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Baertschi scores twice and Canucks beat Avalanche 3-2

January 26, 2017
Vancouver Canucks left wing Sven Baertschi, of the Czech Republic, is congratulated as he passes the team box after scoring a goal against the Colorado Avalanche in the first period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

DENVER (AP) — The Vancouver Canucks waited 50 minutes for a chance on the power play. And then they cashed in.

Sven Baertschi scored his second goal of the game on the power play with 8:14 left, Markus Granlund also had a goal and the Canucks beat the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 on Wednesday night.

Jacob Markstrom stopped 30 shots for the Canucks. Vancouver has 52 points and sits in the second wild card in the Western Conference, one point ahead of Calgary. The Canucks have played two fewer games than the Flames.

They also snapped a four-game winless streak on the road.

“It was good to get that one. I thought it was going to be a tough game and it was,” Vancouver coach Willie Desjardins said. “They’ve got lots of speed up front. They came back, they didn’t quit and it was big for us to get that power-play goal.”

Vancouver took a 2-0 lead early in the second, but the Avalanche tied it on goals by Mikko Rantanen in the second period and Matt Nieto at 6:18 of the third.

Gabriel Landeskog was called for slashing at 10:44 of the third, Colorado’s first penalty of the game, and Baertschi got the winner when he tipped in a pass from Henrik Sedin.

“We’ve been struggling a little bit on the power play so we just tried to simplify it a bit, make the right plays and really just calm it down,” Baertschi said.

Landeskog, who had an assist on Nieto’s goal, took responsibility for the penalty.

“We tie it up and we haven’t done that a whole lot this year,” the Avalanche captain said. “That brain fart on my part in the neutral zone ends up costing us the game.”

Baertschi’s backhander in front of a crowded Colorado net gave the Canucks a 1-0 lead at 6:55 of the first period. Granlund scored off a turnover at 7:04 of the second to make it 2-0 before Colorado rallied.

Baertschi has four goals in his last two games against Colorado and two game-winning tallies.

“I’ve found the right spots out there and been able to capitalize on the chances I get,” he said.

Calvin Pickard had 38 saves, half of them in the first period when Vancouver threw 20 shots on net.

The Avalanche are 1-14-2 at home since Nov. 15. and have scored just 32 goals in those games. Colorado has an NHL-low 93 goals in its 47 games.

Avalanche center Matt Duchene was back in the lineup after missing Monday’s game with a stomach virus. The bug had bothered him for a few days before that, but it really knocked him down when San Jose was in town.

“I had multiple trips to the ER the day of the game,” said Duchene, who had an assist. “I went in the morning and I actually went right after the game. I watched the game on TV and things still weren’t right. So they sent me back. I was there until like 3 a.m. It was just ugly.”

Duchene sat out Tuesday’s practice but was better Wednesday morning.

“I physically couldn’t play the other night,” he said. “It was the better part of four days for me feeling terrible.”

NOTES: The Avalanche placed D Tyson Barrie and F Rene Bourque on IR with lower-body injuries and recalled C Jim O’Brien from San Antonio of the AHL on Tuesday. ... Vancouver D Alexander Edler was in the lineup despite suffering an upper-body injury at Chicago on Sunday. ... Colorado D Francois Beauchemin played in his 800th career game.

UP NEXT

Canucks: Play at Arizona on Thursday night.

Avalanche: Play at Anaheim on Tuesday night after All-Star break.

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