Series (Game 1 of 1)

Vancouver leads 1-0

Game 1: Sunday, March 23rd

Capitals 0

(35-28-5, 83 pts)

Canucks 6

(43-20-1, 99 pts)

10:00 PM ET, March 23, 2003

Rogers Arena, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

1 2 3 T
WSH 0 0 00
VAN 1 2 36

T. Bertuzzi (Canucks - RW): Goals: 2, Assists: 1

D. Sedin (Canucks - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

Bertuzzi not yet ready to talk about goal-scoring title

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) -- The next time Todd Bertuzzi talks about the Rocket Richard Trophy, his name might be engraved on it.

Todd Bertuzzi

Bertuzzi scored his NHL-best 44th and 45th goals on the power play and rookie Alex Auld stopped 14 shots for his first career shutout as the Vancouver Canucks beat the Washington Capitals 6-0 Sunday night.

''I am not talking about that trophy any more, it's ridiculous,'' Bertuzzi, who added an assist, said of the award for the league's leading goal-scorer. ''I'll talk about the game, about how we scored the goals.''

The Canucks scored them on the power play, finishing 5-for-10 with the man advantage against a Washington team playing for the second consecutive night.

Markus Naslund, with his 44th, Brent Sopel and Matt Cooke all scored man-advantage goals as the Canucks won consecutive games for the first time in almost a month.

Daniel Sedin had the only even-strength goal as Vancouver moved six points ahead of Colorado in the Northwest Division.

''We might have caught a little bit of a tired team over there and we had to take advantage of it, we needed the two points,'' Bertuzzi said. ''We moved the puck extremely well. In the neutral zone we were deadly, everything was tape to tape.''

The Canucks were equally effective in their own end as well, rallying behind Auld, who was a surprise starter after being recalled from AHL Manitoba earlier in the day. With Auld making just his fourth career start and a 3-0 lead after 40 minutes, they limited the Capitals to three shots in the final period.

''It's great when you've got NHL superstars like this and they're committed to defense like this because they've got a 22-year-old goalie going for his first shutout,'' said Auld, who played ahead of regular backup Peter Skudra after top goalie Dan Cloutier experienced soreness in the right knee that recently forced him to miss 10 games. ''That's just something really special.''

Auld wasn't tested often by a Washington team that lost 5-3 in Edmonton on Saturday night, but he made a couple of good saves early and Dainius Zubrus shot the best chance over a wide-open net late in the second period.

''He didn't get a tremendous amount of work, but the chances he got he looked pretty good on,'' said Canucks coach Marc Crawford. ''We didn't give up more than four or five chances the whole game and that's probably our lowest chance total of the year.

Washington remained three points behind idle Tampa Bay in the Southeast Division.

''We didn't make it easy on ourselves,'' said Capitals goaltender Olaf Kolzig, who made 20 saves before being pulled to start the third period. ''They've got a good team and a good power play and we just gave them way too many opportunities.''

Bertuzzi opened the scoring on the power play 14:32 into the first after a pretty tic-tac-toe play left him all alone on the back door. Ed Jovanovski rifled the puck from the right point to the left slot, where Brendan Morrison one-timed a pass back across to Bertuzzi for a tap-in at the far side of the net.

Sedin made it 2-0 at 13:11 of the second on a nice individual effort. He lost his check behind the net by playing the puck off the back of the net to himself, then skated out and wristed a shot between the legs of Olaf Kolzig.

Bertuzzi added his second goal 2 minutes later, taking Markus Naslund's pass at the top of the crease and beating Kolzig with a quick deke and a high backhand shot.

The goal, Bertuzzi's 10th goal in the last nine games, moved him two ahead of Naslund and Ottawa's Marian Hossa for the league lead. But the Canucks captain closed the gap with a power play goal of his own 5:53 into the third.

Naslund one-timed a behind-the-net pass from Bertuzzi past Sebastien Charpentier, who replaced Kolzig. The goal moved Naslund back on top of the scoring race with 96 points, one more than Boston's Joe Thornton.

''Sure it's flattering if you look down the list, but it's just enjoyable to play when the team's rolling and hopefully we can keep it going into playoffs,'' Naslund said.

Sopel and Cooke rounded out the scoring with power-play goals late in the third.

Game notes

There was a smattering of boos at the start of the singing of the Star Spangled Banner, but it was quickly drowned out by loud cheering from the sellout crowd of 18,514. ... Kolzig finished with 20 saves. ... Bertuzzi also leads the NHL with 24 power-play goals, one more than Naslund. ... Washington's leading scorer Jaromir Jagr, who has missed two weeks with a broken bone in his wrist, is skating without a cast and hopes to play before the current six-game Canadian road trip ends Saturday.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press