Final

Series (Game 1 of 4)

Vancouver leads 3-1

Game 1: Tuesday, December 12th
Coyotes2Final
Canucks5
Game 2: Thursday, March 1st
Coyotes3Final
Canucks4
Game 3: Thursday, March 8th
Canucks4Final
Coyotes2
Game 4: Sunday, April 8th
Canucks1Final
Coyotes3

Coyotes 2

(11-18-1, 23 pts)

Canucks 5

(15-15-1, 31 pts)

10:00 PM ET, December 12, 2006

Rogers Arena, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

1 2 3 T
ARI 0 1 12
VAN 4 1 05

K. Bieksa (Canucks - D): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

B. Morrison (Canucks - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

R. Kesler (Canucks - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

Goal-hungry Canucks burst out against Coyotes

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) -- The Vancouver Canucks can ease the grip on their sticks. The offense is rolling and the pressure is gone.

Kevin Bieksa and Jan Bulis scored 51 seconds apart midway through a four-goal first period, and the Canucks further came out of a season-long scoring drought with a 5-2 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes on Tuesday night.

"It's starting to come around, guys are relaxing and starting to play better," said Bieksa, who added an assist for consecutive two-point games. "When you're relaxed there isn't as much pressure, and guys are making better plays."

Brendan Morrison and Mattias Ohlund also scored in the opening period, and Ryan Kesler added a goal in the second for the Canucks, who scored 12 goals in three games after netting only five in the previous six contests.

Roberto Luongo made 28 saves as Vancouver extended its lose-one, win-one streak to eight games. It was just the second time this season the Canucks, who came in with the NHL's worst scoring average at 2.17 goals per game, had five in a game.

"It s fun to score goals," said Morrison, who has five points in three games. "There's no question we've struggled all year -- it's been well documented. Sometimes we get caught up in other people telling us what we can't do and we start believing it."

The Canucks broke out Tuesday against a Phoenix team playing for the second straight night and fifth time in seven days. Oleg Saprykin and Dave Scatchard, on a breakaway with 38 seconds left, scored for the Coyotes, who fell to an NHL-worst 3-12 on the road.

"I liked that it was over," Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky said when asked if he liked anything about the game. "We need more guys to show up, simple as that."

New Phoenix goaltender Mikael Tellqvist, who was 2-0-1 with a 2.21 goals-against average in his first three games since being acquired from Toronto, was pulled after giving up four goals on 14 shots in the first period.

Curtis Joseph, who was shelled with 22 shots in the first period of a 4-0 loss in San Jose on Monday, took over for Tellqvist to start the second, stopping 12 of 13 shots before a leg injury put him back on the bench for the third.

"I don't know exactly what happened," Gretzky said of the 39-year-old Joseph. "I'm not sure where he's at as far as how much it's hurting him, but he's definitely a little bit hurt."

Morrison opened the scoring on a rush rebound 8:27 in, patiently pulling the puck past the left pad of the prone Tellqvist.

Bieksa took a drop pass from Kesler and beat Tellqvist with a top-corner shot at 11:52, and Bulis made it 3-0 less than a minute later, tapping in Daniel Sedin's pass on a 2-on-1 down low after a Coyotes turnover.

Bulis' third goal in three games matched his total from the first 27. His streak started when he moved onto a line with twin brothers Daniel and Henrik Sedin, who each had two assists.

"It helps the confidence scoring three games in a row," said Bulis, who hit a post with 2 minutes left. "With those guys it's not too hard, they'll find you in the slot and it's not that tough to score those goals."

Ohlund scored a power-play goal from the slot after a pretty touch pass play from the Sedins with 2:10 left in the first.

"Before we knew it, it was 2-0," Gretzky said. "And the fourth goal, the power-play goal, sort of really put a dagger in us. But we didn't deserve to win."

Kesler tipped Bieksa's point shot past Joseph at 6:14.

"Even in practice I notice more excitement the last couple of days, guys getting that enjoyment being out there and being in on scoring," Morrison said.

Tellqvist returned in the third and stopped all four shots he faced.

Game notes


Phoenix C Jeremy Roenick missed the game with back spasms, while C Mike Ricci, who didn't play the first 20 games because of a neck injury, also sat out. Both played Monday against San Jose. ... The Coyotes lost C Patrick Fischer to a groin injury during the game. ... It was D Ed Jovanovski's first game back in Vancouver since ending a seven-year stint with the Canucks by signing a $32.5-million, five-year contract with the Coyotes in July. ... American League MVP Justin Morneau, from nearby New Westminster, dropped the puck during the ceremonial faceoff.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

SPONSORED HEADLINES