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Vancouver Canucks 1, Colorado Avalanche 0 FINAL @NHLdotcom

DENVER (AP) _ The Vancouver Canucks had lost three straight games, and goaltender Dan Cloutier had missed his previous start with the flu.

But all was well Monday night.

Daniel Sedin scored a third-period goal and Cloutier made 23 saves, leading the Canucks to a 1-0 win over the Colorado Avalanche.

Cloutier recorded his fourth shutout of the season and 14th of his career as the Canucks trimmed Colorado's lead in the Northwest Division to four points.

``We haven't played very good the last few games,'' Cloutier said, ``so it was definitely nice to come in here and get two points. At least we're two points closer now.

``I missed my last start because of the flu, but I skated this morning and felt all right. By game time I was feeling pretty good. Good enough to go.''

David Aebischer had 20 saves for the Avalanche, who lost in regulation for the first time in 13 games.

Moments after Todd Bertuzzi wiped out two Colorado players behind the net, Sedin poked in a shot from just right of the goal at 2:09.

``Todd got the puck down on the net there for me and took two players away,'' Sedin said. ``I was lucky to get a bounce there. It just laid down for me.''

The Avalanche had a half-dozen shots in the waning minutes and pulled Aebischer with 1:21 remaining but couldn't score.

Colorado finished 0-for-7 on the power play.

``We weren't real sharp with our shots,'' Colorado coach Tony Granato said. ``We missed the net a lot, we shot high a lot and we didn't get a lot of rebounds. And when the goalies had to make a big save, both of them did. There weren't a lot of real quality chances.''

Vancouver went 0-for-4 on the power play in a scoreless first period that featured few scoring chances. Aebischer had the best save of the period, going low to stop Markus Naslund from the slot.

Both goalies were again flawless in the second period, during which Vancouver outshot Colorado 9-7.

Cloutier stopped Milan Hejduk on a rebound try early in the period and made a blocker save off Teemu Selanne.

Aebischer stopped Matt Cooke on a partial breakaway and stopped Brad May's shot through traffic.

Colorado failed to convert on a four-minute power play. Cooke was whistled for high-sticking Derek Morris and got the double minor when Morris was cut in the mouth, but the Avalanche got off only two shots.

Naslund was bloodied when he collided with Steve Moore at mid-ice, but there was no call. Nor was there a call late in the period when Vancouver's Jarkko Ruutu hit Peter Forsberg in the face with a high stick.

Canucks coach Marc Crawford was livid about the no-call on Naslund, limiting his post-game comments to that incident.

``He got a pretty nasty hit,'' Crawford said. ``It could have been an obstruction call, it could have been an elbow, but instead they call absolutely nothing. It mystifies me why this happens in this league. They talk about players not having respect for players. How about the officials? Should they not have respect for the leading scorer in the league?

``It was a cheap shot by a young kid on a captain, and we get no call. That's ridiculous.''

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