VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) - The only difference Todd Bertuzzi sees in his game is a little good fortune is now coming his way.
Bertuzzi notched his fourth career hat trick Sunday night, lifting the slumping Canucks to a 4-1 victory over the NHL-leading Detroit Red Wings. With five goals in three games, Bertuzzi matched his total from the previous 33 - dating to the 2003-04 season when he scored just 17.
"Just getting a bit more puck luck," Bertuzzi said of his three-game goal streak. "The chances were there. I just wasn't putting them away before."
Bertuzzi got them early and often against Detroit.
He jammed in a rebound midway through the first period, then added his fifth goal of the season on a power-play breakaway five minutes later. He completed his first three-goal game since March 17, 2003, after coming in alone again on goalie Manny Legace with five minutes left in the second.
"I put the puck in the net finally, that's all it was," Bertuzzi said.
Anson Carter also scored for the Canucks, who snapped a three-game losing streak and won for just the third time in eight contests.
"It was good Detroit was the next game up," Bertuzzi said. "These are games we take very seriously."
Pavel Datsyuk scored for the Red Wings, who lost in regulation for just the third time this season (15-3-1). Two of those defeats have come against Vancouver.
"We had a good start, got the first goal, and played well," said Legace, who finished with 22 saves but lost for just the second time this season.
Then Bertuzzi took over.
After only scoring twice in the first 15 games - once into an empty net - Bertuzzi is showing signs of returning to his old form when he netted 46 goals two seasons ago. He drove to the net to score the first goal, and fought off big defenseman Jiri Fischer after Nolan Baumgartner's long stretch pass put him behind the Detroit defense on the second.
Bertuzzi finished both breakaways in style, beating Legace with a quick backhand-to-forehand deke on the first and roofing a backhand shot on the second.
"He's a special player," said Legace, who got to know Bertuzzi during a short stint with the Canucks in 1999-2000. "When I was here for that month, he was lighting me up in practice just like he lit me up tonight."
Dan Cloutier returned to the Vancouver net after missing five games with a concussion and was quickly welcomed back by Detroit's top-ranked, power-play unit.
Cloutier showed little signs of rust after that, especially when Detroit outshot the Canucks 14-1 in the third period.
"I felt good throughout the game, no side effects," said Cloutier, who finished with 34 saves.
Notes: Vancouver recalled forwards Josh Green and Nathan Smith from Manitoba of the AHL earlier Sunday, but only Green played. ... The Canucks will play their next three games on the road, where they are 3-4-2 this season. ... The Canucks are 7-0 against the other two Western Conference divisions, but just 4-5-2 in the Northwest Division that they lead. ... The Central Division-leading Red Wings are 8-0 against teams in their own division, but just 2-2-1 against the Northwest.
|PPG - Pavel Datsyuk (8) ASST: Tomas Holmstrom (9), Henrik Zetterberg (12)|
1 - 0 DET
|Todd Bertuzzi (5) ASST: Markus Naslund (11)|
1 - 1 Tie
|PPG - Todd Bertuzzi (6) ASST: Nolan Baumgartner (7)|
2 - 1 VAN
|Anson Carter (4) ASST: Daniel Sedin (7), Henrik Sedin (10)|
3 - 1 VAN
|Todd Bertuzzi (7) ASST: Mattias Ohlund (2), Nolan Baumgartner (8)|
4 - 1 VAN
|Brendan Shanahan Interference|
|Mattias Ohlund Interference|
|Brendan Morrison Hooking|
|Dan Cloutier Roughing|
|Steve Yzerman Interference|
|Andreas Lilja Roughing|
|Brendan Shanahan Boarding|
|Andreas Lilja Tripping|
|Josh Green Roughing|
|Jiri Fischer Boarding|
|Bryan Allen Tripping|
|Lee Goren Interference|
|Jiri Fischer Tripping|
|Bryan Allen Tripping|
|Tomas Holmstrom Holding|
|Kirk Maltby Tripping|