Canucks edge Coyotes 3-2 in OT on Higgins' goal

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 7, 2013 at 1:54 am •  Published: December 7, 2013

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Chris Higgins, known for being the consummate team player, decided to get selfish Friday night.

He kicked the puck away from Phoenix center Mike Ribeiro in the Vancouver zone, then raced down the left wing and beat goalie Mike Smith with a quick shot to the far side. The goal at 3:41 of overtime gave the Canucks a 3-2 victory over the Coyotes.

"I'm not passing up that shot in overtime," Higgins said.

Jason Garrison and Henrik Sedin also scored for Vancouver. Antoine Vermette and David Moss responded for Phoenix only 2:21 apart in the third period.

The Canucks squeaked out the win after squandering a 2-0 lead in the final 10 minutes of regulation.

"It's lesson learned for sitting back in the third period," Higgins said. "It came back to bite us. I don't think we played in their end enough in the third, weren't good on the forecheck all night, but we battled back."

Roberto Luongo made 37 saves for the win, and Smith stopped 29 shots in defeat.

The Canucks earned their fourth victory in five games, while the Coyotes were handed their third loss in four outings.

"I am happy we won, but I can't stand the way we won," Vancouver coach John Tortorella said. "I thought they played harder than us in the third period, and their sticks were better, and we have to get out of this situation of not finishing games — because we are going nowhere until we do."

Higgins did not have much sympathy for reporters who were scrambling to rewrite their stories as a result of the Phoenix comeback, with one suggesting the Canucks were "killing" them on deadline.

"We're killing my grandma," Higgins said. "She's back in New York and she stays up for these games, so it's almost 1 o'clock for her. And I feel bad for her."

Both teams produced 10 shots in a scoreless first period. Luongo stopped Moss on a rush up the middle in the first 5 minutes, and Daniel Sedin almost scored while flat on his stomach near the Phoenix net.

Garrison opened the scoring on a power play at 1:26 of the second period as he wired in a slap shot from the point less than a minute after Oliver Ekman-Larson took a holding penalty.

Vancouver's power play has scored in seven consecutive games.

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