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Naslund's two goals lift Canucks over Blues

Nov 18, 2006 - 5:56 AM
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Ticker) -- The slumping Vancouver Canucks were relying on players like Markus Naslund to help them end their slide.

Naslund did his part, scoring twice to lead the Canucks to a 4-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues.

The Vancouver captain, who had five goals in his first eight games, had been slumping with only three in his last 11 contests. His game-winning tally was his first since October 25, 2005.

Naslund scored twice in the second period to give the Canucks a 3-1 lead. The right wing gave Vancouver a 2-1 advantage at 6:17 and upped the lead with two minutes left in the period when he beat goaltender Jason Bacashihua from the slot. Henrik Sedin assisted on both tallies.

"I tried to get the third one, when you get passes like that, but he (Bacashihua) made some good saves," Naslund said. "I think the key, ... is that we're generating chances now. We got four tonight. Hopefully, we'll get another game like this. And a lot of guys are going to get their confidence back."

The Canucks, who also got 19 saves from netminder Roberto Luongo, snapped a three-game losing streak.

"The guys played a great game (for) 60 minutes," said Luongo, who was villified by Vancouver fans in the past few days after yielding what many considered a soft go-ahead goal in Tuesday's 3-2 loss to the Detroit Red Wings. "We got some goals and that was about it. Even when they got back to 3-2 we got a big goal by (Ryan) Kesler and those are the types of things we need."

One reason for the Canucks' recent slide has been a lack of offensive production. Vancouver only netted four goals in its three losses and had scored two or fewer in seven straight games entering Friday's contest.

"It was nice, but there's going to be a lot of close games and I enjoyed the four goals tonight," Luongo said. "But you know, most of the games are going to be close, 2-1 or 3-2. It's a nice win for tonight and we've got to get back at it Sunday."

Keith Tkachuk sliced St. Louis' deficit to 3-2 when he scored his second goal in as many games, beating Luongo on the power play at 12:34 of the third period. But Ryan Kesler iced the triumph with an empty-net score with 1:01 left.

"It felt really good," said Kesler, who has only two goals in 20 games. "Goals are really hard to come by for some reason, this year. To get that second one under my belt felt really good."

After Doug Weight's first tally of the season gave the Blues a 1-0 lead at 8:57 of the first period, Brendan Morrison tied the game nearly six minutes later.

"I've got to play my game," said Weight, who has nine assists in 20 games after being reacquired by the Blues in the offseason. "Certainly, I haven't got off to a great start statistically, and I've got to be a big producer on this team. I want to play a big role in every game and I haven't done that."

Morrison took a pass from Matt Cooke from behind the net and snapped the puck past Bacashihua, who was making his first start. The goal also was Morrison's first in his last nine games.

The Blues, who continue their five-game road trip at Columbus on Wednesday, have lost six of their last seven.

"It's all about wins and losses right now," Tkachuk said. "We're not finding a way to win. We got a good start and then (in) the second period, we can't get it out. We're running around in our own zone. You've got to learn how to play in your own zone. We battled back. It keeps getting more frustrating."

The Canucks end their six-game homestand Sunday when they face the Chicago Blackhawks.






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