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Canucks breeze to 4-1 win over Coyotes

by John Kreiser /

The Vancouver Canucks caught the Phoenix Coyotes on the right night.

The Coyotes, one of the NHL's hardest-working teams, were a step slow for most of Tuesday night -- and that's no way to play against the NHL's top scorer. Henrik Sedin regained the scoring lead with a shorthanded goal and a pair of assists to lead the Canucks to a 4-1 victory.

Sedin now has 104 points -- three ahead of Washington's Alex Ovechkin, who had tied him earlier in the night with an assist. The 104 points is the fourth-highest total in the history of the franchise. Pavel Bure holds the club record with a 110-point campaign in 1992-93.

Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said Sedin's line, with twin brother Daniel and Alex Burrows, was in top form.

"Hank's line had one of its best games of the year at both ends of the ice," Vigneault said. "That, combined with the fact that our goalie was better than their goalie, was the reason we won the game."

Henrik Sedin said he's more concerned with team wins than his own scoring stats -- even though the Canucks have never had a player lead the NHL in scoring since entering the League in 1970.

"If I don't score one more point I am still going to look back and go into the playoffs with a lot of confidence, so it doesn't matter for me," Sedin said. "We could have had a few more. It feels good. We're creating a lot of chances and if we continue to do that the goals are going to come."

Burrows and Mason Raymond scored on Vancouver's first two shots and Sedin got his goal after a giveaway by Phoenix goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, who had a rare off-night. Daniel Sedin's second-period goal completed the scoring, and Roberto Luongo made the lead stand up by making 32 saves.

"They were a very determined team right from the get-go," Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. "The first two shots on goal went in; those were big issue. We put ourselves behind the eight-ball very early. Not a lot of emotion; not a lot of push-back. It was a disappointing game for us."

The Canucks' NHL-best 28th home win, a franchise record, moved them within a point of clinching a playoff berth and left them seven points ahead of second-place Colorado in the Northwest Division.

The Coyotes, who could still win the West, lost in regulation for only the second time in 13 games to drop to 47-24-6 and remain four points behind conference-leading San Jose Sharks.

"We were flat," defenseman Derek Morris said. "It was one of our worst games of the year. Those two quick (goals) really hurt us, and we never recovered."

The Canucks took advantage of a shaky start by Bryzgalov, who had been 8-1-1 in his previous 10 starts. Burrows, who had a hat trick in a 4-0 win the last time the Coyotes came to GM Place, scored 37 seconds into the game on a rising slap shot that eluded Bryzgalov's glove. It was Burrows' career-high 35th goal and third in as many games.

Raymond made it 2-0 when he whirled and unleashed a shot along the ice just 3:31 later.

Phoenix had a chance to get back into the game when Ryan Kesler was given a boarding major and a game misconduct at 13:42 for driving Morris into the boards face-first. Radim Vrbata made it 2-1 at 16:40 when he picked up a rebound and beat Luongo from the lower right circle.

But Henrik Sedin took advantage of a misplay by Bryzgalov to restore the Canucks' two-goal lead. Bryzgalov stopped the puck behind his net and passed it without looking -- he put it right on Sedin's stick for an easy tap-in at 17:19.

"That might be one of the easiest goals I've ever scored," Henrik said. "I think he fanned a little."

Said Luongo: "That was the key moment of the game."

Daniel Sedin finished off Henrik's goalmouth pass at 12:16 of the second period and slid the puck under Bryzgalov's pad to complete the scoring.

Tippett is expecting a much better effort when the Coyotes visit Calgary on Wednesday.

"Everything that makes us a good team -- there were a lot of those elements missing tonight," he said. "At this time of year, that's unacceptable. If we're planning on getting better before the playoffs start, we have to compete a lot harder."

Material from team media and wire services was used in this report
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