VANCOUVER — Anaheim Ducks rookie Sam Steel posted his first NHL hat trick, leading his team to a 5-4 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday night.
The Canucks clawed their way back from a 5-2 hole late in the third period but couldn’t force overtime and dropped their third game in a row.
Rickard Rakell and Kiefer Sherwood added goals for the Ducks (32-36-10).
Jake Virtanen, Alex Edler, Josh Leivo and Tanner Pearson all scored for the Canucks (32-35-10).
Jacob Markstrom stopped 19-of-24 shots for Vancouver and Anaheim goalie John Gibson put up 28 saves.
Despite the win, the Ducks were eliminated from the playoffs on Tuesday after the Arizona Coyotes beat the Chicago Blackhawks.
A bobbled offensive play by the Canucks lead to the Ducks’ first goal of the night.
Josh Teves had his shot blocked and his defensive partner Alex Biega fell trying to corral the puck.
Steel picked it up, beating Teves and Canucks rookie Elias Pettersson down the ice for a breakaway.
The centre got a wrist shot past Markstrom on the far side, opening the scoring 9:09 into the first period.
He added another marker 12:16 into the second, sneaking in to retrieve a rebound and chopping it into the Vancouver net.
Steel completed the hat trick before the close of the second period.
Canucks centre Markus Granlund was called for hitting a broken stick near the blue line that careened into the puck.
The NHL rules say a penalty shot should be awarded if a player in his defensive zone throws or shoots a stick or any other piece of at the puck or another player carrying the puck.
Steel’s backhand sailed up and over Markstrom’s glove.
The 21-year-old native of Ardrossan, Alta., was playing just his 18th NHL game on Tuesday.
The Ducks picked Steel 30th overall in the 2016 draft and he was called up from the American Hockey League on Saturday when centre Ryan Getzlaf was scratched from Anaheim’s lineup with an upper-body injury.
Virtanen put the Canucks on the board 12:48 into the first frame, capturing the puck in the neutral zone and streaking up the ice.
The right-winger shovelled off a back-handed shot near the goal line. The puck hit the skate of Ducks defenceman Cam Fowler and slid through Gibson’s legs.
Edler added another goal with just a minute to go in the first period, firing a rocket though traffic from the point. The shot hit Anaheim’s Corey Perry and bounced in past Gibson.
The marker was the 93rd of Edler’s career, tying him with Mattias Ohlund for most goals by a defenceman in Canucks’ history.
Rakell added a power-play goal for Anaheim 7:44 into the third after Teves was called for hooking.
Minutes later, Sherwood ripped a shot from the point, sending the puck soaring into the back of Vancouver’s net.
Leivo brought the Canucks back within two 13:34 into the third period sniping a wrist shot over Gibson’s glove.
Pearson swatted a puck through heavy traffic in front of the Anaheim net and beat a diving Gibson to add Vancouver’s final goal of the night with just over five minutes to go.
The Canucks will continue their seven-game homestand on Thursday when they battle the L.A. Kings.
The Ducks will visit the Calgary Flames on Friday.
NOTES: Steel is the youngest player in Ducks history to score a hat trick in the regular season. … Anaheim was playing without former Canucks centre Ryan Kessler, who is listed as day-to-day with a hip injury. … Teves made his NHL debut on Tuesday. The Canucks signed the 24-year-old Calgary native to a one-year deal earlier this month after he wrapped his senior season with the Princeton University Tigers.
Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press