Coyotes score 3 third-period goals for first home win

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet saw Thursday night’s game as a must-win, and Arizona was up for the task.

It just took a couple of periods to get going.

Clayton Keller and Brad Richardson scored during Arizona’s three-goal third, and the Coyotes beat the first-place Vancouver Canucks 4-1.

“In our eyes, it was a game that we needed,” Tocchet said. “We were a little sloppy the first couple (of periods). But the third period, the players dug in, which I’m proud of.”

Keller took advantage of a turnover in Vancouver’s zone to make it 2-1 about four minutes into the third, and Richardson scored short-handed about eight minutes later. Lawson Crouse added an empty-net goal.

Arizona ended a two-game home skid and has won three of four overall. The Coyotes played the first of five games at home after a four-game road trip.

“We got better as the game went along. It definitely wasn’t pretty but we got the job done, and that’s what matters the most,” Keller said. “I kind of just shot it five-hole, it’s definitely a shot I like to do when you’ve got two guys and the goalie starts to cheat a little bit.”

Alex Goligoski scored in the second period for the first goal by a Coyotes defenseman this season. It was also Arizona’s first goal on home ice.

The injury-riddled Canucks were without several key players, including three who got hurt in a win Wednesday night at Vegas. The Pacific Division leaders played their first back-to-back set this season.

Darcy Kuemper stopped 27 shots in place of Arizona starter Antti Raanta, who sat out a second straight game due to illness.

Anders Nilsson had 26 saves for the Canucks, and Darren Archibald scored.

Vancouver had two good chances to score in the first period, but Loui Eriksson’s shot from in close was stopped by Kuemper, and Derrick Pouliot hit a post with a power-play shot.

“Just sticking with it,” Kuemper said. “We expected a tough game.”

Goligoski flipped a backhand out of Nilsson’s reach 43 seconds into the second. The Canucks responded at 2:23 when Archibald redirected Troy Stecher’s long shot off a faceoff.

“All the guys were feeling it today, the travel and a couple of bodies going down (Wednesday),” Archibald said of playing back-to-back games.

Crouse and Canucks forward Antoine Roussel came to blows in the second period and were both penalized for roughing. Crouse and Roussel were also involved in a scuffle at center ice late in the period after Roussel pulled Keller down from behind.

Both Roussel and Crouse, who came to Keller’s defense, were given 10-minute misconduct penalties.

Keller said Crouse and captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson supporting him “means everything” to him.

“It shows what kind of guys they are, sticking up for me,” Keller said.

NOTES: Vancouver F Brock Boeser remained out with a groin injury and was scratched along with D Christopher Tanev. D Alexander Edler will need an MRI when the team returns to Canada, and F Sven Baertschi is in concussion protocol. … With their injuries on defense, the Canucks called up Alex Biega and Guillaume Brisebois from Utica of the AHL. Biega played and Brisebois was scratched. … Coyotes F Mario Kempe was assigned to AHL Tucson on Thursday.

UP NEXT

Arizona host Tampa Bay on Saturday.