VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) -It took a late third-period rally for the Vancouver Canucks to avoid another costly loss to a non-playoff team.
Vancouver's Daniel Sedin tied it 5:46 into the third period and Canucks captain Markus Naslund scored the game-winner with 4:14 left to lift Vancouver to a 4-3 win over the Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday night.
After losing on Tuesday to a St. Louis team that had just traded its two top scorers, the Canucks fell behind 3-2 to the non-playoff Coyotes early in the third period.
But Sedin started the comeback with his second goal - both on passes from twin brother Henrik - on a power play as the Canucks snapped a two-game losing streak to stay one point ahead of Minnesota atop the Northwest Division.
"Looking over the 60 minutes we played as well as we had to but it feels good to get the two points, Naslund said. "We made a mistake and they got up 3-2, but we slowly took over and I think we deserved to win.
Deserved or not, the Canucks got a break on the winning goal. Brent Sopel's cross-ice pass from the left boards deflected off the glove of defenseman Travis Roche and right to Naslund driving hard to the back side of the net, where he redirected it through the sliding legs of Curtis Joseph and just over the goal line.
"That's the sign of a good team that can find a way to win in the tight games when you're not starting off playing great, Naslund said.
Jeff Cowan also scored and Roberto Luongo made 21 saves for his career-high 36th win of the season for the Canucks, who host Minnesota on Sunday.
Shane Doan scored his team-leading 21st goal, and Bill Thomas added his first two of the season on the power play for the Coyotes, who have lost six of their past seven road games. The Coyotes also lost forward Owen Nolan, who is second on the team with 15 goals, to a shoulder injury midway through the second period.
"It's disappointing when you have a 3-2 lead late in the third but you have to give them credit," Doan said. "That's why they're right now probably playing as good as any team in the league."
Curtis Joseph, playing his 900th career NHL game, was stellar at times in stopping 25 shots, but remains four wins behind Terry Sawchuk for fourth place on the all-time list.
"It's a tough way for him to lose," Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky said. "He's only a few games behind Terry Sawchuk and we really want him to get that, so it was a tough loss.
Daniel Sedin scored his team-leading 28th goal on a screened power play wrist shot from the top of the faceoff circle five minutes into the first period, and Cowan scored his first as a Canuck on a short-handed breakaway 7:54 into the second.
"I just got lucky on the blocked shot, went out to the point and it turned into a goal," said Cowan, who was killing penalties after center Josh Green left the game with a knee injury in the first period. "It was nice to chip in and get that ice time. You just have to bear down and it's nice to be counted on like that."
The Coyotes got a break on their first goal after Luongo tried to stop a dump in behind his net only to have it bounce in front, leaving Thomas with an empty net.
Thomas, playing his seventh game this season, added his second goal on a rebound into an almost-as-empty net after Yanick Lehoux drew Luongo off the near post by driving behind the net, then caught him off guard by throwing it back in front.
Doan scored early in the third period with a one-timer from the slot after the Canucks turned the puck over to Steven Reinprecht behind the net. But Thomas took a holding penalty 2 1/2 minutes later and Daniel Sedin parked in the high slot to neatly redirect a slap pass from Henrik past Joseph to tie it.
"We talked about it before the game, but still came out a little flat, and took some penalties that set us back, but we got the win and that's most important," Daniel Sedin said. "It's not that easy, every game in this league is tough, no matter who you play. It was a tough game."
Notes:Canucks C Josh Green left the game with a knee injury in the first period after trying to hit Keith Ballard just after the Phoenix defenseman had nailed Alex Burrows with a big hit and will be out 4-6 weeks. ... Phoenix C Jeremy Roenick was a healthy scratch after indicating after Tuesday's 3-0 win in Edmonton he will probably retire after this season. Coyotes D Ed Jovanovski had season-ending abdominal surgery Wednesday, a procedure similar to the one that kept him out for large portions of last season in Vancouver.
|PPG - Daniel Sedin (28) ASST: Henrik Sedin (52), Roberto Luongo (2)|
1 - 0 VAN
|PPG - Bill Thomas (1) ASST: Shane Doan (21), Travis Roche (12)|
1 - 1 Tie
|SHG - Jeff Cowan (1) ASST: NONE|
2 - 1 VAN
|PPG - Bill Thomas (2) ASST: Yanick Lehoux (1), Jeff Taffe (2)|
2 - 2 Tie
|Shane Doan (21) ASST: Steve Reinprecht (14)|
3 - 2 PHX
|PPG - Daniel Sedin (29) ASST: Henrik Sedin (53), Kevin Bieksa (24)|
3 - 3 Tie
|Markus Naslund (21) ASST: Brent Sopel (20), Bryan Smolinski (24)|
4 - 3 VAN
|Nick Boynton Roughing|
|Josh Gratton Fighting (maj)|
|Jeff Cowan Fighting (maj)|
|Niko Kapanen Tripping|
|Jeff Cowan Interference on goalkeeper|
|Jan Bulis Roughing|
|Kevyn Adams Interference on goalkeeper|
|Taylor Pyatt Tripping|
|Jan Bulis Tripping|
|Bill Thomas Holding|
|Fredrik Sjostrom Tripping|