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Columbus off to franchise-best start

10/13/2003

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Todd Marchant is starting to feel at home
with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Marchant had a goal and two assists -- his first points in a
Columbus uniform -- and added plenty of energy as the Blue Jackets
beat the Vancouver Canucks 3-2 Monday night.

"Anytime you can contribute both offensively and defensively,
it's a good feeling," said Marchant, a free-agent signing during
the offseason after spending eight years in Edmonton.

It was the fastest the Blue Jackets (2-1) have won two games in
their four years. It took them five games last year, 14 games the
year before and 10 games in their inaugural NHL season.

"It's a huge win. We have some momentum right now," said Rick
Nash, who scored on a redirect with 10:16 left for the winning
goal. "There's still a lot of room for improvement. There's a lot
of hockey to play."

Like Nash, David Vyborny had his second goal of the season for
Columbus.

Marchant carried the puck behind the net and slid a centering
pass to Luke Richardson for a slap shot from the point. Nash was
creating traffic and redirected the shot past goaltender Dan
Cloutier.

"They scored a lucky goal. It squirted through. That happens,"
Canucks coach Marc Crawford said. "Good things happen when you get
the puck to the net."

Mattias Ohlund had a goal and an assist for Vancouver. Brendan
Morrison tied it 2-all early in the third period.

Marchant assisted on Vyborny's second goal at 11:17 of the
second period.

The goal came on the power play after Cloutier was assessed a
minor penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct after a scrap with Nash.
Cloutier then skated toward the Columbus bench while yelling at the
Blue Jackets.

"I do it every game. It's not the first time I got nabbed for
it," Cloutier said. "I guess it's something that I've learned
already and I can't be doing that anymore. I got my two cents in,
but I guess I can't do that anymore."

Marchant then added a goal 1:39 later, backhanding in a rebound.
Darryl Sydor took a shot at the net from the left wing and the puck
caromed off Jody Shelley before bouncing to Marchant near the goal
mouth.

"In the second period, we had guys driving to the middle and
getting to the puck and we were able to sustain a forecheck,"
Marchant said. "When you do that, you're going to spend more time
in their zone and less in your zone. The momentum's going to change
in your favor."

Vancouver was playing its first road game after opening with a
pair of home victories in which the Canucks outscored Edmonton and
Calgary 7-1.

The Canucks took a 1-0 lead midway through the opening period,
Daniel Sedin made a perfect pass from the left goal line to Ohlund
for his first goal of the season.

That ended a 74 minute, 42 second scoreless streak for Columbus
goaltender Marc Denis. Denis shut out the New York Rangers 5-0
Saturday night.

Vancouver pulled even 48 seconds into the third period. Brent
Sopel's long pass from the point found Ohlund on the left wing and
he deftly slid a pass to Morrison in the slot for his first goal.

Denis, who had 27 saves, got a glove on Markus Naslund's rocket
with 30 seconds left to preserve the win.

"We knew it was going to be a tough game," said Denis, who has
stopped 77 of the 81 shots he has faced. "We didn't really get off
to the start we wanted, to be honest with you. I liked the comment
somebody here in the room said after the second period: 'We figured
it out.' We played our game in the second and third periods and
fortunately enough we came out on top."

Game notes
Columbus LW Trevor Letowski was placed on injured reserve
before the game. He broke his pinkie finger when slashed by Rangers
D Boris Mironov on Saturday night and could miss four to six weeks.
... Vancouver had the best road record in the West last season. ...
Blue Jackets C Tyler Wright (elbow strain) and D Duvie Westcott
(bruised ankle) were injured early in the game and did not return.
... The Blue Jackets introduced their new third jersey. It is dark
blue with a new chest insignia that features an Ohio state flag
wrapped around a star.