Naslund hat trick paces Canucks

NHL: Vancouver Canucks 5, San Jose Sharks

Markus Naslund's three goals in seven minutes highlighted a rare five-goal period for the Vancouver Canucks on Monday.

Naslund notched his eighth NHL hat trick as the Canucks cruised past the San Jose Sharks, 5-2 before a crowd of 16,983 at the Shark Tank on Monday.

"I knew that a game like this would come eventually," Naslund said. "It makes a big difference.

"It kind of takes the edge off of a lot of problems. There is a different atmosphere when you win."

Brendan Morrison had one goal and two assists, while Trent Klatt also scored for the Canucks, who counted all five goals in the second period to extend their unbeaten streak to three games (1-0-2-0).

Dan Cloutier contributed 30 saves.

"We got a little bit fortunate with the goal explosion in the second," Canucks head coach Marc Crawford said.

Teemu Selanne and Mike Ricci responded with power-play goals for the Sharks, who had not surrendered five goals in a single period since a 6-0 road loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Oct. 8, 1996.

"Our defensive commitment just isn't there on a shift-to-shift basis," Sharks head coach Darryl Sutter said. "It's not a deep thing.

"You want to be successful? Play defence."

Vesa Toskala allowed two goals on 14 shots before being replaced by Miikka Kiprusoff, who turned aside 18-of-21 shots.

"We can't control who the players are on the ice," Sutter said, referring to the absence of all-star Evgeni Nabokov over a contract dispute.

"But the players as a whole need to make a better commitment to playing better defence."

"As players, you can't worry about guys who aren't in this room," Ricci added.

"Obviously, they want their goaltending to be a little sharper, but we did some good things tonight," Crawford continued. "We went to the net really well and got some goals because of it."

Selanne opened the scoring just 3:56 into the contest, blasting a one-timer by Cloutier for his third goal of the season and a 1-0 lead.

A hard-charging Naslund buried a backhander before plowing into Toskala to tie it 1-1 only 31 seconds into the second.

"We talked about getting some goals where we drive the net and I think that was the difference tonight," Naslund said. "We knew that we had to come out with more intensity and grit to have a chance against these guys."

Morrison finished Toskala's evening when he made it 2-1 with a shorthanded marker at 2:00.

Naslund greeted Kiprusoff with a backhander for his second goal of the game at the 4:17 mark.

A mere 30 seconds later, Klatt shovelled in a rebound for his third and a 4-1 bulge before Naslund completed his hat trick on an unassisted wraparound at 7:14.

The Canucks captain now has five goals overall.

"I knew a game like this would come eventually," Naslund said. "I felt okay about my game as far as getting a lot of shots.

"I think that is what I try to focus on."

"He takes a lot of pride in goal-scoring and it is not easy scoring goals," Morrison added. "It is nice to see the pucks going in for him."

When asked to explain the letdown by the Sharks, Ricci said: "There's a thousand theories, but theories are for scientists. We're too stupid for that.

"We've just got to get back to the X's and O's."

Ricci closed out the scoring, potting a rebound for his second with 8:32 remaining in the game.

with files from Sports Network