Jake Virtanen and Antoine Roussel had a goal and an assist each; Tyler Motte, Nikolay Goldobin and Brock Boeser also scored; and the Vancouver Canucks beat the Colorado Avalanche 5-1 in Denver on Saturday night.
Jacob Markstrom had 34 saves for Vancouver, which has gone 4-1-2 since Jan. 5 and took a two-point lead on Colorado in the Western Conference playoff race.
Matt Calvert scored the lone goal for the Avalanche, who have bottomed out after a hot start to the season. Colorado is 5-14-3 since early December to fall from the top of the Central Division to outside the wild-card chase.
Semyon Varlamov stopped 21 shots and continued his struggles. Varlamov has allowed three or more goals in five of his last seven starts.
The Canucks took the early lead with two goals on their first four shots. Virtanen got the first one just 1:32 into the game when he tipped Roussel’s centering pass by Varlamov. It was his 12th of the season.
Boeser made it 2-0 less than five minutes later. He got a pass off a faceoff in Colorado’s end and snapped a wrist shot by Varlamov at 6:04. It was his 17th of the season.
The Avalanche had two power-play opportunities early in the second period but couldn’t capitalize on either. Thirty seconds after the second man advantage expired, Roussel crashed the net, took a feed from the end boards from Bo Horvat and beat Varlamov with a one-timer at 7:30.
Colorado finally got on the board midway through the second when Calvert tipped a shot from Nikita Zadorov past Markstrom at 11:18 to make it 3-1.
Vancouver restored the three-goal lead when Motte redirected Troy Stecher’s shot from the point at 15:17 of the second period.
The Avalanche didn’t draw a penalty in the first two periods but were called for two in the third. With Calvert in the box for high-sticking, Goldobin cashed in with his sixth goal to make it 5-1.