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Canucks top Blue Jackets to keep first place hopes alive

VANCOUVER -- The Vancouver Canucks' power play is clicking again, and this time it produced a much-needed win.

Daniel Sedin scored the second of his two goals on a power play Saturday and it stood up for the winner in a 4-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Alex Edler also got into the act, made Blue Jacket penalty killers look like spectators as he scored on an end-to-end dash that provided a 3-1 lead in the second period.

"When you score a (power-play) goal or two you get confidence and all of a sudden the passes are on the stick and you are moving for each other," Sedin said.

The Canucks went 2-for-3 on the power play for the second straight game after struggling through a 1-for-22 stretch.

"There's not a lot of changes in our power play lately," Sedin said when asked why it's suddenly scoring.

"It's just a matter of passes being there, shooting the puck and finding rebounds. It's little things."

The Canucks gave up the opening goal to Vinny Prospal but David Booth and Sedin scored at equal strength in a span of 79 seconds to give Vancouver a 2-1 lead after 20 minutes.

Then Edler turned on the jets on Vancouver's first power-play opportunity.

Canuck goalie Cory Schneider stopped a shoot-in and fired the puck into Edler's skates but the rangy defenceman recovered it, circled his net and took off.

The Columbus penalty killers looked like they expected him to pass but Edler went in alone on goalie Steve Mason and scored after a crafty deke for his career-high 11th goal of the season.

"I was just thinking to get some speed behind the net and maybe they didn't expect it," said Edler, who couldn't remember scoring a goal like that -- even in his junior days with the WHL Kelowna Rockets. "There was an opening there so I took it.

"I tried not to complicate it too much. I had a lot of speed so (I went) just a little bit to the side ... and a quick shot."

Mason said a lack of communication provided the open ice.

"He started in behind his net, and he's got a lot of ice to work with, and before you know it he's right on top of you," Mason said.

"Something like that doesn't happen very often. It was a bit of miscommunication and it happens."

Coach Alain Vigneault said his young defenceman probably took what the Blue Jackets gave him.

"They probably thought we were going to make a back pass and he just saw the open space and took it," Vigneault said.

The victory ended a two-game losing skid for Vancouver (43-20-8) which won only three of seven straight home games after two losses on the road.

The win also enabled the Canucks to continue their quest for the overall NHL and Western Conference lead as they kept pace with St. Louis.

They remained six points behind the Blues with two games in hand.

The Blue Jackets (22-42-7), who are last in the NHL and 43 points behind Vancouver in the West, lost their fourth straight game.

They haven't beaten the Canucks in regulation since October 2009.

Sedin reached the 30-goal plateau for the fourth time in his career by scooping in the rebound of his own tip-in attempt.

He gave the Canucks their first lead when he took brother Henrik's pass through the crease and beat Mason from a sharp angle.

Jack Johnson brought Columbus to within a goal early in the third period when he blasted Ryan Johansen's face-off win behind Schneider.

James Wisniewski, who was in the penalty box for hooking when Daniel Sedin scored the game-winner, made it close with a goal off another face-off win.

Both goalies had plenty of work with Mason stopping 34 shots and Schneider making 33 saves.

"It wasn't the prettiest game but we responded to a few goals and kept pushing the lead and were able to hang on to it at the end," Schneider said.

Rick Nash, who is six goals shy of his seventh 30-goal season, said the Jackets played well enough to win but mistakes were costly.

"I thought it was a good game by us," Nash said.

"We had a couple of minutes each period where we sat back and they definitely took advantage of us. But for the most part we stuck with it and kept ourselves in the game.

"I think the big difference is our mistakes. Every time we made a big mistake they scored a goal."

Interim head coach Todd Richards said his club, which has long been eliminated from playoff contention, didn't give up.

"We played all the way to final buzzer, in fact we had a great opportunity with about a second to go," Richards said. "We played hard, we just need to play smarter."

Notes: It was the 23rd start of the season for Schneider, one more than last year ... Sammy Pahlsson played 222 games for Columbus before being obtained by Vancouver at the trade deadline ... Aaron Rome, a healthy scratch for the last three games, replaced Marc-Andre Gragnani on the Vancouver blue-line ... the Jackets continue their Western Canada swing Sunday in Calgary while the Canucks begin a four-game road trip Monday against the Minnesota Wild ... the club said centre Manny Malhotra, who missed two games for personal reasons, will be on the trip.


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