VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) -The Canucks managed to rally late Tuesday night against the Devils pumping a pair of third-period goals past Scott Clemmensen, but it wasn't enough to atone for a dreadful start at GM Place.
Pavol Demitra and Steve Bernier slid pucks under Celemmensen's pads five minutes apart late in the game, but the Canucks still fell 5-3 after giving up three first-period goals.
The Canucks have lost five straight on home ice and six of their last eight.
“We’ve got to forget this," said Ryan Kesler, who assisted on Bernier's goal that briefly made it 4-3 before an empty net goal by Danius Zubrus. "We’ve got to move on and start thinking positive - getting our room back to thinking positive and just working hard."
"I thought we did a decent job of coming back there in the third, but we’ve got to start putting together a full sixty and playing Canucks hockey."
The Devils, who almost allowed a late rally, weren't worried about style points. All that mattered was the win.
New Jersey got goals from five different players while building a pair of three-goal leads.
They overcame a soft goal from Clemmensen in the final minutes to hang on and beat the slumping Vancouver Canucks 5-3 on Tuesday night.
"We haven't been playing that well lately so for us to get a win was important, regardless of how we did it," said Clemmensen, who made 26 saves to snap his personal three-game losing streak.
"It was up and down for most of the game and we finished down but we got the win so that's the most important part."
The down part came when Demitra scored with 7:41 to play and Bernier scored from a sharp angle to make it 4-3 with 2:41 left. But Dainius Zubrus scored into an empty net in the final minute, ensuring the game ended the same way it started for the Devils.
Brian Rolston and Zach Parise scored in the first 3:29, and Brian Gionta made it 3-0 midway through the first period as New Jersey won for the second time in five games.
"Any time you can get on a team like that, especially early, it's big," said Rolston, whose first shot of the game hit the crossbar. His second easily found the back of the net from the slot after goalie Jason LaBarbera scrambled awkwardly back into position after handling the puck behind the net.
A goal and an assist for the former Silverback, including the game-winner early in the third.
One goal, six shots, and three missed shots. Parise was an offensive force for the Devils.
Started on teh fourth line but quickly worked his way up the ranks and scored the goal that sparked teh rally while playing alongside Sundin.
Parise put a rebound into an empty net 2:24 later after LaBarbera got a piece of Travis Zajac's blocker-side shot off a 2-on-1 rush, ending the Canucks goalie's night after just four saves.
"We get that goal early and kept coming, kept coming," Rolston said. "We kept getting pucks in deep and our forecheck was our biggest plus for us tonight."
That forecheck forced LaBarbera's replacement, Curtis Sanford, into a turnover behind his goal that left Gionta with an empty net 11:07 into the game.
"As a goalie you never want to see that happen to anyone, but I need the win," Clemmensen said.
Alex Burrows also scored, and Sanford finished with 19 saves for the Canucks, who have one win in six games and have dropped five straight on home ice.
"We all have to be better, including myself, and be ready at the start of the game," said Mats Sundin, who recorded his first assist - and second point - in four games with the Canucks.
"We play like we did in the second and third and we'll have a good chance to win."
Despite being called out by coach Alain Vigneault for their recent lack of urgency and desperation, the Canucks were sloppy defensively and behind early.
Booed off the ice by a sellout crowd of 18,630 after the first period, Burrows solved Clemmensen on a rebound midway through the second.
Unfortunatley for locals, Zajac got that back four minutes into the third period, converting a 3-on-2 shortly after Canucks defenseman Willie Mitchell hit the post at the other end.
"That was a big turning point," said Clemmensen, who is getting his first chance as a No. 1 goalie at the age of 31. He improved to 16-9-1 as the Devils continued to win without Martin Brodeur.
Demitra, who started the game demoted to the fourth line, beat him with 7:41 left on a rebound of Sundin's shot, and Bernier scored out of the corner to make it interesting late.
But coach Brent Sutter had nothing bad to say about his goaltending as New Jersey improved to 19-13-1 since Brodeur, a three-time Vezina Trophy winner, tore his biceps on Nov. 1.
"Whenever he's not here you miss him, let's face it," Sutter said. "But we've been going on here just fine. Tonight was one I'm sure Clemmer wishes he could have had all three of those back, but he battled. He has done a real good job so I'm not going to sit here and crucify our goaltending."
Quotes: “No matter who we play, we’ve got to make it tough to play in this rink. We’ve got to make us really tough in this building and we haven’t been doing that. The only people to blame are ourselves and we know that and we’re going to turn this thing around.” - Ryan Kesler on the home-ice skid.
“Obviously it was [LaBarbera] giving up the puck on the first goal and for whatever falling down when he was skating back to the net. And he was totally out of the net for the second goal, even though it was an outnumbered situation there. He didn’t look sharp so I just thought we needed to make a change right away." - Head coach Alain Vigneault on pulling LaBarbera just 3:29 into the game.
“I think that teams are looking at our team, and they’re just trying to keep things simple - they’re chipping it by us and they’re pressuring us. Teams have been having success doing that... We’re making these turnovers and teams like this that trap capitalize." - Darcy Hordichuk on recent defensive woes.
Notes: Vancouver fell to 9-12-3 since their star goalie, Roberto Luongo, injured his groin Nov. 22. The two-time Vezina Trophy finalist returned to practice Monday and could play on Thursday against Phoenix. ... Vancouver LW Taylor Pyatt returned after missing eight games with a broken foot. ... C Rick Rypien has recovered from sports hernia surgery, but Vigneault said after the morning skate he has been given an indefinite leave of absence to deal with an undisclosed personal issue.