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Green scores shootout winner to lead Canucks over Panthers

The Canadian Press
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Vancouver Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo makes his final save on a shot from Florida Panthers Jozef Stumpel (15) to secure the win for Vancouver in a shootout. (CP PHOTO/Chuck Stoody) Author: The Hockey News

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Green scores shootout winner to lead Canucks over Panthers

The Canadian Press
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Green was the Canucks' sixth shooter and beat Panther goaltender Ed Belfour to extend Vancouver's unbeaten streak to seven games. It was the second time in three games that the Canucks were forced into a shootout. They beat Dallas 2-1 on Wednesday and Vancouver is now 3-1 in shootouts.

It was a game that almost got away from the Canucks.

The Panthers tied the score 3-3 on Gregory Campbell's short-handed goal at 11:35 of the third period. He scored on a wrist shot from the top of the faceoff circle on a play where Canuck goaltender Roberto Luongo may have been screened.

The Canucks looked to have the match won when Brendan Morrison scored off the rebound of a Markus Naslund shot for a 3-2 lead midway through the period.

Naslund had tied the game 2-2 at 3:59, scoring from a scramble. The goal broke a 17-game scoring drought and earned the Canuck captain a standing ovation from the sellout crowd of 18,630.

Mike Van Ryn had given Florida a 2-1 lead with just under two minutes gone in the third when his sharp-angle shot from the boards went between Luongo and the post.

Trevor Linden also scored for the Canucks on a first-period power play.

Ville Peltonen got the other goal for the Panthers, who lost their third consecutive game. Florida hasn't won a in Vancouver since March 7, 1994.

Vancouver remains on top of the Northwest Division with a 24-18-1 record. Florida is last in the Southeast Division with a 15-20-9 record.

A back injury to Todd Bertuzzi had dampened some of the enthusiasm for one of the most anticipated games of the season.

The match was the first meeting since the June 23 trade that sent Bertuzzi to Florida for Luongo. That deal also saw defenceman Lukas Krajicek come to Vancouver while defenceman Bryan Allen and goaltender Alex Auld went to Florida.

Allen was the only former Canuck who played Sunday.

Bertuzzi, who underwent back surgery in November, has played just seven games this season. Auld, who started the season as Florida's starter, lost his job to Belfour.

The Panthers took the game to the Canucks after a slow start. Florida looked especially strong in the second period, where at one point they had outshot Vancouver 11-1.

The Panthers showed more team speed, quickly moving the play up ice and pouncing on loose pucks.

Linden opened the scoring with just 11 seconds left in the first period. Defenceman Kevin Bieksa fired a shot from the point that hit someone in front of the net. Henrik Sedin got the loose puck and fed it to Linden, who flipped it into an open corner.

Stephen Weiss was the workhorse on Florida's first goal. He stripped the puck off defenceman Mattias Ohlund behind the net, then sent it out front to Peltonen.

As he's done all season, Luongo made some big saves to keep the Canucks in the game. He got a glove on a shot from Rostislav Olesz on a two-on-one breakaway in the first period, then twice stopped Oilli Jokinen in the second

Notes: Linden's goal was his fifth in 11 games. ... Jeff Cowan had four hits in the first period. ...Coach Alain Vigneault says Luongo could play over 75 games this year.

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Green scores shootout winner to lead Canucks over Panthers