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Bertuzzi not yet ready to talk about goal-scoring title

3/24/2003

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

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 2½ 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.