VANCOUVER — Quinn Hughes scored his first NHL goal and had an assist, and the Vancouver Canucks celebrated the first home game of their 50th anniversary season with an 8-2 win against the Los Angeles Kings at Rogers Arena on Wednesday.
J.T. Miller had a goal and three assists and Brandon Sutter had two goals and an assist for Vancouver (1-2-0). Jacob Markstrom made 37 saves on a night that started with Bo Horvat being named the Canucks’ 14th captain.
“It was a really special night, one I won’t forget,” Horvat said. “I’m not going to lie. I was nervous with that added pressure, but at the same time I wanted to embrace it and go out there and have a good game. Everyone played unbelievable tonight. [Markstrom] was outstanding. From our first to third to fourth line, I thought everyone was solid.”
[WATCH: All Kings vs. Canucks highlights]
Tyler Toffoli and Sean Walker scored, and Jonathan Quick made 17 saves for Kings (1-2-0), who opened the season with a three-game western Canada road trip.
“Just embarrassing,” Kings defenseman Drew Doughty said. “A team like that should not be beating a team like ours 8-2, there’s absolutely no way.”
The Canucks scored two goals while losing their first two games but matched that quickly against the Kings. Hughes, a rookie defenseman selected No. 7 in the 2018 NHL Draft, made it 1-0 on a power play 5:26 into the first period, and Sutter scored 42 seconds later on a one-timer from the right face-off dot for a 2-0 lead.
“It’s something I have been thinking about for a long time, just to get that one under my belt,” said Hughes, who had three assists in his first five NHL games late last season. “I’ve told everyone from the start I’m going to try to get better every game. I feel really good right now.”
Sutter made a nice spinning backhand pass to send Elias Pettersson in alone, and he beat Quick under the pad to make it 3-0 at 2:34 of the second period.
“It was nice to get the first one, to get that over,” said Pettersson, who had two goals in the final 23 games last season. “To play a good game, spend a lot of time in the offensive zone, and create a lot of chances was first on my mind.”
Toffoli scored on a breakaway at 7:28 to cut it to 3-1, but Miller scored his first goal with the Canucks at 14:44 to make it 4-1.
“The first period really set them on their heels,” said Miller, who set an NHL career high with four points. “We continue to do a lot of good things. I don’t want people thinking that we lost the first two games, it’s a bad start. I think we felt really comfortable and confident after those games coming into this one. It’s nice to see the pucks finally start to go in.”
Walker scored at 6:51 of the third period to make it 4-2, but Hughes made a pretty pass off the rush that left Christopher Tanev with a backdoor tap-in 40 seconds later to extend it to 5-2.
“I know they had a lot of energy right off the bat because it was their home opener and they had their whole ordeal with the captain and whatever, but we had chances to come back and then we just gave up a goal right after we scored a goal,” Doughty said.
Alexander Edler (10:00), Josh Leivo (11:26) and Sutter (16:03) also scored in the third.
“I didn’t like any of our game,” Kings coach Todd McLellan said. “There’s a lot of things that go into the game. There’s the mind and then there’s the skillset and then there’s the systematic play and the ability to get involved in the right position, and I thought as the game wore on and it got away from us that just crumbled, so it tells me our group has a long, long way to go.”
They said it
“Some of the players that I think we’ve counted on, or we need to count on, have to play a lot better or they don’t belong in the League and we’ll have to look at some individuals.” — Kings coach Todd McLellan
“It was pretty surreal. I was actually pretty emotional. Obviously it was pretty humbling and a dream come true. Never in a million years did I think I’d be in this position. I couldn’t ask for a better group of guys in here.” — Canucks center Bo Horvat on being named captain
Need to know
Quick has given up 14 goals on 56 shots (.750 save percentage) in his first two starts this season. … Kings defenseman Ben Hutton played 16:55 and had an assist in his first game against his former team. The Canucks didn’t make him a qualifying offer to retain his rights and he signed a one-year contract with the Kings Sept. 18. … The Canucks matched their team record for goals in a home opener; they also scored eight Oct. 11, 1978 and Oct. 8, 1987.
Kings: Host the Nashville Predators on Saturday (6 p.m. ET; FS-W, FS-TN, NHL.TV)
Canucks: Host the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday (10 p.m. ET; CBC, NBCSP, NHL.TV)