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Associated Press
12/22/2006 10:09:39 PM


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Anson Carter had a goal and an assist and the Columbus Blue Jackets handed the Vancouver Canucks their third straight loss, 3-2 on Friday night.

Aaron Johnson and Rick Nash also scored for Columbus, which had lost three of its last four games. Ron Hainsey added two assists.

Kevin Bieksa and Daniel Sedin scored for Vancouver, losers of six in a row on the road. The Canucks have scored seven goals during the skid.

With Vancouver goaltender Roberto Luongo pulled for an extra attacker, Daniel Sedin redirected a shot to pull the Canucks within 3-2 with 1:15 remaining.

Just as they did a week earlier in a 2-0 loss at Boston, the Canucks took early penalties - a total of five, including two bench minors - and quickly fell behind. Luongo allowed two goals on the first four shots he faced.

Johnson scored his first goal of the season just 10 seconds after Columbus' second power play expired. He fired a point shot through traffic at 6:36 to make it 1-0 with teammate Alexander Svitov screening Luongo.

The Blue Jackets scored on their next man-advantage chance when Carter - coasting alone in the slot - snapped home a deflected puck off Svitov's skate to give Columbus a 2-0 lead. Carter, signed from Vancouver in the off-season, has 14 points in his last 13 games.

Vancouver had three consecutive power plays to start the second period, and scored on the second one.

Columbus' starting goaltender Pascal Leclaire left the game early in that stretch, injuring his left hamstring, while making a save. Leclaire had missed the last five games with a sprained left knee.

Bieksa scored his eighth goal of the season on the first shot against Leclaire's replacement, Fredrik Norrena - a slap shot from the high slot at 2:47 to make it 2-1.

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