Penguins, Canucks Deadlocked

Markus Naslund and his Vancouver Canucks came a turn of the skate away from pulling out a come-from-behind overtime victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday night.

After erasing a 2-0 deficit, Naslund scored what appeared to be the game-winning goal 2:13 into overtime during a scramble in front of the net after Brandon Convery knocked a shot off the inside of the post.

The Canucks, however, had to settle for a 2-2 tie when officials reviewed a replay of the goal and ruled that Naslund directed the puck in off his skate while crashing into the crease.

"I saw the puck and I hit it. And after I hit it, I don't know, it hit my skate. But it wasn't like I tried to kick it in," said Naslund, whose second-period goal cut the Penguins' lead to 2-1. "I thought we won the game."

Penguins coach Kevin Constantine said the officials made the right call. "I thought he was in the crease or the puck was kicked in. I felt there were a lot of reasons for the goal to be reviewed," said Constantine, whose club improved its road record to 4-1-1 and is unbeaten in its last three games (2-0-1).

Naslund's disallowed goal highlighted a wide-open game which featured numerous odd-man rushes and scoring opportunities by both teams.

Less than a minute after Naslund's disallowed goal, the Penguins had an opportunity to win it but Canucks goalie Garth Snow dove across the crease to make a spectacular pad save on Martin Straka, who was set up to the left of the net.

Alexander Mogilny led the Canucks with a goal and an assist. After setting up Naslund's goal 9:04 into the second period, Mogilny tied the game on a breakaway goal 17 seconds into the third period.

Pouncing on a giveaway by Jeff Serowik in the neutral zone off the opening face-off, Mogilny skated in alone and snapped a wrist shot that beat Pittsburgh goalie Peter Skudra low to the left side.

The Penguins relied on their league-leading power-play unit to produce both goals. Straka scored 5:09 into the game and Jaromir Jagr 54 seconds into the second period for the Penguins, who went 2-for-6 with the man advantage. Pittsburgh's last 10 goals have come on power plays and the Penguins have converted 13 of 45 chances.

Stu Barnes, who centers the Penguins' first power-play unit, doesn't know and doesn't want to over-analyze why the team's power-play is working.

"I don't know. Power plays, I always say are a funny thing. You can go out and do everything you want to accomplish, do it exactly right, and never score. And you can go out one night and not do a single thing right and score two or three," said Barnes, who had an assist on Straka's goal.

"We're just trying to stick with hard work."

The Penguins certainly earned their money. Earlier in the day, a jdge approved an emergency $2.5 million loan from Penguins co-owner Roger Marino to the team so it could pay its players.

Jagr, the team captain, took payday in stride.

"I don't feel any different now. Everything is the same, like it was before. We barely talk about it in the dressing room and nobody really cares about it. Not yet, anyway," Jagr said before the game. "I was making a lot of money before. I don't really care about the money right now."

The team owes $137.5 million to creditors, including former all-star center Mario Lemieux. The team also owes the city nearly $1 million in delinquent amusement taxes on the Civic Arena.

Pittsburgh City Councilman Jim Ferlo proposed last week that the city lock up the arena until the debt is repaid. The council is slated to vote on the proposal on Tuesday.

Prior to the game, the Canucks honored captain Mark Messier, awarding him a crystal ornament for scoring his 600th career goal Oct. 23 during the team's five-game road trip against Florida. Messier has since scored his 601st goal, tying him for ninth on the career list with former teammate Jari Kurri.

©1998 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed