VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) -- With one big hit, Todd
Bertuzzi changed the game and jump-started an old rivalry with St.
With three minutes left and the game tied, Bertuzzi caught
Barret Jackman with his head down and knocked the Blues defenseman
out of the game. Five St. Louis penalties later, rookie Jason King
scored on a two-man power play with 12.7 seconds left, lifting the
Canucks to a 3-2 victory over the Blues on Wednesday night.
It was the teams' first meeting since the Canucks overcame a 3-1
series deficit to knock St. Louis out in the first round of last
After the Vancouver forward leveled Jackman behind the Blues
net, Chris Pronger tackled Bertuzzi in the corner and had to be
pulled away by officials, but said afterward he only trying to play
Pronger, who received four minutes in penalties and a 10-minute
misconduct, insisted he wasn't trying to exact revenge for what he
called a clean hit.
"If I was sticking up for him I would have fought him. I was
playing the puck and he dove," Pronger said of the 245-pound
Bertuzzi. "I put my arm around to spin him and he flops down like
he's 120 pounds. I'm surprised to get a penalty for something he
did two minutes earlier to Murray Baron."
Jackman went straight to the locker room with an apparent arm
injury, and Pronger followed him with four minutes in penalties and
a 10-minute misconduct.
Murray Baron and Jeff Finley were then both whistled for
slashing with 1:28 left, leaving the Blues with one defenseman and
giving the Canucks a two-man advantage for the remainder of the
King batted in his third goal of the season on a rebound from
the top of the crease during a scramble to keep the Canucks perfect
in four home games.
"It was a big scramble," King said of his third NHL goal. "We
were just battling hard in front. I was lucky to get a good bounce
and I got a good backhand off."
Defenseman Brent Sopel also scored for Vancouver, but he put a
puck in his own net to give St. Louis a 2-1 lead 8:01 into the
Sopel, who opened the scoring on a first-period power play, was
trying to knock down Pavol Demitra's backdoor pass to Keith
Tkachuk. Instead, he knocked the puck straight up and then swiped
it out of the air and into the net.
The Blues, already missing injured defensemen Al MacInnis,
Alexander Khavanov, Christian Laflamme and Bryce Salvador, said
Jackman would return to St. Louis Thursday instead of accompanying
them to Calgary for the conclusion of a three-game road trip.
"I think you have to respond to a hit like Bertuzzi's and we
used pretty good restraint, Blues coach Joel Quenelle said. "It's
one of those hits you can hurt guys. (Bertuzzi) sees him with his
head down, he's a big guy, he'll never go in there first looking
for the puck when he might absorb a hit like that."
Bertuzzi defended his hit.
"He came around the net with his head down and you've got to
finish your checks. It was a clean hit," Bertuzzi said. "You hate
to see guys go down. He s a good guy and he works hard and plays
hard and he'd do it to me in a heartbeat."
Christian Beckman also scored for the Blues, who played one
night after overcoming a 3-0 deficit to beat Edmonton 6-4 on
Tuesday. It was Beckman's first NHL goal
Chris Osgood made 25 saves for St. Louis
Canucks general manager Brian Burke is scheduled to meet
with Seattle-based owner John McCaw Jr. on Thursday to discuss a
proposed contract extension for Bertuzzi, who is in the final year
of his deal. ... Vancouver LW Magnus Arvedson played his 400th NHL
game. ... Canucks LW Brad May served his one-game suspension for
cross-checking Buffalo defenseman Jay McKee in the face on Monday.