NHL: Kesler leads Canucks past Phoenix

2013-04-09T00:00:00Z NHL: Kesler leads Canucks past PhoenixThe Associated Press The Associated Press
April 09, 2013 12:00 am  • 

VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Ryan Kesler scored in his return to the lineup after a 20-game absence, Cory Schneider made 19 saves and the Vancouver Canucks defeated the Phoenix Coyotes 2-0 on Monday night.

Kesler returned from a foot fracture he sustained in his first game back after shoulder and wrist surgeries last summer.

Kesler scored at 7:26 of the first period on what looked to be a failed odd-man rush. Kevin Bieksa took a pass at the point from Zack Kassian but fanned on his shot.

However, the puck came right to Mason Raymond at the side of the net, who bounced it off the post to where Kesler was to score.

Schneider picked up his fifth shutout of the season, tying Phoenix's Mike Smith and Nashville's Pekka Rinne for first in the NHL. It was his 11th consecutive start and his ninth career clean sheet.

Schneider and the Canucks had to kill off a penalty with just over a minute left in regulation when Kesler took a tripping penalty in the offensive zone. But Keith Yandle missed a pass from Antoine Vermette and the puck went the distance for a short-handed empty-net goal credited to defenseman Dan Hamhuis.

Canucks blue-liner Jason Garrison went off with 22 seconds to play, giving Phoenix a short six-on-three advantage, but Schneider, Alex Burrows, Hamhuis and Jannik Hansen kept the puck out of the Vancouver goal.

Vancouver moved four points up on Minnesota in the Northwest Division standings, going 9-2-0 in their past 11 games, including three-straight wins.

Smith stopped 40 shots for the Coyotes, who lost their three-game win streak and missed a chance to edge closer to Detroit for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. It was their first regulation loss in seven games.

Despite the low score, there were a few quality scoring chances that kept the 18,910 fans at Rogers Arena in their seats.

Martin Hanzal had Phoenix's fourth and fifth shots of the game, getting two cracks at Schneider just outside the blue paint with about seven minutes to go in the first period. But the Vancouver netminder held his ground, keeping the Canucks up 1-0.

• Maple Leafs 4, Rangers 3: In Toronto, Phil Kessel scored twice to lead the Toronto Maple Leafs past the New York Rangers to open an important home-and-home series between the Eastern Conference rivals.

Toronto (22-13-4) remained fifth in the Eastern Conference standings, moving four points ahead of idle Ottawa with its fifth win in six games.

Derek Stepan pulled New York into a 3-3 tie at 9:00 of the third period, but Kessel put Toronto back ahead 39 seconds later.

The Rangers (19-16-4) remain tied with the idle New York Islanders for seventh in the Eastern Conference with 42 points.

• Bruins 6, Hurricanes 2: In Boston, Brad Marchand scored two goals, Tuukka Rask stopped 40 shots, and Boston scored a season-high in goals while winning for the fourth time in five games.

Rich Peverley, Andrew Ference, Jordan Caron and Nathan Horton each added a goal, and defenseman Dennis Seidenberg established a career-high with three assists for Boston, which moved a point behind Montreal in the Northeast Division.

Patrick Dwyer and Drayson Bowman scored for the Hurricanes, who lost for the 12th time in 13 games, 11 of them coming in regulation.

Carolina has allowed four or more goals in 10 of its last 14.

• Flames 3, Avalanche 1: In Denver, Mike Cammalleri broke a second-period tie and Joey MacDonald stopped a season-high 39 shots, helping the Calgary Flames snap a 13-game road winless streak with a victory over the slumping Colorado Avalanche.

Roman Cervenka also scored and Alex Tanguay added a late short-handed goal to wrap up the win for the Flames in a game that featured the bottom two teams in the NHL.

• Ducks 2, Oilers 1: In Anaheim, Calif., Radek Dvorak scored two goals, Jonas Hiller made 27 saves after missing four games because of an illness, and the Anaheim Ducks beat the Edmonton Oilers.

The Ducks moved closer to their second Pacific Division title in franchise history and first since their 2006-07 Stanley Cup championship season. They lead Pittsburgh by one point for the NHL's second-best overall record and trail Chicago by three with eight games remaining.

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