Henrik Sedin scored the tiebreaking goal 1:31 into the third period, Brendan Morrison added his second of the game on a power play 2:20 later, and the normally stingy Canucks beat the Avalanche 5-4 on Sunday night.
“Colorado is a great offensive team and they like to run and gun and we got caught up in that a bit tonight,” said Morrison, who also had an assist. “It wasn’t a typical Canucks game. We were a little loose in our own zone, but give them credit, they create a lot of offense, and the key is we got the win.”
Matt Cooke matched a career high with a goal and two assists, and Daniel Sedin also scored for the Canucks, who have won four straight games to move two points ahead of Calgary atop the Northwest Division.
“Definitely it wasn’t the type of match you want to be in, especially with those guys. They’ve got a lot of skill and firepower,” said Roberto Luongo, who stopped 32 shots. “But once we got the lead there in the third we tightened it right up.”
Andrew Brunette scored twice, and Brad Richardson added a short-handed goal as the Avalanche lost for the second-straight night to fall 12 points behind Vancouver, and nine back of Minnesota for the final Western Conference playoff spot.
“We had our chances to win the last couple games, but haven’t found a way,” Colorado captain Joe Sakic said. “It’s not that we’re playing that bad but we have to learn how to win these games, especially at this time of year. We have to put teams away and get some points.”
After a wild back-and-forth 40 minutes that featured six goals and three lead changes, Sedin put the Canucks ahead for good after an Avalanche miscue early in the third period. Defenseman Ken Klee knocked down a point shot in front of the Colorado crease, but just as Jose Theodore lunged out to smother the loose puck, Klee reached back and swatted it to Sedin for an easy goal into an empty net. After missing two open nets late in the first, Henrik was happy to see another.
“I’ve got to put one of those in, but I was lucky to get the third one,” he said. “It was a little more open out there but it was great to score five.”
A hooking call against Tyler Arnason 1 minute later, and a pretty cross-ice, backdoor pass from Markus Naslund a minute after that left Morrison with an equally empty net and he snapped the puck in before Theodore could get across.
At the other end, Theodore was back in goal after watching Peter Budaj play the night before in Calgary. Theodore had a 1.50 goals-against average and .950 save percentage in four starts against the Canucks this season, but was beaten on three of the first 11 shots—and the first two of the third period—on Sunday.
He finished with 15 saves, his only break coming when Taylor Pyatt’s goal with 3:40 left was waved off after Henrik Sedin was tripped and knocked the goalie over before the puck went in.
“He was all right,” Colorado coach Joel Quenneville said of his goalie, pointing to the miscommunication with Klee as just a bad break. “That was a tough one. We were going along good and early in the third you give them a lot of momentum off that play. It was a tough mistake at that time, but those things can happen.”
Playing a second straight night, the Avs came out with more jump, forcing Luongo to make a huge glove save 30 seconds in, and taking the lead on Brunette’s deflection at 2:49.
Daniel Sedin responded after a nice pass from twin brother Henrik, but a bad pinch by defenseman Kevin Bieksa led to Richardson’s short-handed 2-on-1 goal. Cooke tied it with 2:24 left in the first after a coverage breakdown left him alone to take Morrison’s backhand pass and snap the puck over Theodore’s glove.
The Avalanche were outshooting Vancouver 9-1 when Morrison jumped on a loose puck at the top of the crease and lifted a backhand over Theodore.
Brunette tied it on another deflection on a power play at 13:36, giving him seven goals and nine assists during an eight-game point streak.
Colorado F Wojtek Wolski couldn t play after being knocked out of Saturday’s game by a collision with Calgary’s Craig Conroy. Marek Svatos took his spot in the lineup after being a healthy scratch the last three games. … Sakic’s assist gave him five goals and 10 helpers an eight-game point streak. … Cooke scored for a second straight game after going 15 without. … Canucks RW Trevor Linden was playing his 1,300th NHL game. … Vancouver now embarks on a four-game road trip beginning Tuesday in Anaheim, while the Avalanche return home for two before playing their 14 of their final 20 games this season on the road.