- The Washington Times - Monday, March 16, 2009

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA (AP) - Kyle Wellwood, Alex Burrows and Taylor Pyatt scored on a power play, short-handed and at even strength in the first period and the Vancouver Canucks beat the Colorado Avalanche 4-2 on Sunday night.

Roberto Luongo overcame a bad goal early in the third period and finished with 18 saves to help Vancouver match the franchise record with nine straight home wins. Vancouver also won nine in a row at home in 1992.

Ryan Kesler had three assists, and Alex Edler added a power-play goal with 1:13 left as Vancouver ended an eight-game (0-5-3), 16-month losing skid against Colorado.

Ryan Smyth and Darcy Tucker scored for Colorado.

The Canucks, celebrating their 250th straight sellout crowd, lost nine straight home games through Jan. 31, but haven’t lost at GM Place since. They are 14-3-1 overall since snapping that skid, moving up to fifth place in the tight Western Conference, and now trail slumping Chicago by two points in the race for home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

With three more meetings in the final month of the season, finally being able to beat the Avalanche could have a significant effect on where the Canucks finish.

Colorado was coming off consecutive wins against Minnesota and Edmonton that hurt both teams playoff hopes and moved the Avs out of last place.

Wellwood opened the scoring with a power-play deflection 2:50 in, his second goal in three games after going 21 without scoring.

Burrows doubled the lead less than 5 minutes later with a brilliant short-handed effort. After Burrows hit the post on a breakaway from his own blue line, Kesler stole the puck again before Colorado’s power-play unit could get back out of its own end and fed cross-ice to Burrows for a quick shot. Andrew Raycroft slid across and stacked the pads to stop him, but Burrows was alone with plenty of time to deposit the rebound into an empty net for his seventh goal in seven games.

Pyatt made it 3-0 just 2 seconds after another Colorado penalty expired, but Colorado got that back on Smyth s power-play deflection _ and 25th goal of the season _ early in the second period.

Tucker celebrated his 34th birthday with a gift from Luongo 14 seconds into the third. The goalie fumbled a dump in behind his own net and Tucker banked a shot from behind the net in off Luongo as he scrambled to get back in goal.

Luongo redeemed himself with a great glove stop off Paul Stastny on a power play a minute later, and got lucky when a pair of Colorado players missed open nets.

The Avalanche lost defenseman Daniel Tjarnqvist when he was hit near the right eye by a Canucks slap shot midway through the second period. Tjarnqvist was escorted immediately to the locker room, leaving a trail of blood on the ice as he was helped off, and did not return to the game.

Raycroft, starting for the first time in five games after Peter Budaj won three of the last four games, finished with 19 saves.

Notes:@ D Lawrence Nycholat, claimed from the Canucks off waivers by Calgary and then dealt to Colorado at the trade deadline as part of the deal that sent Jordan Leopold back to the Flames, played his second game with the Avalanche after being a healthy scratch the first four. … Veteran Colorado D Adam Foote missed a second straight game with a head injury sustained when Minnesota agitator Cal Clutterbuck hit him Thursday. Forward Cody McCormick also missed the second game of a two-game suspension for coming to Foote’s defense and cross-checking Clutterbuck.

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