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Canucks' Cloutier nets third shutout

2/6/2004

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- Brothers Henrik and Daniel Sedin made sure the Vancouver Canucks ended a three-game tour of the New
York metropolitan area on a positive note.

The red-hot twins set up goals for each other Thursday night,
and the Canucks avoided a winless tour of the area with a 4-0
victory over the New Jersey Devils.

"We've been working pretty good," Daniel Sedin said. "We've
played with different linemates, and it has just been clicking
lately. We had chances before but weren't able to put them in. It's
a nice feeling now that we are."

Daniel has three goals and seven assists in his last six games;
Henrik has two goals and six assists.

The twins have been playing so well opponents now have to worry about them in addition to the top line of Markus Naslund, Todd Bertuzzi and Brendan Morrison.

"They benefit from the fact that Morrison's line gets a lot of
attention," Canucks coach Marc Crawford said. "They don't get the
top defensive pair. There'll be a time in their careers where it's
going to be them."

Dan Cloutier stopped 24 shots in his third shutout of the
season, and Morrison and Trevor Linden added power-play goals. The
Canucks head into the NHL All-Star break with six wins in eight
games.

The only two losses in that span came this week against the
Rangers and, in overtime, against the Islanders.

"The way we played tonight is good to see going into the
break," Cloutier said. "The team played extremely well in front
of me. It was one of the better games we've played all year."

Vancouver, wrapping up a five-game road trip, outplayed New
Jersey so badly that Devils fans were booing in the second period
of what was only their second loss in seven games.

"Until tonight, we had been playing well for a while," acting
captain Scott Niedermayer said. "We knew they would come in hungry
after losing the last couple of games on the road, and we just
didn't do enough to win the game."

The Sedins combined with Mike Keane on a beautiful goal just
1:11 after the opening faceoff. Keane sent the puck from behind the
Devils' net to the right sideboards. Daniel Sedin then made a quick
cross-ice pass to his unguarded brother for an easy shot into an
open net.

Daniel Sedin got his goal at 3:51 of the second period. Henrik
Sedin won a faceoff, retrieved the puck and sent a shot toward
goal. Defenseman Brian Rafalski got a piece of the shot, but Daniel
Sedin swooped in and slid the puck past Martin Brodeur.

"It seems sometimes they don't look," said Devils defenseman
Tommy Albelin, a fellow Swede. "They just throw it to an area and
they know the other guy is going to be there. It's pretty hard to
defend against."

Morrison got his 16th goal later in the period with a great move
around All-Star defenseman Niedermayer and a backhander past
Brodeur.

Linden scored in the third period, seconds after the first of
two Devils in the penalty box returned to the ice. The point tied
him with Stan Smyl as the Canucks' all-time leading scorer with 673
points.

Cloutier had a lot of help in keeping his shutout. Linden
cleared Niedermayer's shot from the crease early in the third
period and Ryan Kesler cleared Mike Rupp's rebound later in the
period.

Cloutier's best stop came in the first period on a shot in close
by Jamie Langenbrunner.

"There are usually an awful lot of shutouts in here, but it's
usually the other guy," Cloutier said, referring to Brodeur.

Game notes
Devils D David Hale missed the game with a sprained knee.
... This was the only regular-season game between the teams this
season. The Canucks have won four straight vs. New Jersey and five
of six. ... New Jersey is 0-for-15 on the power play in its last
four games, including 0-for-2 against the Canucks. Vancouver was
2-for-3 with the extra skater.