VANCOUVER — Quinn Hughes is more concerned with winning than the numbers he's been putting up.
Hughes tied a career-high in goals with his eighth of the season and the Vancouver Canucks topped the San Jose Sharks 3-1 on Monday. With an assist to go with the goal, the defenceman took the lead in the NHL points race with 30.
"Yeah, I mean I was second in the league for defencemen last year. You know, it doesn’t really mean much at the end of the day," the Canucks captain said after the game. "I wanted to be in the playoffs, and be on a successful team and successful organization."
Hughes also hit that goal-scoring mark in 2019-20 and 2021-22.
"I think I can't get caught being satisfied or happy," he said. "I think that I've been really good at ticking day to day and attacking each day."
Sam Lafferty had the winner for Vancouver (13-5-1), while J.T. Miller added an insurance goal in the third period.
Thatcher Demko made 27 saves.
Tomas Hertl had the lone goal for San Jose (3-14-1), which is winless on the road this season and has won twice in its last six outings.
Mackenzie Blackwood turned away 34 shots.
"Turnovers hurt us a lot during the course of the night," Sharks head coach David Quinn said. "We had complete control and just turn pucks over too much tonight against that team, which they can really thrive on and just didn't do enough to win."
Lafferty's short-handed goal with one second left in the second period proved to be the winner. Lafferty won the puck in the Sharks' corner from Hertl, and after Teddy Blueger's shot was denied, Lafferty scored on the rebound.
Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet said the goal was an example of what Vancouver wanted to fix after its 4-3 loss to the Seattle Kraken on Saturday.
"He snaps up, takes the puck from the guy, (Anthony) Beauvillier makes a nice play, that's the stuff we got to get better at. We talked about that and we got a goal from it," Tocchet said.
Hertl said the goal against the man advantage was a momentum killer for the Sharks.
"The power play has to be better. It's especially on me," he said. "I have to make a stronger play and we just can't give up a goal with a second left."
Miller scored tipping in a rebound from a Brock Boeser shot at 7:10 of the third period.
San Jose appeared to have broken the deadlock in the second period. William Eklund put it past Demko in the crease, only for Vancouver to challenge the call and see the goal overturned for goaltender interference.
Hughes opened the scoring, firing a wrist shot past Blackwood at 13:07 of the second period.
San Jose pulled one back on the power play with Hertl converting on a pass from Calen Addison only 48 seconds into the third period.
The Canucks outshot the Sharks 11-6 in a scoreless opening period.
Prince Harry performed the ceremonial puck drop to mark the countdown to the 2025 Invictus Games. He was the second royal to attend a Canucks game, with Queen Elizabeth II having taken part in a ceremonial puck drop in a pre-season game between the Sharks and Canucks back in 2002 … The Sharks have given up the most goals in a game (10) twice this season, with one of those being against the Canucks … San Jose hasn't beaten Vancouver since December 2019.
The Sharks will take on the Kraken in Seattle on Wednesday.
The Canucks will travel to play the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 20, 2023.
Nick Wells, The Canadian Press