VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) -Marek Svatos had two goals and an assist, and linemate Tyler Arnason added a goal and two assists, leading the Colorado Avalanche to a 6-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday night.
Milan Hejduk also had two goals, Brett Clark scored one, and Jose Theodore made 23 saves as Colorado won for the fourth time in six games to stay within a point of Minnesota in the Northwest Division, four points ahead of Vancouver.
Henrik Sedin and Sami Salo scored power-play goals, and Roberto Luongo made 17 saves before being pulled for the Canucks, who have one win in their last six games - and two in the last 11 - to fall to ninth place in the Western Conference.
|Avalanche right wing Milan Hejduk, left, is congratulated by teammate Jordan Leopold, right, after scoring on the Vancouver Canucks on February 9, 2008, in Vancouver. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)|
Despite missing injured top scorers Joe Sakic, Ryan Smyth and Paul Stastny, the Avalanche jumped out to a 3-0 lead after the first period. They added two more 20 seconds apart late in the second, taking advantage of a Canucks team missing top defensemen Willie Mitchell, Kevin Bieksa, Aaron Miller and Lukas Krajicek.
Vancouver actually buzzed Theodore in the opening minutes, but for all their puck possession and movement in the Colorado end, the Canucks failed to generate a shot.
At the other end, Arnason opened the scoring by driving to the net - between four stationary Canucks players - to tap in a rebound of Svatos' wraparound attempt at 9:10. Hejduk snuck between two Canucks in the slot to snap home Jaroslav Hlinka's pass from the behind the net just over two minutes later.
Svatos made it 3-0 with 2:55 left in the first, jamming in his second chance at Arnason's rebound after Luongo made the first four saves in a scramble.
Sedin, guilty of standing around on the first two goals, shoveled a power-play rebound past Theodore 7:37 into the second period.
However, Clark beat Luongo with a seeing-eye point shot on the power play with 3:19 left in the period, and Svatos added his second goal 20 seconds later, again driving the net, this time to knock in a pass from Arnason cutting hard in off the left wing.
Canucks backup goalie Curtis Sanford replaced Luongo to start the third period, and Salo blew a power-play point shot past Theodore just 1:22 in. Salo hit a post on another power play just over a minute later, but Hejduk rounded out the scoring with his second goal - on Colorado s first shot of the third - at 9:21.
Theodore, who returned from missing three games because of a back injury to beat San Jose on Wednesday, improved to 8-4-1 in 2008, posting a 1.86 goals-against average and .933 save-percentage in his last 12 starts coming into this game.
Notes: Colorado LW Wojtek Wolski had three assists and C T.J Hensick extended his point streak to four games with an assist. ... The Canucks recalled C Ryan Shannon from Manitoba of the AHL for the game. .... Stastny, the Avs leading scorer with 49 points, is practicing with the team and expected to return soon after having an emergency appendectomy on Jan. 18.