VANCOUVER, British Columbia — The emotions hit Bo Horvat when he stepped onto the Rogers Arena ice for warmups and spilled out of him when the Canucks played a tribute video for their former captain.
Horvat did not get the win in his return to Vancouver, with the Islanders losing 4-3 in overtime after Quinn Hughes’ game-winner. But he did score the goal that ultimately earned the Islanders a point, along with the satisfaction of returning to a place where he spent the first nine seasons of his career.
“I was emotional through the whole warmup,” Horvat said. “Brought back a ton of memories. Just the whole tribute and everybody, the way they reacted, it meant a lot to me. It’s pretty special.
“I had a lot of good times here. Lot of firsts and a lot of memories. It was a special night. Too bad we didn’t get the two points. But one I won’t forget.”
It was a mixed reception from the fans, who cheered Horvat after his tribute video, but booed him when he first touched the puck.
On his goal, a one-timer from Mat Barzal, Horvat said he did not expect No. 13 to send the puck back his way after his own cross-slot pass towards Barzal.
Lucky for him, neither did Vancouver netminder Thatcher Demko.
“Definitely felt good, not gonna lie,” Horvat said. “It was an emotional night, emotional game. My family and I couldn’t be happier to be on Long Island and be there. We got a great group of guys in there. We gotta just start putting together some wins to stay in the fight.”
Horvat called out Edmonton’s Leon Draisaitl for a tripping penalty Monday night that got Draisaitl a $5,000 fine, the maximum allowable by the CBA.
“I couldn’t believe it, to be honest with you,” Horvat said before Wednesday’s loss.
“I thought it was just, he pushed the back of my leg. I didn’t realize he full-on cross-checked me.
“I’m not gonna lie, it looked pretty dirty. It definitely wasn’t a clean play. I don’t know if he was mad cause I hit him a couple times or whatever. But definitely he shouldn’t be doing that to the back of guys’ knees like that. It’s how you get hurt. Luckily I didn’t, but just gotta be careful of that.”
Matt Martin drew back into the lineup against the Canucks after being a healthy scratch in Edmonton, skating on the fourth line as usual with Casey Cizikas and Cal Clutterbuck.
Hudson Fasching was a healthy scratch for the second straight game and seventh time this season, which Lambert said was a “numbers game.”