for this game

First-period flurry propels Canucks past Avalanche

Mar 20, 2009 - 9:53 PM
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) -- The Canucks couldn't buy a win on home ice back in January. Now they can't even give a game away in Vancouver.

Kyle Wellwood, Alex Burrows and Taylor Pyatt scored first-period goals, and the Canucks overcame a bad goal early in the third to beat the Colorado Avalanche 4-2 on Sunday night. Wellwood had a power-play goal, and Burrows scored short-handed.

Ryan Kesler had three assists, and Alex Edler added a power-play goal with 1:13 left as Vancouver matched a franchise record with nine straight home wins. The Canucks, celebrating their 250th straight sellout crowd, lost nine straight home games through Jan. 31, but haven't lost at GM Place since.

"It's crazy, we couldn't buy a win a month and a half ago, we always found a way to lose every game," said Burrows, who also had an assist. "But we turned it around, and right now we have a lot of confidence in our own building.

"That's a good thing heading into the playoffs."

At the end of January, it seemed a stretch to suggest they'd even make it. Now, with a 14-3-1 overall record since snapping that skid, they're up to fifth place in the tight Western Conference, and trail slumping Chicago by just two points in the race for home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

With three more meetings in the final month of the season, finally being able to beat the Avalanche could have a significant effect on where the Canucks finish.

Sunday's win ended an eight-game (0-5-3), 16-month losing skid against Colorado.

"They dominated us in games past and we wanted to do something about it tonight," said Kesler after the Canucks also moved within five of Calgary for the Northwest Division lead. Vancouver has one more game left than the Flames.

"We wanted to exclude ourselves from the bottom three or four teams that are fighting for a playoff spot," Kesler added. "Now we're trying to catch Calgary and Chicago. We have them worried about us now which is a good thing."

Ryan Smyth and Darcy Tucker scored for Colorado. The Avalanche were coming off consecutive wins against Minnesota and Edmonton that hurt both teams playoff hopes and moved Colorado a point out of last place.

"Right now, it's playing for pride," said defenseman John-Michael Liles, who assisted on both Avalanche goals. "You don't focus on being a spoiler, but if that's the case down the road, obviously we're trying to win every game. We're playing for pride and playing for each other, and that's all you can focus on right now. In the first period, we didn't have that mentality."

Wellwood opened the scoring with a power-play deflection 2:50 in, his second goal in three games after going 21 without scoring.

Burrows doubled the lead less than 5 minutes later with a brilliant short-handed effort. After Burrows hit the post on a breakaway from his own blue line, Kesler stole the puck again before Colorado could get back out of its own end and fed cross-ice to Burrows for a quick shot. Andrew Raycroft slid across and stacked the pads to stop him, but Burrows was alone with plenty of time to deposit the rebound into an empty net for his seventh goal in seven games.

"He generates his own luck," Kesler said of the hard-working Burrows, who recently moved from the third to first line and signed a four-year, $8 million contract extension. "He's working hard and making that line go right now."

Pyatt converted Burrows' pass to make it 3-0 just 2 seconds after another Colorado penalty expired, but Colorado got that back on Smyth's power-play deflection--and 25th goal of the season--early in the second period.

Tucker celebrated his 34th birthday with a gift from Luongo 14 seconds into the third. The goalie fumbled a dump in behind his own net and Tucker banked a shot from behind the net in off Luongo as he scrambled to get back in goal.

"I think he just wants us to build character as we move forward and he's doing a pretty good job," coach Alain Vigneault said, laughing about Luongo's second third-period breakdown in two games. "As a group for a guy that bails us out so many times, when a bad bounce goes against him we have to find a way to buckle down and get it done and we did again tonight."

Besides, Luongo didn't consider it a bad goal.

"It kind of took a funny hop off my stick and went out of my reach," said Loungo, who finished with 18 saves and redeemed himself with a great glove stop off Paul Stastny on a power play a minute later. "I know you guys will like to talk it up as a bad goal, but I'll consider it an unlucky goal."

The Avalanche lost defenseman Daniel Tjarnqvist when he was hit near the right eye by a slap shot midway through the second period. Tjarnqvist was escorted immediately to the locker room, leaving a trail of blood on the ice as he was helped off, and did not return to the game.

