October 03, 2016 - 10:54 PM
VANCOUVER - Ben Hutton was last season's training camp surprise for the Vancouver Canucks.
The second-year defenceman showed his offensive potential in one burst on Monday night.
Hutton grabbed the puck in the neutral zone in the second period and blew by a defender before roofing his own rebound in Vancouver's 4-2 exhibition loss to the Phoenix Coyotes.
The play was an example of what the 23-year-old hopes to bring to Vancouver's goal-starved lineup.
"It felt good going in," said Hutton, who had one goal and 24 assists in 75 games as a rookie. "Haven't done that in a while."
The Canucks finished second last in the NHL with 191 goals in 2015-16, and will need more production from its defence corps as they push for a return to the playoffs after missing out two of the last three years.
"I want to contribute a little more offensively and just help the guys get a couple more wins," said Hutton. "I think I can do that by jumping up, doing plays like I did tonight.
"I don't really think: 'Bury 15 goals and 30 assists.' I don't think like that. I just think: 'Go out and play your game and if you get a chance to shoot the puck try and bury it.'"
The Canucks have been careful not to put too much pressure on Hutton, but head coach Willie Desjardins said he continues to pass every test.
"He has all these high expectations and we keep hoping for a lot from him, but he's delivered," said Desjardins. "He surprised us last year and so far this year he's kept up with it."
Anthony DeAngelo, Anthony Duclair, Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Shane Doan scored Monday for the Coyotes, who went 3 for 5 with the man advantage. Dylan Strome and Alex Goligoski each added two assists. Louis Domingue made 30 saves to get the win.
"We took too many (penalties)," said Desjardins. "We can't just talk about it. We've said it before. Guys know that. We're taking some that we just don't need to take."
Markus Granlund had the other goal for Vancouver, which got 33 stops from Jacob Markstrom in his first action since returning from the World Cup of Hockey.
Arizona led 2-1 after the first and stretched that lead to two at 5:45 of the second when Ekman-Larsson, who was Markstrom's teammate with Sweden last month and was also making his pre-season debut, fired a shot through traffic on a 5-on-3 power play for the eventual game winner.
Vancouver got back to within one with Hutton's goal off the rush at 11:42, but Doan restored the two-goal margin at 13:54 when he tipped in a point shot.
The Coyotes opened the scoring 2:32 into the first on the power play when Martin Hanzal fed DeAngelo at the side of the net.
The Canucks responded on a man advantage of their own when Granlund redirected an Alexander Edler point shot past Domingue at 6:10, but Duclair restored Arizona's lead with 1:51 left in the period when he beat Markstrom on a nice breakaway deke.
Vancouver forward Brandon Sutter, who was limited to just 20 games in his first season with the Canucks because of a sports hernia and a broken jaw, played his first game since Feb. 9.
Markstrom suited up alongside Vancouver teammates Henrik and Daniel Sedin, along with free-agent signing Loui Eriksson, at the World Cup, but was the first of those four to play for the Canucks this pre-season.
Notes: Vancouver plays Calgary at home on Thursday before wrapping up the pre-season in Edmonton on Saturday. ... Arizona hosts Calgary on Wednesday and welcomes San Jose on Friday.
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News from © The Canadian Press, 2016