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Canucks 4, Avalanche 3, SO

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DENVER (AP) - Jarkko Ruutu didn't make the move he wanted to but sure got the result he coveted.

Ruutu beat David Aebischer in a shootout, and Vancouver goalie Alex Auld was flawless in the tiebreaker, leading the Canucks to a 4-3 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday night.

"I tried to go five-hole there and the puck rolled on me," Ruutu said. "I got lucky. I went with my backhand after I lost the handle on the puck. I just tried to shoot it but the puck started to roll. I'm serious, you don't believe me?"

He had fooled Aebischer.

"He faked the shot and I pretty much went for it," Aebischer said after the Avs' second straight shootout loss at home.

They were beaten by Dallas 3-2 on Thursday night - and this one stung the crowd a little bit more because nemesis Todd Bertuzzi skated away a winner for the first time in four trips to Denver this season.

Thanks to Auld, who made 40 saves before turning away the Avs in the shootout, and Ruutu, who is known as a grinder, not a scorer, but has performed well in practice shootouts.

"We knew coming in that other guys are going to have to step up and it was nice that Jarkko got that one," Bertuzzi said. "I was saying before we came out here that he is one of the most underrated guys, and a lot of people don't give him credit. It shows on his penalty shots; he is shifty and he has a good nose for the net. In practice he is always hitting them. He has a lot of skill."

After Ruutu scored, Marek Svatos and Milan Hejduk were stopped by Auld and Joe Sakic hit the left post as the Canucks escaped with the win despite allowing two goals in the final 6 1/2 minutes of the third period.

Canucks defenseman Nolan Baumgartner went to the penalty box for hooking with 3:14 left in overtime, giving the Avalanche a rare OT power play. But the Avs failed to score and Colorado defenseman Rob Blake was whistled for hooking, setting up a 3-on-3 skate for 58 seconds before the Canucks had the power play.

"In a shootout, anything can happen," Aebischer said. "And right now, we don't score in shootouts. It would have been better for us to score on the power play we had (in overtime) but Auld played pretty well."

It appeared Auld would become the first goalie to keep Colorado under two goals all season until Svatos' 30th goal from in front of the net at 13:25 made things interesting. Then, Brad Richardson scored his first career goal at 15:21 when Auld was down on the ice and Richardson shot the puck up into the net.

They were just about the only two times the Avs had sufficient traffic to block Auld's view and they were just the type of grinder goals necessary when trying to make up a late two-goal deficit.

"That's what you need when you can't get the pretty ones," Richardson said. "Just get the puck to the net, get some screens, stay in front of the net and good things usually happen."

The Avs only wish they could put the puck in the net in a shootout.

After Ruutu's score from the left circle broke a 1-1 tie in the second period, the Canucks made it 3-1 on Ryan Kesler's goal at 9:12 of the third period.

The Avalanche surrendered a short-handed goal that evened things up after they had taken advantage of Kesler's double-minor for high-sticking and drawing blood from John-Michael Liles midway through the first period.

Shortly after Bob Boughner's shot from the right point gave the Avs a 1-0 lead at 16:14, Vancouver center Trevor Linden stole the pick and the Canucks tied it on Mattias Ohlund's one-timer from the left point on a nice pass from Henrik Sedin at 17:57 - the first short-handed goal the Avs had allowed since Dec. 4 against Buffalo.

Late in the third period, ushers removed some rink-side fans who were razzing Bertuzzi and apparently threw a giveaway nesting doll at him.

Getting his usual treatment at the Pepsi Center, Bertuzzi was booed by Avalanche fans still bitter about the cheap shot the Canucks' forward put on Colorado forward Steve Moore that broke Moore's neck in a 2004 game in Vancouver. Moore has not returned to hockey since the hit.

Bertuzzi wasn't a factor in any of the Canucks' four trips to Denver. He had no goals and two assists over the four games at the Pepsi Center, during which the Canucks were outscored 19-11.

Unlike his first three trips to Denver, this time he skated off a winner, thanks to Auld and Ruutu.

Notes: The Avs are 2-5 in shootouts, the Canucks 2-3. ... The Avs' Ian Laperriere fought Bryan Allen in the first period and Kesler in the second. "That's what they want with eight games against the same team," Laperriere said of the unbalanced schedule. "That's what they got out of us, a good rivalry, it's good for the game. People like fighting, it just happened to be me tonight."

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