Coyotes blank Canucks on Ekman-Larsson’s power play goal

Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored on a power play, Darcy Kuemper got a shutout in just his fifth start for Arizona and the Coyotes beat the Vancouver Canucks for the second time four days, 1-0 on Sunday night.

Kuemper, in his fourth straight start for the injured Antti Ranta since being acquired Feb. 21 from Los Angeles, stopped 26 shots in his 11th career shutout. His previous shutout was Feb. 3 for the Kings against the Coyotes.

Kuemper had 24 saves in the Coyotes’ 2-1 win at Vancouver on Wednesday in his Arizona debut.

Although long out of the playoff picture, Arizona rebounded from a 5-2 loss at Colorado the previous night and improved to 10-3-2 in its last 15 games. Vancouver lost its third straight and is 4-10-3 in its last 17.

After mostly uneventful play through one period and most of the second, the Coyotes finally broke through on a power play.

With Vancouver defenceman Derrick Pouliot in the penalty box for high-sticking, Ekman-Larsson got loose and sent a sharp shot from outside the circle, just to the right of goalie Jacob Markstrom and Arizona led 1-0 with 4:53 left in the second. It was Ekman-Larsson’s 10th goal of the season. Derek Stepan and Clayton Keller earned assists.

Stuemper shut down any attempts to tie it after that with 12 third-period saves.

With the victory, Arizona pulled within one game of Buffalo, and two of Ottawa, to escape the bottom of the NHL standings. The Coyotes are four points behind Vancouver in last place in the Pacific Division.

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