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game recap

Sven Baertschi propels Canucks to win

Forward scores two goals, Jacob Markstrom makes 30 saves against Avalanche

by Rick Sadowski / NHL.com Correspondent

DENVER -- Sven Baertschi scored two goals to help the Vancouver Canucks defeat the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 at Pepsi Center on Wednesday.

Baertschi's power-play goal at 11:46 of the third period, his 13th of the season, broke a 2-2 tie. Baertschi was in front of the net when he beat Avalanche goalie Calvin Pickard.

The Canucks (23-20-6) moved one point ahead of the Calgary Flames into the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference.

 

WATCH: All Canucks vs. Avalanche highlights

 

"It was good to get that one," Canucks coach Willie Desjardins said. "I thought it was going to be a tough game, and it was. They've got lots of speed up front. They came back (from 2-0), they didn't quit, and it was big for us to get that power-play goal."

Baertschi also scored two goals against Pickard in a 3-2 win on Jan. 2.

"I had a little chat with Calvin Pickard out there," Baertschi said. "He wasn't too happy with me scoring against him again. We know each other from junior and it's always fun playing against him. Somehow it works. I've found the right spots out there and been able to capitalize on the chances I get."

Video: VAN@COL: Baertschi roofs a loose puck past Pickard

Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog was serving a slashing penalty when Baertschi scored the winning goal, his second against Colorado this season.

"It was a dumb play on my part and it ends up costing us," Landeskog said. "We stayed out of the box the whole time until then."

The Avalanche (13-31-2) have lost seven games in a row (0-6-1) and are 1-14-1 in their past 16 home games.

Colorado tied the game 2-2 on Matt Nieto's goal at 6:18 of the third period. Nieto scored from the right circle with a shot past goalie Jacob Markstrom's right arm for his second of the season.

The Avalanche pulled within 2-1 at 16:28 of the second period on a goal by Mikko Rantanen, his seventh of the season, first in nine games. Defenseman Nikita Zadorov took a shot in the slot, the puck trickled between Markstrom's pads into the crease, and Rantanen poked it in.

"I thought I had it for sure and then it squeezed through," said Markstrom, who made 30 saves. "It's very frustrating because I felt like we played a really, really good game and they didn't have much at all. Then to let in a goal like that to give them life and then now it's a hockey game all of a sudden."

Baertschi gave the Canucks a 1-0 lead at 6:55 of the first period when he knocked a loose puck behind Pickard during a goalmouth scramble for his first goal in nine games.

The Canucks made it 2-0 at 7:04 of the second period on a goal by Markus Granlund. Zadorov lost the puck behind the net and Granlund tucked it inside the right post for his 12th goal.

"We take a penalty on a backcheck in the third period ... you look at the goals we gave up, a turnover behind our own net, unforced basically, and it ends up in the back of our net, and the power play in the third period," Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. "We should know better by now."

 

Goal of the game

Baertschi was in perfect position to take Henrik Sedin's pass and score the tiebreaking goal.

Video: VAN@COL: Baertschi roofs PPG for second of game

 

Save of the game

Markstrom raised his left arm in time to deny Nathan MacKinnon skating in from the right circle at 5:15 of the second period.

Video: VAN@COL: Markstrom gloves away MacKinnon's wrist shot

 

Unsung performance of the game

Canucks defenseman Alexander Edler had five shots and two hits in 25:08.

 

They said it

"We knew it was not going to be an easy game. We knew it was going to be a close game. We stuck with it and we didn't change the game plan. That's pretty much it. That's how you win games in this league." -- Canucks forward Sven Baertschi

 

"We've come up empty a lot, we only have the one point in the last seven games. I expected us to fight to the end to be in that hockey game. It's just a tough way to lose for me. Penalties in the third period have been costing us." -- Avalanche coach Jared Bednar

 

Need to know

Pickard made 38 saves . ... Avalanche defenseman Francois Beauchemin played 28:59 in his 800th NHL game ... Colorado center Matt Duchene returned after missing one game because of a stomach virus ... Baertschi has five goals in nine games against the Avalanche, his most against any opponent.

 

What's next

Canucks: At the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday (9 p.m. ET; FS-A+, SNP, NHL.TV)

Avalanche: At the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday (10 p.m. ET; SN, SN1, PRIME, ALT, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Baertschi scores twice as Canucks top Avs, 3-2

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