Arizona Coyotes left wing Taylor Hall (91) fights for control of the puck with Vancouver Canucks defenceman Christopher Tanev (8) during first period NHL action in Vancouver, Thursday, January 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Shotgun Jake: Virtanen nets key goal as Canucks beat Coyotes 3-1

NHL’s Pacific Division race tightens up

VANCOUVER — Jake Virtanen scored midway through the second period to reach a career-high 26 points in a season as the Vancouver Canucks defeated the Arizona Coyotes 3-1 Thursday night.

Bo Horvat and Tanner Pearson, into an empty net, also scored for the Canucks (26-18-4) who won for the 10th time in 13 games.

Elias Pettersson had a pair of assists for the Canucks. While Pearson’s goal was the 100th of his career.

Christian Dvorak scored for the Coyotes (26-19-5) who are 1-3-1 over their last five games.

The win made an already tight Pacific Division even closer. Arizona and Calgary are tied with 57 points. Vegas and Vancouver are next with 56, while Edmonton is one behind them.

Canuck goaltender Jacob Markstrom, who made his 16th start in 18 games, stopped 34 shots. He made a big right-pad save on Jason Demers late in the third period to preserve the win.

Adin Hill, making his third straight start, made 22 saves for Arizona.

Virtanen scored the only goal of the second period. He took a pass from J.T. Miller and swooped behind the Arizona net before backhanding a shot that hit Hill’s left skate and bounced into the net. It was his 14th goal of the season, one less than his career high set last year.

The teams were tied after the first period.

A defensive miscue set up the Coyote’s opening goal at 7:59. When Vancouver defenceman Tyler Myers failed to clear a bouncing puck, Taylor Hall found Dvorak in front of the net. He scored his 12th of the season with a low shot to the far side.

Vancouver made it 1-1 on a power play at 15:01. Rookie defenceman Quinn Hughes boomed a shot from the blue line that Hill stopped only to have Horvat knock in the rebound. Horvat has 13 points (six goals, seven assists) in the last eight games.

RELATED: Hellebuyck makes 41 saves as Jets blank Canucks 4-0

NOTES: After Thursday the Canucks play 18 of their remaining 34 games at Rogers Arena. Vancouver is 15-5-3 at home and 11-13-1 on the road. … Brandon Sutter returned to the Vancouver lineup after missing four weeks with what he says was a back problem. … The Canucks were outscored 22-14 while going 2-3-0 in their recent five-game road trip. … Arizona goaltender Antti Raanta (lower body) practiced Thursday and could play against the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday.

Jim Morris, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

CanucksNHL

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Community Camera – February 27, 2020

They say when a groundhog peeks out of his burrow on Groundhog… Continue reading

Set in Stone: Harrison Hot Springs carver looks back on long career

Werner Streicek hopes to see his art in public display soon.

TRAFFIC: VIDEO: Truck crash halts Highway 1 traffic in Langley

Left lane blocked after truck crashes into median by 264th Street

SD 78 approves budget for 2019-2020

No changes to the bottom line, unanimous approval

Tick season begins in Hope, says local veterinary clinic

Vet clinic helping track Lyme disease across country

Toddler killed in Squamish grocery store parking lot

Child’s mother taken to hospital but her condition is not known

Two law enforcement trucks ‘deliberately’ set on fire in northern B.C., RCMP say

Police say they have video evidence of a person in the area of the truck fires

B.C. mother, daughter return home after coronavirus quarantine in Asia

Jensine Morabito and her daughter were on Holland America’s Westerdam but did not catch the virus

Leap Year means we get an extra day in February, so how are you spending it?

People online have a number of suggestions and plans on how they will be spending Saturday

Greta sticker that drew outrage in Alberta not child pornography: RCMP

X-Site Energy Services has denied having anything to do with the stickers

Bald eagle hit by train in northern B.C. has a chance of survival

The raptor has been taken to OWL in the Lower Mainland for recovery

Dragon boating changes lives for Spirit Abreast paddlers

The Cultus Lake based team is looking to fill a boat with breast cancer survivors and supporters.

Cheslatta Carrier Nation and Rio Tinto sign a historic agreement

Co-operation crucial to stem dropping Nechako Reservoir level

Most Read