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Bernier lifts Canucks over Lightning with late goal

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Ticker) -- The Vancouver Canucks

have not missed a beat since suffering a skid that lingered

throughout all of January.

Steve Bernier snapped a tie at 9:26 of the third period, leading

the Canucks to a 2-1 triumph over the Tampa Bay Lightning on

Friday.

Alexander Edler also tallied and All-Star Roberto Luongo made 20

saves for Vancouver, which successfully opened a four-game

homestand.

"Obviously we're happy that we won this game," Canucks coach

Alain Vigneault said. "We have traveled a lot lately and some

nights are going to be harder than others. This was obviously

one of them.

"We battled through and found a way to get two very important

points for us. They say never critique a win, I'm sure this is

one of those times. That's the way it is."

Rookie Steven Stamkos netted the lone goal for the Lightning,

who have dropped six of their last seven overall and are 3-9-2

over their last 14 contests.

"We played hard," Tampa Bay coach Rick Tocchet said. "I think

the guys played hard tonight. It's just one of those whoever's

going to get that lucky goal will win the game."

The Canucks have won nine of 11 since dropping a season-high

eight straight from January 9-31. Their recent run has them

sitting in fifth place in the crowded Western Conference.

After losing five straight starts in the wake of returning from

a groin injury that kept him sidelined for over seven weeks,

Luongo has gone 9-1-0.

"I felt pretty good tonight," Luongo said. "I think as a team

we weren't where we wanted to be after 40 minutes but we came

out and had a good third period and we found a way to win."

Luongo received early support in this one, as Edler beat Karri

Ramo with a wrist shot from the slot on the power play with 8:19

remaining in the first period.

"There's going to be some games like this in an 82-game

schedule, especially coming back from eight games in eight

different cities," Vigneault said. "I'm not using that as an

excuse. It's just the facts. Sometimes you keep plugging away

and plug away enough to win the game. That's really all I've

got to say about this one."

However, Stamkos forged a tie with 5:24 left in the second by

taking a pass from All-Star Martin St. Louis and lifting

backhander into the vacant net while stationed on the doorstep.

"I thought we had some chances tonight but overall as a team we

didn't have our best game," Canucks veteran Mats Sundin said.

"We'll have to be better next game."

Bernier secured the victory with a wrister from the left side of

the crease for his 13th tally of the season.

Ramo finished with 23 saves for Tampa Bay, which fell to 0-2-0

on its three-game trek through Western Canada.

"He played well," Tocchet said. "He played really well. I

think both goalies were the stars of the game. They made the

saves when they had to. I don't think either of the coaches are

going to be upset with the goaltending."

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