Canucks 4, Red Wings 1
Vancouver's Matt Cooke (24) flips the puck past Red Wings goalie Curtis Joseph, as teammate Mathieu Dandenault slides by during the first period.
Canucks beat Wings, win sixth straight
By Associated Press
VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- The Vancouver Canucks didn't want vengeance against the Detroit Red Wings. They just wanted to prove they could compete with the NHL's best.
Todd Bertuzzi had a goal and an assist and Markus Naslund added his league-leading 13th goal as the Canucks won their sixth straight game, 4-1 over Detroit on Friday night.
It was the first meeting since the first round of last year's playoffs, when the Red Wings rebounded from a 2-0 deficit by winning four straight on their way to the Stanley Cup title.
"We're hot right now and we wanted to show, especially ourselves, that we can play with the best in the league," Naslund said. "This was a good test of that."
Matt Cooke and Trent Klatt also scored, and Dan Cloutier made 22 saves as Vancouver ended Detroit's five-game winning streak.
Brendan Morrison extended his point streak to six games with two assists for the Canucks, who swept a five-game homestand and have won eight of nine overall.
"They've got talented guys, a good team and they're playing well right now," Detroit winger Darren McCarty said. "They went out and beat us tonight so hats off to them."
Cloutier, who was pulled from the final two games of last year's playoffs, came within 11 minutes of a shutout before Brett Hull scored on a power play.
"People are thinking this was huge and whatnot, but it was just another game for me," Cloutier said. "If I had gone in there and put any extra pressure on myself, maybe it would have been different."
As it was, Cloutier was the difference, especially in the game's opening minutes. He made a sliding stop to rob Tomas Holmstrom on a two-on-one just 2:30 into the game and Cooke opened the scoring on the ensuing rush the other way.
"You need big saves to be a good team and he's providing that for us," Canucks Coach Marc Crawford said.
Cooke chipped a rebound over a sprawling Curtis Joseph after Detroit defenseman Mathieu Dandenault failed to clear a loose puck.
Vancouver outshot the Wings 9-2 in the first eight minutes after Darren McCarty took back-to-back penalties, but Joseph made a couple of outstanding glove saves off Naslund, and Klatt hit the post.
"We got ourselves into penalty trouble in the first period," Wings Coach Dave Lewis said. "Then they get an early goal and you seem to be defending all the time and that's what happened."
Naslund finally made it 2-0 with 3:28 left in the period and 4 seconds remaining on Vancouver's fourth power play. Morrison spotted Naslund just inside the left circle from behind the net and the Canucks captain's quick wrist shot beat Joseph low and just inside the far post.
"I feel like I'm starting to hit my stride," said Naslund, who has five goals in four games.
Vancouver doubled its lead on a pair of second period breakaways that ended Joseph's night early.
Klatt, sprung by a nice pass from Jarkko Ruutu, beat Joseph high glove side from the right faceoff dot at 5:57. Bertuzzi got a little closer before snapping a shot to the same spot at 9:01, which prompted the Wings to replace Joseph with Manny Legace.
"I thought it was one of our best efforts of the year," said Cloutier, who moved into a tie for the NHL lead with his 11th win.
Legace robbed Morrison on a hard slap shot 30 seconds later, stuffed him on a breakaway a minute after that, and stopped all 11 shots he faced.