Luongo blanks Oilers for Canucks' third straight
Tuesday, 08.16.2011 / 5:16 AM
A three-game losing streak to start the season has begun to seem farther and farther away for Roberto Luongo
and the Vancouver Canucks
Luongo stopped 27 shots for his first shutout of the season and the 48th of his career and the Canucks defeated the Edmonton Oilers
2-0 on Sunday night at G.M. Place to sweep a pair of weekend games.
Luongo set a Vancouver franchise record with his 21st shutout for the Canucks, one better than the old mark by Kirk McLean. Luongo, who was also in net for a 3-1 win Saturday against Toronto, has won three straight decisions and four of his last five, helping the Canucks (6-5-0) move above the .500 mark for the first time after an 0-3-0 start.
"We're starting to play well as a team, systems-wise and defensively. That's the way we're built since the first year I've been here," Luongo told The Vancouver Sun. "We're not a team that's going to win games 6-5, 5-4. We're a team that wins 2-1 and 3-2, especially with a lot of injuries. We just have to make sure everybody's on the same page and playing well and have games like tonight."
Michael Grabner's power-play goal late in the first period was all the support Luongo would need. Henrik Sedin
gave his goalie some additional breathing room by scoring in the second.
Before that, Luongo kept the game scoreless when Edmonton enjoyed a 5-on-3 advantage for 1:32 midway through the first. He made a series of stops, getting a glove on Patrick O'Sullivan's slap shot and denying Shawn Horcoff
on the rebound. He went cross-crease to make a save on Dustin Penner, then corralled Ales Hemsky
's shot from the faceoff circle to his right.
"I thought our penalty killing did a real good job," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault told the Sun. "We did give them some quality chances on the 5-on-3 and that's where Roberto really came up big and set the table for us for the rest of the game."
At the other end, Jeff Deslauriers was solid in only his second start of the season, making 27 saves for the Oilers (6-4-1), who dropped their second straight.
Edmonton defenseman Denis Grebeshkov was in the box for interference when Grabner scored his second NHL goal in just his sixth game. Alexander Edler
passed from the left point across to defense partner Christian Ehrhoff, who ripped a shot from the right wing boards. Grabner was in front and deflected it past Deslauriers with 2:09 left in the first.
Grabner began this month in the AHL after a disappointing preseason with the Canucks where he registered just one assist.
"I don't know what the difference is," Grabner told the Sun. "I tried to figure it out, too. I have no clue. It's a lot easier now and I don't know what's changed in the last two weeks."
Sedin made it 2-0 at 9:21 of the second with Mikael Samuelsson
and Darcy Hordichuk
drawing assists on the play.
-- Brian Hunter, NHL.com