|VAN||2||1||1||(0 - 0)||4|
|MTL||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||0|
MONTREAL (AP) -After overcoming a rough night at the hospital, Roberto Luongo turned in a typically stellar performance at the rink.
In a return to his hometown, Luongo made 30 saves to post his third shutout of the season. That was enough to lead the Vancouver Canucks to their fifth consecutive road victory Tuesday night, 4-0 over the slumping Montreal Canadiens.
Luongo spent Monday night in the intensive care unit of a Montreal hospital as a precaution after taking Daniel Sedin's soft wrist shot in the throat during practice.
He got practically no sleep because he had to sit up all night and barely ate anything the previous 24 hours. But Luongo made quick work of the Canadiens in his 30th career shutout.
"I felt a little nauseous in the first period, but I kind of settled in afterward," said Luongo, who never stayed overnight in a hospital before. "If I feel that I can play and contribute to the team, I want to be in there, and that's the bottom line."
Josh Green, Lukas Krajicek, Ryan Kesler and Jan Bulis scored for the surging Canucks, who have won nine of 10 to move past Calgary into first place in the Northwest Division.
Cristobal Huet made 20 saves for the Canadiens, who have lost nine of 13 and haven't scored a goal in two straight. The lack of offense drew a chorus of boos from the sellout crowd throughout the third period.
The Canadiens have been outscored 14-3 during a three-game losing streak and have failed to score an even-strength goal in nine of 10 periods, dating to a win over Philadelphia on Jan. 11.
Though the Canadiens offense has been silent for 132 minutes, 30 seconds, coach Guy Carbonneau singled out Huet for letting in two goals in the first period.
"I thought we got off on the right foot tonight, unfortunately everything they shot at the net went in," Carbonneau said. "I thought we had a good first period and we came out of it down 2-0, and we probably had our best chances in the second period but we came out of that down 3-0.
"Obviously, I understand that if we want to win we have to score some goals."
Conversely, the Canucks have scored 39 goals and allowed only 22 in their last 10 games, riding stellar special teams play. Vancouver has killed off 50 of 53 penalties and has scored on 13 of 54 power-play opportunities.
"We've been playing really well, especially since the holidays," Luongo said. "We just have to keep doing what we're doing, especially on the road. We're playing as a team and every game is important seeing how tight our division is right now."
The victory made it a triumphant return to the Bell Centre for Canucks coach Alain Vigneault, who coached the Canadiens from the start of the 1997 season until November 2000. He faced his former team for the first time.
"I'd be lying if I said I didn't appreciate the win," Vigneault said. "Not only was this a big two points for our team, but also for me to come back here and for us to win it in the fashion that we did."
Carbonneau shuffled all his forward lines and finally lost patience with struggling winger Sergei Samsonov, scratching him from the lineup for the first time this season, but it was to no avail.
"Nothing's working for us right now and I had to do something to turn this around," Carbonneau said. "Those are the decisions I made and they didn't work. But we'll continue making decisions and we'll get out of this, that's for sure."
Samsonov has no goals in 16 games, and two in 36 games, both coming against Boston on Dec. 12.
The Canucks took a 1-0 lead at 6:36 of the first when Kevin Bieksa wheeled around the Canadiens net and fed Green for his second of the season.
Krajicek made it 2-0 on the power play at 8:58, taking a feed from Bulis and firing a wrist shot to the far top corner for his second.
Montreal came out with a bit more jump in the middle period, but Vancouver extended its lead when Kesler tipped Bieksa's point shot past Huet at 13:51 of the second.
Bulis put the game out of reach 55 seconds into the third when he beat Huet with a long slap shot for his eighth of the season.
Notes: Canadiens D Craig Rivet was also a healthy scratch for the first time this season, breaking a streak of 153 consecutive games played. He was replaced by Janne Niinimaa. ... Canucks D Willie Mitchell missed his second game with a groin injury, while winger Taylor Pyatt missed his first game with a thumb injury. ... Canadiens C Radek Bonk returned from a neck injury that forced him to sit out five games.
|Josh Green (2) Wrist shot - ASST: Kevin Bieksa (18), Ryan Kesler (9)|
1 - 0 VAN
|PPG - Lukas Krajicek (2) Wrist shot - ASST: Jan Bulis (7), Markus Naslund (20)|
2 - 0 VAN
|Ryan Kesler (6) Tip-in - ASST: Kevin Bieksa (19), Josh Green (4)|
3 - 0 VAN
|Jan Bulis (8) Slapshot - ASST: Ryan Kesler (10)|
4 - 0 VAN
|Alexander Perezhogin Hooking against Trevor Linden|
|Alex Kovalev Boarding against Rory Fitzpatrick|
|Lukas Krajicek Hooking against Radek Bonk|
|Sheldon Souray Tripping against Brendan Morrison|
|Henrik Sedin Hi-sticking against Francis Bouillon|
|Sheldon Souray Hooking against Alexandre Burrows|
|Jan Bulis Hooking against Alex Kovalev|
|Rory Fitzpatrick Tripping against Chris Higgins|
|Francis Bouillon Elbowing against Ryan Kesler|
|Marc Chouinard Boarding against Chris Higgins|
|Aaron Downey Unsportsmanlike conduct against Jeff Cowan|
|Aaron Downey Fighting (maj) against Jeff Cowan|
|Jeff Cowan Instigator against Aaron Downey|
|Jeff Cowan Fighting (maj) against Aaron Downey|
|Jeff Cowan Misconduct (10 min) against Aaron Downey|