EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) -- The Vancouver Canucks had plenty of offense and
more than enough defense to beat the Edmonton Oilers.
Dan Cloutier stopped 24 shots for his first shutout of the season, leading
the Vancouver Canucks over the Edmonton Oilers 3-0 on Saturday night.
"I've been close so many times this year, it's definitely nice," he said.
Markus Naslund scored in the opening moments of the second period, and Mike
Keane and Jarko Ruutu also scored for the Canucks, who stretched their lead
atop the Northwest Division to four points over Calgary.
"I thought we played extremely well defensively," Cloutier said. "We've
got so much offense that if we do stick with the defensive side of the game, we
should be able to pull wins out against pretty well a lot of teams."
Edmonton has won once in its last eight home games and has managed just two
victories in 14 games overall.
"It certainly is a desperate time for us and we need to come up with a
better effort at home than that," Oilers defenseman Steve Staios said. "It's
never too early to look at the standings and see where we're at.
"We have to get going here, there's no doubt about it."
Cloutier was the difference this time.
"He played very strong," Canucks forward Mike Keane said. "We had a real
solid game but we need good goaltending and that's what he's given us all
Turnovers did the Oilers in on Saturday.
Edmonton was able to start with much more jump than they have showed on home
ice lately. The Oilers generated a few scoring opportunities early, including a
one-timer by Raffi Torres from the side of the net that Cloutier did well to
save and a breakaway by Ethan Moreau in the final minute of the opening period.
But the Canucks took a 1-0 lead 26 seconds into the second period on
Naslund's 18th goal.
Todd Bertuzzi skated along the Oilers blue line and into the zone before
dishing to Naslund, who scored on a low shot through a gaping hole in Ty
"I thought we worked harder overall," Naslund said. "The intensity is
what we've been looking for lately."
The Canucks captain has 39 points, third in the NHL behind Washington's
Robert Lang (42) and Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk (40).
Vancouver extended the lead on a fluky giveaway in the Edmonton end. A pass
from defenseman Cory Cross, intended for Torres, bounced off the forward's
skate right to Keane, who buried a quick shot behind Conklin.
"That second goal was a tough one for them," Vancouver forward Trevor
The Canucks had 16 shots in a fast-paced second period.
Ruutu made it 3-0 when he jumped in front of an errant pass from Jason
Chimera and went in alone, finishing with a great move on Conklin at 6:34 of
The Oilers managed to stop one streak of futility by not allowing a
power-play goal. Edmonton's league-worst penalty-killing unit had been scored
on in 14 straight games.