Nolan Baumgartner had a goal and an assist just hours after being recalled from the minors, and the Canucks extended their unbeaten streak to 11 games with a 4-2 victory Thursday night.
“It’s pretty exciting, you’re 11 games without a loss,” coach Marc Crawford said. “We sometimes look critically at it, and think we can play better.
“But we’ve enjoyed the fact that we’re winning and we’re putting a lot of separation between ourselves and some of the teams that are chasing for the playoffs.”
Vancouver, 7-0-4 during the streak, took a 3-0 lead with two power-play goals and one short-handed to chase Blues goalie Fred Brathwaite.
Brathwaite allowed three goals on five shots before being pulled at 2:16 of the second period, and fans cheered every save by his replacement, struggling Brent Johnson. The Blues are considering a trade for Coyotes goalie Sean Burke.
“They’re here and we’re expecting much more from them,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “They should be expecting much more from themselves.”
Brathwaite hung his head in his locker stall.
“This was a big game for us and they needed some big-time goaltending, and they didn’t get it,” he said. “I don’t know what to say. I didn’t give them a chance to win right from the beginning.”
“Everybody’s winning, and it’s important for us to keep going,” Skudra said. “We want to finish strong, we don’t want to be battling for spots.”
Baumgartner, recalled from Manitoba of the AHL, scored his first goal on the Canucks’ first shot of the game on a power play at 5:41. Chubarov got his seventh goal on Vancouver’s third shot when the puck trickled between Brathwaite’s arm and body while Scott Mellanby was serving a double minor for high sticking.
“He slid down from the point, held on, held on and really made a great shot through the screen,” Crawford said. “That was a nice goal, a highlight goal.”
Morrison finished Braithwaite with short-handed goal with one second remaining on a penalty to Mats Lindgren for holding the stick. Morrison put the puck past a prone Brathwaite on the Canucks’ fifth shot of the game to make it 3-0.
They combined again, with Stillman getting his 18th goal—but first in 15 games—with 5:39 left in the period. Stillman put in a rebound after Tkachuk took the initial shot.
Cooke made it a two-goal cushion at 9:16 of the third, beating Johnson while the Blues were caught on a line change. The Blues missed a chance to cut the gap to a goal with 2:17 to go on another goal by Tkachuk, but it was ruled theyinterfered with Skudra.
Blues C Doug Weight, out the last four games with a broken bone in his face, was placed on injured reserve Thursday to make room for C Steve Dubinsky, who returned from a concussion. The move was made retroactive to Weight’s injury, so he’s already eligible to come off the list. … Blues D Bryce Salvador injured his left shoulder when he was tripped by Brendan Morrison in the second period. … The Canucks have outscored the opposition 31-22 during the streak. … The Blues fell to 19-8-4-2 when giving up the first goal.Vancouver is not far behind in that category, going 16-12-1-0.