The Vancouver Canucks have denied that former coach Marc Crawford called for retaliation against Steve Moore during a 2004 game against the Colorado Avalanche.

The team released a statement yesterday rebutting claims in court documents in the multimillion-dollar lawsuit Moore has filed against former Canucks forward Todd Bertuzzi, the Canucks and their parent company, Orca Bay Hockey, in February 2006.

"At no time did the Vancouver Canucks organization or any of its management and employees, including former coach Mr. Crawford, encourage or promote the incident that occurred between Todd Bertuzzi and Steve Moore on March 8, 2004," the statement read.

A statement of claim filed in court by Moore's lawyer and obtained by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. alleges that Crawford, now coach of the Los Angeles Kings, pointed to Moore's name and number on a board in the Canucks' locker room during the second intermission of that game and said " . . . [Moore] must pay the price."

Bertuzzi, currently with Anaheim, grabbed Moore from behind, punched him on the side of his head and then landed on top of him, driving his head into the ice. Moore was removed on a stretcher. He suffered a broken neck and a concussion, and has not played hockey since.

The Canucks were angry with Moore for delivering a questionable hit on Vancouver star Markus Naslund that was not penalized during a Feb. 16, 2004, game.

"If on Jan. 21, 2008, the court permits these allegations to be advanced by Mr. Moore, these allegations will be defended vigorously by the Canucks," the release read.


* Predators Holdings LLC completed its $193 million purchase of the Nashville Predators from Craig Leipold, ending months of uncertainty over the team's future. The new owners immediately took over operation of the team and management of the team's arena, the Sommet Center, and signed forward David Legwand, the franchise's all-time leading scorer, to a 6-year, $27 million contract extension through the 2014-15 season.

In games last night:

* At Newark, N.J., Vitaly Vishnevski and Dainius Zubrus scored 4:15 apart in the first period, and the Devils won their ninth consecutive game, beating the Washington Capitals, 3-2.

Martin Brodeur made 23 saves for the Devils, who matched the third-best winning streak in franchise history.

* At Detroit, Henrik Zetterberg scored his second career hat trick and Dominik Hasek stopped 19 shots for his 77th career shutout to lift the Red Wings to a 5-0 win over the Minnesota Wild. Johan Franzen also had a goal and an assist for Detroit, which won its fifth straight. Jiri Hudler had the other goal.

* At Sunrise, Fla., Stephen Weiss and Nathan Horton scored power-play goals and Tomas Vokoun stopped 25 shots for his second shutout of the season as the Panthers snapped a three-game losing streak with a 3-0 victory over the New York Islanders, who lost their fifth straight.

New York goalie Rick DiPietro stopped Weiss on a penalty shot at 6:41 of the second period to keep the game scoreless at that point.

* At Atlanta, Slava Kozlov's slap shot from beyond the left circle with about 5 minutes left in the third period lifted the Thrashers to a 4-2 win over the New York Rangers, their third straight loss.

* At Dallas, Christoph Schubert and Antoine Vermette scored first-period goals, and the Ottawa Senators went on to a 4-2 victory over the Stars.

* At Phoenix, Evgeni Nabokov shut out the Coyotes for the third straight time as the San Jose Sharks won, 1-0, on a goal by Alex Semenov.

* At Chicago, Ryan Getzlaf had a goal and two assists, and Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 39 saves in the Anaheim Ducks' 5-3 victory over the Blackhawks.

* At Edmonton, third-period goals by Brad Boyes, Doug Weight and Paul Kariya lifted the St. Louis Blues to a 4-3 victory over the Oilers. *