Coyotes 5, Canucks 4

The Phoenix Coyotes’ trade for Antoine Vermette is starting to

pay off.

Vermette scored the winning goal and added two assists as the

Coyotes held on for a 5-4 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on

Wednesday night.

The Coyotes won for the second time in eight games (2-4-2) after

overcoming an early 2-0 deficit against a rejuvenated Canucks squad

that featured several different forward and defense

combinations.

”We didn’t make it easy on ourselves to go out and spot them a

2-0 lead early,” Phoenix coach Dave Tippitt said. ”But we knew

they were going to come hard (after) all the talk about days off

and being rested.”

Rostislav Klesla, Shane Doan, Oliver Ekman-Larson, and Gilbert

Brule also scored for Phoenix, and Ray Whitney had three assists.

The seventh-place Coyotes increased their lead to three points over

the San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference.

After a slow start following a Feb. 22 trade from last-place

Columbus, Vermette has two goals and four assists in his past five

games after getting just one point in his first six.

”It is (nice to contribute), no doubt about that. First couple

of games it was almost a joke,” he said. ”I was right around it

and if you keep doing the right things it’s nice to get rewarded at

such good timing. Guys are playing well and it’s nice to get

rewarded.”

Alex Burrows, Ryan Kesler, David Booth, and Dan Hamhuis scored

for the Canucks, who have lost six of eight. Hamhuis’ goal was his

first in 35 games.

Vancouver was 2 for 3 on the power play while Phoenix was 2 for

2. Both teams had gone five games without scoring with the man

advantage.

The high-scoring game came after the teams’ previous two

matchups were both decided by 2-1 scores, with each getting a

win.

”It’s usually not the way we want to play, but certainly we’ll

take the points tonight,” Vermette said. ”If we find a way to

win, that’s good. But, usually, we play a tighter defensive game.

We’ll take it at this point no matter how we get it.”

Brule’s tiebreaking goal gave the Coyotes a 4-3 lead with 1:39

left in the second period as Taylor Pyatt put a shot in off him as

he stood in the crease over fallen goalie Roberto Luongo. The goal

was allowed to stand following a video review.

Vermette gave the Coyotes a two-goal cushion on a power play

1:38 into the third period as he put in Ekman-Larson’s rebound. The

goal came after Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa took a retaliatory

slashing penalty on Daymond Langkow.

Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said his club gave up too many

odd-man rushes that resulted in goals.

”There’s a lot of things that we have to clean up, because if

you look at their chances, that’s where their chances came from,”

Vigneault said. ”It wasn’t from spending a lot of time in our end,

because they didn’t spend a lot of time in our end tonight.”

Hamhuis pulled Vancouver to 5-4 with 7:49 remaining as he moved

in from his point position to stuff in Daniel Sedin’s rebound. The

goal was Hamhuis’ first since Dec. 23 against Calgary.

”We played good enough to win tonight but they ended up getting

one more than us,” Bieksa said. ”A potential first-round opponent

right there. We got a taste of what that series would be

like.”

Burrows made coach Alain Vigneault’s decision to pair him with

Jannik Hansen on the third line look smart right away. On the

line’s first shift of the game, Burrows put in Hansen’s pass from

behind the net at 2:18. The puck fluttered past Phoenix goalie Mike

Smith after Burrows failed to get good shot on it.

Kesler made it 2-0 about 7 minutes later as he knocked in Henrik

Sedin’s cross-ice pass during a power play. The assist was Sedin’s

first point in nine games and the power-play goal was Vancouver’s

first since the last meeting with Phoenix on Feb. 28.

The goal came moments after Smith had robbed Kesler on a similar

play, gloving his slap shot from roughly the same spot.

Klesla pulled Phoenix within a goal at 11:22 of the first as he

fired in Vermette’s long rebound. Doan tied the score about 5

minutes later as he went wide around Luongo on a 2-on-1 and jammed

the puck past the goalie.

”It was one of those that you’re coming across trying to get to

the net,” Doan said. ”(Whitney) told me about trying to stuff it.

… I found a way.”

The teams combined for 31 shots in the first period as Vancouver

outshot Phoenix 18-13.

In the second period, the Canucks took a too-many-men penalty,

and it cost them as Ekman-Larson put in a slap shot at 7:58 during

the ensuing power play. The puck appeared to hit Hansen’s skate as

he cover the Coyotes’ defenseman near the blue line and then change

direction.

But the Canucks got a power-play chance of their own soon after

the goal, and Booth put in Chris Higgins’ pass from behind the net

to tie it at 3-3.

NOTES: Vancouver winger Manny Malhotra was an unexpected scratch

due to an undisclosed personal issue. He took part in the club’s

morning skate. … Canucks winger Dale Weise played after being

scratched for the previous six games.