Although Canucks captain Markus Naslund wasn’t happy with the outcome, a 3-3 tie Sunday against Phoenix kept his team unbeaten on home ice. Naslund’s goal 8:51 into the third period staked Vancouver to a lead, but Krystofer Kolanos tied it on a wraparound with 74 seconds remaining.
“It sure felt like a loss, especially the way we let them back in the game,” Naslund said. “Then letting them score that late is frustrating.”
Trevor Linden and Ed Jovanovski also had goals for the Canucks, who had won their first four home games for the first time since the 1980-81 season. The 4-0-1 home start matched the 1991-92 team for the second-best in team history, trailing only the 1980-81 Canucks, who started 7-0.
After Sunday’s game, Vancouver announced the signing of power forward Todd Bertuzzi to a four-year, $28 million contract. Bertuzzi, an All-Star after totaling 46 goals and 97 points in 2002-03, is off to a slow start this season with one goal and three assists.
“It has been a tough time playing with this situation,” Bertuzzi said. “It’s nice that it’s over. I’ve always wanted to stay here in Vancouver. This is my home. This is where I became the player I am now.”
Already boasting one of the league’s top lines with Naslund, Bertuzzi and Brendan Morrison, the Canucks may have found a potent second unit this season. The line of Henrik Sedin centering rookie Jason King and twin brother Daniel Sedin has combined for five goals and 16 points this season.
Columbus has followed a season-opening three-game win streak with four consecutive losses, including a 3-2 defeat Saturday to Dallas.
“We played an unbelievably sound, solid game, to give up two like that at the end is frustrating,” Columbus coach Doug MacLean said. “Disappointing, but we played unbelievably hard.”
Left wing Rick Nash, the top overall pick in the 2002 draft, is off to a fast start for Columbus. Nash already has five goals in eight games this season after scoring 17 goals in 74 games in 2002-03.