Canucks take sixth in West with win over Oilers

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) -- The Vancouver Canucks
overcame a couple of bad breaks to earn a pair of crucial points in
the playoff race.

After blowing a two-goal second period lead, Markus Naslund tied
the game 8:24 into the third and scored the first of three straight
shootout goals as Vancouver won its second straight game over the
Edmonton Oilers, 4-3 on Thursday night.

Todd Bertuzzi opened the scoring in regulation and added the
shootout clincher on a backhand deke as Vancouver moved into a
sixth-place tie with Anaheim in the Western Conference, two points
ahead of the eighth-place Oilers.

Henrik Sedin also scored in regulation, and Jarkko Ruutu scored
the other shootout goal for the Canucks, who beat Edmonton for the
second time in three nights after losing their first five games of
the season to the Oilers.

"Those points at the end are crucial for us," said Naslund,
whose team had lost six of seven before facing Edmonton and winning
consecutive games for the first time in a month.

"Hopefully we'll look back on this as the turning point."

It almost turned in the Oilers favor in the second period.

After falling behind 2-0 for the second time in this three-game
series, the Oilers stormed back, outshooting Vancouver 15-5 in the
second period and scoring three times to take the lead late in the
period. All three goals were gifts -- one from the officials and the
other two from the Canucks.

After scoring on a long shot that somehow eluded Alex Auld 8:33
into the second, Raffi Torres scored his second goal with 1:52 left
in the period after linesman Mike Cvik ran into defenseman Keith
Carney, allowing Sergei Samsonov to walk in alone. Auld made the
first save, but Torres tapped in the rebound, giving him seven
goals in seven games against the Canucks this season.

Fernando Pisani put the Oilers ahead 48 seconds later, knocking
a loose puck past a stunned Auld after Anson Carter coughed it up
right in front of his own net.

"I thought those were two really unlucky goals -- bad breaks --
but we got the tying goal," said Naslund, whose 30th goal set the
stage for a Canucks sweep when the tripleheader with Edmonton
concludes Saturday in Vancouver.

"I like the way we battled back and we still get a point out of
it but going into Saturday we know we've got to win, said Torres.

Vancouver appeared to get another bad break when Ryan Smyth was
awarded a shootout goal after a lengthy video review overturned the
call on the ice. Auld got a piece of Smyth's deke, but knocked the
puck over the goal line as he tried to get up. Referee Paul
Devorski waved it off, but after a 15-minute review it counted.

It still wasn't enough. After Naslund beat Dwayne Roloson with a
wrist shot in the first round, Ruutu answered Smyth's goal with a
strong move to his backhand and Bertuzzi clinched it with a
backhand deke that went off the post and in.

Auld s first round stop of Ales Hemsky was enough to win his
30th game.

"It was a great win for sure," said Auld, who stopped 26
before the shootout.

Roloson stopped 16 in regulation and overtime before coming up
empty one-on-one. Oilers coach Craig MacTavish said Roloson, who
was acquired from Minnesota just before the March 9 trade deadline,
was "average."

The Oilers coach was especially upset with Bertuzzi's first
goal, which squeezed through Roloson's legs from a sharp angle
midway through the first period. In the shootout Naslund faked him
with a head shot before firing home a wrist shot, Ruutu got him
moving the wrong way with a strong backhand move, and Bertuzzi s
backhand deke bounced off the post and in to clinch the win.

"Those guys froze me pretty good," said Roloson, who is 2-3-3
with Edmonton.

Bertuzzi opened the scoring midway through the first period --
his first goal in nine games and his first at even strength in 21 --
and Sedin banged in a rebound to make it 2-0 five minutes into the

Naslund tied it at 3 after taking a drop pass from Bertuzzi just
inside the left faceoff circle and lifting a perfect wrist shot
over Roloson's left shoulder. The goal was Naslund's 30th of the
season, but just his second in the last 10 games.

"It s not his best game," MacTavish said of Roloson.

Game notes
MacTavish said earlier in the day that he almost choked on
his coffee when he found out Devorski and Marc Joannette -- the same
two referees who gave Vancouver a 10-5 power-play advantage Tuesday
-- were also calling this game. Edmonton RW Radek Dvorak missed the
game after injuring his hip flexor in the first game on Tuesday.
Oilers D Dick Tarnstrom returned after missing five games with a
groin injury.