GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — A talented bunch, the Vancouver Canucks have a tendency to try for the spectacular play instead of the straightforward one.
Now that they've started to make the game simple — ugly? — the wins are starting to pile up.
Jordan Schroeder scored midway through the third period, Cory Schneider stopped 33 shots and the Canucks grinded out a 2-1 win over the struggling Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday night.
"(The effort) has been there for a long time, working hard, but sometimes maybe trying to make it too cute, too complicated, and you bring it back to basics," Schneider said. "It wasn't necessarily pretty all the time, a Picasso, but it was effective."
Schneider won his first game in nearly three weeks against St. Louis on Tuesday and was sharp again, turning away some tough chances in the third period, including a semi breakaway by Martin Hanzal with less than two minutes left.
He allowed a tying goal to Antoine Vermette in the third period, but Schroeder put the Canucks back up by punching in a rebound after a redirect by Jannik Hansen trickled past Coyotes goalie Jason LaBarbera, who replaced injured starter Mike Smith to start the period.
Christopher Tanev also scored for Vancouver, which has won four of six.
"It was kind of an ugly road win and that's what we need," Schroeder said. "Schneids played great and it was a good team win."
Phoenix can't find a way to win.
The Coyotes got off to another sluggish start, shot too many pucks directly at Schneider and committed penalties at inopportune times. They also were the antitheses of the keep-it-simple Canucks at times, passing up good scoring chances by making an extra pass or trying something fancy.
Frustrated by a losing streak that stretched to five games, the Coyotes held a team meeting that lasted more than 20 minutes.
"It's unacceptable to each individual guy," Phoenix captain Shane Doan said. "There's absolutely no reason we can't do better."
The Canucks have been hit hard by injuries, losing center Manny Malhotra for the season to an eye injury and center Ryan Kesler since the start of March with shoulder and wrist injuries.
The list has gotten longer recently.
Left wing Chris Higgins was out against the Coyotes after tweaking his back, and wingers Steve Pinizzotto (illness) and Zack Kassian (back) didn't make the trip to the desert. Left wing David Booth also missed his third straight game with a leg injury, leaving Vancouver with 11 healthy forwards.
Vancouver got the first goal when Tanev converted a wrister from the slot in the first period after taking a pass from Mason Raymond and waiting for two colliding players in front to clear.