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Irbe Slows Canucks’ Slide With Stellar Performance

From Associated Press

Arturs Irbe made 31 saves as the Vancouver Canucks ended a seven-game losing streak with a 3-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Friday night at Vancouver, Canada.

Irbe took advantage of his first start in a month to post his sixth victory of the season and put an end to a horrible stretch of hockey for Vancouver, which won for the first time in 10 games.

The Canucks were held to just one shot in the second period and only 14 in the game.

Vancouver opened the scoring five minutes into the first period as Mark Messier deflected Jyrki Lumme’s point shot past Martin Brodeur for his 16th goal.

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Brian Noonan gave the Canucks a two-goal lead with 4:33 left in the first period, slamming a rebound past a sprawling Brodeur.

New Jersey scored at 5:04 of the second period, capitalizing on Irbe’s only mistake of the night. The goalie whiffed on a 50-foot slap shot by Dave Andreychuk.

Pavel Bure scored into an empty net in the final minute.

New York Islanders 2, Carolina 0--Tommy Salo made 32 saves for his fourth shutout this season and Paul Kruse and Robert Reichel scored at Uniondale, N.Y.

The Islanders have won two straight games for the first time since December.

Salo stopped 13 shots in the third period, making a diving glove save to rob Keith Primeau at 7:18. Salo, who has nine career shutouts, has had all four this year at home.

Carolina had a goal disallowed with 2:11 left in the third period because Kent Manderville was in the crease.

Phoenix 3, Buffalo 3--Oleg Tverdovsky scored two goals and set up another and the Coyotes took advantage of a five-minute penalty at Buffalo, N.Y.

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Tverdovsky completed the scoring 7:33 into the third period and assisted on Keith Tkachuk’s goal in the first period. It was the first two-goal game of the defenseman’s career.

Phoenix took advantage of an extended power play after Buffalo’s Michael Peca knocked knees with Jeremy Roenick.

Tverdovsky scored the tying goal when he sneaked in from the point and one-timed a pass across the crease from Tkachuk and beat Sabre goaltender Dominik Hasek with 1:39 left in the power play.

Tverdosky’s first goal came in the first period to make the score 1-1.

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