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Avalanche Falls To Canucks, 5-4

by Staff Writer / Colorado Avalanche

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) - Henrik Sedin scored the tiebreaking goal 1:31 into the third period, Brendan Morrison added his second of the game 2:20 later, and the Vancouver Canucks beat the Colorado Avalanche 5-4 Sunday night.

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.

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.

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.

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 it in before Theodore could get across.

Ian Laperriere closed the gap with a deflection goal at 6:04, but Roberto Luongo robbed Mark Rycroft with his glove a minute later, finishing with 32 saves.

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.

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 some slick moves and a nice pass from twin brother Henrik behind the net, and the Canucks appeared to have the momentum when Colorado captain Joe Sakic was called for hooking midway through the period. 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.

Only a couple of missed empty nets by Henrik Sedin in the final minute of the period kept the Canucks from blowing it open, but it was the Avalanche that came out flying to start the second. Colorado was carrying the play and outshooting Vancouver 9-1 when Morrison jumped on a loose puck at the top of the crease and lifted a quick backhand through a crowd and 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.

Notes: 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.

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