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Burrows scores twice to help Canucks defeat Coyotes

by Kevin Woodley

VANCOUVER -- The Vancouver Canucks listened to coach Willie Desjardins' pleas to go to the net, and it paid off in a 7-1 win against the Arizona Coyotes on Monday.

After scoring five goals in the previous four games and spending a week of practice focusing on getting more pucks and traffic to the net, several Canucks ended slumps against the struggling Coyotes at Rogers Arena.

Alexandre Burrows scored twice to end a nine-game goal drought, Chris Higgins scored for the first time in 10 games, and Daniel Sedin scored his first in six games to help Vancouver avenge a lopsided loss against Arizona earlier this season.

"We practiced going to the net and creating chances that way, and it paid off," Burrows said. "That's how you score goals in this league. We finally figured that one out and hopefully we 'll be able to keep doing that and generate offense that way."

Burrows, Kevin Bieksa and Sedin scored in the first period. Brad Richardson scored to make it 4-0 at 1:41 of the second period to chase Arizona goaltender Mike Smith after 11 shots.

"I'm sure their goalie would like to have a few of those back, but if we put pressure on their defense and on their goalie that way, we will create more," Burrows said. "Sometimes we want to be too cute."

Burrows scored his second goal on a Canucks power play midway through the second period, and Chris Higgins and Shawn Matthias rounded out the scoring with power-play goals 2:24 apart in the third period against the Coyotes' 29th-ranked penalty kill.

"It's fun to see the guys get rewarded," said Ryan Miller, who made 38 saves to help the Canucks (20-11-2) win their second straight after snapping a five-game losing streak against the Calgary Flames on Saturday. "If you told me, 'You are going to reach Christmas and the team is going to have 20 wins,' I would have been really happy."

Arizona defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored a power-play goal for the Coyotes (11-18-4), who have one win in their past eight games. Devan Dubnyk made 26 saves on 29 shots after replacing Smith.

"A couple pretty good chances, Smith made one good save, but then (we) kind of let him hang out to dry," coach Dave Tippett said. "So we let him start the second period and we promptly give up a 2-on-1. It's kind of a microcosm of our team this year: Get some chances, can't score; give up too many chances and not getting enough saves."

The Coyotes won 5-0 in Vancouver in mid-November and had shut out the Canucks in three of their past four games. But everything that went right in those games went wrong in this one.

Burrows, who played on the fourth line for a second straight game, scored his first of the game at 6:34 of the first period. His shot from below the goal line went in off the glove of Coyotes defenseman Michael Stone, who was battling Canucks forward Derek Dorsett at the side of the net.

Arizona had a chance to tie it on consecutive power plays midway through the period, but couldn't solve Vancouver's fifth-ranked penalty kill before Bieksa stepped out of the box into a 3-on-2 rush and beat Smith between the legs.

Daniel Sedin banged in a rebound with 42 seconds left in the first period for his eighth goal, and Richardson beat Smith cleanly over the glove off a rush early in the second to end the Coyotes goalie's night.

"We have a tendency sometimes when we get up to sit back," said Richardson, who has eight goals. "It's something we are trying to break for sure."

Smith, who watched Dubnyk start the previous three games, came into the game with an .889 save percentage, last in the NHL among goalies with more than 10 appearances. He has lost four straight starts, giving up 16 goals on 92 shots over that span, but Tippett liked how Smith looked in practice during his week between starts.

"That's a tough situation for him," Tippett said. "I was disappointed we didn't play better in front of him, didn't defend better in front of him, and that's been a factor with our team all year long."

Dubnyk made three saves before Burrows scored his second goal of the game, eighth of the season, as the net-front presence on a power play. Burrows banked a rebound in off Coyotes defenseman Zbynek Michalek's glove after Dubnyk had robbed him on his initial shot.

"I was closer to the net than I was in some previous games, and that's where you score," Burrows said. "Get a few whacks at pucks around the net, and tonight was two really greasy, greasy goals."

Ekman-Larsson scored his third goal in four games, beating Miller with a glove-side wrist shot. It was the first power-play goal allowed by Vancouver since a 4-3 overtime loss to the Ottawa Senators on Dec. 7.

"We had a lot of chances, I thought," said Ekman-Larsson, who is tied for second on the Coyotes with eight goals. "We just have to find a way to score."

Higgins scored with the man advantage 7:09 into the third period. It was the first goal for Vancouver's second power-play unit since the season opener.

"It's nice to get production," Higgins said. "When you are losing games, guys take it personally if we're not getting results."

Matthias converted a backdoor pass from Richardson on another power play 9:33 into the third period.

The Canucks were 3-for-6 on the power play. The Coyotes have allowed at least one power-play goal in nine of their past 10 games.

"Nice to get some off the other unit," Desjardins said. "They have had chances and they haven't gone in; certainly a relief for them."

About the only bad news for the Canucks on Monday was the pregame announcement that forward Jannik Hansen, who collapsed on the bench after taking a hit Saturday, would not play for precautionary reasons.

Hansen took the morning skate after spending Saturday night in the hospital for observations. He planned to play, but the Canucks announced before the game that additional tests were needed.

"He didn't have any kind of setback," Desjardins said. "They had one more they wanted to look at, and we just couldn't get it done before the game. If you're not sure, you can't do it."

The Coyotes visit the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday. Dubnyk, who played for the Oilers from 2009-14, is expected to start against his former team.

The Canucks return to action Sunday when they visit the Anaheim Ducks.

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