Auld a thief in the night

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:38 AM ET

For Alex Auld, it's a matter of being convincing ... convincing his team he's able to be the No.1 guy.

The Vancouver Canucks goaltender took a huge step towards that process last night, coming up big in a 4-1 over the Edmonton Oilers.

This came after he was shelled 7-3 in his previous start against the Detroit Red Wings.

"It's important for him to play well in a game like this," said Canucks head coach Marc Crawford. "He's going to have to do the same thing in the next one."

GOOD IN SECOND PERIOD

Auld made 29 saves against the Oilers, earning his 29th win of the season.

The native of Thunder Bay, Ont., was particularly good in the second period.

"It's a big game, and I was focused, and I felt good," Auld said. "The guys did a great job in front of me. It made things a lot easier. They were clearing rebounds, I was seeing pucks, and they were blocking guys out from the front of the net."

Auld inherited the Canucks top job in goal when Dan Cloutier went down with a knee injury early in the season. He has been a career backup, and the Canucks toyed with the idea of bringing in a proven starting goaltender. But they stuck with Auld. And with Cloutier out for the rest of the season, Auld's the Canucks' guy.

"Auldy's been great," said Canucks forward Anson Carter. "Not a lot of teams can say they've been without their No. 1 goalie for 90% of the year and still be contending for a playoff spot.

"All you can ask from a No. 1 goalie is to give us a chance to win every night and steal the odd game for us - which he's been able to do so far."

SOME KEY SAVES

Last night, Auld may not have stolen a game for the Canucks, but he did keep the Oilers from getting back into it.

It's the type of goaltending the Canucks need in order to get into the playoffs.

"He's won almost 30 games for us, so he's proven to the guys in the locker room he can be consistent," said Carter. "Whenever he's in the net - whether it's Auldy or Mika (Noronen) - we want to battle hard for those guys."


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