VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) - The Phoenix Coyotes' trade for Antoine Vermette is starting to pay off.
Vermette scored the winning goal and added two assists as the Coyotes held on for a 5-4 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday night.
The Coyotes won for the second time in eight games (2-4-2) after overcoming an early 2-0 deficit against a rejuvenated Canucks squad that featured several different forward and defense combinations.
``We didn't make it easy on ourselves to go out and spot them a 2-0 lead early,' Phoenix coach Dave Tippitt said. ``But we knew they were going to come hard (after) all the talk about days off and being rested.'
Rostislav Klesla, Shane Doan, Oliver Ekman-Larson, and Gilbert Brule also scored for Phoenix, and Ray Whitney had three assists. The seventh-place Coyotes increased their lead to three points over the San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference.
After a slow start following a Feb. 22 trade from last-place Columbus, Vermette has two goals and four assists in his past five games after getting just one point in his first six.
``It is (nice to contribute), no doubt about that. First couple of games it was almost a joke,' he said. ``I was right around it and if you keep doing the right things it's nice to get rewarded at such good timing. Guys are playing well and it's nice to get rewarded.'
Alex Burrows, Ryan Kesler, David Booth, and Dan Hamhuis scored for the Canucks, who have lost six of eight. Hamhuis' goal was his first in 35 games.
Vancouver was 2 for 3 on the power play while Phoenix was 2 for 2. Both teams had gone five games without scoring with the man advantage.
The high-scoring game came after the teams' previous two matchups were both decided by 2-1 scores, with each getting a win.
``It's usually not the way we want to play, but certainly we'll take the points tonight,' Vermette said. ``If we find a way to win, that's good. But, usually, we play a tighter defensive game. We'll take it at this point no matter how we get it.'
Brule's tiebreaking goal gave the Coyotes a 4-3 lead with 1:39 left in the second period as Taylor Pyatt put a shot in off him as he stood in the crease over fallen goalie Roberto Luongo. The goal was allowed to stand following a video review.
Vermette gave the Coyotes a two-goal cushion on a power play 1:38 into the third period as he put in Ekman-Larson's rebound. The goal came after Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa took a retaliatory slashing penalty on Daymond Langkow.
Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said his club gave up too many odd-man rushes that resulted in goals.
``There's a lot of things that we have to clean up, because if you look at their chances, that's where their chances came from,' Vigneault said. ``It wasn't from spending a lot of time in our end, because they didn't spend a lot of time in our end tonight.'
Hamhuis pulled Vancouver to 5-4 with 7:49 remaining as he moved in from his point position to stuff in Daniel Sedin's rebound. The goal was Hamhuis' first since Dec. 23 against Calgary.
``We played good enough to win tonight but they ended up getting one more than us,' Bieksa said. ``A potential first-round opponent right there. We got a taste of what that series would be like.'
Burrows made coach Alain Vigneault's decision to pair him with Jannik Hansen on the third line look smart right away. On the line's first shift of the game, Burrows put in Hansen's pass from behind the net at 2:18. The puck fluttered past Phoenix goalie Mike Smith after Burrows failed to get good shot on it.
Kesler made it 2-0 about 7 minutes later as he knocked in Henrik Sedin's cross-ice pass during a power play. The assist was Sedin's first point in nine games and the power-play goal was Vancouver's first since the last meeting with Phoenix on Feb. 28.
The goal came moments after Smith had robbed Kesler on a similar play, gloving his slap shot from roughly the same spot.
Klesla pulled Phoenix within a goal at 11:22 of the first as he fired in Vermette's long rebound. Doan tied the score about 5 minutes later as he went wide around Luongo on a 2-on-1 and jammed the puck past the goalie.
``It was one of those that you're coming across trying to get to the net,' Doan said. ``(Whitney) told me about trying to stuff it. ... I found a way.'
The teams combined for 31 shots in the first period as Vancouver outshot Phoenix 18-13.
In the second period, the Canucks took a too-many-men penalty, and it cost them as Ekman-Larson put in a slap shot at 7:58 during the ensuing power play. The puck appeared to hit Hansen's skate as he cover the Coyotes' defenseman near the blue line and then change direction.
But the Canucks got a power-play chance of their own soon after the goal, and Booth put in Chris Higgins' pass from behind the net to tie it at 3-3.
NOTES: Vancouver winger Manny Malhotra was an unexpected scratch due to an undisclosed personal issue. He took part in the club's morning skate. ... Canucks winger Dale Weise played after being scratched for the previous six games.
The Associated Press News Service
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