Final OT

Series (Game 2 of 2)

Vancouver leads 1-0

Game 1: Thursday, January 2nd
Game 2: Saturday, March 1st

Canucks 1

(38-17-0, 86 pts)

Canadiens 1

(24-27-7, 63 pts)

7:00 PM ET, March 1, 2003

Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

1 2 3 OT T
VAN 0 0 1 01
MTL 0 0 1 01

J. Theodore (Canadiens - G): Saves: 37, Save Pct.: .974

T. Bertuzzi (Canucks - RW): Goals: 0, Assists: 0

J. Juneau (Canadiens - C): Goals: 0, Assists: 0

Theodore has 37 saves in 1-1 tie with Canucks

MONTREAL (AP) -- Jose Theodore was at his best just when the Montreal Canadiens needed it most.

Jose Theodore

Vancouver's Todd Bertuzzi can't get the puck past Montreal goalie Jose Theodore.

Theodore made 37 saves, and Donald Audette's goal in the third period enabled the Canadiens to end a five-game losing streak with a 1-1 tie Saturday night against the Vancouver Canucks.

''We got a big point against one of the best teams in the league,'' said Theodore, the Hart and Vezina Trophy winner last year who has only one victory and a tie in his past 10 games. ''Our penalty killing has been excellent the last few games and this time we were against one of the best and never panicked.''

Audette got his fourth goal of the season -- and first in two games since being recalled from the minors -- at 6:47 of the period.

Trevor Letowski put Vancouver up 1-0 when he scored his 10th of the season just 49 seconds into the final period. Brandon Reid assisted on the goal in his NHL debut.

''If we had scored early it would have been different because we had chances to take the lead,'' said Vancouver's Todd Bertuzzi, whose club took a 9-0 lead in shots in the opening minutes and had four of its five power-plays in the first period. ''Their goalie played really excellent, but you've got to expect Theodore to play well.''

Montreal failed to scored in overtime, despite having a four-on-three advantage for the final 1:59 after the Canucks' Trevor Linden was sent off for tripping at 3:01.

Vancouver goalie Peter Skudra stuck out his right pad to stop Audette's chance with 20 seconds remaining. Skudra had 20 saves.

The Canucks ended a team-record 14-game unbeaten streak -- the longest in the NHL this season -- with a 3-2 defeat against San Jose on Thursday. Vancouver has 86 points, and trails Dallas by one for the overall lead in the Western Conference.

Vancouver, which has already tied a team record with 20 road victories, extended its road unbeaten streak to eight games as it set a new franchise high with its 47th point on the road (20-7-5-0).

Bertuzzi returned to the lineup, though without a visor despite being forced to leave the game Thursday because of a scratched left cornea when he was clipped in the eye by Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov's stick.

The Canadiens, who fell to 10th in the East with 63 points, one less than the New York Rangers, who beat Florida 5-2. Montreal has just one victory and five points in its past eight games (1-4-1-2).

Vancouver goals were disallowed in both the first and second periods as the game was scoreless through two despite the Canucks holding a 22-13 advantage in shots at that point.

Defenseman Brent Sopel's goal was waved off by referee Dave Jackson at 2:56 in -- just seconds after a penalty to Montreal's Andrei Markov expired. Jackson ruled that Sopel's shot beat Theodore after he had blown his whistle during a goalmouth scramble.

The Canucks were denied once again 8:11 into the second -- this time by referee Shane Heyer -- on Henrik Sedin's deflection of Bertuzzi's shot.

Heyer immediately waved his arms after Sedin used the shaft of his stick near his right hand to redirect Bertuzzi's shot past Theodore. A video review upheld Heyer's ruling that Sedin's stick made contact with the puck above the height of the crossbar.

Game notes

Canucks captain Markus Naslund was held pointless after collecting 11 -- including three goals and eight assists -- in his previous three games. Naslund is tied with Mario Lemieux for the league scoring lead with 84 points. ... Canadiens center Yanic Perreault was a healthy scratch for the first time this season. Perreault, who has 20 goals and 19 assists in 57 games, had one assist in seven games since missing eight games because of a pulled groin. ... Montreal defenseman Patrick Traverse returned after missing the 6-3 defeat Thursday against Minnesota because of the flu.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press