March 28, 2018 / 5:06 AM / in a year

Canucks damage Ducks' playoff hopes

EditorsNote: updates fifth and sixth grafs with standings info

Alex Biega’s goal at 3:03 of the third period spurred the Vancouver Canucks to a 4-1 victory over the visiting Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday night.

Biega broke a 1-1 tie as his fluttering slap shot sailed over Ducks goaltender John Gibson. The goal was Biega’s first of the season and the second of his NHL career. He had gone 131 games — since Feb. 16, 2015 — without scoring.

“I think my first one was around that spot,” a chuckling Biega told Sportsnet in a television interview after the game. “I think I’m going to have to shoot more around that same spot.”

The Canucks, who will miss the playoffs, posted their third win in four games after losing seven straight.

The Ducks took only their second loss in the past seven games. However, the setback weakened their hopes of finishing third in the Pacific Division and gaining an automatic playoff berth. Anaheim and the Los Angeles Kings are tied for third at 91 points, each with five games remaining.

Anaheim’s wild-card hopes also took a hit after St. Louis beat the San Jose Sharks in a shootout earlier Tuesday. The Blues also have 91 points, though they have a game in hand on the Ducks and the Kings.

Brandon Sutter led the Canucks with two goals, including an empty-netter after coming out of the penalty box in the final minute. He also had an assist.

Sam Gagner provided Vancouver’s other goal as the Canucks won for first time in four meetings with the Ducks this season.

Anaheim’s Andrew Cogliano scored at 17:09 of the second period.

Canucks goaltender Jacob Markstrom stopped 23 of 24 shots for the win.

Gibson suffered only his second loss in seven games while blocking 26 of 29 shots.

Gagner opened the scoring for Vancouver 10:07 into the game as he whipped in Daniel Sedin’s rebound while being left all alone at the side of the net. The goal gave Gagner points in five of his past six games. The strong run has coincided in part with a move to the top line with Daniel and Henrik Sedin.

Cogliano drew the Ducks even on a lucky break. He scored into an vacated net as the puck took a strange bounce off the end boards after Markstrom went behind his net to play Francois Beauchemin’s dump-in.

About 5 1/2 minutes after Biega netted the winner, Sutter gave the Canucks a 3-1 lead. He put in his own rebound after Gibson robbed him with a desperate stick save but was left prone on the ice. The Canucks center went behind the net to retrieve the puck and then calmly flipped it high over Gibson.

Sutter’s second goal, with Gibson pulled for an extra attacker, closed out the scoring.

—Field Level Media

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