But all was well Monday night.
Daniel Sedin scored a third-period goal and Cloutier made 23
saves, leading the Canucks to a 1-0 win over the Colorado
Cloutier recorded his fourth shutout of the season and 14th of
his career as the Canucks trimmed Colorado's lead in the Northwest
Division to four points.
"We haven't played very good the last few games," Cloutier
said, "so it was definitely nice to come in here and get two
points. At least we're two points closer now.
"I missed my last start because of the flu, but I skated this
morning and felt all right. By game time I was feeling pretty good.
Good enough to go."
David Aebischer had 20 saves for the Avalanche, who lost in
regulation for the first time in 13 games.
Moments after Todd Bertuzzi wiped out two Colorado players
behind the net, Sedin poked in a shot from just right of the goal
"Todd got the puck down on the net there for me and took two
players away," Sedin said. "I was lucky to get a bounce there. It
just laid down for me."
The Avalanche had a half-dozen shots in the waning minutes and
pulled Aebischer with 1:21 remaining but couldn't score.
Colorado finished 0-for-7 on the power play.
"We weren't real sharp with our shots," Colorado coach Tony
Granato said. "We missed the net a lot, we shot high a lot and we
didn't get a lot of rebounds. And when the goalies had to make a
big save, both of them did. There weren't a lot of real quality
Vancouver went 0-for-4 on the power play in a scoreless first
period that featured few scoring chances. Aebischer had the best
save of the period, going low to stop Markus Naslund from the slot.
Both goalies were again flawless in the second period, during
which Vancouver outshot Colorado 9-7.
Aebischer stopped Matt Cooke on a partial breakaway and stopped
Brad May's shot through traffic.
Colorado failed to convert on a four-minute power play. Cooke
was whistled for high-sticking Derek Morris and got the double
minor when Morris was cut in the mouth, but the Avalanche got off
only two shots.
Naslund was bloodied when he collided with Steve Moore at
mid-ice, but there was no call. Nor was there a call late in the
period when Vancouver's Jarkko Ruutu hit Peter Forsberg in the face
with a high stick.
Canucks coach Marc Crawford was livid about the no-call on
Naslund, limiting his post-game comments to that incident.
"He got a pretty nasty hit," Crawford said. "It could have
been an obstruction call, it could have been an elbow, but instead
they call absolutely nothing. It mystifies me why this happens in
this league. They talk about players not having respect for
players. How about the officials? Should they not have respect for
the leading scorer in the league?
"It was a cheap shot by a young kid on a captain, and we get no
call. That's ridiculous."
Trevor Linden set a Vancouver record for games played at
897. He had been tied with Stan Smyl. ... Colorado forward Travis
Brigley missed his third straight game because of a shoulder
injury, and Brad Larsen missed his second game with a groin injury.
... Colorado is 7-1-3-2 in its last 13 games and 15-2-3-3 in its
last 23. ... Vancouver is 2-1-1-0 against Colorado this season.