VANCOUVER, BC – March 26: Bo Horvat #53 of the Vancouver Canucks is sent flying over top of Reto Berra #20 of the Colorado Avalanche during their NHL game at Rogers Arena on March 26, 2015 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Derek Cain / ISN)
(ISN) – VANCOUVER — The Colorado Avalanche are barely alive in the Stanley Cup Playoff race, but they dealt the Vancouver Canucks’ postseason chances a blow on Thursday.
Gabriel Landeskog and Alex Tanguay each had a goal and an assist and goalie Reto Berra made 33 saves for his first NHL win since Nov. 6, helping Colorado defeat the Canucks 4-1 at Rogers Arena.
VANCOUVER, BC – March 26: Reto Berra #20 of the Colorado Avalanche against the Vancouver Canucks during their NHL game at Rogers Arena on March 26, 2015 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Derek Cain / ISN)
John Mitchell scored an empty-net goal with one minute left in the game, and Ryan O’Reilly had two assists to extend his point streak to six games for the Avalanche (34-28-12), who remain 10 points behind the Winnipeg Jets for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Western Conference. Colorado has eight games remaining.
Defenseman Yannick Weber scored a power-play goal 15 seconds into the third period, and Eddie Lack made 34 saves for the Canucks (43-27-4), but it wasn’t enough to prevent their first loss in four games.
VANCOUVER, BC – March 26: Jarome Iginla #12 of the Colorado Avalanche tips the puck past Eddie Lack #31 of the Vancouver Canucks in the 2nd period for a goal during their NHL game at Rogers Arena on March 26, 2015 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Derek Cain / ISN)
On a night when the Canucks wore throwback uniforms to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Vancouver Millionaires winning the 1915 Stanley Cup, their own playoff chances took a hit.
Vancouver is two points ahead of the Los Angeles Kings, who defeated the New York Islanders 3-2 earlier Thursday, for second place in the Pacific Division, and three points ahead of the fourth-place Calgary Flames, who are also three points behind Winnipeg. The Canucks, Kings and Flames each have eight games remaining.
VANCOUVER, BC – March 26: Colorado Avalanche celebrate a 2nd period goal by Jarome Iginla #12 against the Vancouver Canucks during their NHL game at Rogers Arena on March 26, 2015 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Derek Cain / ISN)
Despite playing the night before and falling further out of a playoff spot with a 4-3 loss at the Edmonton Oilers, it was Colorado that controlled play in the first period. The Avalanche outshot Vancouver 12-1 in the first half of the opening period, but failed to convert a 5-on-3 power play for 80 seconds eight minutes into the period.
The Canucks got some life, and their other four shots of the period, on a power play of their own midway through the first, but Radim Vrbata hit the post from the low slot and Colorado continued to control play, finishing the period with an 18-5 shot advantage.
VANCOUVER, BC – March 26: Chris Higgins #20 of the Vancouver Canucks is sent flying by Nate Guenin #5 of the Colorado Avalanche during their NHL game at Rogers Arena on March 26, 2015 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Derek Cain / ISN)
Berra hadn’t started since Nov. 26, but he relieved Semyon Varlamov in the first period against Edmonton on Wednesday. He made his best stop early on a nice Daniel Sedin move alone atop the crease on a power play, and made 17 more saves in the third period.
Vancouver pressured early in the second period, but Colorado opened the scoring at 3:23 after a long, dominant shift in the Canucks’ end. Landeskog ended it after circling behind the net, coming out the other side and skating up and into the slot unchecked for a wrist shot that deflected into the net off Jarome Iginla.
It was Iginla’s team-leading 26th goal of the season and his 1,219th career point, moving him into a tie with Montreal Canadiens legend Jean Beliveau for 40th place on the NHL’s all-time scoring list.
Lack stopped Landeskog on a breakaway midway through the period, but the Canucks couldn’t clear the zone on the rebound. Colorado worked the puck back to the point for a shot that bounced off the end boards to Lack’s left and came right to Tanguay at the right side of the net for a quick shot up and over the goalie’s outstretched blocker.
Colorado’s 29th-ranked power play finally converted its fourth chance against Vancouver’s second-ranked penalty kill with three minutes left in the period to make it 3-0. Tanguay’s cross-crease pass stranded Lack and left Landeskog with an open net for his 22nd goal.
O’Reilly got his second assist on Landeskog’s goal, giving him four goals and seven assists during his six-game point streak.
Weber gave the Canucks life during a power play on the first shift of the third period by blowing a slap shot off the rush through Berra from the top of the left circle. It was the third straight game Weber has scored; he has five points in his past four games.
It was the fourth straight game Vancouver’s power play scored after going five games without a goal, but the Canucks failed to take advantage of consecutive advantages midway through the period.