VANCOUVER – It took over 100 NHL starts, but Vancouver goalie Jacob Markstrom finally has first career shutout.
Markstrom made 30 saves Tuesday night as the Canucks blanked the Carolina Hurricanes 3-0 for their third win in a row.
The 27-year-old Swedish netminder, who is in his ninth NHL season, had gone 129 NHL games and 115 starts without a shutout. He came close on Saturday night, in a 2-1 win over Toronto, but the Leafs spoiled the party with a goal with just under three minutes left to play.
Tuesday he would not be denied, and his Vancouver teammates swarmed him after the buzzer.
“I guess they were really happy about that win,” joked Markstrom. “We have a good group here. We battle together and we win and lose together. It’s a good group of guys and it’s nice when stuff like this happens.
“It’s nice to be able to contribute. If you don’t let in any goals that’s a good way to do it.”
Defenceman Derrick Pouliot had a goal and two assists and Nikolay Goldobin and Thomas Vanek also scored for the Canucks (14-10-4).
Offensively, it was a breakout game for Pouliot, who was involved in all three goals. He opened the scoring in the second period when he carried the puck into the slot, made a nice deke move to fake goalie Scott Darling and snapped it over the goalie’s shoulder.
“I’m starting to add things to my game,” said Pouliot. “So if I’m playing well defensively that’s where it starts and I can add the offensive stuff after that. For me it’s a confidence thing. I feel better each night.”
“Without a doubt his best game, especially offensively,” added Canucks head coach Travis Green. “He did a lot of good things. He moved the puck up well when he needed to, and he’s a young D-man that is slowly feeling good about himself and finding his game.”
The Hurricanes (11-10-5), who opened a season-long six-game road trip, have lost 10 straight games at Rogers Arena (0-7-3), where they last won in October of 1999. Darling stopped 19 shots for Carolina.
Carolina, which entered the game leading the league in shots on goal per game, outshot Vancouver 12-3 in the first period. But it quickly fell apart in the second as Pouliot scored 2:58 in and Vanek made 2-0 when he tipped in the puck while parked in front of Darling.
“We are trying to find a way to continue that play we had in the first period and carry it into the second and not get disappointed that we didn’t score, that we didn’t get a lead,” said Hurricanes defenceman Justin Faulk.
“Just continue on with that play and know that if we continue to do that . . . we’re going to have plenty of opportunities and we are going to score.”
Justin Williams had the Hurricanes’ best chance in the second with five minutes left on a point-blank shot from the slot that Markstrom just got a glove on.
Carolina came out firing on Markstrom in the third, but it was Vancouver extending its lead at six minutes in when Goldobin scored his first of the season to make it 3-0.
Notes: Horvat left the game in the third period and did not return. There was no update on his status after the game … The Canucks were without defenceman Erik Gudbranson (upper body) and forward Brandon Sutter (lower body) … The two teams meet once more this season, Feb. 9 in North Carolina.