NHL

Canucks' win keeps them in NW title chase

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The Canadian Press
3/18/2008 2:50:58 AM
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VANCOUVER - Henrik Sedin and Taylor Pyatt ended their scoring slumps the hard way - by causing fits around the opposition's net.

Sedin scored twice and Pyatt had the game-winner as the Vancouver Canucks beat the Phoenix Coyotes 3-1 Monday night.

"The whole team played a lot better tonight and stood up for each other," Sedin said after a physical Vancouver win that avenged a lacklustre 2-0 loss four days earlier in Phoenix.

"In Phoenix, I thought (the Coyotes) ran around a lot and got some big hits," added Sedin, who had only an empty-net goal in his previous 12 games. "It was the reverse thing tonight."

Sedin backhanded twin brother Daniel Sedin's rebound for the first goal and was on goalie Ilya Bryzgalov's doorstep again to cash in another of Daniel's rebounds on a power play.

"If you don't score when you're supposed to score, it's nice to get some goals," said Henrik Sedin, who was thumped hard to the ice after his second goal.

Pyatt got what proved to be the winning goal by working his way in front of Bryzgalov to backhand home Kevin Bieksa's rebound.

"We knew we had to be a little bit better at that," the six-foot-four, 210-pound Pyatt said of creating a bigger presence near the net.

"Bryzgalov, if he's going to see it, he's going to stop it so we tried to get as much traffic around there as possible and it paid off for us."

Pyatt's goal was his first in the last 20 games.

"I was starting to squeeze the stick quite a bit," said the Thunder Bay, Ont. native, who signed a two-year contract paying US$1.575 million a season after a 23-goal effort last year.

He now has 14 goals and Henrik Sedin 15.

"It was nice to finally get one in and for it to be a big goal in an important game makes it that much better," Pyatt said.

The timely win moved the Canucks (37-26-10) four points ahead of Nashville, ninth in the Western Conference, and seven points clear of the tenth-place Coyotes.

All three teams have nine games remaining.

Phoenix, which won their season series against Vancouver with two wins and a shootout loss in four games, slipped to 36-32-5.

Minnesota, here Friday night, leads the Northwest Division with 86 points. Vancouver, two points behind, is in a three-way tie for second in the division with Colorado and Calgary.

Enforcer Daniel Carcillo scored for the Coyotes who lost their second game in a row. The defeat followed a 15-minute players-only meeting after Saturday's 5-2 loss to Edmonton.

Carcillo laid the body on several Canucks and had a spirited fight with Canuck Rick Rypien in the first period.

" It was huge," Henrik Sedin said of Rypien's response. "It seems we play a lot better at home in that way when we stand up and play more physical."

Carcillo was also sitting out a roughing minor and a 10-minute misconduct when Sedin scored his clinching goal.

"I thought the call wasn't warranted," said Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky.

"It was two guys pushing each other and Danny gets the extra penalty. He's definitely a marked man and it's unfortunate".

The loss hurt the Coyotes' playoff chances, Carcillo said.

"I'm not a math guy, but we've just got to win. If we win our games, hopefully some stuff will happen in the other games and we'll be able to squeak in." 

The physical game cost Canuck rookie Mason Raymond a second-degree ligament sprain in his left knee when he collided knee-on-knee along the boards with Coyote defenceman Keith Ballard.

"In my opinion that was a vicious hit on Mason," said Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault. "I didn't like that at all, knee on knee, and I'm really hoping the league is going to review that."

Notes:Canuck defenceman Willie Mitchell played a game-high 28 minutes 40 seconds with a full-shield visor after taking a puck in the teeth late in Sunday's 4-3 win in Dallas . the Canucks recalled defenceman Nathan McIver from the AHL Manitoba Moose where he has six points and 83 penalty minutes in 39 games . veteran Vancouver blue-liner Aaron Miller is slow to recover from a shoulder injury suffered March 6 when checked heavily into the boards by Jordin Tootoo of the Nashville Predators . Miller was originally expected to be out seven to 10 days.



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