For the second time this season, Colorado lost a game and a goalie in Vancouver.
Ryan Kesler's 100th NHL helped the Canucks beat the Avs 4-2 at Rogers Arena on Wednesday night. The Avs also lost goaltender Craig Anderson, who left after the first period with a groin injury.
It was only the second game back for Anderson, who injured his knee in pregame warmups on Oct. 26 -- Colorado's last visit-- and missed 10 games before returning on Friday.
The Avs also lost defenseman Adam Foote in the first period with a leg injury. Coach Joe Sacco said both will be re-evaluated on Friday, and that the team may recall a goaltender to back up Peter Budaj, who played the last two periods.
"I think Peter came in and played fine. I don't think there was any issue there," Sacco said. "We didn't play our game, though. That was the bottom line. Our game is skating, our game is forechecking, and when we did do that, we had some success."
The Canucks beat Colorado for the third time in as many games this season. Both teams now have 25 points, the most in the Northwest Division.
Kesler's disputed goal 3:52 into the third period stood up as the game-winner. It was originally waved off because it appeared that linemate Jeff Tambellini knocked in the rebound of Kesler's shot with a high stick after the puck bounced high over Budaj. But replays showed Tambellini missed the puck -- he whacked Budaj in the helmet instead -- and that it went in off the goaltender. The call was overturned after a lengthy video review and gave the Canucks a 3-1 lead.
"I knew I hit something hard," Tambellini said with a laugh. "I just wasn't sure if it was the puck and then I figured out it was his head. I wasn't sure what happened there it happened so fast."
The milestone goal wound up being the game-winner.
"It's not that big of deal," Kesler said. "It's 100, obviously it's a nice milestone, but it's all from hard work, my line has been working really hard and it's good to get a greasy one like that."
Alex Burrows added an insurance goal with 6:53 left. Kevin Bieksa and Daniel Sedin also scored as the Canucks snapped a four-game losing streak to move into a tie with Colorado atop the Northwest Division.
Defenseman John-Michael Liles scored once and set up Matt Duchene's goal for Colorado, which saw its four-game winning streak end and two of its leaders not finish the game.
"Footer is our captain, our leader, and Andy was our most valuable player last year," Duchene said. "It's tough without them."
Bieksa opened the scoring 10:32 into the game when Mikael Samuelsson's point shot went in off his skate, ending a five-game streak in which the Canucks had allowed the first goal.
Liles tied it 5:05 into the second period, beating a screened Luongo from the top of the circle during a power play for his fourth goal of the season, all of which have come in the last six games.
Daniel Sedin put the Canucks ahead to stay at the 10-minute mark when he deflected twin brother Henrik's pass behind Anderson's replacement, Peter Budaj. Both Sedins got their first points in three games.
Duchene jammed a puck past Roberto Luongo 6:46 into the third to make it 3-2, but Burrows provided some insurance when he combined with the Sedins on a three-way passing play after a good Vancouver forecheck.
"I thought we played much better," Burrows said. "I thought we worked really hard and kept our shifts shorter and we worked hard and everyone competed really hard and it showed. I thought we were a bit faster than them tonight and we got the result that we wanted."
Material from team media and wire services was used in this report