Tom Kuhnhackl recorded his first NHL multi-goal game in unusual fashion Tuesday night, when he led the host New York Islanders to a 5-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks.
Josh Bailey and Jordan Eberle also scored in the first period while Cal Clutterbuck added an insurance goal late in the third period for the Islanders, who snapped a three-game losing streak. Goalie Thomas Greiss made 22 saves.
Brendan Leipsic and Jake Virtanen scored for the Canucks, who have lost three straight (0-2-1) and are 1-2-2 on a six-game road trip that concludes Thursday night against the Minnesota Wild. Goalie Jacob Markstrom, who made his ninth straight start, recorded 29 saves.
Leipsic opened the scoring just 2:48 into the first period. Bo Horvat’s pass cut a diagonal path through the crease and to Leipsic, whose shot went over the stick hand of Greiss.
Kuhnhackl earned a spot on the highlight reels fewer than three minutes later. Immediately after winning a battle for the puck with Canucks defenseman Ben Hutton to the right of the Vancouver net, Kuhnhackl fell and, while flat on the ice, fired a shot behind his head that somehow sailed under Markstrom’s stick at the 5:11 mark.
The Islanders needed just 45 seconds to take the lead for good on another unique goal. Bailey’s pass, intended for Anders Lee stationed to the right of the net, instead ticked off the skate of Canucks defenseman Chris Tanev and trickled into the net.
Eberle put the Islanders ahead 3-1 with 5:10 left in the first, when he took a pass from Brock Nelson, who was behind the Canucks net, and beat Markstrom from point-blank range.
The Canucks pulled within a goal 2:51 into the second. Greiss turned back a shot by Loui Eriksson, but the deflected puck bounced between the legs of Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield and to a charging Virtanen, who positioned himself between Mayfield and Casey Cizikas and put home the rebound.
Kuhnhackl scored his second goal in accidental fashion 3:26 into the third period. Eberle passed to Kuhnhackl, who got a stick on the puck as he descended upon Markstrom. But the puck remained loose and tipped off the skate of Kuhnhackl and into the net. A replay upheld the goal.
The multi-goal game came in Kuhnhackl’s 175th regular-season appearance.
Clutterbuck scored on the power play with 2:54 left.
—Field Level Media