VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) -Slumping and split up on different lines, twin brothers Daniel and Henrik Sedin were reunited just often enough to spark some of their old chemistry.
Henrik Sedin scored two goals, both on rebounds of shots by Daniel, to lead the Vancouver Canucks to a 3-1 win over the Phoenix Coyotes on Monday night.
"If you don't score and you're supposed to score, it s always nice to get some goals," said Henrik Sedin, whose goals were his first not into an empty net in 17 games. "We got some bounces and went to the net a little bit more tonight and the whole team played better so it makes it easier."
The struggling twins were broken up for one of the few times in their careers after being shut down in a 2-0 loss in Phoenix four nights earlier, and spent most of Saturday's win in Dallas on separate lines. They stayed apart for all but power play duty and "four of five shifts at even strength" on Monday, but that was still enough for both to end lengthy slumps.
"It's great to see Hank score, he was right in front of the net on both goals and he stood up and played a good game tonight," said Daniel Sedin, whose two assists were his first points in the last six contests. "I think you have to shoot the puck and look for rebounds and then you can make plays. Maybe we got way from that when we were in this slump."
Taylor Pyatt also scored on the power play and Roberto Luongo stopped 25 shots as the Canucks moved into a tie with Calgary and Colorado for sixth place in the Western Conference, two points behind Minnesota for the Northwest Division lead, and four points ahead of ninth-place Nashville.
“Our focus here is ourselves and that’s all we have to worry about, if we take care of ourselves well be in a good spot,” said Brendan Morrison who played his first home-game since returning to the Vancouver line-up. “Our team has been pretty successful this year against our own division early on; we had a bit of a lapse but we have played stronger here the last few times against them.”
Daniel Carcillo scored for the Coyotes and Ilya Bryzgalov finished with 25 saves. Phoenix, 10th in the West, dropped seven points behind Vancouver for the final playoff spot with nine games left.
"We're in tough. We know that," Phoenix coach Wayne Gretzky said.
Henrik Sedin and Pyatt both ended lengthy goal-scoring droughts to stake the Canucks to a 2-0 lead. Henrik Sedin set up Daniel for a great chance at the side of the net, then came out from behind it to grab the rebound, lifting a backhand past Bryzgalov. Pyatt then shoveled a power play rebound under Bryzgalov 3 1/2 minutes later for his first goal in 20 games. The Canucks intense net presence was prominent in the victory as all three goals came off of goal-mouth scrambles.
“All goals were second opportunities and second chances, that’s the way you score in the NHL,” said Coach Alain Vigneault. “Goaltenders are so good it’s tough to beat them on the first shot, you got to go to the net and you got to stay there and take some hacks and take some whacks and get second and third opportunities; our guys did that tonight.”
"I was starting to squeeze the stick a bit so nice to finally get one and for it to be a big goal in an important game makes it that much better," Pyatt said.
“Our top guys played really well, they were all on it offensively,” said veteran leader Trevor Linden. “We just played a real solid game and got a couple of big goals, we came out and established ourselves early in the first period and kind of carried it through.”
Carcillo, who drew a 4-minute high-sticking penalty 40 seconds in and got into a spirited scrap with Rick Rypien midway through the first, put Phoenix on the board with 1:55 left in the period. He hit the post midway through the second, but added to his league-leading penalty totals with a roughing penalty and 10-minute misconduct a few minutes later.
Batting a puck out of mid-air in the second period he recorded his second goal of the game.
| Roberto Luongo
Backstopped his team to a convincing win steering aside 25 of 26 Phoenix shots.
Posted a two assist performance and led all Canuck forwards with a TOI of 24:39 minutes.
"I thought Danny played a tremendous game," Gretzky said. "His penalty late in the (second) period where they ended up scoring their third goal, I thought the call wasn't warranted. It was two guys pushing each other and Danny gets the extra penalty. He's definitely a marked man."
Carcillo played a large part in establishing the highly-energetic and physical tempo that tonight's games was played at, and the Canucks were successful in matching the intensity.
“It is playoff atmosphere down the stretch here especially in this game tonight. I’m sure they were looking at this game as a must win for them to stay in the playoff race and so were we,” said Kevin Bieksa speaking to the physicality that was involved in the contest. “Games are going to get more intense as we get closer to the playoffs and we had some guys’ step-up tonight and be a big physical presence for us; and that’s the way we have to play down the stretch.”
On the ensuing power play, Henrik Sedin dropped to Daniel for a shot and drove the net to bat in the rebound out of the air. Considered the scorer of the two Sedins, Daniel still doesn't have a goal in 13 games, but as he noted with a smile, he was playing on the checking line.
"I didn't put the puck in tonight but if we keep creating this much, it will come," he said.
“Tonight obviously was going to be a hard game by both teams, they were playing for their playoff lives so we knew they were going to be ready and come out strong. I thought we came out very well; our powerplay was good tonight and got us two important goals. Our guys played hard, it was a hard fought game and it went right down to the wire. Our goaltender did what he’s done all year long again, he was real good,” said a satisfied Vigneault. “Now we got to focus on the next game against Edmonton.”
The mood wasn't all upbeat for the Canucks, who lost speedy rookie winger Mason Raymond for four weeks after he suffered second-degree MCL sprain on a knee-on-knee hit from Phoenix defenseman Keith Ballard 7 minutes into the third period. There was no penalty on the play, but Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said he hoped the NHL would review it for supplementary discipline.
"In my opinion that was a vicious hit," Vigneault said. "I didn't like that at all - knee on knee - and I m really hoping the league is going to review that."