Canucks Win Matchup Of Division Leaders

Thursday, March 22nd 2007, 9:39 am
By: News On 6

UNDATED (AP) _ The Vancouver Canucks have widened the gap in the NHL's Northwest Division while preventing the Nashville Predators from clinching a Western Conference playoff berth.

Roberto Luongo posted his fourth shutout of the season and the Canucks earned their fourth consecutive win by downing the Predators 2-0. Jan Bulis and Tommi Santala had 1st-period goals for the Canucks, who improved to 9-1-1 this month while moving 3-points ahead of 2nd-place Minnesota in the Northwest.

The Predators remain just a point ahead of Detroit

Brendan Shanahan returned to the New York Rangers' lineup for the first time since suffering a concussion during a game against Philadelphia on February 17th. Shanahan set up Sean Avery's two goals as the Rangers blanked Philadelphia 5-0, putting the Blueshirts a point behind 6th-place Tampa Bay in the East.

Colton Orr sent Philadelphia forward Todd Fedoruk to the hospital with a hard punch to the head 21 seconds into the game.

In other NHL action:

_ Buffalo has a 7-point lead in the East after Drew Stafford scored 2-straight goals in the 3rd period of the Sabres' 5-2 win over Washington. Daniel Briere scored on a power play to make the Sabres the only team with four 30-goal scorers this season.

_ The Dallas Stars scored 3-unanswered goals in the 3rd period to pull out a 4-2 win at Los Angeles. The Kings led 2-1 until Antti Miettinen and Krys Barch tallied 79 seconds apart early in the 3rd period.

_ Jonathan Cheechoo and Milan Michalek each scored twice as San Jose dumped the Blackhawks 4-1 in Chicago. Joe Thornton had 3-assists for the Sharks, who are within 4-points of 1st-place Anaheim in the Pacific Division.

_ Colorado is just 4-points out of a Western Conference playoff berth after Ian Laperriere scored twice to lead the Avalanche past Edmonton 5-1. The Avalanche earned their fourth consecutive win while extending the Oilers' losing skid to 12 games.