Vancouver Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko (35) stops Colorado Avalanche’s J.T. Compher (37) as Vancouver’s Chris Tanev, left, defends during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Vancouver, on Friday, March 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

MacEwen nets 2 as Canucks pick up key 6-3 win over Avalanche

Vancouver ends 4-game losing skid

VANCOUVER — Zack MacEwen scored his second goal of the night late in the third period as the Vancouver Canucks defeated the Colorado Avalanche 6-3 Friday to snap a four-game losing streak and climb back into the playoff picture in the tight NHL Western Conference.

J.T. Miller and Antoine Roussel had a goal and an assist each for Vancouver (35-26-6), which managed to hang onto a third-period lead. Troy Stecher and Tanner Pearson, into an empty net, also scored for the Canucks, who had blown third-period leads in their last two losses.

Erik Johnson and Gabriel Landeskog each had a goal and an assist for the Avalanche (40-17-8), who lost in regulation for the first time in 10 games (7-1-2). Valeri Nichushkin added a goal while Nathan MacKinnon had two assists.

The win moves Vancouver into a tie with Winnipeg for the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference with 76 points. Colorado remains second in the West with 88 points, two back of St. Louis.

Vancouver goaltender Thatcher Demko, making his fifth start for the injured Jacob Markstrom, stopped 29 shots. Avalanche goalie Pavel Francouz made 19 saves.

MacEwen salted the game away at 16:13 of the third when he took a pass from behind the net from Roussel and beat Francouz.

The Canucks scored twice in the second period and got a big save from Demko to lead 4-3 after 40 minutes.

Vancouver took a 3-1 lead at 2:13 when MacEwen collected a puck as his own blue line, skated the length of the ice and beat Francouz with a low, hard shot.

The Avalanche scored just 1:13 later when Landeskog beating Demko on the stick side. Nichushkin tied the game at 8:04 on a 2-on-1 breakaway. Roussel put Vancouver back in front at 12:17 by deflecting in an Adam Gaudette pass.

Demko had the crowd on its feet cheering when he stopped MacKinnon on a breakaway, then managed to get his heel on Vladislav Kamenev’s shot on the rebound. Kamenev crashed into Demko, but the puck stayed out of the net.

READ MORE: Struggling Canucks drop fourth straight, fall 4-2 to Coyotes

The Canucks led 2-1 after the first period despite being outshot 17-7 and outplayed for long stretches.

Stecher scored just 82 seconds into the game. He took a feed from Miller and blasted a shot from the top of the face-off circle that sailed over Francouz’s glove.

Elias Pettersson showed patience setting up Miller’s goal at 12:29. After picking up a puck chipped along the boards, Pettersson broke into the Colorado zone then then waited for defenceman Ian Cole to commit himself before passing to Miller, who had an open net for his 27th of the season.

The Avs scored 48 seconds later when MacKinnon drove to the net, stopped, turned and passed to Johnson, who shot the puck through Demko.

NOTES: There was a video tribute during the first period for Montreal Canadiens’ legend Henri Richard who died Friday. … Defenceman Tyler Myers returned to the Canucks lineup after missing Wednesday’s game due to injury. … Defenceman Alex Edler collected his 300th NHL assist on Vancouver’s first goal. … After taking a 2-0 lead Vancouver didn’t have a shot on goal for the final 7:31 of the first period. … Colorado’s Pierre-Edouard Bellemare celebrated his 35th Friday.

Jim Morris, The Canadian Press

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