ALSO ON SLAM!
Thursday, December 2, 1999
CANUCKS 3, Oilers 2, OT
Bertuzzi nets overtime winner
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) -- Todd Bertuzzi couldn't have picked a better time to score a big goal.
Bertuzzi's goal 1:51 into overtime snapped the Vancouver Canucks' five-game winless skid (0-3-2), and also stopped a personal seven-game goal drought in a 3-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday night.
"It's huge. I've been getting a lot, a lot of chances. It's not been going in," Bertuzzi said. "When you get that many chances and you're not scoring, you really can't complain. As long as you're getting the chances, that's what counts."
Bill Muckalt, waiting in the right corner with the puck, centered a perfect feed to Bertuzzi who was cutting to the net. Bertuzzi got his stick on the puck and deflected it in past Oilers goalie Tommy Salo.
Andrew Cassels, who has three goals and an assist in his last four games, and rookie Harold Druken also scored for the Northwest Division-leading Canucks, who opened up a three-point lead on the idle second-place Colorado Avalanche.
Rookie Steve Kariya extended his career-best points streak to four games, with two assists as the Canucks beat the Oilers for the first time in eight meetings (1-6-1) dating to April 1, 1998.
Ryan Smyth and Chad Kilger scored for the Oilers whose road record dropped to 1-9-2-4, worst in the Western Conference.
The Oilers have been snakebitten in overtime this season, with an NHL-high four losses in the extra period.
Oilers coach Kevin Lowe tried to maintain a stiff upper lip.
"It's disappointing for the guys, but I'm very confident in the talent in this dressing room, and I'm confident that we'll win some of these games," Lowe said.
Smiling, he added, "We've certainly have had enough practice (in overtime) now. The teams are certainly getting their money's worth in terms of the players working in overtime."
The Canucks, meanwhile, have had trouble in close games, especially generating much offense without captain Mark Messier (right knee sprain) and Alexander Mogilny (back spasms).
Despite the win, Thursday marked the 10th game in which the Canucks have failed to score four or more goals, coinciding with the stretch in which Messier has been out of the lineup.
Four of Vancouver's last five outings have either been one-goal losses or ended in ties.
The Canucks can use their captain back as they are 3-4-3 without Messier this season, and 6-20-7 all time when he isn't in the lineup.
Messier took the ice for the first time in a light morning skate. While encouraged about his progress, Messier said he believes it will take him at least another three weeks to fully recover.
"Everyone's just got to step up," said Kariya, tied for second in the rookie scoring race with six goals and 16 points. "You're never going to replace guys of that caliber, so we just have to do whatever we can and work hard."
The Canucks never trailed.
After Druken, playing his second NHL game, opened the scoring batting in a rebound midway through the first period, the Oilers tied it on Smyth's breakaway goal with 2:32 left in the frame.
The Canucks went ahead 2-1 when Cassels, while diving head-first in front of the net, swept in Markus Naslund's centering pass at the 14:31 mark of the second period.
Kilger, using Canucks defenseman Chris Joseph as a screen, snapped a shot in from the left circle with 1:49 left in the second to tie it.
Vancouver went 0-for-7 on the power play and is 2-for-42 in its last 12 games.
NHL FINAL IN OT 1ST 2ND 3RD OT TOTAL --- --- --- --- ----- EDMONTON 1 1 0 0 2 VANCOUVER 1 1 0 1 3 FINAL IN OT GOAL SCORING: 1ST PRD: VAN - HAROLD DRUKEN 1 (STEVE KARIYA, CHRIS JOSEPH) 10:48 EDM - RYAN SMYTH 9 (UNASSISTED) 17:28 2ND PRD: VAN - ANDREW CASSELS 7 (MARKUS NASLUND, STEVE KARIYA) 14:31 EDM - CHAD KILGER 3 (TOM POTI, GEORGES LARAQUE) 18:11 3RD PRD: NONE OT: VAN - TODD BERTUZZI 4 (BILL MUCKALT, ADRIAN AUCOIN) 1:51 POWER-PLAY CONVERSIONS: EDM - 0 OF 5, VAN - 0 OF 7. SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD OT TOTAL --- --- --- --- ----- EDM 8 10 5 0 23 VAN 12 5 5 1 23 GOALIES: EDM - TOMMY SALO VAN - GARTH SNOW OFFICIALS: REF - ROBERTS, STEWART LIN - CAMERON, HENDERSON ATT: 13,038