Henrik Sedin posts three points as Canucks move to top of division

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Henrik Sedin insists he is more concerned with helping the Canucks clinch the Northwest Division than winning the NHL scoring title.

If he keeps it up, the Vancouver center can do both.

Sedin scored a key short-handed goal and added two assists to regain the scoring lead, and the Canucks beat the Phoenix Coyotes 4-1 on Tuesday night to move seven points ahead of Colorado atop the Northwest Division.

"If I don't score one more point I am still going to look back and go into the playoffs with a lot of confidence so it doesn't matter for me," Sedin said after pushing his point total to 104, three more than Washington's Alex Ovechkin. "We could have had a few more. It feels good. We're creating a lot of chances and if we continue to do that the goals are going to come."

So will the wins.

Alex Burrows, Mason Raymond and Daniel Sedin also scored, and Roberto Luongo made 32 saves as the Canucks won for just the third time in seven games despite seeing second-line center Ryan Kesler tossed out of the game with 6:18 left in a wild first period for hitting Phoenix defenseman Derek Morris from behind.

"Without a doubt Henrik's line played one of their best games of the year at both ends of the rink, especially since we lost Kes real early," said coach Alain Vigneault.

Radim Vrbata scored, and Ilya Bryzgalov struggled early en route to 25 saves for Phoenix, which lost for the third time in 13 games (10-2-1) to remain four points behind San Jose for the Pacific Division and Western Conference leads. The Coyotes were playing their first game since clinching their first playoff berth since 2002 and first 100-point season in franchise history.

Bryzgalov' struggles were a big part of a first period that had a little bit of everything despite ending a minute early, with the extra time added to the start of the second period after the glass was broken behind the Canucks' net.

Burrows opened the scoring 37 seconds after Bryzgalov waved awkwardly at his unscreened slap shot from the top of the left faceoff circle, and Raymond doubled the lead less than four minutes later on a shot from the same spot on the other side of the ice that hit a Phoenix leg in front.

"You d like to see the guys rally around and pick him up," coach Dave Tippett said of Bryzgalov, who has 40 wins and leads the NHL with eight shutouts. "He's picked us up a lot, but we didn't find the emotion in the dressing room to do that."

The Coyotes had a great chance to come back after Kesler was given a five-minute major penalty and tossed out of the game for a hit that left Morris bleeding after hitting his head into the boards. It touched off a line scrum, and put the Coyotes on a 5-on-3 for 11 seconds as part of the five-minute power play.

Vrbata scored with 3:20 left, but Vancouver regained the two-goal lead 39 seconds later after Bryzgalov coughed up the puck behind his own net.

"It seemed to zap some of the emotion out of our team," Tippett said.

Bryzgalov stopped the puck behind his goal and threw a blind backhand pass to Sedin at the other side. He tucked in his 29th goal, and added his second assist of the game on a pretty backhand pass of his own in the second period. Shortly after Luongo made a diving stick save off Shane Doan at the other end, Sedin took a pass in the slot and made a blind, spinning backhand feed to twin brother Daniel for an easy backdoor tap-in behind a sprawled Bryzgalov.

"It's a spin-o-rama, backhand, under the stick pass right on the money, how good was that?" Burrows said of Henrik. "He wants to make plays and he wants the puck and he wants to be the guy and he's doing a great job for us.

Game notes
Canucks D Andrew Alberts took the lineup spot of Shane O'Brien, who was exiled after being late for practice Monday. Coach Alain Vigneault said there was "more to this than being tardy once, and O'Brien would not practice with the team before Sunday, or make this week s two-game road trip to California. ... RW Pavol Demitra missed his fourth straight game for undisclosed personal reasons. ... Mikael Samuelsson, who had nine goals in eight games before an injury to his shoulder March 16, returned to practice Monday and could play later this week. ... Mark Rypien, a former Super Bowl-winning quarterback for the Washington Redskins, was in attendance to watch second-cousin Rick Rypien, a Canucks forward.