The one point, the Vancouver Canucks can live without. The one defenceman, Quinn Hughes, they desperately need.
The outstanding 20-year-old rookie, an early candidate for the Calder Trophy, was injured Friday in the first period of a game the streaking Canucks lost 2-1 in overtime against the Anaheim Ducks.
The Canucks dominated the first 35 minutes, outshooting the Ducks 32-10 on Anaheim’s lumpy ice, but still needed a late bank-shot goal from Adam Gaudette to leave with one point in the National Hockey League standings.
But Vancouver could lose several more points over time if Hughes, who appeared to torque his left ankle when he fell on his own while pivoting in the neutral zone, is out for a lengthy period. Fortunately for the Canucks, the initial prognosis is Hughes will be back soon.
The dynamo who co-led NHL rookie scoring with 10 points in 12 games – as a defenceman – will be re-examined Saturday in San Jose and may even play that night against the Sharks when the Canucks end their three-game California tour.
“I don’t think it’s anything too crazy, so that’s good,” veteran centre Brandon Sutter said of the injury. “We just keep going. Anytime someone goes down, everyone’s just worried about their next shift. We don’t dwell on it too much. Hopefully it’s something pretty small and we’ll see him real soon here.”
“It’s obviously something you never want to see. . . especially your defensive partner,” Chris Tanev, who is Hughes’s defence partner, told reporters. “He’s been so good for us throughout the first 11 or 12 games. Hopefully, it’s nothing too serious."