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game recap

Canucks defeat Avalanche, move into tie for first Western wild card

MacEwen scores twice for Vancouver, which ends four-game losing streak

by Kevin Woodley / NHL.com Independent Correspondent

MacEwen scores transition goal

COL@VAN: MacEwen rips wrist shot home off the rush

Zack MacEwen takes possession of the puck near his own blue line, skates out and rips a wrist shot home from the circle to make it 3-1 Canucks

  • 00:37 •

VANCOUVER -- The Vancouver Canucks ended a four-game losing streak and moved into a tie for the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference with a 6-3 win against the Colorado Avalanche at Rogers Arena on Friday.

Zack MacEwen scored two goals for Vancouver (35-26-6), which is tied with the Winnipeg Jets, one point ahead of the Minnesota Wild.

"For the team to get two points, going into the third with the lead, it was huge," MacEwen said.

 

[WATCH: All Avalanche vs. Canucks highlights]

 

Thatcher Demko made 29 saves for the Canucks, who blew a third-period lead in each of their previous two games.

This time they built on a 4-3 lead, with MacEwen scoring his second of the night with 3:17 remaining to make it 5-3, and Tanner Pearson scoring into an empty net with 2:36 left for the 6-3 final.

"It definitely feels good to close out a third period," captain Bo Horvat said. "We stayed composed, and Thatcher came up big, and we got goals when we needed them. Zack had a great night."

Video: COL@VAN: MacEwen nets one-timer for second goal

Erik Johnson and Gabriel Landeskog each had a goal and an assist for the Avalanche (40-19-8), who had their road winning streak end at nine games and failed to earn at least one point for the first time in 10 games (7-1-2). Colorado is two points behind the St. Louis Blues for first place in the Central Division.

Coach Jared Bednar said the Avalanche had meeting around six weeks ago, when they were eight points behind the Blues, about what it would take to win the Central.

"We've dug in and we're within two points of St. Louis now, and that's pretty good work," Bednar said. "We had an opportunity to be tied for first if we won tonight, and we didn't get the job done. Hopefully, we have that opportunity a few more times here down the stretch."

Troy Stecher scored with a wrist shot from the right face-off circle off a pass from J.T. Miller 1:22 into the first period to put the Canucks ahead 1-0, and Miller tapped in a pass from Elias Pettersson on a 2-on-1 to make it 2-0 at 12:29.

Video: COL@VAN: Stecher roofs Miller set-up to open scoring

Johnson made it 2-1 at 13:17 with a one-timer after a stop-and-spin drop pass off the rush by Nathan MacKinnon, who had two assists.

"Even when they scored goals, I thought our response was really good," Demko said. "That's something we can build on. Closing games out is really important."

MacEwen put Vancouver ahead 3-1 with a wrist shot on a partial breakaway 2:12 into the second period, but Landeskog made it 3-2 at 3:23, and Valeri Nichushkin tied it 3-3 at 8:04 when he scored on a 2-on-1.

"It was back and forth, really good pace, it was competitive and physical, which I like to see from our group," Bednar said. "But it's a game of mistakes, and the ones we made today were pretty big ones."

Antoine Roussel redirected a centering pass from Adam Gaudette through Francouz's legs from in tight at 12:17 to give the Canucks a 4-3 lead.

Video: COL@VAN: Roussel taps Gaudette's set-up home in front

Roussel set up MacEwen's second goal with a pass from behind the net on a cycle started by Gaudette, who had two assists.

"We were clicking. We were creating offence off our forecheck. The chances were there, and we buried them," MacEwen said after doubling his NHL goal total. "You need four lines that can contribute."

Colorado had a couple opportunities to tie the game in the third period before Vancouver scored twice late.

"We had some good chances, for sure," Bednar said. "We passed up the opportunity to shoot the puck though a little bit late in the game. I'm thinking of two or three plays. We were scoring when we're shooting, and then we just tried to make the one more play."

 

They said it

"We've always strived to get home ice in the playoffs, and that's first in our division and first in the conference, and that's what we're going to keep doing all the way until the end. We'll have to keep winning, simple as that." -- Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog

"It's huge for us. Things were a little slow the last couple of games, not getting the bounces, not finding the way. I thought guys were really cognizant of the situation and were able to step up." -- Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko

Video: COL@VAN: Landeskog finds twine with wrist shot

 

Need to know

Landeskog has 10 points (four goals, six assists) during a seven-game point streak. ... Avalanche defenseman Nikita Zadorov was a healthy scratch after he was minus-3 in 7:58 in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday. ... Colorado defenseman Ian Cole played a season-low 8:46 after struggling early. "If guys are having a tough night, you can't keep playing them. Points are too crucial," Bednar said. ... Canucks defenseman Tyler Myers played 23:58 after missing the previous game with an undisclosed injury. ... Miller has 14 points (five goals, nine assists) in the past eight games.

 

What's next

Avalanche: At the San Jose Sharks on Sunday (10 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NHL.TV)

Canucks: Host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday (10 p.m. ET; SNP, FS-O, NHL.TV)

Video: MacEwen scores twice, Canucks end four-game skid

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