VANCOUVER — The Vancouver Canucks moved closer to securing home-ice advantage to start the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a lopsided win against the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday.
Defenseman Yannick Weber scored two power-play goals 1:28 apart late in the second period and Eddie Lack made 28 saves to lead the Canucks to a 5-0 win at Rogers Arena.
Daniel Sedin, Ronalds Kenins and Dan Hamhuis also scored for the Canucks (47-29-5), who are two points ahead of the Calgary Flames for second place in the Pacific Division. Each team has one game remaining.
VANCOUVER, BC – April 9: Vancouver Canucks celebrate a 1st period goal by Daniel Sedin #22 during their NHL game against the Arizona Coyotes at Rogers Arena on April 9, 2015 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Derek Cain / ISN)VANCOUVER, BC – April 9:
The Flames ensured a series against the Canucks when they beat the Los Angeles Kings 3-1 earlier Thursday night to secure their playoff spot. The only question left is where the Western Conference First Round series will start. Calgary visits the Winnipeg Jets, who also locked up a playoff berth Thursday, in their regular-season finale on Saturday. A victory by the Flames would force the Canucks to get one point in their game against the Edmonton Oilers later Saturday to maintain the home-ice advantage.
The Coyotes, playing without injured captain Shane Doan, who was injured in Calgary on Tuesday, lost for the sixth time in seven games. Arizona (24-49-8) is last in the Western Conference and ahead of only the Buffalo Sabres in the overall NHL standings.
Lack wasn’t overly busy, but with No. 1 goalie Ryan Miller watching from the bench as the backup for the first time since spraining his knee on Feb. 22, Lack made a couple of good saves for his second shutout of the season and the sixth of his career.
VANCOUVER, BC – April 9: Eddie Lack #31 of the Vancouver Canucks watches the play against the Arizona Coyotes during their NHL game at Rogers Arena on April 9, 2015 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Derek Cain / ISN)
Lack’s best saves came midway through the first period against fellow Swede, good friend and former teammate Oliver Ekman-Larsson. Lack threw out his blocker and then his glove on consecutive power-play shots to prevent him from setting a franchise record for goals by a defenseman.
Daniel Sedin opened the scoring with 3:38 left in the first period, one-touching a cross-ice pass from twin brother Henrik Sedin, who had two assists, in the slot for a shot fluttered past Smith’s blocker.
Kenins doubled the lead 6:51 into the second period with his first goal in 22 games and his first point in 12. Rookie center Bo Horvat won an offensive-zone faceoff back to Jannik Hansen for a one-time shot that handcuffed Smith. Kenins skated untouched onto the rebound in the low slot and lifted it over the sprawled goaltender.
Weber broke the game open with his back-to-back power-play goals. With Coyotes forward Kyle Chipchura already in the penalty box for holding, Arizona defenseman Andrew Campbell was penalized for closing his hand on the puck, giving the Canucks a 5-on-3 advantage for 12 seconds.
VANCOUVER, BC – April 9: Daniel Sedin #22 of the Vancouver Canucks is watched by Klas Dahlbeck #34 as Mike Smith #41 of the Arizona Coyotes tracks the play during their NHL game at Rogers Arena on April 9, 2015 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Derek Cain / ISN)
Vancouver needed only 10 seconds to convert. Weber beat goaltender Mike Smith to the high blocker side at 15:42 with a one-time slap shot from the middle of the ice just inside the blue line two seconds before the penalty to Chipchura was to expire.
With Campbell still in the box, Weber beat Smith low on the blocker with another one-timer from a similar spot at 17:10 for his 11th goal of the season.
Smith, who made 20 saves, was pulled at that point in favor of rookie Louis Domingue, who made seven saves in his seventh NHL appearance.
Kevin Bieksa #3 of the Vancouver Canucks carries the puck around the net as Craig Cunningham #22 of the Arizona Coyotes chases during their NHL game at Rogers Arena on April 9, 2015 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Derek Cain / ISN)
With Miller expected to play his first game since his injury Saturday and no declaration of a playoff starter by coach Willie Desjardins, Lack secured his shutout by making a point-blank stop on Craig Cunningham with eight minutes left.
Hamhuis rounded out the scoring with 3:11 left, beating Domingue over the glove on a power-play rush for his first goal this season.
Vancouver finished 3-for-4 on the power play and has scored 11 goals in the past 11 games with the man advantage since Weber was added to the point of the top power-play unit.