VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Jake Virtanen scored the go-ahead goal midway through the second period and Jacob Markstrom made 34 saves to lead the Vancouver Canucks to a 3-1 victory over the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday night.
Bo Horvat also scored and Tanner Pearson had an empty-net goal for the Canucks, who won for the 10th time in 13 games.
Markstrom, who made his 16th start in 18 games, made a right-pad save on Jason Demers late in the third period to preserve the win.
Vancouver’s victory made an already tight Pacific Division even closer. Arizona and Calgary are tied with 57 points, Vegas and Vancouver are next with 56, while Edmonton is one behind them.
Christian Dvorak scored for the Coyotes, who are 1-3-1 over their last five games. Adin Hill, making his third straight start, made 22 saves.
Virtanen scored the only goal of the second period, when the game was tied at 1. He took a pass from J.T. Miller and swooped behind the Arizona net before backhanding a shot that hit Hill’s left skate and bounced into the net. It was his 14th goal of the season, one less than his career high set last year, but gave him a career-best 26 points.
A defensive miscue set up the Coyotes’ opening goal at 7:59. When Vancouver defenseman Tyler Myers failed to clear a bouncing puck, Taylor Hall found Dvorak in front of the net. He scored his 12th of the season with a low shot to the far side.
Vancouver made it 1-1 on a power play at 15:01. Rookie defenseman Quinn Hughes boomed a shot from the blue line that Hill stopped only to have Horvat knock in the rebound. Horvat has 13 points (six goals, seven assists) in the last eight games.
NOTES: Elias Pettersson had a pair of assists for the Canucks. … Pearson’s goal was the 100th of his career. … The Canucks play 18 of their remaining 34 games at Rogers Arena. Vancouver is 15-5-3 at home and 11-13-1 on the road. … Brandon Sutter returned to Vancouver’s lineup after missing four weeks with what he says was a back issue. … The Canucks were outscored 22-14 while going 2-3-0 in their recent five-game road trip. … Arizona G Antti Raanta (lower body) practiced Thursday and could play Saturday against Edmonton.
Coyotes: at Edmonton on Saturday.
Canucks: host San Jose on Saturday night.
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