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Canucks 3, Avalanche 1

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Center Ryan Kesler scored his 15th goal of the season and right winger Mike Santorelli added two more to lead the Vancouver Canucks over the Colorado Avalanche 3-1 on Sunday evening at Rogers Arena.

Santorelli, with his second two-goal game of the season, left winger Chris Higgins and Kesler were the dominant trio on the night, as the Canucks used the third period to their advantage.

In five of their past seven home games the Canucks had blown third-period leads. They wound up winning just one of those games, in overtime.

Santorelli opened the scoring 5:34 into the first period, capitalizing on some good forechecking by Higgins, who forced Colorado defenseman Nate Guenin to turn over the puck behind J.S. Giguere in the Colorado net.

Higgins found Santorelli alone in front of the Colorado goal and Santorelli put a nifty move on Giguere before putting the puck into Avalanche goal.

The two wingers figured again on Kesler's goal, Higgins dishing the puck to Santorelli in the slot with Kesler poking home the rebound from Santorelli's shot to make it 2-0 at 1:32 of the third period.

Santorelli made it 3-0 with a high wrist shot on a 2-on-1 that beat Giguere at 7:17.

The Avs thought they had drawn even at 1-1 and the goal light briefly flickered on after Colorado defenseman Nick Holden beat Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo with a slapshot from the point with 3:15 to play in the second period, but replays showed the puck bounced off each post and never crossed the line.

Holden had earlier prevented a Vancouver goal, swiping the puck away just before it could cross the goal line off Canucks right winger Jannik Hansen's stick in the last minute of the opening period.

Canucks defenseman Jason Garrison, who recently had a 14-game pointless streak, assisted on Santorelli's second goal and has 10 points (2-8-10) in his past eight games.

Colorado coach Patrick Roy, a former all-star goalie, began pulling Gigure with five minutes to play and Colorado eventually burst Luongo's shutout with Jamie McGinn poking the puck past the Canucks goalie with 7.1 seconds to play.

Giguere suffered his first loss and is now 7-1-0.

NOTES: Colorado had not won a game in Vancouver in its previous eight visits, the Avs' last win at Rogers Arena being a 4-3 shootout victory on April 6, 2010. ... Last season, shortened by an NHL lockout, the Avalanche were 4-16-4 on the road, worst in the NHL. This season, heading into Sunday's game, the Avs sported a 10-3-0 record on the road. ... The Avs are led by a youth movement: Their leading scorer heading into the game was captain LW Gabriel Landesko (21 years, 22 points), followed by C Matt Duchene (22 years, 21 points). C Nathan MacKinnon, the first overall pick in the 2013 NHL entry draft, is still 18 and had 17 points heading into Sunday. ... The Canucks recalled D Yannick Weber from the Utica Comets. Weber had seven points in seven games during his time in the American Hockey League, but he did not dress for Vancouver. D Andrew Alberts drew in for the second straight game for the injured D Alex Edler.
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