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GAME: Vancouver Canucks (40-24-10-5) at Anaheim Mighty Ducks (28-34-10-8).

TIME: Wednesday, 10:30 p.m. EST.

Following the NHL's indefinite suspension of Todd Bertuzzi, the Vancouver Canucks went into a slide.

They finally feel like they're back on track.

Vancouver continues its battle for first place in the Northwest Division when it looks for its fourth straight win in a matchup with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks.

Bertuzzi was suspended for the rest of the season and playoffs for a blindside punch of Colorado's Steve Moore on March 8, and the Canucks went on to win just one of their next seven games.

Vancouver, however, is playing well again. The Canucks beat the Phoenix Coyotes 6-1 on Monday night for their third straight win to remain one point behind the Avalanche in the Northwest.

"We're starting to look like a team with identity again," said Vancouver captain Markus Naslund, who scored for the first time in 11 games and added an assist Monday.

"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."

Dan Cloutier finished with 16 saves to become the first Canucks goalie with three straight 30-win seasons. New Jersey's Martin Brodeur is the only other goalie with 30 victories in each of the last three seasons.

"After everything we've been through, it's nice to get some flow back into our game," Naslund said.

Anaheim won't be going to the playoffs after reaching the Stanley Cup finals last season. The Ducks lost their third straight Sunday, 2-1 at Minnesota.

"That's been the story of the season, losing close ones," Anaheim captain Steve Rucchin said. "That's what happens when you refuse to work. ... When you don't come prepared on a nightly basis, it's tough.

"The guys on the ice haven't gotten the job done. It's no one's fault except ourselves."

STANDINGS: Canucks - 95 points, 2nd place, 1 PB, Northwest Division. Mighty Ducks - 74 points, 4th place, 26 PB, Pacific Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Canucks - Naslund, 33 goals, 48 assists and 81 points; Brad May, 135 PIM. Mighty Ducks - Sergei Fedorov, 30 goals and 64 points; Fedorov and Vaclav Prospal, 34 assists; Garrett Burnett, 155 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through March 29): Canucks - Power play: 14.9 percent (55 for 369), 23rd in NHL. Penalty killing: 86.0 percent (300 for 349), 4th. Mighty Ducks - Power play: 18.0 percent (55 for 305), 9th. Penalty killing: 84.3 percent (291 for 345), 13th.

GOALTENDERS: Canucks - Cloutier (30-21-6, 5 SO, 2.32 GAA); Johan Hedberg (8-6-2, 3, 2.51). Mighty Ducks - Jean-Sebastien Giguere (16-31-6, 3, 2.65); Martin Gerber (11-11-4, 2, 2.27).

SEASON SERIES: Mighty Ducks, 2-1.

LAST MEETING: Feb. 14; Mighty Ducks, 2-1. At Vancouver, British Columbia, Fedorov became the first Russian-born player with 1,000 NHL points with a second-period assist, and then set up the winner with 7:10 left in the third.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Canucks - 20-11-3-5 on the road; Mighty Ducks - 18-10-7-4 at home.

Associated Press
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