Canucks goalie left Game 3 early with injury

Updated: April 21, 2004, 2:40 PM ET
Associated Press

CALGARY, Alberta -- Canucks goaltender Dan Cloutier returned to Vancouver on Monday to have an apparent knee injury evaluated.

Canucks general manager Brian Burke made the announcement a day after Cloutier left the Canucks' 2-1 win over Calgary in Game 3 of a first-round playoff series.

Coach Marc Crawford said Johan Hedberg will start Tuesday night in Game 4 against Calgary, with third-stringer Alex Auld as the only backup. Vancouver leads the best-of-seven series 2-1.

Crawford said the Canucks would know more about Cloutier's status after a re-evaluation Tuesday. The team said only that Cloutier had a "lower body injury."

"You never like to have an injury to a key player, and Dan's a key player for us, there's no doubt about it," Crawford said. "But you've got to deal with it because they do happen."

Hedberg replaced Cloutier late in the first period Sunday after Cloutier appeared to wrench his knee scrambling to clear a puck in front of the net. Cloutier did not return to the ice and left the arena on crutches.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press