Final OT

Series (Game 6 of 6)

Minnesota leads 2-1

Game 1: Saturday, October 18th
Game 2: Saturday, November 8th
Game 3: Tuesday, November 11th
Game 4: Saturday, December 6th
Game 5: Thursday, February 19th
Game 6: Wednesday, March 10th

Wild 1

(22-26-2, 66 pts)

Canucks 1

(36-21-4, 85 pts)

11:00 PM ET, March 10, 2004

Rogers Arena, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

1 2 3 OT T
MIN 0 1 0 01
VAN 0 0 1 01

D. Cloutier (Canucks - G): Saves: 20, Save Pct.: .952

D. Roloson (Wild - G): Saves: 29, Save Pct.: .967

M. Ohlund (Canucks - D): Goals: 0, Assists: 0

Sanderson scores in first game sans Bertuzzi

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) -- Geoff Sanderson wasn't with the Vancouver Canucks when Todd Bertuzzi attacked Colorado's Steve Moore with a punch to the head.

A day after being traded to the Canucks, Sanderson felt the full effect of what happened two nights earlier.

Sanderson scored the tying goal with 4:17 left in his first game with Vancouver, rallying the Canucks to a 1-1 tie with the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday night.

He was one of three players making their Canucks debut after being acquired at the NHL trade deadline Tuesday -- debuts that coincided with Vancouver's first game since Bertuzzi was suspended for his blindside punch.

Moore was still in the hospital Wednesday with fractured vertebrae in his neck and a concussion.

Bertuzzi returned to Vancouver after his disciplinary hearing in Toronto. He spoke to his teammates and then issued a tearful apology to Moore.

"It was real emotional here," said Sanderson, acquired just before the NHL trade deadline from Columbus. "I haven't seen anything like this since the playoffs when I was in Buffalo in the finals. The attention this is getting, it was like being thrown right into the middle of it. It was pretty overwhelming."

Bertuzzi made his first public comments since Monday and choked up three times while reading a prepared statement.

"When we told you guys how disappointed and how upset he was, we weren't joking," Canucks goalie Dan Cloutier said after making 20 saves. "He's taking it pretty hard and he's a human being too and he's one of those guys that's got a huge heart.

"We played well for him, and our team put things aside and focused on hockey."

Cloutier was easily the best Vancouver player, making several huge saves early and getting lucky when Filip Kuba hit the post with 1.7 seconds left.

After allowing 12 goals in his last seven periods, he robbed Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Stephane Veilleux from close range during an early power play and stuffed Marian Gaborik on a chance alone in the final minute of the first period.

His play allowed Sanderson to tie it during a late power play as Vancouver salvaged a point but fell four points behind the Avalanche in the Northwest Division.

Sanderson took the puck below the goal line, skated along the boards and into the faceoff circle, and snapped a wrist shot under Dwayne Roloson's glove.

"It was really important, I wanted to get off to a good start here," Sanderson said. "Anytime you go to a new place, first impressions are everything."

Wild coach Jacques Lemaire wasn't surprised the Canucks were able to salvage a point without Bertuzzi.

"I know when a thing like that happens on your team, the guys' minds are a little spread out, but when they step on the ice they get focused to the game," Lemaire said. "I know they could play harder than they did, that I know, especially if Bertuzzi would be in the lineup. But to me they still gave a pretty nice effort."

Sanderson, acquired from Columbus, joined former New York Rangers forward Martin Rucinsky and former Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Marc Bergevin in making his Vancouver debut.

"Having the new guys come in, it brought different energy," Cloutier said. "The rest of the guys that have been here just followed those new guys."

Andrew Brunette scored on a power play and Roloson made 29 saves as the 12th-place Wild played tough against a playoff-bound opponent for the second straight night. Minnesota, missing regulars Wes Walz, Pascal Dupuis and Willie Mitchell, beat San Jose 4-3 Tuesday night.

The tie was Minnesota s 20th of the season, tops in the NHL and just four shy of the NHL record of 24 set by Philadelphia in 1969-70.

"If half of those are wins, we're in a playoff situation," Roloson said.

Brunette opened the scoring with 4:51 left in the second, skating down the right side and wiring a 15-foot wrist shot over Cloutier's glove, off the post and in.

Game notes

Vancouver tough guy Wade Brookbank fought Wild enforcer Matt Johnson 1:11 in. Johnson recently served a five-game suspension for swinging his stick at the head of Canucks forward Matt Cooke, who was suspended two games for responding with a spear into Johnson's midsection. ... Vancouver forward Tyler Bouck left in the first period with dizziness after slamming into the end boards, trying unsuccessfully to negate an icing call. ... Minnesota D Willie Mitchell was scratched because of the flu. ... Vancouver C Henrik Sedin missed the game with a muscle strain.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press