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Helmer's seeing-eye goal lifts Canucks

2/27/2002

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) -- Bryan Helmer never saw his
shot go in, but he knew right away he tied the game.

The Vancouver defenseman scored a power-play goal with 1:29 left
in regulation as the Canucks rallied from a two-goal deficit in the
third period to tie the St. Louis Blues 4-4 on Tuesday night.

"I didn't see it, but I heard it, said Helmer. "I just heard
it go off the post and then the crowd went crazy."

St. Louis was up 4-2 after Cory Stillman scored on the power
play 4:23 into the final period. But Andrew Cassels converted a
partial breakaway with 5:42 left in the third before Helmer tied
it.

"Things weren't going right for us a few times and we just
overcame it and got the point," Helmer said.

With Doug Weight in the penalty box for hooking Todd Bertuzzi,
Helmer's one-timer found its way through a screen in front, past
Brent Johnson, off the post and into the net.

"It was real disappointing to see that puck go in," said Weight,
who clearly disagreed with the call. "I was skating and he grabbed
my stick, cut in front of me and he flopped. It was a bad call, but
Donny (referee Don VanMassenhoven) has an awful hard job to do when
guys are doing that."

Bertuzzi and Trevor Linden also scored for the Canucks.

Weight, Mike Eastwood, Dallas Drake and Stillman scored for the
Blues, who had won just three of nine games heading into the 12-day
Olympic break that ended Monday.

Vancouver defenseman Ed Jovanovski and St. Louis defenseman
Chris Pronger, who played on Canada's gold-medal winning Olympic
team, both finished with two assists.

"It was a roller coaster, an up-and-down game, but in the end
we found a way to get it done," said Jovanovski. "We battled back
and found a way to get a point."

Dan Cloutier got the start in the Vancouver net after missing
nine games with a sprained ankle. He appeared to be fighting the
puck early.

Bertuzzi gave the Canucks a 1-0 lead 4:26 in, but Cloutier, who
hadn't played since Jan. 21, was beaten twice on long wrist shots
before the period ended.

Weight scored on a wrist shot from the high slot, and Eastwood
gave St. Louis the lead on another long wrist shot that trickled
through Cloutier's legs.

"I was thinking -- that's one of the problems," Cloutier said.
"You shouldn't be thinking out there, it gives them an extra
second to pick the corner."

Linden picked a corner of his own when he converted a 3-on-2
passing play with a one-timer from the top of the circle to tie it
2-2 in the second period.

Drake restored the Blues' lead with 1:26 left in the second
after Pronger found him alone at the side of the net during a
delayed penalty call against Vancouver.

Stillman made it 4-2 on the power play, when he tapped a
bouncing puck into an empty net after Bertuzzi took a four-minute
high sticking penalty early in the third period.

The Blues had a great chance to put it away during a two-minute
5-on-3 power play midway through the third period. They failed to
put the puck past Cloutier, who made a couple of big saves against
Al MacInnis.

"We get a 5-on-3 and we weren't clicking and it came back and
bit us," Pronger said.

Game notes
St. Louis played without leading scorer Keith Tkachuk,
expected to miss at least a week because of a deep thigh bruise
sustained while playing for the United States at the Olympics. ...
Vancouver D Murray Baron returned after missing five games with a
broken knuckle. ... Finnish Olympian Jarkko Ruutu was a healthy
scratch by the Canucks after staying in Salt Lake City for the
closing ceremony Sunday. Ruutu had permission to stay for the extra
few days, but missed Monday's practice after his flight was
delayed.