VANCOUVER - By keeping things simple the Vancouver Canucks are riding a three-game win streak when people least expected it.
Henrik Sedin scored his second goal of the night at 1:22 of overtime to give the Canucks a 2-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche Friday that extended Vancouver's win streak.
Sedin doubled his goals for the season to four and thought he could of had more.
"It felt good," said the solid centre. "We should of had a couple of more. We had a lot of chances. Anytime you can win against a division rival it's always good."
Sedin won the game when he circled behind the Colorado net and fired a shot from the faceoff circle that deflected off Avalanche defenceman Kurt Sauer and past goaltender Jose Theodore.
The Vancouver season looked headed for disaster when defencemen Sami Salo (broken nose) and Kevin Bieksa (severe leg cut) both suffered injuries in a 3-0 loss to Nashville Nov. 3. Both players are gone indefinitely.
Instead of being staggered by the blow, the Canucks regrouped and put together their longest winning streak of the season. Two of those wins have been against the Avalanche and one over Calgary.
"We got together as a group and we simplified our game a whole lot," said Sedin. "We put pucks in areas where we know it's going to end up. In the first 10 or 11 games we tried to force things. We tried to make a lot of plays."
Goaltender Roberto Luongo said Vancouver is playing smarter defence now.
"We changed a few things in our system as far as the forecheck," said Luongo, who made 24 saves. "It's helped us out as far as eliminating scoring chances and generating more scoring chances."
John-Michael Liles forced the overtime for Colorado with his power-play goal early in the third period.
The Avalanche were angry that Sedin's first goal of the night, which he whacked out of the air during a scramble in front of Theodore, counted.
The play was reviewed to make sure the puck didn't come off a highstick. After a lengthy delay it was ruled a goal.
"We absolutely, totally disagree," said Avs coach Joel Quenneville. "That was their interpretation but we disagree."
Sedin said the referee had the best view in the house.
"It wouldn't have been a goal if the referee had said 'no' right away," he said. "It's a borderline call and it's tough for the guys upstairs to change it. I think it was key the ref said it was a goal right away."
The Canucks clawed back to .500 by improving their record to 8-8-0. The win also was the just the second of the season at home for the Canucks, who have a 6-0-0 record against Northwest Division teams.
"It's important to get back to .500," said Luongo. "We're there, now it's important to take the next step."
The loss snapped a two-game win streak for the Avalanche, who moved into first place in the Northwest Division with a 10-5-1 record, one point better than Minnesota.
It was just Colorado's second loss in eight games but their road woes continue. The Avs are 2-4-1 away from Denver.
"We got one big point on the road, which is important for us," said Theodore.
Liles tied the game 1-1 on the first shot of the third period. He took a pass from Milan Hejduk and wired a shot that appeared to deflect off Canuck defenceman Willie Mitchell and Luongo.
Ryan Smyth was parked in front of the net and screened Luongo.
Colorado poured on the pressure for most of the third period. Vancouver was forced to kill a Mike Weaver hooking penalty with 3:06 left.
The Canucks thought they had scored with just 1:25 left in the first period. Just moments after Sauer was sent off for tripping, Sedin fired a shot from a scramble that squirted out of Theodore's glove and into the net.
The referee instantly waved the goal off, saying the whistle had blown.
"It goes both ways," said Sedin. "I could of had both of them, I could of had none."
Notes-General Rick Hillier, Chief of the Defence Staff, dropped the puck in the ceremonial faceoff. ...Both defenceman Willie Mitchell and forward Taylor Pyatt played their 400th career game. ...Vancouver's next five games are against Northwest Division rivals. ....Trevor Linden's assist on Alex Burrow's goal Thursday gave him a franchise record 412 as a Canuck, one more than Stan Smyl.