Each member of Vancouver’s top forward trio of Todd Bertuzzi, Markus Naslund and Brendan Morrison scored, and Cloutier made 22 saves as the Canucks routed Detroit 5-1 on Monday night to extend their unbeaten run to 6-0-2.
Bertuzzi ended a 10-game goal drought, Naslund had a goal and two assists, and Morrison extended his point streak to eight games as the first-line grouping combined for six points.
“We had a little bit of a slow start, but we’re picking it up,” said Naslund, who has earned 10 of his team-high 13 points in the last five games. “Our puck movement tonight might have been the best I’ve seen all year, and it’s good to see that against a good team like Detroit.”
The Canucks have won four straight to open up some breathing room in the Northwest Division, and they may need it because of a grueling stretch of schedule that began Friday. Vancouver is in the midst of playing seven of nine games on the road, going 3-0 so far.
“Going into the season this year we were focused on getting off to a good start and we’ve found a way to do that,” Naslund said.
The Predators have been off since losing 7-3 to red-hot Dallas on Sunday night. Bill Guerin earned his second hat trick in three games for the surging Stars, who lead the Pacific Division.
“He played great,” Predators defenseman Jason York said of Guerin. “When he got a chance, he buried it. That’s what great goal-scorers do, when they get a chance, they bury it.”
Nashville’s blowout loss to Dallas followed an encouraging 1-1 tie with the Stars in the opener of the home-and-home set Saturday. The Predators broke a four-game losing streak with a 5-3 victory over the Red Wings on Thursday, but are 0-1-1 since and will be facing a first-place team for the third straight game.
Nashville starting goalie Tomas Vokoun gave up six goals on 22 shots Sunday and was pulled 5:29 into the third period for Chris Mason, who made 10 saves on 11 shots. Vokoun, however, is likely to be back in the Predators’ net Wednesday.
STANDINGS (through Nov. 3): Canucks - 18 points, 1st place, Northwest Division. Predators - 9 points, 4th place, 4 PB, Central Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Canucks - Naslund, 7 goals and 13 points; Bertuzzi and Daniel Sedin, 8 assists; Ed Jovanovski, 31 PIM. Predators - Greg Johnson, 4 goals; Marek Zidlicky, 8 assists and 11 points; Scott Walker, 37 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through Nov. 3): Canucks - Power play: 16.9 percent (11 for 65), 14th in NHL. Penalty killing: 86.8 percent (46 for 53), 6th. Predators - Power play: 15.0 percent (9 for 60), 20th. Penalty killing: 78.9 percent (45 for 57), 25th (tied).
GOALTENDERS: Canucks - Cloutier (6-2-1, 1.77 GAA); Johan Hedberg (2-0-1, 1 SO, 1.62). Predators - Vokoun (4-5-1, 2.56); Mason (0-1-0, 3.33).
2002-03 SEASON SERIES: Canucks, 3-1.
LAST MEETING: March 20; Canucks, 7-3. At Vancouver, British Columbia, rookie Brandon Reid scored his first two goals and added an assist in his second NHL game in the Canucks’ rout.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Canucks - 2-2-1-0 on the road; Predators - 4-2-1-0 at home.
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