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Chris Higgins scores in overtime as Vancouver Canucks defeat Ottawa Senators 2-1

NHL.com @NHL

VANCOUVER - Chris Higgins scored 2:18 into overtime as the Vancouver Canucks held off the Ottawa Senators for a 2-1 victory Sunday.

Henrik Sedin also scored and Cory Schneider, replacing an injured Roberto Luongo for a second straight game, made 28 saves as the Canucks improved to 10-9-1.

Colin Greening scored and surprise starter Alex Auld, who got the nod in favour of injured Craig Anderson, made 25 saves as Ottawa (10-9-2) fell to 3-2-0 on its season-high six-game road trip.

Higgins, who has been one of Vancouver's better forwards this season, went hard to the net and deflected a Dan Hamhuis shot behind a startled Auld for his seventh goal of the campaign.

If not for Schneider, the game would have been over much earlier.

Less than a minute prior to Higgins' winner, Erik Condra snuck behind the Vancouver defence and tipped a pass on goal, but Schneider was in position for the save.

With the score 1-1 midway through the third period, Schneider did the splits and robbed Milan Michalek with a glove save on a breakaway after Michalek executed a pretty backhand deke.

The Senators had tied the game 3:32 into the third, when Greening eluded Aaron Rome in front of Vancouver's goal and one-timed a Jason Spezza pass behind Schneider.

Schneider was strong all game in relief of Luongo, who suffered an undisclosed upper-body injury during last Sunday's victory over the New York Islanders.

Thirty seconds into the tilt, he robbed Spezza with a left pad save. Michalek met the same fate on a breakaway 10 minutes later.

Then Vancouver's league-best power play went to work.

With Sergei Gonchar in the penalty box for tripping, Henrik Sedin took a pass from Daniel Sedin and one-timed a shot past Auld for his seventh of the season.

The puck caromed off Ottawa forward Jesse Winchester's stick before it snuck through Auld, who played for Vancouver from 2002-06.

Auld, who has struggled this season, made a surprise start after Anderson left the morning skate with neck stiffness. Anderson was well enough to play backup and is listed as day-to-day.

Auld, who entered with an 0-3-0 record and an .823 save percentage, played his best game of the season.

His most memorable save came with Vancouver leading 1-0 midway through the second period, when he moved from his right to his left on a Canucks 2-on-1 and robbed Ryan Kesler with a glove save.

Seven minutes later, with Vancouver on another short-handed 2-on-1, he used his six-foot-four frame to block Higgins' blocker-side attempt.

NOTES: The victory was Alain Vigneault's 246th with the Canucks, tying him with Marc Crawford on the franchises all-time wins list. Vigneault accomplished the feat in 430 games, 99 fewer than Crawford. ... Ottawa's last win in Vancouver came in March of 2004. ... Canucks D Andrew Alberts drew into the lineup for Keith Ballard, who hurt his back in Wednesday's 5-1 loss to Chicago. Alberts looked rusty and had two minor penalties, including a boarding call that could have been a major.

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