By Associated Press
The Coyotes left home nearly a week ago in a tenuous playoff position. They're coming home in great shape for a second straight postseason trip.
Phoenix completed an undefeated four-game trip on Friday night by beating the NHL-leading Vancouver Canucks, 3-1, before a sellout crowd of 18,860 fans at Rogers Arena. Not only did they become the first team to win twice in Vancouver this season, they also finished the season with a 6-0-0 mark in western Canada, the first time that's been done since St. Louis did it in 1999-2000.
The Coyotes (39-23-11) will start a six-game homestand on Sunday in fourth place in the Western Conference standings with 89 points.
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to see the conference standings.
Goalie Jason LaBarbera
, who hadn't played since allowing eight goals vs. Tampa Bay on Feb. 23, stopped a season-high 46 shots for his first win since Jan. 10.
"Pucks were hitting me, and our guys were doing a good job of clearing rebounds," LaBarbera said. "I was seeing the puck, and it was one of those nights where I was totally focused."
All of the scoring took place in the third period.
|Photo by Getty Images.
LaBarbera did some of his best work midway through the final period, helping the Coyotes kill off a 70-second five-on-three disadvantage against the NHL's top-ranged power-play unit.
Not long afterward, the Coyotes were awarded a five-minute power play when Vancouver forward Alex Burrows was given a major penalty and game misconduct for pushing Coyotes center Vernon Fiddler
face-first into the end boards.
Phoenix pounced on the opportunity.
Coyotes winger Radim Vrbata
broke a scoreless tie with 6:29 left in regulation by snagging the loose puck in the slot and firing a backhanded shot past Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo. Just 1:18 later, Shane Doan
beat Luongo on the same power play with a shot from the right point through a screen set by Vrbata for a 2-0 lead. Vrbata and Doan lead the Coyotes with 18 goals.
Canucks defenseman Christian Ehrhoff spoiled LaBarbera's shutout bid by banging in a rebound with 2:58 remaining, but Lee Stempniak
scored into an empty net with 1:05 left to give the Coyotes their fifth consecutive win and snap the Canucks' seven-game winning streak. For Stempniak, the goal was his third in three games after a 21-game goal-scoring drought.
► EDITOR'S NOTE:
Dave Vest of phoenixcoyotes.com compiled this recap.
Tied 0-0, the Coyotes were awarded a five-minute power play when Vancouver forward Alex Burrows was
given a major penalty and game misconduct for pushing Coyotes center Vernon Fiddler face-first into the end boards at 11:09 of the third period. Phoenix scored two goals on the ensuing power play to secure the win.
Burrows said he was surprised he received more than a two-minute minor penalty for his hit and was disappointed he put his team in that position at that point in such a tight game.
"I have a lot of respect for (referee) Kelly Sutherland," Burrows said. "I think he's one of the best refs in the league and it's a tough call. I know there's a lot going on with headshots right now throughout the NHL and Vern Fiddler kind of looked dazed a little bit... Obviously I was surprised when it was a major."
• Captain Shane Doan
notched a goal and an assist to extend his point streak to seven games. Doan has produced four goals and six assists in the streak.
• Defenseman Adrian Aucoin
played in his 999th NHL game.
• Phoenix improved to 14-3-2 against the five teams from the Northwest Division: Calgary, Colorado, Edmonton, Minnesota and Vancouver.
• Winger Ray Whitney
played only 9:50 because of a nagging lower-body injury.
• Center Eric Belanger
had two assists and won eight of 13 faceoffs.
• The Coyotes scratched Paul Bissonnette
, Martin Hanzal
(lower-body injury) and Oliver Ekman-Larsson
• The Coyotes' next game is Sunday vs. Chicago at Jobing.com Arena. The puck drops at 5 p.m. (Arizona time). The game can be seen on Fox Sports Arizona and can be heard on KFYI 550 (AM).