J.T. Miller tallied a career-high five assists and the Vancouver Canucks dominated the visiting Arizona Coyotes 7-1 on Thursday.
The result extended the Canucks’ win streak to five straight games and preserved Vancouver’s faint hopes of securing a playoff position. The team sits five points below the Nashville Predators and Dallas Stars, who hold the two Western Conference wild-card spots.
Rookie Vasily Podkolzin had two goals and an assist, Alex Chiasson scored twice, and Sheldon Dries, Elias Pettersson and Conor Garland all added goals for the Canucks (37-28-10). Quinn Hughes notched three helpers.
Andrew Ladd replied for the Coyotes (22-47-5), who lost their fifth straight.
It was a relatively quiet night in net for Thatcher Demko, who made 21 saves for the win.
That’s 🖐 in a row! pic.twitter.com/0X2Rkfxknj
— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) April 15, 2022
Arizona’s Karel Vejmelka stopped 16-of-22 shots before being replaced by Harri Sateri to start the third period. Sateri made four saves in relief.
Vancouver came into the third with a dominant lead and continued to run up the score with Chiasson netting his second tally of the night midway through the period.
Miller dished a slick pass to the veteran forward and he blasted a one-timer past Sateri stick side at the 8:26 mark for his 12th goal of the year.
Miller’s five-point night marked a career high. The 29-year-old forward leads Vancouver in scoring this season with 91 points (29 goals, 62 assists).
Podkolzin buried his second goal of the night with 26.6 seconds left in the middle frame, blasting a one-timer from the faceoff circle to give the Canucks a 6-1 lead.
Garland put away the home side’s fifth of the night 15:39 into the period, finding space between Vejmelka and his post with a wrist shot from the hash marks.
Just 14 seconds earlier, Podkolzin found the back of the net for Vancouver’s third power-play goal of the game after Kyle Capobianco was called for tripping.
Podkolzin pulled the puck across the top of the crease and sent a backhand past Vejmelka while falling to the ice for his 12th goal of the campaign.
Arizona got on the board midway through the second when Kessel sent a shot soaring toward the Vancouver net from the top of the faceoff circle. Demko made the stop but the puck landed at his pads and Ladd shovelled it in over the goal line to cut the deficit to 3-1.
Pettersson added to the Canucks’ cushion 4:29 into the middle frame after the Coyotes were called for too many men.
The Swedish star blasted a one-timer from inside the faceoff circle for his 27th goal of the season.
Vancouver lost a key piece early in the second period when Bo Horvat took a shot from Anton Stralman off the inside of his right ankle. He went directly to the locker room and did not return to the game.
Horvat came into the matchup riding a five-game point streak where he amassed five goals and three assists.
The Canucks closed out the first with a 2-0 lead.
Arizona’s J.J. Moser was called for tripping, giving Vancouver its second man advantage of the night.
With just seconds left in the power play, Brad Hunt launched a rocket from the top of the slot and Dries tipped it in for his first goal in a Canucks jersey.
Vancouver went 3-for-4 on the power play Thursday and Arizona was 1-for-2.
Chiasson opened the scoring 10:19 into the game, deflected in a puck from Miller.
The marker extended his point streak to five games, with four goals and four assists across the stretch.
The Canucks will continue a five-game homestand Monday when they host the Dallas Stars. The Coyotes will take on the Flames in Calgary on Saturday.
NOTES: Garland is on a five-game point streak with two goals and five assists … The Canucks swept the three-game season series between the two sides.
THE CANADIAN PRESS