Hurricanes ride fast start to 4-1 win over Canucks

RALEIGH, N.C. — The Carolina Hurricanes got a big lift from a pair of unlikely scorers.

Brett Pesce, Phil Di Giuseppe and Sebastian Aho scored in the first period, leading the Hurricanes to a 4-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Friday night.

While Aho leads the team with 20 goals, Pesce scored his second of the season 14 seconds into the game. Di Giuseppe picked up his first goal in over a year.

“I think everyone found a way to contribute,” Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said. “All in all, it was a good night.”

Justin Williams added his 10th in the third as Carolina stopped a three-game slide. Scott Darling, who had lost his last three starts, made 22 saves.

“They were throwing a lot of pucks from the side and getting bounces off them,” Darling said. “There were a couple of awkward ones, but none of those got by me. It was just good to get the win.”

Michael Del Zotto scored for Vancouver, which beat Carolina 3-0 in their first meeting of the season on Dec. 5. Jacob Markstrom stopped 29 shots.

“It’s not Markstrom’s fault tonight,” Vancouver coach Travis Green said. “We weren’t good enough to win this hockey game, that’s for sure.”

Pesce got Carolina off to a fast start when he beat Markstrom over his left shoulder. Jordan Staal and Aho each got an assist on the play.

“I definitely didn’t expect that,” Pesce said of his team’s early offence. “But we stressed that since they were coming off a back-to-back.”

Di Giuseppe made it 2-0 at 14:43, knocking the puck into the goal off Markstrom’s right blocker for his first goal of the season.

Aho then scored with 56 seconds left in the first, easily beating Markstrom on a stretch pass from Jaccob Slavin.

Del Zotto got Vancouver on the board at 3:30 of the second, scoring from the top of the left circle. But Williams beat Markstrom from the right point at 7:27 of the third.

“There was a little bit of desperation for sure,” Pesce said. “We’ve had some trouble scoring these past few games. But you have to score to win, and we know where the standings are. Every win is sort of a must.”

NOTES: Slavin played in his 200th NHL game. … Aho became the first Hurricane since Jeff Skinner (2010-12) to score at least 20 goals in his first two seasons. . RW Brock Boeser (wrist) and Christopher Tanev (lower body) were scratches for the Canucks. … Haydn Fleury was a healthy scratch for Carolina. . The Hurricanes sent forwards Josh Jooris and Marcus Kruger to Charlotte of the AHL.

UP NEXT

Canucks: Visit Dallas on Sunday in the finale of their four-game road trip.

Hurricanes: Host Colorado on Saturday in the seventh of their eight-game homestand.

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