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Naslund scores two goals in Canucks' victory

1/3/2003

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) -- Markus Naslund was more
impressed with the timing of his goals Thursday night than the
amount he's scored lately.

The Canucks' captain scored twice to continue a torrid offensive
streak, and Vancouver beat the Montreal Canadiens 3-2.

Naslund gave Vancouver a 2-1 lead midway through the second
period, just 18 seconds after teammate Bryan Allen tied the game.
He added his NHL-leading 27th goal with 1:36 left in the period --
62 seconds after Richard Zednik tied the game for Montreal.

"We scored key goals at key moments,'' Naslund said. "It was
important to bounce back after they tied it up there with a
questionable goal. We got the lead going into the third and I
thought that was the key.''

Naslund extended fully to beat a defender to a loose puck
between the circles after Brendan Morrison poked it into the
Canadiens' zone. Naslund cut to his right and beat Jose Theodore
with a sprawling forehand-to-backhand deke.

"I didn't think it was that big a deke, but he bit,'' said
Naslund, who has six goals and five assists in his last six games.
"I feel good about my game. I don't feel overly good but I m
putting the pucks in the net when I get my chances.''

Bryan Allen also scored for the Canucks, who have won three of
the last four and five of the last seven.

Andrei Markov also scored for Montreal, and Saku Koivu and Jan
Bulis added two assists apiece for the Canadiens -- winless in five
games (0-3-1-1).

"I think we played well,'' Koivu said after setting up both
Canadiens goals with nice individual efforts. "I think we created
chances for ourselves, but we just couldn't put the puck in the
net.''

After combining for just eight shots in a slow, scoreless first
period, the teams opened things up in the second.

Markov opened the scoring at 1:30 after Koivu got in tight down
the left wing. Dan Cloutier overcommitted to Koivu and the Montreal
captain threw the buck back into the middle, where it hit a couple
of players, bounced off Markov and into an empty net.

Cloutier kept the Canucks in the game with a breakaway stop on
Bulis at 6:40, and Allen scored a soft goal against the flow of
play at 9:58.

Allen, playing in place of injured defenseman Ed Jovanovski,
pinched in and simply threw the puck at the net from the left
boards and it somehow squeaked past Theodore low on the short side.

"Every defenseman gets those once in a while and I got one
tonight,'' Allen said with a smile.

Naslund gave the Canucks the lead 18 seconds later, converting a
backdoor pass from Todd Bertuzzi after Montreal turned the puck
over at its own blue line.

Zednik tied it with 2:38 left in the period, roofing a backhand
to finish off a nice centering pass after Koivu s end-to-end rush,
but Naslund restored the lead before the period ended.

"He did absolutely everything that a leader and a captain and a
superstar player can do,'' Canucks coach Marc Crawford said of
Naslund.

Theodore the busier goalie in the third as Vancouver outshot the
Canadiens 16-6, but Cloutier still had to be good to prevent Zednik
from tying it midway through the period. Cloutier got his right pad
on one hard shot by Zednik and threw out the glove to rob him on
another.

"When he had to make the saves he made the saves and he became
big in the third period,'' Koivu said.

Game notes
Mats Lindgren shot wide on a rare 3-on-0 break with
2:23 left to play. After the slow start, the teams combined for 46
shots in the final 40 minutes. Montreal C Doug Gilmour couldn't
play after waking up in the morning with back spasms. ... Naslund
finished first in the NHL in the calendar year 2002 with 48 goals,
two ahead of linemate Bertuzzi, who finished first with 102 points,
one up on Naslund. ... Theodore, who struggled earlier this season
after winning the Vezina and Hart Trophies last spring, had given
up just 13 goals in his last seven games coming into this contest.