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Three-goal first period stakes Canucks to 4-2 win over Avalanche

NHL.com @NHL

VANCOUVER, B.C. - The Vancouver Canucks scored three first-period goals, including one short-handed by Alex Burrows, to defeat the Colorado Avalanche 4-2 Sunday for their ninth straight win at home.

Burrows brought the crowd to its feet with a breakaway that resulted in his fourth short-handed goal of the season.

Kyle Wellwood and Taylor Pyatt also scored in the opening period to give the Canucks a 3-0 lead.

Alex Edler scored on a power play with 1:13 remaining to provide insurance. Ryan Kesler drew his third assist of the game on the goal.

Mattias Ohlund also assisted and became the Canucks' career points leader for a defenceman, passing Dennis Kearns and Jyrki Lumme with 322 points.

Ryan Smyth and Darcy Tucker answered for Colorado.

Vancouver improved to 36-23-9 by winning nine in a row at home for the first time in 16 years, matching a club record.

The Canucks also ended a string of eight losses to Colorado and moved three points ahead of the sixth-place Columbus Blue Jackets in the Western Conference.

The win also left Vancouver within two points of the fourth-place Chicago Blackhawks.

While the Canucks climbed eight points above eighth-place Edmonton and Nashville, the Avalanche had their playoff hopes dimmed with their first loss in three games to fall to 31-38-1.

Special teams staked the Canucks to a 2-0 lead as Wellwood counted on the power play before Burrows scored his seventh goal in as many games.

Wellwood's goal, his second in three games after a 21-game drought, came on Vancouver's first shot when he deflected Ryan Kesler's 50-foot blast behind goalie Andrew Raycroft.

Burrows then tipped a pass by Avalanche defenceman John-Michael Liles for a breakaway that led to his career-high 22nd goal of the season.

The speedy, persistent forward hit the post on his break-in attempt, forced Raycroft to make a sprawling save then picked up a second rebound and scored from a bad angle.

The Canucks were up 3-0 on six shots before the period ended as Pyatt's quick wrist shot came two seconds after a Vancouver power play expired.

Smyth was on goalie Roberto Luongo's doorstep to tip Liles' point shot and cut the deficit to two in the second period as Vancouver couldn't defend the second of consecutive penalties.

Tucker made it close 14 seconds into the third period when Luongo misplayed a shoot-in behind his net. The puck went to Tucker who banked it in off the Vancouver goalie.

The Canucks were reeling shortly after that as Luongo scrambled to make saves while the Avalanche had several near misses.

The Avalanche lost defenceman Daniel Tjarnqvist in the middle period when he was cut above the eye by his own helmet when it stopped a deflected point shot by Canuck Shane O'Brien.

Notes: The teams meet three more times before the regular season ends ... Defenceman Lawrence Nycholat faced his former team for the first time ... he played 14 games for the Canucks before being claimed off waivers March 3 by Calgary and traded the next day to Colorado ... Avalanche winger Cody McCormick served the last of his two-game suspension for high-sticking Cal Clutterbuck of the Minnesota Wild ... the Canucks announced their 250th consecutive home sellout.

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