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Canucks score four in third in win vs. Avalanche

by Rick Sadowski

DENVER -- The Vancouver Canucks felt it was simply a matter of time before they wore down the Colorado Avalanche, even if it took the better part of two periods to do it before skating to a 5-2 win Tuesday at Pepsi Center.

Down 2-0 in the first period, the Canucks (9-4-0) got a goal from Henrik Sedin with four seconds left in the second period and scored four times in the third to open a four-game road trip on a successful note.

Nick Bonino scored twice, and Derek Dorsett and Shawn Matthias had one goal each to support goalie Ryan Miller, who made 20 saves for his sixth consecutive win.

"I think in the second we just took the game over," said Matthias, who scored his first goal of the season at 13:10 after an Avalanche turnover to make it 5-2. "I'd like to see how long we had the puck. It seemed like we were rolling the lines and cycling the puck. All four lines were rolling."

Dorsett and Bonino scored on the Canucks' first two shots of the period 2:20 apart to give Vancouver a 3-2 lead, its first of the game. Dorsett tipped Dan Hamhuis' shot behind Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov at 2:27 and Bonino had an easy tap-in off Chris Higgins' pass at 4:47.

"One of the keys was I kept moving my feet, I kept going backdoor," Bonino said. "(Higgins), last second he threw it to me and I didn't have too much to do."

Bonino scored his second goal and team-leading sixth of the season from a sharp angle at 9:16 after another pass from Higgins.

"A great play again by him," Bonino said. "He had three guys on him, gave me the pass. I was going to get squeezed off if I didn't put it on net. Sometimes they go in, sometimes they don't."

The Canucks' comeback began when Sedin scored as time was winding down in the second period after the Avalanche were unable to clear the zone.

"Got a big goal from Hank and I thought we played good for 60 minutes," Bonino said. "After they got those two goals Miller shut the door. We were never down, we were always up."

The Avalanche took a 2-0 lead in the first period on goals from John Mitchell, who beat Miller to the glove side with the first shot of the game at 1:15, and from Jamie McGinn near the right post at 16:33 off a pass from Jarome Iginla.

"I spotted them two goals and I felt like I had to calm things down, in my mind as well," Miller said. "I needed to calm down and battle through. We were able to get through some penalty kills and the guys got rewarded in the third period."

The Avalanche's lead could have been larger, but the Canucks killed off a double-minor to Kevin Bieksa for high-sticking Dennis Everberg in the first period and limited Colorado to four shots on five power plays for the game.

"We weren't good enough on it," Iginla said. "We're up 2-0 and we have the power plays and we want to make it 3-0. We know the importance of it. We didn't score and they hung around and it cost us."

The Avalanche have had problems scoring a big goal since the season started.

"We had a great start, we scored two goals in that first period," Colorado coach Patrick Roy said. "In the second they took some momentum because they played well in our own end. But we had chances to make it a 3-0 game. It would have been a great night for our power play to click and score a big goal for us. It seemed like when they scored that late goal, that gave them some momentum going to the third period."

The Avalanche (3-6-5) held a team meeting after the game. They've lost two games in a row in regulation, have one win in the past six games (1-2-3), and are last in the Central Division after finishing first last season.

"We felt like there's some things to air out, that we wanted to talk about, and we had a chance to do that," captain Gabriel Landeskog said. "They played well, but we weren't good enough. We weren't winning 1- on-1 battles and doing things to be successful. It just wasn't acceptable."

Landeskog said Sedin's goal was the turning point, but didn't think it should have been.

"Just because they score one goal it doesn't mean they can score [four] unanswered after that," he said. "It's frustrating. It's a tough feeling in here right now, tough to hear the boos getting off the ice, but the fans have all the right to do that."

The Avalanche lost defenseman Brad Stuart to a leg injury in the second period. He will be re-examined Wednesday.

The Canucks have killed 19 of 20 penalties in the past six games; the Avalanche have killed 29 in a row in a seven-game stretch.

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