"He's going to be fine," coach Tony Granato said. "Obviously, he had some stitches. He took a shot above the eye and he'll be fine, but it took a while to stitch him up. We thought it was better to keep him out the rest of the way."

Raycroft, starting for the first time in five games after Peter Budaj won three of the last four games, finished with 19 saves.








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    COLORADO 0 1 1 2
    VANCOUVER 3 0 1 4 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: VAN - (PP) KYLE WELLWOOD 16 (RYAN KESLER, PAVOL DEMITRA)
    2:50
    VAN - (SH) ALEXANDRE BURROWS 22 (RYAN KESLER) 7:25
    VAN - TAYLOR PYATT 9 (ALEXANDRE BURROWS, RYAN JOHNSON) 15:18
    2ND PRD: COL - (PP) RYAN SMYTH 25 (RUSLAN

    Mar 16 12:37 AM


  • NHL
    COLORADO 2
    VANCOUVER 4
    3RD PRD: VAN - (PP) ALEXANDER EDLER 9 (RYAN KESLER, MATTIAS OHLUND)
    18:47

    Avalanche 2, Canucks 4  3rd - 1:13Mar 16 12:33 AM
  • 0
    roots
    RUWTbot Took away 55 roots

    Avalanche 2, Canucks 4  3rd - 1:13Mar 16 12:33 AM
  • 55
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 23 roots (Close Finish)

    Avalanche 2, Canucks 3  3rd - 4:34Mar 16 12:26 AM
  • 32
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 16 roots (Close Finish)

    Avalanche 2, Canucks 3  3rd - 8:24Mar 16 12:17 AM
  • 16
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 16 roots (Close Finish)

    Avalanche 2, Canucks 3  3rd - 11:45Mar 16 12:12 AM


  • NHL
    COLORADO 2
    VANCOUVER 3
    3RD PRD: COL - DARCY TUCKER 8 (SCOTT HANNAN, JOHN-MICHAEL LILES) 0:14

    Avalanche 2, Canucks 3  3rd - 19:46Mar 15 11:58 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    COLORADO 0 1 1
    VANCOUVER 3 0 3 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: VAN - (PP) KYLE WELLWOOD 16 (RYAN KESLER, PAVOL DEMITRA)
    2:50
    VAN - (SH) ALEXANDRE BURROWS 22 (RYAN KESLER) 7:25
    VAN - TAYLOR PYATT 9 (ALEXANDRE BURROWS, RYAN JOHNSON) 15:18
    2ND PRD: COL - (PP) RYAN SMYT

    Mar 15 11:40 PM


  • NHL
    COLORADO 1
    VANCOUVER 3
    2ND PRD: COL - (PP) RYAN SMYTH 25 (RUSLAN SALEI, JOHN-MICHAEL LILES)
    4:36

    Avalanche 1, Canucks 3  2nd - 15:24Mar 15 11:12 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    COLORADO 0 0
    VANCOUVER 3 3 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: VAN - (PP) KYLE WELLWOOD 16 (RYAN KESLER, PAVOL DEMITRA)
    2:50
    VAN - (SH) ALEXANDRE BURROWS 22 (RYAN KESLER) 7:25
    VAN - TAYLOR PYATT 9 (ALEXANDRE BURROWS, RYAN JOHNSON) 15:18
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2N

    Mar 15 10:46 PM


  • NHL
    COLORADO 0
    VANCOUVER 3
    1ST PRD: VAN - TAYLOR PYATT 9 (ALEXANDRE BURROWS, RYAN JOHNSON) 15:18

    Avalanche 0, Canucks 3  1st - 4:42Mar 15 10:38 PM


  • NHL
    COLORADO 0
    VANCOUVER 2
    1ST PRD: VAN - (SH) ALEXANDRE BURROWS 22 (RYAN KESLER) 7:25

    Avalanche 0, Canucks 2  1st - 12:35Mar 15 10:24 PM


  • NHL
    COLORADO 0
    VANCOUVER 1
    1ST PRD: VAN - (PP) KYLE WELLWOOD 16 (RYAN KESLER, PAVOL DEMITRA) 2:50

    Avalanche 0, Canucks 1  1st - 17:10Mar 15 10:13 PM