Clayton Keller scored a goal and assisted on the winner as the Arizona Coyotes edged the Vancouver Canucks 2-1 on Wednesday night.
Derek Stepan’s goal with :58 left in the third period gave the visiting Coyotes their ninth win in the past 13 games. With the win, Arizona moved out of a tie for last place overall with Buffalo.
“We’re really starting to play our systems and we’re playing the right way,” Keller told Sportsnet after the victory.
Stepan put in a high shot from the slot after taking a long pass from Keller after he worked the puck along the boards.
Jussi Jokinen, with his first goal in a Vancouver uniform, tallied for the Canucks, who played without injured star rookie winger Brock Boeser after he suffered a season-ending back injury in Monday’s overtime victory over the New York Islanders.
The Canucks thought they had scored a shorthanded goal late in the first period as Brandon Sutter lifted a backhand over Darcy Kuemper on a breakaway. But the goal was waved off after a video review showed that the puck hit the crossbar and then slid along the goal line and out.
Kuemper picked up the win in goal for the Coyotes as he blocked 16 of only 17 Vancouver shots. Jacob Markstrom took the loss while stopping 32 of 34 fired on his net. Despite the strong showing, he also got lucky as Arizona hit the post three times.
Keller officially opened the scoring on a power play at 18:22 of the first period as he put his own rebound past Markstrom. Initially, it appeared that Markstrom had caught the puck as he made a sensational save, but the puck came loose and Vancouver defenseman Alex Edler could not cover the disk in time before Keller poked it in.
Arizona’s goal threatened to deflate the Canucks and the crowd, but Jokinen one-timed Brendan Leipsic’s pass behind Kuemper with only 11 seconds left in the opening frame.
Both the Coyotes and Canucks are destined to miss the playoffs. The game could eventually have implications in the NHL draft lottery.
Both clubs are dwelling near the bottom of the overall NHL standings and will likely pick somewhere in the top six, depending on how they finish.
—Field Level Media