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Vancouver Canucks edge Avs to extend division lead

COLORADO (Reuters) - The Vancouver Canucks captured their fifth straight win and extended their lead atop the Northwest Division with a 2-1 triumph over the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday.

Alexandre Bolduc and Mason Raymond netted goals to give Vancouver a 2-0 lead and goaltender Roberto Luongo finished with 31 saves to preserve the victory.

Luongo had missed some time over the last week while his wife was giving birth to their child, but he held off Colorado in the final minute where the Avs took goaltender Craig Anderson off the ice for a sixth attacker.

"I was glad the game was over. I don't know how much longer I could have lasted," Luongo told reporters.

"They were throwing everything at the net and we were doing a good job tying up sticks so they couldn't get to the rebounds."

Paul Stastny recorded his 15th goal of the season at 13:35 in the third period to close the deficit to 2-1 for the home side, but the Avalanche lost for the fifth time in six games to fall further behind the Canucks.

Vancouver (24-8-5) now has an eight-point lead over second-place Colorado (20-14-5) in the division and is tied with three teams for the most points in the NHL.

The Canucks have defeated the Avalanche in all four meetings this season.

Anderson finished with 27 saves for Colorado but Vancouver struck with a score at 18:15 in the first and got an insurance goal from Raymond at 3:11 in the third.

Raymond had missed the previous 10 games with a broken thumb.

"It's good to be back," Raymond said. "I'm happy to be back and to be able to contribute and help the team continue on this high streak."

(Editing by John O'Brien)