Bertuzzi upstages Bure as Canucks beat Rangers

NHL: Vancouver Canucks 3, New York Rangers 1

Pavel Bure's Broadway debut was upstaged by Todd Bertuzzi and the NHL's hottest road company.

Bure scored in his first game for the New York Rangers, but Bertuzzi recorded his second career hat trick in a 3-1 Vancouver Canucks win at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday.

"Tonight was a big task," Bertuzzi said. "Especially with the Pavel trade."

Acquired from the Florida Panthers the night before, Bure arrived in New York amid hopes he could rally the Rangers to their first post-season appearance in five years.

The Russian Rocket will soon be joined by fellow newcomers Tom Poti and Rem Murray, obtained from the Edmonton Oilers at the NHL trade deadline.

"There was a great amount of emotion -- my first game as a Ranger and scoring my first goal," Bure said. "I felt really great."

"Oh, he's definitely talented," added Eric Lindros, who centred Bure and Theoren Fleury.

"He takes lots of shots, which is good. There's lots of rebounds up front when they're not going through to the net.

"He's quick and strong on the puck. I think things are just going to get better."

Bure put the Rangers in front midway through the second period, but the rest of the night belonged to Bertuzzi and the Canucks, who are 5-0 on their current road trip, which concludes Thursday on Long Island.

"There was a lot of excitement in the air before the game with Pavel coming to play for New York," Ed Jovanovski said. "He can really raise the emotional level for the crowd and the team.

"We came in there and played a calm game. We weathered the storm."

Dan Cloutier stopped 26 shots against his former club as the Canucks jumped past the idle Dallas Stars into eighth place in the Western Conference standings.

With Mike Richter battling the flu, rookie Dan Blackburn made 19 saves as New York fell into a ninth-place tie with the Buffalo Sabres, two points back of the Montreal Canadiens and the final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference.

"We had lots of chances, we just didn't finish them," Bure said. "Sometimes that happens."

"Tonight, I had an empty net, (Martin) Rucinsky had an empty net," added Brian Leetch. "You only need to create a couple of chances and capitalize on them."

The Rangers have now lost four straight games and six of their last seven (1-5-0-1).