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Theodore has 37 saves in 1-1 tie with Canucks

3/2/2003

MONTREAL (AP) -- Jose Theodore was at his best just when the
Montreal Canadiens needed it most.

Theodore made 37 saves, and Donald Audette's goal in the third
period enabled the Canadiens to end a five-game losing streak with
a 1-1 tie Saturday night against the Vancouver Canucks.

''We got a big point against one of the best teams in the
league,'' said Theodore, the Hart and Vezina Trophy
winner last year who has only one victory and a tie in his past 10 games. ''Our
penalty killing has been excellent the last few games and this time
we were against one of the best and never panicked.''

Audette got his fourth goal of the season -- and first in two
games since being recalled from the minors -- at 6:47 of the period.

Trevor Letowski put Vancouver up 1-0 when he scored his 10th of
the season just 49 seconds into the final period. Brandon Reid
assisted on the goal in his NHL debut.

''If we had scored early it would have been different because we
had chances to take the lead,'' said Vancouver's Todd Bertuzzi,
whose club took a 9-0 lead in shots in the opening minutes and had
four of its five power-plays in the first period. ''Their goalie
played really excellent, but you've got to expect Theodore to play
well.''

Montreal failed to scored in overtime, despite having a
four-on-three advantage for the final 1:59 after the Canucks'
Trevor Linden was sent off for tripping at 3:01.

Vancouver goalie Peter Skudra stuck out his right pad to stop
Audette's chance with 20 seconds remaining. Skudra had 20 saves.

The Canucks ended a team-record 14-game unbeaten streak -- the
longest in the NHL this season -- with a 3-2 defeat against San Jose on
Thursday. Vancouver has 86 points, and trails Dallas by one for the
overall lead in the Western Conference.

Vancouver, which has already tied a team record with 20 road
victories, extended its road unbeaten streak to eight games as it set a
new franchise high with its 47th point on the road (20-7-5-0).

Bertuzzi returned to the lineup, though without a visor despite
being forced to leave the game Thursday because of a scratched left
cornea when he was clipped in the eye by Sharks goalie Evgeni
Nabokov's stick.

The Canadiens, who fell to 10th in the East with 63 points, one
less than the New York Rangers, who beat Florida 5-2. Montreal
has just one victory and five points in its past eight games (1-4-1-2).

Vancouver goals were disallowed in both the first and second
periods as the game was scoreless through two despite the Canucks
holding a 22-13 advantage in shots at that point.

Defenseman Brent Sopel's goal was waved off by referee Dave
Jackson at 2:56 in -- just seconds after a penalty to Montreal's
Andrei Markov expired. Jackson ruled that Sopel's shot beat Theodore after he had blown his whistle during a goalmouth
scramble.

The Canucks were denied once again 8:11 into the second -- this
time by referee Shane Heyer -- on Henrik Sedin's deflection of
Bertuzzi's shot.

Heyer immediately waved his arms after Sedin used the shaft of
his stick near his right hand to redirect Bertuzzi's shot past
Theodore. A video review upheld Heyer's ruling that Sedin's stick
made contact with the puck above the height of the crossbar.

Game notes
Canucks captain Markus Naslund was held pointless after
collecting 11 -- including three goals and eight assists -- in his
previous three games. Naslund is tied with Mario Lemieux for the
league scoring lead with 84 points. ... Canadiens center Yanic Perreault
was a healthy scratch for the first time this season. Perreault,
who has 20 goals and 19 assists in 57 games, had one assist in
seven games since missing eight games because of a pulled groin.
... Montreal defenseman Patrick Traverse returned after missing the 6-3 defeat Thursday against Minnesota because of the flu.