Canucks Win 5th Straight, Miller Has 5 Assists, Wild Card Battle Heats Up

Vasily Podkolzin #92 of the Vancouver Canucks shoots and scores past goalie Karel Vejmelka #70 of the Phoenix Coyotes in the second period.(Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)

by Kevin Woodley / Independent Correspondent

VANCOUVER — J.T. Miller had five assists, and the Vancouver Canucks gained ground in the Western Conference wild card race with a 7-1 win against the Arizona Coyotes at Rogers Arena on Thursday.

J.T. Miller

Vasily Podkolzin had two goals and an assist, Alex Chiasson scored twice, Quinn Hughes had three assists, and Thatcher Demko made 21 saves for Vancouver (37-28-10), which has won five in a row.

Thatcher Demko

The Canucks moved five points behind the Dallas Stars, who lost 3-2 in overtime to the Minnesota Wild on Thursday, and the Nashville Predators, who lost 4-0 to the Edmonton Oilers, for the second wild card in the west. 

Karel Vejmelka allowed six goals on 22 shots before being pulled after two periods for Arizona (22-47-5), which has lost five straight. Harri Sateri made four saves in relief.

Alex Chiasson #39 of the Vancouver Canucks redirects the puck high over goalie Karel Vejmelka #70 of the Phoenix Coyotes. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)

Chiasson put the Canucks ahead 1-0 at 10:18 of the first period by redirecting a Miller pass at the side of the crease.

Sheldon Dries scored his first goal for the Canucks on a power-play deflection at 19:00 to make it 2-0.

Elias Pettersson made it 3-0 on a power-play one-timer at 4:29 of the second period. Vancouver finished 3-for-4 with the man-advantage and has scored two or more power-play goals in four of the past five games, going 9-for-19 (47.4 percent).

Elias Pettersson scores on Arizona Coyotes goalie.

Andrew Ladd cut it to 3-1 at 10:38 by batting in a rebound on a power play. 

Podkolzin scored on a power-play breakaway at 15:25 to push the lead to 4-1, then assisted on Conor Garland‘s goal 14 seconds later to make it 5-1 at 15:39.

Podkolzin converted a cross-ice pass from Miller at 19:33 to make it 6-1, and Chiasson finished a 2-on-1 pass from Miller at 8:26 of the third period for the 7-1 final. 

Canucks center Bo Horvat left 1:36 into the second period after taking an Anton Stralman shot off the inside of his right ankle.

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