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Canucks play fifth straight OT at home

12/23/2003

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) -- Jarkko Ruutu knows good
things usually happen when you drive to the net.

Ruutu scored with 3:54 left in regulation to complete
Vancouver's comeback from a three-goal deficit and give the Canucks
a 4-4 tie with the Los Angeles Kings on Monday night.

Ruutu, who ended a 26-game goal drought in his previous game,
scored his third of the season by charging the crease and shoving
the puck and Kings goalie Cristobal Huet into the net.

"We talked about taking the puck to get net and not trying to
be too pretty," Ruutu said. "I knew (Artem Chubarov) was in front
of the net so all I tried to do is just kind of fake that I'm going
there and just take the puck to the net, crash the net, and try to
get a rebound. They're not pretty but it's effective when you go to
the net."

There was a slight delay signaling a goal as the puck trickled
over the line, but it stood despite Huet's protests.

"I have to see it again, but I guess there s a rule you can
push the goalie, said Huet after making 40 saves. "The guy pushed
my pads so I tried to yell at the ref."

Ziggy Palffy scored his second goal of the game on a
short-handed breakaway to give Los Angeles a 4-1 lead with 3:20
left in the second period.

But defenseman Brent Sopel responded with two seconds left on
the same power play, and Chubarov made it 4-3 just 33 seconds later
as Vancouver rallied to earn at least a point for the 10th time in
12 games.

Chubarov's goal ended a 20-game drought, and Sopel's was his
first in 25 contests as the Canucks moved five points ahead of
Colorado and Calgary for the Northwest Division lead.

Todd Bertuzzi also scored, and Dan Cloutier made 24 saves for
the Canucks, who have played overtime in five straight home games.

"It was the third- and fourth-line guys that did the bulk of
the work and got us back in the game," Canucks captain Markus
Naslund said. "We're happy to get that point. We made some
mistakes and we were a little sloppy on the power play and it ended
up in the back of our net."

Alexander Frolov also scored on a short-handed break, and Luc
Robitaille added a power-play goal for the Kings, playing without
Martin Straka. Already missing 11 regulars to injury, Straka
returned to Pittsburgh for the birth of his first child.

The Kings have recorded at least one point in 11 of 13 games to
stay atop the Pacific Division, two points ahead of San Jose.

"We need points every night we play and we scraped a point out
of here, but we left a point on the table being up 4-1," Kings
coach Andy Murray said. "With our lineup we just scrape through
and I think we've lost two games in regulation in our last 13 or 14
with 35 players."

Huet, starting his seventh straight game in place of the injured
Roman Cechmanek (hip), finished with 40 saves.

Bertuzzi opened the scoring on a power-play rebound, ending a
six-game drought with the man advantage for the Canucks.

They gave it right back on the next power play when Ed
Jovanovski got caught flat-footed at the Kings blue line and Frolov
blew by him before beating Cloutier on a breakaway.

Robitaille made it 2-1 with a power-play goal that bounced in
off Mattias Ohlund's skate during a scramble in front of the net.

Palffy, who extended his point streak to seven games, scored his
first goal on a rebound 12:32 into the second period. He added his
second four minutes later after Ohlund tripped trying to keep the
play onside.

Palffy outraced everyone down the ice, and beat Cloutier. He has
six goals and four assists during his point streak. But the Kings
couldn't hold on.

"We didn't keep it up, we just get two minutes soft and they
scored a goal on the power play and then they got the third goal,"
Palffy said. "We can't do anything about it now, but we have to
win these kind of games because in the end we're going to need
those points."

Game notes
The Kings came into the game with 246 man games lost. Their
injury woes extended into the press box when TV color commentator
Jim Fox had to undergo emergency surgery Sunday for a staph
infection in his elbow. Fox, who finished the game Saturday night
with an ice pack on his swollen arm, flew to Vancouver on Monday in
time for the broadcast. ... Canucks LW Matt Cooke, who missed 11
games after developing a similar blood infection while
rehabilitating a shoulder injury, is expected to return after the
Christmas break. ... It was former Canucks player Trent Klatt's
first game in Vancouver since leaving for Los Angeles as a free
agent this summer.