|COL||0||0||1||(0 - 0)||1|
|VAN||0||1||1||(0 - 0)||2|
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) -Roberto Luongo wasn't worried about a personal slump against Colorado on Saturday night. He just wanted to end the Canucks' skid.
Luongo made 40 saves and Taylor Pyatt scored the go-ahead goal on a power play in the third period, lifting Vancouver to a 2-1 victory over the Avalanche, who also lost goaltender Jose Theodore to a hip flexor injury.
Luongo was the difference for the Canucks, who were outshot 41-24. He professed ignorance to being 0-7 all time against the Avs, but was very aware that Vancouver had lost its first three to the Northwest Division rivals this season.
"To be honest with you I didn't even know I had never beat them before," Luongo said. "It's just nice to get a win against a division opponent and a team that beat us three times this year."
Daniel Sedin also had a power-play tally for the Canucks, who scored more than one goal for the first time in five games and won for the second time in that stretch. Vancouver was held under three goals for the 13th time in 15 games, but Luongo made sure two was enough.
"Huge save after huge save," Pyatt said. "To have a goalie like that behind us builds a lot of confidence."
John-Michael Liles tied the game four minutes into the third period for Colorado, but Brad Richardson took a hooking penalty two minutes later. Pyatt stationed himself in front and deflected Mattias Ohlund's point shot past Peter Budaj at 7:36 for his first goal in nine games.
"It wasn't pretty at times for us, but we stuck it out and the power play came through," Pyatt said. "Obviously we've been struggling scoring goals, so we just tried to keep it simple and get it to the net and generate traffic and we got a couple of goals tonight. Two goals is big for this team."
Theodore, who won the first three meetings with a .947 save percentage, was forced to leave the game after the first period. He made the toughest of his six saves during a flurry in the final minute of the first period and wasn't visibly injured when the period ended. But Budaj was in net to start the second frame and Theodore stayed on the bench.
Theodore appeared to be walking around the locker room easily after the game, but didn't answer questions about his injury.
"Hip flexor," said coach Joel Quenneville. "Similar to a groin pull."
Budaj was sharp early before Vancouver's power play, ranked last in the NHL at home, got on the board against the Avalanche's 26th-ranked penalty kill. After the Canucks failed to record a shot during a 52-second 5-on-3 advantage, Sedin tapped a rebound of Sami Salo's shot from the point in between the legs of a sliding Budaj two seconds before the second penalty expired.
It was the first goal in 11 games for Sedin, and the first in five for a Canucks' power-play unit that had failed on 15 straight chances.
"We lost, we didn't get any point, what do you want to take out of it?" said Avs forward Ian Lapperiere. "That we had over 40 shots? Not really. Our special teams need to be better. You won't win games if your special teams are not strong and our PP and PK tonight were very average."
Luongo was anything but. He was sharp early as the Avs outshot Vancouver 13-2 through the first 14 minutes. He made a couple of great saves on Joe Sakic's wrist shots and got a break when Milan Hejduk sent the puck through the crease with an empty net in front of him.
Liles finally converted the 33rd shot after getting in alone behind the Vancouver defense, but Luongo made the final eight saves.
"Forty shots on a night like this is fun for me," Luongo said, who has stopped 119 of 123 shots over his last four games. "Guys were kept to the outside so a lot of shots were easy to handle and I did a good job on rebound control and when there were rebound the guys were there.
Budaj finished with 16 saves for Colorado, which lost for the third time in eight games.
Notes: Vancouver had an early goal disallowed after a video review showed that Markus Naslund kicked the puck past Theodore. ... D Jordan Leopold, acquired from Calgary last summer, played his first game for Colorado after offseason hernia surgery. ... Veteran D Patrice Brisebois was scratched.
|PPG - Daniel Sedin (7) Snap shot - ASST: Sami Salo (10), Lukas Krajicek (4)|
1 - 0 VAN
|John-Michael Liles (6) Backhand shot - ASST: Andrew Brunette (12), Marek Svatos (11)|
1 - 1 Tie
|PPG - Taylor Pyatt (9) Tip-in - ASST: Mattias Ohlund (10), Brendan Morrison (6)|
2 - 1 VAN
|Ian Laperriere Fighting (maj)|
|Rick Rypien Fighting (maj)|
|Alexandre Burrows Hooking|
|Joe Sakic Tripping|
|Henrik Sedin Holding the stick|
|Willie Mitchell Tripping|
|Brendan Morrison Hooking|
|Jordan Leopold Holding the stick|
|Ken Klee Hooking|
|Brad Richardson Hooking|
|Joe Sakic Holding|
|Joe Sakic Tripping|
|Ryan Kesler Tripping|