Canada

Canucks’ losing skid hits 4 games as Coyotes cash in crucial win

Lawson Crouse broke a tie midway through the third period as the Arizona Coyotes used a 4-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks to tighten the playoff race in the NHL’s Western Conference.

A wild third period saw the teams combine for five goals and two lead changes.

Crouse and Nick Schmaltz scored goals 2:29 apart for Arizona. Carl Soderberg had a goal and an assist for the Coyotes (33-27-8), who have won two in a row and three times in four games. Oliver Ekman-Larsson added an empty-net goal to go with an assist.

Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson scored goals less than three minutes apart for the Canucks (34-26-6), who lost their fourth consecutive game.

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The win moves the Coyotes into a three-way tie with Vancouver and Winnipeg in points (74) for the two wild-card playoff spots in the Western Conference.

Arizona goalie Darcy Kuemper made 36 saves. Vancouver goaltender Thatcher Demko, making his fourth start for the injured Jacob Markstrom, stopped 36 shots.

Toffoli tied the game 1-1 at 3:19 on a power play. He took a pass at the side of the net from J.T. Miller and lifted a shot into a tight space over Kuemper’s shoulder for his 23rd goal of the season.

Pearson made it 2-1 when he knocked in the rebound of a Jake Virtanen shot at 6:16.

Schmaltz tied the game for Arizona at 10:10. He tipped a shot that Demko stopped but slipped in the rebound.

Crouse put the Coyotes ahead at 12:29 by tipping in an Ekman-Larsson point shot.

The Coyotes led 1-0 after 40 minutes on the strength of a strange first-period goal.

With the Coyotes on a power play, Soderberg ran into Canuck defenceman Oscar Fantenberg behind the net. The puck flipped into the air and over Demko’s shoulder into the net at 7:27.

Demko later made a big leg save on a Taylor Hall shot and stopped Phil Kessel on a partial breakaway.

Kuemper had a busy second period, stopping Virtanen on a breakaway, blocking a Toffoli drive from the face-off circle, and stopping a tip on a power play.

There were also some anxious moments when Demko ventured out of his net and was knocked down in a collision with Hall and Canuck defenceman Chris Tanev. Demko looked to be in pain but stayed in the game after the training staff examined his left leg.

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