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GAME: Vancouver Canucks (1-0-0) at Edmonton Oilers (1-0-0).

TIME: Saturday, 10 p.m. EDT.

The Vancouver Canucks have a proven top line of Markus Naslund, Brendan Morrison and Todd Bertuzzi. The Edmonton Oilers hope their new top line of Shawn Horcoff, Ryan Smyth and Radek Dvorak can deliver for a second straight game as the two Northwest Division teams play Saturday at Rexall Place.

The Canucks welcomed back Bertuzzi, who had served a 17-month suspension for his well publicized on-ice attack of Colorado Avalanche forward Steve Moore in the 2003-04 season, to their top line in Wednesday's 3-2 win over the Phoenix Coyotes.

Bertuzzi assisted on a first-period goal by Naslund, who also potted the game-winner with 8:40 left in the third period.

"I think it was relief to get the first one out of the way and I'm sure it felt good out there because he looked good and now he can just move forward," Naslund said of Bertuzzi's return. "I think we had a decent game. We're not in full stride yet, but Brendan and Todd were skating well."

"It was just good to get a win, good to be in the dressing room and fun to be in this atmosphere," said Bertuzzi, who received the loudest roars during a raucous introduction.

The trio have combined for 195 goals and 481 points since the start of the 2002-03 season.

Vancouver also had some good news with the play of defenseman Mattias Ohlund, who missed all of preseason with a back injury. He logged almost 21 minutes and had the first goal of the game.

Oilers coach Craig MacTavish plugged Horcoff into the first line with wings Smyth and Dvorak, who all made major contributions in Edmonton's 4-3 win Wednesday over Colorado.

Horcoff netted his first goal 24 seconds into the game and scored the game-winner with 3:18 to play. It was his first two-goal game since starting the 2002-03 season with two against San Jose.

"I have never really been in an offensive role here before," said the 27-year-old Horcoff, who is entering his fifth season with Edmonton. "I paid my dues."

Smyth added a goal and two assists while Dvorak had two assists for Edmonton, which saw defenseman Chris Pronger and center Michael Peca make quiet debuts after being acquired in the offseason.

Pronger played almost 27 minutes and took two shots on goal, while Peca played slightly more than 15 minutes and had a player rating of minus-1.

STANDINGS (through Oct. 6): Canucks - 2 points, 1st place (tied), Northwest Division. Oilers - 2 points, 1st place (tied), Northwest Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Canucks - Naslund, 2 goals; Morrison, 2 assists; Naslund and Morrison, 2 points; Daniel Sedin, 4 PIM. Oilers - Horcoff, 2 goals; Smyth and Dvorak, 2 assists; Horcoff and Smyth, 3 points; Four players with 2 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Oct. 6): Canucks - Power play: 0.0 percent (0 for 4), 22nd (tied) in NHL. Penalty killing: 75.0 percent (3 for 4), 24th (tied). Oilers - Power play: 14.3 percent (1 for 7), 12th (tied). Penalty killing: 100 percent (3 for 3), 1st (tied).

GOALTENDERS: Canucks - Dan Cloutier (1-0-0, 0 SO, 2.03 GAA); Alex Auld (no record). Oilers - Ty Conklin (1-0-0, 0, 3.00); Michael Morrison (no record).

2003-04 SEASON SERIES: Canucks 4-0-0-1.

LAST MEETING: April 3, 2004; Canucks 5-2. At Vancouver, Mike Keane had two goals as the Canucks closed the season with six straight wins to capture the Northwest Division title.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Canucks - 0-0-0 on the road; Oilers - 1-0-0 at home.

Associated Press
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