DENVER – Despite a rash of injuries to their stable of forwards, the Vancouver Canucks have managed to stay in the hunt for a fifth consecutive Northwest Division title.
The Canucks moved back into the top spot Sunday with a 3-2 win against the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center. They now have 40 points, two more than the second-place Minnesota Wild, who have played two fewer games.
Dale Weise became the fifth current Vancouver forward to be sidelined by an injury when he hurt his shoulder Saturday in a 1-0 win in Los Angeles, but the Canucks still had enough offense to knock off the Avalanche.
Jason Garrison, Mason Raymond and Alex Burrows scored goals to support goalie Cory Schneider, who stopped 26 shots for his fourth consecutive win. Schneider has held opponents to five goals in the streak.
Raymond and Burrows scored in the second period when the Canucks grabbed a 3-1 lead. Raymond beat Avalanche goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere at 3:13 to break a 1-1 tie with a shot from just outside the left circle. Burrows skated down the right circle to convert Andrew Ebbett's pass at 14:29.
Garrison opened the scoring for the Canucks with a power-play goal at 5:18 of the first period and Jamie McGinn answered for the Avalanche at 9:18 off a cross-ice pass from PA Parenteau on a 2-on-1 rush.
The Canucks were shorthanded four times in the third period and gave up a power-play goal to Parenteau with 2:31 remaining.
Colorado lost two players to injury Sunday – center Paul Stastny left in the first period with a foot injury and defenseman Ryan Wilson departed in the second period when he aggravated an ankle injury.
The Avalanche will now travel to Canada to play the Calgary Flames on Wednesday before taking on the Canucks in Vancouver on Thursday.