Vrbata scores 2 to lead Coyotes past Canucks
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — The Arizona Coyotes are finally out of last place.
Radim Vrbata scored two goals against his former team, and the Arizona Coyotes jumped out of the cellar in the Pacific Division with a 4-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday night.
Luke Schenn and Alexander Burmistrov also scored for Arizona, and Max Domi had two assists. Louis Domingue stopped 26 shots to help the Coyotes win for the third time in four games and move a point ahead of the Canucks in the standings. Arizona has one game remaining while Vancouver has two.
“You want to have that good feeling going into summer and know that you can win early next year,” Vrbata said. “There’s not much to play for, but there’s lots of guys who want to improve, there’s a lot of guys who are playing for their contracts, so you want to do things right. We’ve played some good games the last two months.”
Nikolay Goldobin had the tying goal in the first period, and Brock Boeser and Daniel Sedin scored in the third for Vancouver, which lost its sixth straight. Henrik Sedin had three assists and Ryan Miller finished with 18 saves.
Vrbata, who played for the Canucks from 2014-16 and is the Coyotes’ leader in goals and assists this season, put Arizona ahead 2-1 early in the second period. The 35-year-old reached 20 goals in a season for the sixth time in his career.
“He’s just a real consummate pro who’s played real well for us,” Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. “Playing against his old team, I’m sure he wanted to finish that off right. I think he wants to finish the year out strong.”
The Coyotes scored twice on the power play and are 6 for 12 on the man advantage over their last five games.
Schenn’s first goal of the season - in his 77th game in his first season in Arizona and first in 100 games - came six minutes into the first period as the veteran defenseman stuffed a loose puck past Miller’s glove side.
“Better late than never,” Schenn said. “I don’t have to go into next season thinking that I didn’t score last year.”
The Canucks answered less than two minutes later. The Sedins teamed up to get the puck to Goldobin for an easy goal. It was Goldobin’s second in 12 games with the Canucks.
The Coyotes went ahead 2-1 just 55 seconds into the second as Vrbata got the puck off the boards behind the net and caught Miller out of position.
A holding penalty on Michael Chaput at 9:33 of the middle period gave the Coyotes a power play. Just seven seconds later, Alex Goligoski unleashed a slap shot that was deflected to Burmistrov, who knocked in the rebound for his fourth goal in the last four games.
Vrbata scored again with 3:49 left in the second on another power play for his 20th to put Vancouver ahead 4-1. His shot hit Miller and rolled across the goal line.
The Canucks got a power-play goal at 1:47 of the third when Boeser scored to make it 4-2. After Domi missed a penalty shot at 6:03, Daniel Sedin’s 15th of the season about 6 1/2 minutes later pulled Vancouver within one.
The Canucks pulled Miller for an extra attacker with 1:45 to play but couldn’t get the tying goal.
“Our first period was the most decent, our second was not good enough,” Daniel Sedin said. “Being down 4-1 to a team is tough ... we had a good pushback but it wasn’t enough.”
NOTES: Henrik Sedin has 51 points in 64 career games against Arizona, most among Canucks skaters. ...Vrbata was back after missing his first game of the season due to a lower-body injury. ... F Shane Doan also returned after missing the previous game due to injury. Doan is closing in on the end of his 21st NHL season, all with the Coyotes franchise. ... D Kevin Connauton was issued a 10-minute misconduct after a three-player scrap early in the third period.
Canucks: Host Edmonton on Saturday in the opener of a season-ending home-and-home set.
Coyotes: Host Minnesota on Saturday to close the season.