Mostly Cloudy Currently: St. Louis, MO
Temp: 73° F
  • Game info: 8:30 pm EDT Mon Apr 14, 2003
  • TV: CBC, CW11

PLAYOFF SERIES: Western Conference quarterfinal; tied 1-1.

The Vancouver Canucks won their first home playoff game Saturday since April 22, 1996.

Now, they look to improve their postseason luck on the road as they face the St. Louis Blues at the Savvis Center in the third game of their first-round series.

The Canucks, winless in a playoff series since 1995, won their first two playoff games last season, both of them on the road against the eventual champion Detroit Red Wings.

However, aside form those wins, the Canucks have not pulled off a playoff victory on an opponent’s ice since April 18, 1996.

Dan Cloutier stopped 26 shots on Saturday, and Trent Klatt and Ed Jovanovski scored power-play goals as the Canucks evened the series.

“When Danny is playing like this, he’s very tough to beat,” Vancouver’s Markus Naslund said. “It’s nice to finally get a win and show ourselves that we can win, and we can play hard, and we can do those little things that you have to do in the playoffs.”

The win was the first in four games for Cloutier, who finished the season 0-2-1. He came within 54.1 seconds of his first career playoff shutout before Pavol Demitra scored on a man advantage.

“I’m not going to lie to you, it would have been nice,” said Cloutier, who has three postseason wins. “But wins are hard to get at this time of year, so we’ll take it.”

Klatt’s goal at 3:33 of the first period ended a 160-minute goal-scoring drought for the Canucks, who took advantage of nine power-plays after being shut out 6-0 in Game 1. Vancouver also killed seven of eight St. Louis man-advantages, including a 48-second 5-on-3 in the first.

“Penalty killing is going to win this series,” Cloutier said.

St. Louis goalie Chris Osgood turned away 23 shots, one game after becoming the first Blues goalie since Glenn Hall to record a shutout in his playoff debut.

Saturday’s loss was especially costly for the Blues—captain Al MacInnis took a hard hit from Todd Bertuzzi and left the game. He is questionable for Monday’s game.

“Al was examined and he has an upper body injury,” Blues spokesman Frank Buonomo said Sunday.

MacInnis, a leader on the power play and penalty-killing units, leads the Blues in minutes this season and has 16 goals and 52 assists.

“Al’s been our leader all year, and it’s going to be tough for our team,” forward Doug Weight said. “Al’s the Norris Trophy winner in my mind and he’s been our best player all year. It’s going to hurt in every aspect of the game. But we have a lot of veterans in here and we will have to step up.”

Chris Pronger agreed.

“It’s obviously a big loss for us,” he said. “He’s a really integral part of our team and our leader, so we’re going to have to find a way to fill in.”

Blues Forward Cory Stillman, who hurt his foot in Game 1, and defenseman Jeff Finley, who missed Game 2 with an upper body injury, are also questionable for Game 3.

HOW THEY GOT HERE: Canucks - 104 points; 4th seed. Blues - 99 points; 5th seed.

PLAYOFF TEAM LEADERS: Canucks - Klatt and Jovanovski, 1 goal; Naslund, Sami Salo, Daniel Sedin and Bertuzzi, 1 assist; Klatt, Jovanovski, Naslund, Salo, Daniel Sedin and Bertuzzi, 1 point; Brendan Morrison, 10 PIM. Blues - Alexander Khavanov, 2 goals; Eric Boguniecki, Pronger and Demitra, 2 assists; Khavanov and Demitra, 3 points; Scott Mellanby, Dallas Drake and Barret Jackman, 6 PIM.

PLAYOFF SPECIAL TEAMS: Canucks - Power play: 12.5 percent (2 for 16). Penalty killing: 62.5 percent (13 for 17). Blues - Power play: 23.5 percent (4 for 17). Penalty killing: 87.5 percent (14 for 16).

GOALTENDERS: Canucks - Cloutier (1-1, 3.53); Alexander Auld (no appearances). Blues - Osgood (1-1, 1 SO, 1.01 GAA); Brent Johnson (no appearances).

REGULAR SEASON SERIES: Canucks, 2-1-1. The teams combined for 33 goals in four games. Vancouver went 2-0-1 in the first three meetings before the Blues posted a 6-4 victory at home March 18. Morrison had four goals and six points for the Canucks.

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