MacEwen scores 2, Canucks double up Avalanche 6-3

NHL Hockey

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP)Zack MacEwen scored two goals and the Vancouver Canucks beat the Colorado Avalanche 6-3 on Friday night to snap a four-game losing streak and move into contention for a playoff spot in the tight Western Conference.

J.T. Miller and Antoine Roussel each had a goal and an assist for Vancouver, which managed to hang on to a third-period lead. Troy Stecher added a goal and Tanner Pearson scored into an an empty net for the Canucks, who had squandered third-period leads in their last two losses.

Erik Johnson and Gabriel Landeskog each had a goal and an assist for the Avalanche, who lost in regulation for the first time in 10 games (7-1-2). Valeri Nichushkin added a goal and Nathan MacKinnon had two assists.

The win moves Vancouver into a tie with Winnipeg for the first wild-card spot in the West with 76 points. Colorado remains second in the West with 88 points, two back of St. Louis.

Vancouver goaltender Thatcher Demko, making his fifth start for the injured Jacob Markstrom, stopped 29 shots. Avalanche goalie Pavel Francouz made 19 saves.

MacEwen put the game away at 16:13 of the third when he took a pass from behind the net from Roussel and beat Francouz.

The Canucks scored twice in the second period and got a big save from Demko to lead 4-3 after 40 minutes.

Vancouver took a 3-1 lead at 2:13 when MacEwen collected a puck as his own blue line, skated the length of the ice and beat Francouz with a low, hard shot.

The Avalanche scored just 1:13 later when Landeskog beat Demko on the stick side. Nichushkin tied the game at 8:04 on a 2-on-1 breakaway. Roussel put Vancouver back in front at 12:17 by deflecting in an Adam Gaudette pass.

Demko had the crowd on its feet cheering when he stopped MacKinnon on a breakaway, then managed to get his heel on Vladislav Kamenev’s shot on the rebound. Kamenev crashed into Demko, but the puck stayed out of the net.

The Canucks led 2-1 after the first period despite being outshot 17-7 and outplayed for long stretches.

Stecher scored just 82 seconds into the game. He took a feed from Miller and blasted a shot from the top of the face-off circle that sailed over Francouz’s glove.

Elias Pettersson showed patience setting up Miller’s goal at 12:29. After picking up a puck chipped along the boards, Pettersson broke into the Colorado zone then waited for defenseman Ian Cole to commit himself before passing to Miller, who had an open net for his 27th of the season.

The Avs scored 48 seconds later when MacKinnon drove to the net, stopped, turned and passed to Johnson, who shot the puck through Demko.

NOTES: There was a video tribute during the first period for Montreal Canadiens’ legend Henri Richard who died Friday. . Defenseman Tyler Myers returned to the Canucks lineup after missing Wednesday’s game due to injury. . Defenseman Alex Edler collected his 300th NHL assist on Vancouver’s first goal. . After taking a 2-0 lead, Vancouver didn’t have a shot on goal for the final 7:31 of the first period.

UP NEXT

Avalanche: At San Jose Sharks on Sunday.

Canucks: Host Columbus Blue Jackets Sunday.

More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

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