists.
“My game is pretty simple — be competitive, be hard working, be physical, be responsible in the D-zone,” he said. “And obviously I’ve been able to chip in a little bit offensively over the year. That’s not the bread-and-butter of my game, but it’s nice to be able to do it, for sure.”
Brock Boeser and Jake Virtanen also scored for the Canucks, and Jacob Markstrom stopped 21 shots.
Pavel Buchnevich had a power-play goal for the Rangers. Henrik Lundqvist finished with 24 saves as he was denied his 450th win.
New York became the first team this season to lose two players to misconducts in a game after forwards Chris Kreider and Brendan Lemieux were both ejected in the second period.
“You lose two forwards and are completely out of synch and you kill 12 minutes of penalties in that period and it’s really, really an incredible disadvantage,” New York coach David Quinn said.
Canucks star rookie Elias Pettersson left the ice with a bloodied face after taking an elbow from Kreider along the end boards 4:23 into the second period. Kreider was handed a five-minute major and a game misconduct.
“I started bleeding from my nose so that’s why I went down,” said Pettersson, who returned to the Canucks’ bench near the end of the period. “My head was feeling fine all the time. But of course, it’s a protocol that you have to do they suspect you have a concussion.”
Vancouver capitalized on the man advantage with Josh Leivo flipping a backhanded pass to Boeser at the faceoff dot. The right wing dropped to his knee and fired the puck over Lundqvist’s shoulder.
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Nine seconds after the power play ended, Motte got a cross-ice pass from defenseman Alex Edler and faked right on the Rangers’ goalie before popping the puck into the left side of the net around Lundqvist’s skate.
The 24-year-old center added another goal 11 seconds later.
Vancouver’s Antoine Roussel was injured on the play, colliding with Lemieux in front of the net. The feisty Canucks forward crumpled to the ice, grabbing his leg in pain and had to be helped off the ice. He did not return to the game.
Lemieux was given a game misconduct.
Vancouver coach Travis Green said after the game that Roussel sustained a knee injury that will force him to the sidelines for the final 12 games of the season.
New York simply didn’t stay disciplined after the second major, according to Quinn.
“You have to be mentally tough enough to keep playing and doing the right things and I thought we got away from what we were doing in the first period,” he said. “But there was an awful lot going on in that period, boy, an awful lot of frustration setting in with that second five-minute major, it put us in a different mindset.”
Green admitted that spending half of the second period on the power play was odd.
“Strange game tonight. I haven’t been in many games where you get two majors,” he said, adding that coaching that kind of game is about “just going with it.”
Some sloppy penalties threatened to turn the game midway through the third period, with the Rangers going on a 5-on-3 advantage for 1:33. However, Vancouver’s penalty-kill unit managed held New York off while allowing just one shot. A stick save from Markstrom steered the puck out of harm’s way and into New York’s end.
The Rangers finally capitalized on the man advantage 10:28 into the final period after Edler was called for interference. Mika Zibanejad sliced a pass to Buchnevich down low and the right wing put a snap shot in past Markstrom to get New York on the board.
Virtanen added an empty-netter for Vancouver with 25 seconds to go.
NOTES: D Chris Tanev returned to the Canucks’ lineup on Wednesday. He missed 11 games with an ankle injury after he went down in a game against the Anaheim Ducks on Feb. 13. … Canucks LW Loui Eriksson was a healthy scratch for the first time this season. He has 22 points over 69 games. … Virtanen played his 200th NHL game. … Buchnevich has 13 points in his last 18 games. ..
Rangers: At Calgary on Friday night.
Canucks: Host New Jersey on Friday night.
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