VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) _ Markus Naslund found his scoring touch in
time to help the Vancouver Canucks get over the loss of suspended star Todd
Naslund scored his first goal in 11 games and added an assist in Vancouver's
6-1 win over the Phoenix Coyotes on Monday night.
Vancouver's third straight victory was easily the most impressive of four
wins since Bertuzzi was suspended for the rest of the season and playoffs for a
blindside punch against Colorado's Steve Moore on March 8.
``We're starting to look like a team with identity again,'' said Naslund,
who added an assist. ``We were without identity for the longest time. A lot of
guys were looking to get back to playing the way we could and I think we re
coming together at the same time, pretty much everyone together.''
The Canucks recorded 10 shots before the Coyotes managed their first 7:18
in, and finished with a 45-17 shot advantage.
``Getting our first man in hard to create turnovers was our big focus,''
said Matt Cooke, who opened the scoring 6:23 into the second period. ``The last
three games we've really forechecked hard and we cycled hard and got some
pressure and some turnovers.''
Daniel Sedin and Brent Sopel also scored second-period goals for the
Canucks, who won their 40th game of the season to stay one point behind
Colorado in the race for the Northwest Division title.
Artem Chubarov and Jason King added third-period goals as Vancouver moved
into a fourth-place tie with Dallas.
Ivan Novoseltsev ended Dan Cloutier's shutout bid with 2:07 left, and Brian
Boucher made 39 saves for the Coyotes, who have just one win in 20 games.
``You've got to give Vancouver credit, they've got a good team over there
and they're playing well and they gave it to us tonight,'' said Coyotes captain
Shane Doan, who played the entire game despite taking a deflected slap shot off
the cheek midway through the first period.
Cloutier, who finished with 16 saves, became the first Canucks goalie to
post three straight 30-win seasons. New Jersey's Martin Brodeur is the only
other NHL goalie with 30 wins in each of the last three seasons.
Despite outshooting Phoenix 16-5 in the opening period, Vancouver was
fortunate not to be trailing after an apparent power-play goal was disallowed.
``We caught a team that was tired tonight and we got on them early,''
Canucks coach Marc Crawford said. ``Their goalie was outstanding the first half
of the game, and when we finally did break through the flood gates opened.''
Vancouver was outshooting the Coyotes 23-5 when Cooke scored on a
three-on-two rush. Naslund's attempted pass hit a stick and bounced toward the
Boucher stopped the puck, but his momentum carried him across the crease,
and a hard-charging Cooke tapped the loose puck into an empty net.
Naslund ended his longest goal drought in four seasons when he pounced on a
loose puck inside the Phoenix blue line just over five minutes later. He was
hauled down by Derek Morris, but managed to snap a perfect wrist shot over
Boucher's glove while falling to score his 33rd goal.
``After everything we've been through, it's nice to get some flow back into
our game,'' said Naslund, who credited four practice days last week for helping
to turn things around. ``I'm just like the rest of the team, starting to feel
like those four days out of five without a game really helped us.''
Sedin scored his second goal in two games on a rebound 27 seconds later, and
Sopel made it 4-0 with one minute left in the period when Boucher whiffed on
his unscreened shot from just inside the blue line.
Canucks rookie forward Jason King, recalled earlier Monday because Brad May
is injured, assisted on Chubarov's goal. He added his 12th goal _ first since
Nov. 25 _ with 2:43 left.