Vancouver head coach Travis Green had to do a double take when he saw defenceman Alex Biega doing post-game TV interviews.
Biega was the unlikely hero on Tuesday, scoring his first goal in over three years to put the Canucks ahead for good in a 4-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday.
"You don’t see that a lot with the Bulldog being interviewed after his game winner, so I had to get a picture of it," said Green with a smile.
Biega, who last scored on Feb. 16, 2015, blasted a slapshot from the corner of the blue-line that cleared traffic and found the net, giving Vancouver a 2-1 lead three minutes into the third.
"The other (goal) was around the same spot, so I think I’m going to have to shoot pucks after practice around that spot," said Biega.
Brandon Sutter had two goals, including an empty-netter and an assist on Biega’s goal, and Sam Gagner also scored for the Canucks (28-40-9) who are winners of three of their past four games after losing seven straight.
For Anaheim it was a crushing loss. The Ducks are fighting for their playoff lives and Tuesday’s defeat dropped them out of third place in the Pacific Division and into the second Wild Card spot in the West.
California rivals the L.A. Kings moved into third (with a game in hand), with the two teams tied at 91 and set to meet in an important regular-season clash on Friday. The Avs are on the edge with 90 points.
"We’ve got probably two of the biggest games of the year coming up, L.A. on Friday night and Colorado on Sunday," said head coach Randy Carlyle. "That pretty much sums it up, it’s desperation time for everybody and we’re going to have to play to a higher level than we did tonight."
Andrew Cogliano scored for the Ducks (39-25-13), who wrapped a four-game road trip and are 5-1-1 in its past seven games.
Anaheim’s John Gibson made 26 saves. He has been dominant against Vancouver, coming into the game 6-1-1 with a 1.37 goals-against average and three shutouts against the Canucks.
But Vancouver got to him at 9:53 in the opening period. Daniel Sedin’s shot from the face-off circle bounced off Gibson and right to Gagner who batted in the rebound.
The Ducks’ tying goal late in the second came off an odd bounce off the stanchion. Anaheim dumped the puck in, and Jacob Markstrom got caught stranded as the puck bounced out to Cogliano.
"If we win 4-1 and that is the goal that beat me I’ll take that any day," said Markstrom, who stopped 23 shots. "It’s frustrating when it happens, but if we win 4-1 I’ll take that goal any day."
Sutter made it a two-goal lead when he sprung on a breakaway, hit the side of the net, then collected the puck and flipped it in over an out-of-position Gibson.
"Not sure how I managed to put it off the side of the post, but I just stayed with it and tried to get it above the goal line, get it on net, and it worked out," said Sutter.
After the Canucks killed off a penalty to Sutter in the final three minutes, he came out of the box just in time to add an empty-netter with 16 seconds left in regulation.
Notes: Troy Terry made his NHL debut for the Ducks. He played on a line with Ondrej Kase and Adam Henrique. … Newly signed Canucks centre Adam Gaudette did not dress and is expected to make his NHL debut Thursday against Edmonton.