DENVER (AP) -All it took was a good, passionate goaltender coming to town to light Jose Theodore's fire.
"Every time you play one of the good goalies, you know you're going to have to bring your game up a level," Theodore said after saving 36 shots in Colorado's 3-2 win Saturday night over Roberto Luongo and the Vancouver Canucks.
"He's approaching it the same way. We both want to win and we both take a lot of pride in trying to be the best out there. Every time you play against top goalies, that's the way you approach it."
Theodore's performance was among his best since his trade from Montreal last spring.
The Canucks outshot the Avs 38-20, including 15-6 in the first period, when Theodore's superb play prevented Vancouver from igniting a rout.
"I just thought I did my job," Theodore said. "As a goalie, you just want to make every save and that's what I tried to do for 60 minutes and let the guys take care of the rest, scoring the big goals when it's time."
Andrew Brunette scored twice, including the tiebreaker in the third period, when he took a pass from Brett Clark and deked Luongo, who fell for the fake to the left. That allowed Brunette to slip the puck past him on the glove side to break a 2-2 tie at 3:22.
"Clark did a nice job keeping the puck in. He's playing great hockey now, and he just kind of found me in an open seem and I had time," Brunette said.
"It's a big win for a game we really didn't deserve to be in. I thought Jose kept us in the game tonight, and he's the reason we got the win."
Theodore won his third straight start, a streak in which he's stopped 97 of 103 shots.
The Avs entered the game averaging 35 shots per game, tops in the NHL. But they managed just six in the first period, when the Canucks had 15, including Markus Naslund's goal with 53 seconds left.
Colorado tied it 92 seconds into the second period when Clark took a pass from Joe Sakic and slapped a shot from the high slot that deflected off Brunette's stick past Luongo, who jumped up and pleaded for with referee Bill McCreary to waive it off.
"I definitely thought it was interference," Luongo said. "He didn't have his stick in my pad, it was more in my arm and he spun me around as the shot came in, and I couldn't get an arm on the shot."
It was the second straight game that Luongo felt he had been hurt by poor officiating.
In a 5-2 loss to the Wild in Minnesota on Thursday night, a goal by Todd White was initially waved off for kicking, but a video review reversed the original call, infuriating Luongo and Canucks coach Alain Vigneault, who concurred with his goalie on this one, too.
"He's a professional and goaltenders are very strong mentally. Tonight, I thought that their first goal was a missed call by the official," Vigneault said. "That is two games in a row where that has had a direct impact on the outcome of the game.
"Those are things that you have to fight through. Louie has to fight through it, too. He can play better, and hopefully he will do that for us through the next homestand."
Notes: After playing 11 of their first 15 games on the road, the Canucks play six straight at home. ... Sakic has 89 points in 67 career games against the Canucks, his highest scoring total against an opponent. ... Clark has five career two-assists games and two of them have come this season against Vancouver.
|Markus Naslund (7) ASST: Alexandre Burrows (4), Mattias Ohlund (5)|
1 - 0 VAN
|Andrew Brunette (6) ASST: Brett Clark (6), Joe Sakic (8)|
1 - 1 Tie
|PPG - Daniel Sedin (6) ASST: Henrik Sedin (14), Taylor Pyatt (3)|
2 - 1 VAN
|Paul Stastny (3) ASST: Milan Hejduk (7), Wojtek Wolski (6)|
2 - 2 Tie
|Andrew Brunette (7) ASST: Brett Clark (7), Joe Sakic (9)|
3 - 2 COL
|Tommi Santala Too many men/ice - bench|
|Brett McLean Tripping against Matt Cooke|
|Joe Sakic Holding against Taylor Pyatt|
|Rory Fitzpatrick Slashing|
|Lukas Krajicek Hooking|
|Ossi Vaananen Roughing against Matt Cooke|
|Markus Naslund Boarding against Karlis Skrastins|