VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP)—Todd Bertuzzi delivered on his promise.
Bertuzzi sparked a three-goal outburst in the second period and the Vancouver Canucks avoided elimination with a 5-3 win over the St. Louis Blues on Friday night. St. Louis now holds a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven first-round series. Game 6 is Sunday in St. Louis.
“It was nice to get that kind of offensive output,” said Bertuzzi, who vowed after the Canucks lost Game 4 that there would be a Game 6. Game 7 would be Tuesday in Vancouver.
Bertuzzi ended a nine-game goal drought with his first of the playoffs 8:36 into the second period.
Brendan Morrison scored his first of the playoffs with 3:36 left in the second period, and Markus Naslund added his second just over two minutes later as the Canucks top line finally broke through against Chris Osgood.
The trio of Naslund, Morrison and Bertuzzi combined for 119 goals and 272 points in the regular season, but had just one goal and three assists in the first four games of the playoffs.
“It’s not like we were working not to score,” Bertuzzi said. “We’re trying to work our tails off to get the goals. We’ve been getting our chances and they just haven’t been going in and as a goal scorer you understand if you’re getting those chances they’re bound to go in.”
Brent Sopel also scored for the Canucks.
St. Louis’ Martin Rucinsky scored with 55.5 seconds left to make things interesting, but Sami Salo restored the two-goal cushion just over seven seconds later with a slap shot from the top of the circle.
“They threw everything they could at us and we were right there at the end so we feel good about ourselves,” said Doug Weight, who set up both St. Louis goals in the third period. Tyson Nash and Cory Stillman also scored for the Blues.
After being outscored 14-4 in the first four games, the Canucks scored three goals during a second period when they outshot the Blues 17-6.
With the game tied at 1, Bertuzzi—who scored 46 goals in the regular season—leveled defenseman Barret Jackman behind the net. Bertuzzi then took a pass at the top of the crease with his back turned to the net and, in one spinning motion, tucked the puck and his stick between his own legs and slipped a shot under Osgood.
“My only option was to put it between my legs and go far side and it’s nice that it went in,” Bertuzzi said.
Morrison made it 3-1 after Marek Malik jumped into the play to create an odd-man rush. Naslund converted a two-man advantage with a sharp-angle shot from just above the goal line two minutes later.
“We took advantage of the chances we had in the second period,” Naslund said. “We’re playing better and better and that’s a great sign.”
Vancouver was outshot 13-8 in the first, but led 1-0 after Sopel’s soft point shot deflected in off the leg of St. Louis defenseman Alexander Khavanov.
Khavanov, who had played just 29 seconds at that point, left the game with flu symptoms and didn’t return, leaving St. Louis with five defenseman most of the night.
“We had some tired guys out there today and hopefully they are feeling better for Sunday,” Weight said.
Nash tied it 7:02 into the second after Vancouver goalie Dan Cloutier coughed up the puck behind his own net, but Bertuzzi responded a minute and a half later.
Cloutier, who finished with 29 saves, bounced back by robbing Rucinsky in tight and Morrison scored on the ensuing rush.
“He made a big save and they buried their chances at the other end,” Weight said.
Osgood made 30 saves, including a great glove stop on Bertuzzi during a breakaway in the final minute of the second. Osgood appeared to hurt himself on the play and emerged hobbling from the training room after the game, but saidhe would be fine for Game 6.
Vancouver finished 1-for-6 on the power play. The Blues were 1-for-7. … Vancouver hasn’t lost three straight games all season. … The Canucks have rallied twice before from a 3-1 deficit to win a playoff series. … With Khavanov out the Blues often used five forwards on their power play. … Blues RW Scott Mellanby returned after missing Game 4 with the flu. … Salo played despite a bruised wrist that kept him out of the final two periods of Game 4after a slash from Stillman.