VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Alexandre Burrows and Vancouver's penalty killers delivered when the Canucks needed them the most.
"Tied at 3 after 57 minutes and we have to kill a penalty and they already had two goals on their power play, a lot of people probably thought it was going to be another one of those games we wouldn't be able to close," Burrows said.
"But we found a way to get it done, that's the bottom line, and now it's a lot of pressure off everybody's shoulders."
Ryan Kesler beat pinching Carolina defenseman Joni Pitkanen to a loose puck and chipped it up to Burrows, who skated in alone from the blue line and roofed a backhand deke past the outstretched blocker of goalie Cam Ward.
"We knew we had to be good on that final penalty kill, we didn't want to give up another one," said Kesler, who had a goal and two assists. "It was just kind of a lucky bounce, the defenseman stepped up and Burrows was behind."
Mats Sundin had a goal and an assist, and Kevin Bieksa also scored for Vancouver, which moved back into seventh place in the Western Conference playoff race, one point ahead of Minnesota, Edmonton, Columbus and Phoenix. It also ended a nine-game home skid (0-6-3).
"It seems like when things are not going great, it takes a goal like that to get out of a funk," Sundin said. "So, hopefully, we can build on that."
Roberto Luongo made 24 saves for his first victory in six games after missing almost two months with a groin injury. Luongo's first victory since Nov. 19 also was the Canucks' first victory since Jan. 7, and their first at home since Dec. 28.
"It feels really good; it's been on everyone's minds," Luongo said. "You try not to think about it but it's kind of hard. We just wanted to get this first win out the way, end the streak and get back to normal life."
Defensemen Joe Corvo and Pitkanen scored 25 seconds apart midway through the second period to tie it, and Eric Staal tied it again 33 seconds into the third. But Carolina still lost for the second time in six games, falling one point behind Florida for eighth in the Eastern Conference.
"I thought our team played pretty well, and I didn't help them by any means," said Ward, who made 20 saves in his 17th consecutive start.
"That was a game I was fighting the puck -- it seemed like all night -- on the simplest shots. We made a mistake there on the power play at the end but that's an opportunity for me to step up and make a save, because I didn't make a save all game for us. It stings because obviously we really need the points."
After Luongo made point-blank stops on Ray Whitney and Justin Williams in tight in the opening minute, Bieksa opened the scoring on the power play at 2:08 with a point shot that hit the glove of a screened Ward and trickled into the net.
It was only the second power-play goal surrendered by Carolina in 19 chances.
Kesler, who ended an 11-game goal drought with two in his previous game, doubled the lead with a sharp-angle shot that beat Ward on the short side 10 minutes later.
But Corvo, on a power-play one-timer with Luongo trying to find his dropped stick, got Carolina back into the game. Both Canucks defensemen lost their sticks on the next shift, and Pitkanen blew a shot from the same spot atop the right faceoff circle through Luongo's legs to tie it -- the third time in the past five games Vancouver has blown a two-goal lead in the second period.
Sundin, criticized for having three points and a minus-6 rating in his first nine games after signing Dec. 18 for $5.626 million for the rest of the season, restored the lead on a wraparound with 4:50 left in the second period.
Sundin played on a new line with Pavol Demitra -- who had two assists in his first game back after missing three with a groin injury -- and Kesler, who was coming off a two-goal game. The new trio combined for seven points.
"Hopefully, our line can keep creating scoring and getting scoring chances, and hopefully, we'll get better from there," Sundin said.
The Canucks' penalty-killing problems hurt them again 33 seconds into the third. Corvo sent a cross-ice pass to Whitney alone atop the left faceoff circle -- the exact spot the first two goals were scored from -- and Whitney fed it back across to Staal alone on the backdoor for an easy one-timer.
It was the second power-play goal on three chances for Carolina, and the 11th surrendered in the past 25 chances in a six-game span for the Canucks.
"We gave up two goals tonight, but the first one (Kesler) and (Luongo) lose sticks," Burrows said. "The other one was a misunderstanding and they made a tic-tac-toe with one-touch passes and a one-timer and were able to bury it. But we had the last word at the end with a big goal."
- Luongo was 0-2-3 with a .875 save percentage and 3.70 goals-against average in his first five games back from a Nov. 22 groin injury.
- Carolina hasn't won a game in Vancouver since Oct. 15, 1999, losing five straight since the victory.