VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) _ With the clock ticking down and the St.
Louis Blues pressing in front of his net, Vancouver Canucks goalie Johan
Hedberg was relieved to hear a referee's whistle.
Then he found out why it was blown.
With the Canucks up 2-0 and 3.4 seconds left to play, Vancouver defenseman
Bryan Allen had dislodged his own net behind Hedberg, giving the Blues an
automatic penalty shot.
``I was surprised they called a penalty shot, I didn't know that was the
rule,'' Hedberg said.
Hedberg made a sprawling glove save _ his 31st of the game _ off Pavol
Demitra to preserve both his shutout and a 2-0 win over the Blues on Saturday
``It was an interesting end to the game,'' Hedberg added. ``I made him make
the first move then hoped to make the save.''
Demitra's first move was a strong deke to his backhand, but Hedberg did the
splits and stretched his glove out over his left pad to pick Demitra's shot out
of the air.
``I was thinking I got him but his glove was right there,'' Demitra said.
``He was quick.''
Artem Chubarov scored on a lucky bounce 4:54 into the second period, and
Mattias Ohlund added a power-play goal with 4:05 left as the Canucks swept
their three-game homestand. Vancouver moved within a point of Colorado atop the
``It's a good thing to win home games and give us a boost,'' Chubarov said.
Hedberg, making his first start in two weeks, had his second shutout this
season and ninth of his career.
Hedberg robbed Demitra twice in the first period on one-timers from
point-blank range, and dove across head first to take an empty net away from
Keith Tkachuk in the second, stopping the puck with his mask.
``I just tried to get it off as quick as possible and wanted to make sure I
got it up and it hit him right in the helmet,'' Tkachuk said. ``That's just the
way the night was going. We get a guy we want on a penalty shot at the end and
he couldn't score either.''
Chris Osgood finished with 27 saves for the Blues, who are winless in four
games and remain two points behind Calgary for the final Western Conference
The Blues' biggest problem is scoring. St. Louis has failed to score more
than two goals in 21 of 28 games in 2004. This was the fifth time the Blues
have been shut out in that time.
``We had our opportunities. We generated a lot of shots and you've got to
give him credit _ Hedberg played real well,'' Tkachuk said.
So did Osgood, who couldn't be faulted on either of Vancouver's goal.
Chubarov scored an unassisted goal four seconds after leaving the bench on a
line change and skated right to a loose puck just inside the St. Louis zone. He
simply threw a soft wrist shot at the net, and Blues center Doug Weight,
lifting his leg in an attempt to avoid the puck as he cruised through the top
of the crease, kicked it past a helpless Osgood.
``It hit Dougie in the leg and went up into the top of the net,'' Osgood
said ``They had a good line change and came off the bench fast and caught us.
We only had three guys in the zone.''
Osgood was at his best killing off the first six Vancouver power plays,
including a lengthy two-man advantage midway through the second period in which
he stopped Sami Salo on three separate shots from the point.
He kept it close in the third with a couple of close-range stops off the
stick of Canucks captain and leading scorer Markus Naslund before Ohlund
finally beat him with a screened point shot on Vancouver's next power play.
``You roll the dice against their power play that many times, they re going
to score,'' Osgood said.
St. Louis was blanked on four power-play chances as Hedberg, a deft stick
handler, cleared the zone several times on his own.
``Johan had a huge game for us,'' Ohlund said. ``He's so good playing the
puck, especially against a team like St. Louis. It takes the forecheck away a