Canucks hang tough to wrangle Coyotes
Mom power aids Vancouver's 2nd road victory in 2 nights
The Vancouver moms might have to become regulars on the Canucks' road show.
Ryan Miller stopped 33 shots to end a five-game losing streak and the Canucks won their second straight road game with their mothers in the stands, holding off the Arizona Coyotes 2-1 on Wednesday night.
"We said that if we won tonight, there probably would be another moms' trip next year," said Vancouver defenceman Alex Biega, who made a late goal-saving play. "I bet you're going to see a bunch of moms falling into that promise. I guess they were our good luck charms."
Whether or not playing in front of their mothers has anything to do with it, the Canucks have started playing well at just the right time.
Vancouver knocked off Colorado on Tuesday night and, despite losing two more players to injuries, played a crisp game on the second night of a back-to-back.
Jake Virtanen scored in the first period and Jannik Hansen had his 16th of the season on a double carom off two Coyotes players in the second. Miller made some big saves in the third period and got some help from Biega, who saved a goal after a shot by Kyle Chipchura trickled past his sprawled-out goalie.
Whoa <a href="https://t.co/ExXsrWYGUz">pic.twitter.com/ExXsrWYGUz</a>—@VanCanucks
Miller improved to 9-1 against Arizona, including 6-0 in Glendale, and the Canucks moved into a tie for ninth in the Western Conference.
"It was all about battling," Canucks coach Willie Desjardins said. "Some of our boys were tired, but we kept battling."
The Coyotes played a solid game, yet continued their slide down the standings.
Arizona had a goal wiped off by a coach's challenge, gave up one that caromed off two players and hit the post at least once in the third period.
The Coyotes' playoffs hopes are fading fast after their fifth straight loss and ninth in 11 games.
"It's hard when you're losing to find a way to win," said Martin Hanzal, who scored a power-play goal. "That's going to share the character of the group — we have to start winning."
Scrapping to stay in race
The game was a big one for two teams scrapping to stay in the Western Conference race.
The Canucks moved into a tie Tuesday with the sliding Coyotes for 10th in the conference (54 points) with their 3-1 win over Colorado. Jacob Markstrom started for Vancouver in that game, but Miller was back between the pipes, hoping to end a five-game winless streak (0-3-2).
The Coyotes went back to their starting goalie — at least while Mike Smith is injured — against the Canucks, sending out Louis Domingue after Anders Lindback allowed five goals in a loss to Anaheim.
Domingue had not been sharp after a stellar start to his rookie season, allowing 15 goals in three straight starts, but was had 24 saves against the Canucks.
Vancouver got one past him early in Wednesday's game, with Virtanen scoring on a one-timer on a feed from Jared McCann after he pulled up and let the defence slide by.
The Coyotes appeared to tie it late in the period, when Dahlbeck beat Miller off his glove from just inside the blue line. Vancouver challenged the call, saying the Coyotes were offside when they entered the zone, and the officials wiped away the goal after a review.
"It was offside, so there's nothing you can really do," Hanzal said.
Arizona did tie it on a power play early in the second period, when Hanzal took a crossing pass from Max Domi after a cross by Anthony Duclair.
The Canucks took the lead back late in the period with a double-Coyote carom. Hansen got the goal on a shot from the left circle that glanced off Arizona's Connor Murphy, then defenceman Oliver Ekman-Larsson into the goal.
Miler stopped some tough chances in third period, getting help from the post on one shot and Biega's big save to seal the victory.
"When you score one goal, it's usually not going to cut it," Domi said. "We did some good things tonight, but the end of the day, doing some good things just isn't good enough."