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Canucks pull into tie for West's final berth

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- The road to the playoffs for the
Vancouver Canucks has been the road.

Todd Bertuzzi's behind-the-back pass set up Mattias Ohlund's
power-play goal with 1:56 left in overtime on Sunday night, giving
the Canucks a 3-2 win over the New Jersey Devils and their fourth
straight road win.

The win moved the Canucks into a tie with Dallas for the eighth
and final playoff berth in the Western Conference. The Stars have
played three fewer games.

"We needed every point coming out of this road trip," said
Bertuzzi, who also scored the Canucks' first goal. "We knew the
first three games were going to be a test because we weren't up
against playoff contenders.

"But we won the games we had to, and we knew the Devils were
going to be tough. Now we have to move on."

The Canucks, who beat Atlanta, Columbus and Nashville to open
this six-game road trip, won't have to go far in finishing it. They
will face the Rangers in New York on Monday and the Islanders on
Wednesday.

"We just have to keep on doing what we have been doing and hope
we can keep the momentum," Ohlund said. "We can't think about
what the other teams are doing. We only have to worry about
ourselves."

Trevor Linden forced overtime with another power-play goal with
8:58 to play and goaltender Peter Skudra stopped 16 shots as
Vancouver swept the two-game season series with New Jersey.

Sergei Nemchinov and Patrik Elias scored for the Devils, who are
also making a late-season run to the playoff. The overtime loss
brought New Jersey, who had won its last three games, within a
point of the sixth-place Islanders in the Eastern Conference.

The game-winner came after a shot by Devils defenseman Colin
White was blocked by Brent Sopel.

Bertuzzi carried the puck off the rebound into the Devils' zone,
drew Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur toward him and then sent the
behind-the-back pass to a wide-open Ohlund for his ninth goal of
the season.

"I knew he was there," Bertuzzi said. "I saw him coming up on
the rush. I couldn't shoot it. He (Brodeur) was right there in
front of me. There was no way I was going to beat him."

Bertuzzi didn't even crack a smile when asked about his fancy
pass.

"You've got to try things sometimes," he said. "You never
know until it happens. When you get in the offensive zone you have
to be creative, and sometimes it happens."

The Devils were annoyed with some penalty calls by referees
Stephane Auger and Don Koharski, particularly the goaltender
interference call against Valeri Kamensky in the overtime.

"I didn't touch anybody," Kamensky said.

"We deserved more than a point," White said. "You hate to
blame it on stuff, but if you are a fan who knows hockey, it's a
little outrageous out there."

Linden tied the game by deflecting Brent Sopel's shot from the
left point past Brodeur. The puck lost steam approaching the goal
line and just barely made it across the line.

It was Linden's 13th goal of the season and it snapped an
eight-game goal scoring drought.

Linden nearly set up a go-ahead goal, but Brodeur stopped
Bertuzzi in front with under five minutes to play on another
Vancouver power play.

Elias gave New Jersey a 2-1 lead at 18:25 of the first period,
converting a perfect pass by defenseman Brian Rafalski.

Elias sent the puck from along the left side boards to the right
corner. Rafalski retrieved the puck in the corner and threaded a
pass under defenseman Ed Jovanovski back to Elias alone in front
for his 23rd goal.

The Canucks tied the game at 1 at 15:12 of the first on
Bertuzzi's 25th goal, which matched his career high.

Brendan Morrison made two key plays to set up the goal. He
forced Devils defenseman Scott Stevens to play the puck up the
boards and he then feathered a pass to a wide-open Bertuzzi after
the big forward knocked down Stevens' pass.

Nemchinov scored in close on a setup by Jim McKenzie.

Skudra only had to make two saves in the third period, and none
in overtime.

Game notes
Randy McKay had the check of the game, dumping Canucks D
Scott Lachance into New Jersey's bench in the second period. ...
Vancouver will play seven of its final 10 at home, where they are
17-10-5-2. ... The Devils' streak of four straight sellouts ended.
... Devils C Jason Arnott, who hasn't skated since last Monday,
missed his third straight game with a back problem...The Canucks
are now 5-1 vs. Atlantic Division team and 12-5-2-1 vs. the Eastern
Conference. New Jersey is 8-10-2-0 vs. the Western Conference.