VANCOUVER – Keeping it simple is starting to pay off for Marko Dano.
The 21-year-old scored twice and added an assist Monday as the Winnipeg Jets thumped the Vancouver Canucks 5-2.
Acquired in the deal that sent Jets captain Andrew Ladd to Chicago before the NHL trade deadline, Dano was held pointless in his first five games with Winnipeg, but now has three goals and two assists over his last four while playing in a top-6 role.
“When I came here I was trying to impress and I was probably trying too much,” said Dano. “When you’re trying too much, the goals (won’t) come for you. When you stop thinking about it and play your simple game, the goals come and you don’t even know how.”
Monday was the second three-point game of Dano’s career, with the other coming last March when he had an identical stat line in Vancouver while playing for Columbus.
“He’s been getting better and better,” said Jets defenceman Tyler Myers, who had a goal and an assist. “He’s been a really good addition for us.”
Alexander Burmistrov also chipped in with a goal and an assist for Winnipeg (29-35-5), while Mark Scheifele scored to extend his point streak to eight games. Mathieu Perrault added two assists for the Jets, who got 26 saves from Michael Hutchinson.
Jared McCann and Jake Virtanen replied for Vancouver (27-29-12). Jacob Markstrom stopped 24 shots for the Canucks, who came in having won two in a row, but failed to put together a three-game winning streak for the eighth time this season.
“In the morning skate I could tell we were light, thinking good things were going to start happening, like we could come to the rink and good things were going to happen,” said Vancouver head coach Willie Desjardins. “It never works that way.”
With both teams destined to miss the playoffs, the Canucks came out strong and led 7-1 on the shot clock only to see Winnipeg go up 1-0 at 4:28 of the first when Dano deflected a Myers feed for his third of the season.
“I’m getting more comfortable with every game, every shift,” said Dano. “Trying to get the chemistry going, that’s key for a new guy in the room.”
Markstrom made a couple good saves to keep the Canucks’ deficit at one, but was beaten cleanly between the pads with 3:15 left when Myers’ centring pass deflected in off Vancouver’s Derek Dorsett for his ninth.
Hutchinson, who wasn’t tested much after the Canucks’ initial surge, made an excellent desperation stop on Sven Baertschi early in the second to keep his team up by two.
“In both the first and second period their team came out with a lot of jump, got some chances early, but then after that we took it to them,” said Hutchinson. “I was bored for three quarters of (each) period.”
Markstrom was busy at the other end and had to make an unorthodox save with about seven minutes to go when he lost his blocker. Play was allowed to continue, with Dano swiping at a loose puck in the crease that the Vancouver goalie scooped up with his bare hand.
Winnipeg put the game out of reach with 2:20 left in the second when Burmistrov beat Markstrom for his seventh before Scheifele extended his point streak 2:53 into the third with his team-leading 23rd.
The Jets made it 5-0 when Burmistrov’s shot went in off Dano for his fourth at 6:45, but the Canucks spoiled Hutchinson’s shutout bid 2:12 later when McCann’s eighth deflected in off Winnipeg’s Chris Thorburn.
Virtanen rounded out the scoring with his seventh with under a minute to go in a contest that was never really in doubt.
“We were playing the right way and we did it consistently for the most part,” said Myers. “It’s a habit in those games when you get up that much to get comfortable and sit back, but I thought we did a pretty good job to keep pushing.”
Notes: Scheifele has eight goals and four assists during his streak… McCann’s goal was his first in 26 games… Vancouver lost forward Markus Granlund and defenceman Luca Sbisa to upper-body injuries. Desjardins said he expects both players to miss time… Jets defenceman Dustin Byfuglien sat out with the flu, while Canucks forward Alexandre Burrows didn’t dress because of an undisclosed injury.