DENVER – A night after a tough loss, the Vancouver Canucks avoided a letdown against the reeling and banged-up Colorado Avalanche.
Jason LaBarbera made 22 saves, and twins Daniel and Henrik Sedin scored goals to help the Canucks hand Colorado its sixth consecutive loss, 4-1 on Friday night.
Playing the fourth game in a six-game trip and the second game in two nights – the Canucks dropped a 4-2 decision in St. Louis on Thursday – Vancouver made sure it didn’t take injury-depleted Colorado lightly.
“Not right now,” Henrik Sedin said. “Maybe if the game would have been in December, but we knew we needed these points. It took a while for us to get going but once we did we knew we were going to beat them.”
Pavol Demitra and Alexander Edler also scored for Vancouver, which beat Colorado for the second straight time after losing eight straight in the series.
“The first period was a little bit challenging, guys were trying to find their legs,” Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said. “Play picked up in the second and we generated a lot of shots and quite a few chances.
“We got two quick goals at the beginning of the third and did what we had to do to win the game.”
T.J. Galiardi opened the scoring for Colorado with his first NHL goal, beating LaBarbera with a wrist shot with 6:35 left in the first period.
Minutes after Demitra failed to score in a penalty shot, Henrik Sedin tied it with 6:46 left in the second period.
Vancouver was awarded the penalty shot after Ian Laperriere kicked away a teammate’s broken stick and it inadvertently struck the puck as the Canucks were trying to score, drawing 10-minute misconduct-and game-misconduct infractions.
Demitra, gathering speed as he approached the net, fired a backhander, but goaltender Andrew Raycroft managed to get his arm in the way and the puck deflected off his glove.
The stop was among 15 saves in the second period for Raycroft, including one while sprawled on his belly to help kill one of the Canucks’ four power plays in the period.
Vancouver kept up the pressure, though, breaking through for the go-ahead goal 37 seconds into the third period. Raycroft was unable to control a rebound and Daniel Sedin, positioned in the crease, poked it into the net for his 28th goal.
“We were taking pucks to the net and taking a lot of shots,” Henrik Sedin said. “We thought if we kept shooting like we were and get a few bodies in front we were going to beat him. And we did.”
Galiardi said scoring his first career goal was “pretty special,” but that it was also bittersweet because it came in a losing effort.
The rookie is among eight young players for Colorado who have made their NHL debuts this season, reflective of the injuries that have sidelined such frontline players as Paul Stastny and Joe Sakic.
“That’s what happens with injuries,” Galiardi said. “We’ve got a lot younger here and we’re trying to learn as much as we can.”
Demitra scored his 18th goal of the season with 15:33 left, and Edler added his 10th with 2:09 remaining.
Notes: Colorado’s Wojtek Wolski was a late scratch because of illness. … Vancouver’s Taylor Pyatt remains an assist shy of 100 for his career. … The Canucks completed the 10th of 11 back-to-back sets this season, improving to 11-8-1 in games played on successive nights. … Colorado announced the signing of former University of Minnesota forward Ryan Stoa to an entry-level contract. He was a second-round draft pick in 2005. … Colorado defenceman Wes O’Neil made his NHL debut after being recalled from the Lake Erie Monsters of the AHL.