NEW YORK – Matt Cooke knocked in a rebound with 4:31 left, snapping a tie in his first game since missing 17 with a broken jaw and lifting the Vancouver Canucks to a 3-2 victory over the New York Rangers on Tuesday night.

Canucks coach Marc Crawford’s only concern in playing Cooke was whether the forward would be able to see well in his first game while wearing a full face shield. Apparently that wasn’t a problem.

When Rangers forward Michael Nylander mishandled the puck in front, Cooke swooped in and smacked it in for his fourth goal and first since Oct. 29 – three days before he was injured in practice.

Todd Bertuzzi and Daniel Sedin also scored for the Canucks, who won their third straight and snapped a three-game road losing streak.

Petr Prucha scored twice for the Rangers, who had a five-game winning streak at home.

New York coach Tom Renney was looking forward to this game because he felt it would be a good test for the first-place Rangers. But the Canucks, who had only five road victories coming in, left with the win and a tie for the Northwest Division lead.

Just 1:06 after Sedin gave the Canucks a 2-1 lead, Prucha tied it at 7:41.

It was his second tying goal of the night, his 15th goal of the season, ninth in a six-game scoring streak, and 12th in 12 games. Prucha has three two-goal games in five contests.

He also got the Rangers even at 8:28 of the second period.

While parked in his now familiar spot in front of the net during a power play, the 23-year-old rookie deflected Tom Poti’s point shot into the pads of goalie Alex Auld. He was there when the rebound popped back to him and quickly lifted a shot into the top of the net for his 14th goal.

Despite standing only 6-feet, Prucha is fearless when it comes to playing down low. He has eight power-play goals.

Bertuzzi heard boos all night in his first New York appearance since he was suspended 17 months for his sucker-punch to the back of the head of Colorado’s Steve Moore – the brother of Rangers forward Dominic Moore – on March 8, 2004.

He then gave New York fans a reason to boo him even more in the second period.

Bertuzzi, already disliked at Madison Square Garden for being a rugged player and a former Islander, took a long lead pass across three lines from defenseman Ed Jovanovski and came in on a breakaway. He let a quick shot go from the slot and beat Henrik Lundqvist for his ninth goal, giving Vancouver a 1-0 lead just 1:01 into the frame.

It was just his second goal in 12 games.

The only times Bertuzzi was cheered was when Moore met him with hard hits in the first period and again late in the third, and when he drew a slew of penalties.

While Moore was in the penalty box, Bertuzzi joined him after taking a high-sticking penalty in the first period. He was sent to the dressing room late in the second following a fight with Ryan Hollweg. Bertuzzi was called for instigating and given a misconduct.

Notes: Markus Naslund, the Canucks’ leading scorer, was questionable after aggravating a groin injury on Friday but played. … The Rangers held a 36-32 shots advantage in their first home game since a 3-0 road trip against Western Conference teams. … Sedin’s goal was set up by twin brother, Henrik. Since the brothers’ rookie season, the Canucks are 72-16-13 when they each record a point.

AP-ES-12-13-05 2146EST


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