VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Andrei Kuzmenko scored his 35th goal, a Canucks franchise record for a first-year player, to lead Vancouver to a 7-2 rout of the San Jose Sharks on Thursday night.
The Russian forward, who also had an assist, topped the 34 goals scored by Pavel Bure in 1991-92.
“Yes, it’s good. But I need to be better,” the 27-year-old Kuzmenko said of the milestone. “I need to score a lot of goals. Maybe 40, 45, I need.”
J.T. Miller, Dakota Joshua, Conor Garland and Phillip Di Giuseppe also each had a goal and an assist, and Vasily Podkolzin and Sheldon Dries scored for Vancouver. Tyler Myers had a pair of assists and Thatcher Demko made 17 saves.
“It was nice to see a couple of guys finish because they’ve had some chances in the past, but it’s nice to finish,” Vancouver coach Rick Tocchet said. “It gets your confidence (up), loosens you up a little bit.”
Tomas Hertl and Andrew Agozzino scored for the struggling Sharks, who are winless in their last eight games (0-5-3). San Jose has not won in regulation since beating Seattle 4-0 on Feb. 20.
San Jose’s lineup included six players who weren’t with the team before the league’s trade deadline on March 3.
“When you make so many changes, some of the things that are happening out there are not really the fault of the new players,” Sharks coach David Quinn said. “They just haven’t been accustomed to playing the way you want to play and that can happen.
“But it’s the guys that have been here that have to keep this thing together and understand that we’ve got a season to finish and we’ve got to do a better job finishing on a strong note.”
Vancouver opened the scoring 6:15 into the first after Miller picked off Hertl’s pass at the Sharks’ blue line and snapped a shot past Reimer for his 29th goal.
Kuzmenko made it 2-0 when he deftly moved the puck from his forehand to his backhand, then shoveled a shot in. Elias Pettersson earned an assist on the play, extending his point streak to a career-high 10 games.
Hertl cut the Sharks’ deficit to 2-1, but Joshua restored the Canucks’ two-goal lead with a shot past an outstretched Reimer with 0.4 seconds left in the opening period.
“It’s happening for us all year long,” Hertl said. “We give up so many last-second goals. I can’t even count it, like first, second, third, just so many times it’s like 2 seconds left and they score and it’s not a good feeling when you give up again.
“We just shoot ourselves in the foot.”
Vancouver made it 4-1 in the second on Garland’s goal, and then the Canucks sealed it with another three-goal period in the third.
The Canucks won their ninth straight game against the Sharks, including all four matchups between the teams this season.
NOTES: D Filip Hronek played his first game in a Canucks jersey. Vancouver acquired the 25-year-old from Detroit on March 1 for first- and second-round picks in this year’s draft, but an upper-body injury kept Hronek out of the lineup until Thursday. … Vancouver’s Christian Wolanin left with a lower-body injury midway through the first period and did not return.
Sharks: Travel to Calgary to face the Flames on Saturday.
Canucks: At Dallas to take on the Stars on Saturday night.
AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Copyright © 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.