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Canucks 2, Coyotes 1

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PHOENIX -- Jordan Schroeder scored the winning goal midway through the third period to give the Vancouver Canucks a 2-1 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday night.

The Coyotes rallied to tie the score early in the third period when Antoine Vemette followed Radim Vrbata's shot and poked in a power-play goal at 2:26.

Then Schroeder picked up the decisive goal after Phoenix defenseman Keith Yandle lost the puck in his end and the Coyotes capitalized on the turnover.

Canucks goalie Cory Schneider stopped 33 of 34 shots for his eighth win of the season.

Phoenix not only lost the game but its goaltender. A victim of two collisions in the second period, Mike Smith eventually left the game after the second. The Coyotes said after the game that he was under evaluation.

Daniel Sedin took Smith down in the Vancouver net early in the second period. Smith appeared dazed and Sedin was helped to the Canucks locker room. Later in the second period, defenseman Alexander Edler collided with Smith behind the Phoenix net. While pursuing the puck, Smith was elbowed high by Edler, who was given a major charging penalty on the play.

At the start of the third period, Jason LaBarbera replaced Smith, who did not return to the Phoenix bench.

Had they won, the Coyotes would have vaulted into a tie with San Jose for the final playoff slot in the Western Conference, Instead, they dropped their fourth game in their the past five.

If the Coyotes were guilty of an offensive drought in their last four games, they were guilty of a critical defensive lapse early in the game.

Just over six minutes in, the Coyotes defense left the slot area open and Canucks defenseman Christopher Tanev took full advantage. Cruising between the circles, Tanev took a perfect pass from Mason Raymond and his wrist shot sailed into the upper right corner to beat Smith to the stick side for his second goal of the season.

Coming into Thursday's night game, the Coyotes were shut out in three of their four games. The offense started slowly and through the first period was a no-show.

Defenseman David Schlemko's 30-footer from outside the left faceoff circle with just under six minutes into the game represented Phoenix's first shot. From that point, the Coyote managed four additional harmless shots on Cory Schneider.

After Vemette tied the score, Schroeder scored his third of the season less than 7 1/2 minutes later. Schroeder's previous two goals were scored Feb. 9 against Calgary.

NOTES: Despite the second-period collision and a visit to the clubhouse, Sedin returned. With Thursday's game, Sedin played in his 611 straight game, whick ranks seventh all time.. ... Vancouver entered the game as the fifth highest scoring team in the Western Conference, two goals ahead of Phoenix. ... Coyotes forward Steve Sullivan is three games from playing in the 1,000 of his NHL career. ... Phoenix defenseman Zbynek Michalek was scratched for the sixth straight game with a lower back injury. ... The Canucks began a three-game road trip, with stops coming up in Los Angeles and Colorado. On March 28, they return home to Rogers Arena, where they have sold out 423 straight games dating to Nov. 14, 2002.
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