Canucks' power play too much for Avs


VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) -- The Vancouver Canucks made
sure Joe Sakic's celebration didn't last long.

Brendan Morrison and Daniel Sedin scored power-play goals and
Vancouver overcame Sakic's 500th career goal to beat the Colorado
Avalanche 3-1 Wednesday night.

"Right now, I'm glad I got it over with but there's nothing
really to be happy about,'' Sakic said of his milestone goal. "It
was a great feeling to get it, but it's tough right now when you
lose a hockey game and you drop in the standings to a division

Mattias Ohlund also scored and Dan Cloutier made 26 saves for
Vancouver, which snapped a two-game losing streak and moved into
first place in the Northwest Division. The Canucks, winners of 12
of their last in 15 games, are one point ahead of Minnesota and
nine ahead of Colorado.

"We learned a lesson the last couple of games,'' said Morrison,
who scored the eventual game winner on a power-play deflection
midway through the first period. "We know it's still early in the
year and these guys are going to make a charge. They have too much
experience over there, to many guys that know what it takes to win,
so at some point they'll come on.''

Patrick Roy made several spectacular stops among his 25 saves,
but it wasn't enough for the Avalanche, who have one win in the
last six games.

"We're not going to catch anybody playing like this,'' said
Sakic, who converted a nifty pass from Derek Morris into a
power-play goal 4:25 into the second.

Sakic, who grew up in the nearby suburb of Burnaby, received a
standing ovation from the sellout crowd of 18,422. Play was halted
momentarily, as teammates came off the bench to congratulate Sakic
while he waved to his parents in the stands.

"The ovation was a surprise, but they've got great fans here,''
said Sakic, who became the 31st player to score 500 or more goals.
"It's my hometown and I had a lot of people here, so I'm glad I
could get it over with for them.''

Sakic joins a list that includes Maurice Richard, Gordie Howe,
Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita, Marcel Dionne, Guy Lafleur, Frank
Mahovlich, Jean Beliveau, Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Michel
Goulet, Bryan Trottier and Steve Yzerman.

"I guess I'll be on the highlight reels for a while,'' Cloutier
said, jokingly. "It's nice to see him do that at home. He's a
great player and he's done a lot for the game and it's nice to see
him get that goal here at home.''

Vancouver charged to a 2-0 lead midway through the first period.

Ohlund became the last Canucks defenseman to score this season
when he circled behind the net and beat Roy between the legs with a
wrist shot from close range.

Morrison made it 2-0 at 10:32 when he redirected Ed Jovanovski's
shot from the point in the high slot.

After Sakic scored, Daniel Sedin restored the two-goal lead late
in the second. Daniel one-timed a cross-crease pass from identical
twin, Henrik, as Vancouver finished 2-for-8 on the power play
against the Avalanche's 30th-ranked penalty killing unit.

"He made a great pass and I just tried to get it to the net,''
said Daniel Sedin, who has scored four of his five goals in his
last seven games. "I'm playing with a lot more confidence now.''

Vancouver killed three penalties in the third period, and
Colorado finished 1-for-8 with the man advantage.

"We got off to a slow start and that was the difference,''
Sakic said. "We tried to come back but in the third period
Cloutier made some good saves to keep them up two and we just
couldn't come back.''

Game notes
The 33-year-old Sakic is just the 13th player to score 500
goals with the same organization. ... Colorado defenseman Adam
Foote missed a second straight game with a groin injury. ...
Colorado came into the season trying to set a new NHL record with
their ninth straight division title, but the Avalanche are now
1-4-4-1 against Northwest Division opponents and two other teams
separate them from first-place Vancouver in the standings.