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Lindstrom scores twice as Coyotes spoil Luongo's return to Canucks' lineup

NHL.com @NHLdotcom

VANCOUVER, B.C. - Joakim Lindstrom scored two goals as the surging Phoenix Coyotes beat the slumping Vancouver Canucks 4-1 on Thursday night, spoiling goaltender Roberto Luongo's return after a two-month absence.

Luongo returned to the Vancouver lineup after missing 24 games with a groin injury. But he got off to a shaky start as Lindstrom scored on Phoenix's first shot of the game.

The Coyotes handed the Canucks a franchise record-tying sixth straight home loss. Phoenix also improved its playoff hopes, moving into a tie for fifth-place with the Canucks in the Western Conference standings.

It was the Coyotes' third win in the past four games.

Keith Yandle and Peter Mueller also scored for the Coyotes (22-18-5) before a sellout crowd of 18,630 at General Motors Place, who found more reasons to jeer than cheer.

Daniel Sedin scored for the Canucks (22-19-5), who last suffered six consecutive losses way back in their first NHL season, between Dec. 18, 1970 and Feb. 6, 1971.

The Canucks actually outshot the Coyotes 32-31, but the figures were misleading because Vancouver had few scoring chances. Phoenix goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov was rarely tested and only lost his shutout bid because of an unlucky bounce.

Phoenix's 29th-ranked power play went two-for-four while Vancouver was blanked on two man-advantage opportunities.

The Coyotes led 2-0 after the first period and 4-0 after the second.

It marked the second straight contest in which Vancouver allowed a goal 1:05 into the game.

After opening the scoring, Lindstrom gave the Coyotes a 2-0 advantage during a power play at 13:16 of the first period. He scored after Yandle's shot him and the puck came down onto his stick while Luongo had gone down to save the point shot.

The goal came while Mats Sundin was off for tripping. It was the third time in the past four games that Sundin has been in the penalty box when the winning goal was scored.

The Canucks struggled again early in the second period as Yandle put Phoenix ahead 3-0 at 1:22. Mueller increased the visitors' lead to 4-0 on a power play at 8:36 of the second period. The goal came while Vancouver defenceman Shane O'Brien was serving an interference penalty for a body check in the well behind the play in the Vancouver end as teammate Alex Edler carried the puck up the ice.

Coyotes rookie centre Kyle Turris, a native of the Vancouver suburb of New Westminster, B.C., assisted on Mueller's goal. Turris, in his first NHL game at GM Place, was scratched from the Coyotes' previous visit to Vancouver in November.

Sedin spoiled Bryzgalov's shutout bid at 11:02 of the third period as he put in a shot off Phoenix defenceman Zbynek Michalek's shin pad.

The Canucks have only two victories since Jan. 1. They are 1-4 with Sundin in the lineup.

Notes: To make room for Luongo on the roster, the Canucks assigned goaltender Curtis Sanford to Manitoba of the AHL . . . Vancouver centre Kyle Wellwood, tied for first in the NHL in shooting percentage (27.5) before Thursday, was a healthy scratch. He has not scored in his last four games, or since former Toronto linemate Sundin started playing for the Canucks . . . Rookie winger Jannik Hansen drew back into the Vancouver lineup after being scratched for Tuesday's loss to New Jersey . . . Phoenix evened its season series with Vancouver at 1-1.

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