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Markus Naslund scores late winner as Canucks beat Phoenix 4-3

The Canadian Press
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Vancouver Canucks Markus Naslund (left) is congratulated by teammates Jan Bulis and Brent Sopel after scoring what proved to be the winning goal against the Phoenix Coyotes during the third period. (CP PHOTO/Richard Lam) Author: The Hockey News

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Markus Naslund scores late winner as Canucks beat Phoenix 4-3

The Canadian Press
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Naslund's 21st goal of the season snapped a 3-3 tie when he found a rebound in front of Curtis Joseph and poked the puck under the Phoenix netminder. New Canucks Brent Sopel and Bryan Smolinski, obtained just before Tuesday's trading deadline, drew assists on the play.

Daniel Sedin had two power-play goals and Jeff Cowan scored short-handed for Vancouver.

Bill Thomas, also with a pair with the man advantage, and Shane Doan gave Phoenix a 3-2 lead early in the third period.

The Canucks (37-22-5) ended a two-game losing skid and moved one point ahead of Minnesota and two ahead of Calgary in the Northwest Division's torrid first-place race.

The Coyotes (27-34-3), who jettisoned veterans Ladislav Nagy, Oleg Saprykin, Yanic Perreault and Georges Laraque at or near Tuesday's trade deadline, have lost six of their last seven road games.

Daniel Sedin tied the game 3-3 in the third period with his second power-play goal of the game and team-leading 29th of the season.

He directed twin brother Henrik's pass from the side boards behind Joseph who was playing his 900th career game.

Earlier, Doan took advantage of a blind pass by Vancouver defenceman Kevin Bieksa that wound up on the stick of linemate Steven Reinprecht.

Doan blasted Reinprecht's centring pass behind Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo.

Thomas, a 23-year-old Pittsburgh native called up Jan. 28 from San Antonio in the American Hockey League, gave the Coyotes a 2-2 tie after 40 minutes with his pair of power-play goals.

The first came when Doan's shoot-in caromed in front off the end glass. Thomas was alone on his right wing and Luongo was trapped behind the net.

The second erased a short-lived 2-1 Canuck advantage in the second period. Thomas went to the net to backhand Yanick Lehoux's centring pass from a scramble in front of Luongo.

Cowan scored his first goal as a Canuck and first in 53 games while killing a penalty in place of centre Josh Green, who suffered a first-period leg injury when checked hard into the end boards.

Cowan blocked Travis Roche's shot at the Vancouver blue-line and completed a breakaway by firing over the glove of Joseph. His last goal came March 14, 2006 - also against Phoenix.

Both teams scored power-play goals in a first period.

Daniel Sedin gave Vancouver an early lead after circling the net with the puck and shooting from the slot while Smolinski screened Joseph.

NOTES: Phoenix lost Owen Nolan to a shoulder injury.. . . Winger Taylor Pyatt returned to the Vancouver lineup after complaining of blurred vision when he received an elbow to the head in Sunday's 2-1 overtime loss to the Dallas Stars. . . . Canuck Brendan Morrison played in his 494th consecutive game, the NHL's current ironman streak.

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Markus Naslund scores late winner as Canucks beat Phoenix 4-3