NEWARK, N.J. -- The great goalie matchup that was a hot topic in the hockey world north of the border was a non-factor after just 20 minutes as Martin Brodeur and Roberto Luongo combined to give up five goals on 16 shots in the first period.
With the ballyhoo over the goalies all but gone by 7:45 p.m. ET Wednesday, Luongo and the Vancouver Canucks, who didn't care much for the hype anyway, found a way to settle into playing a solid road game, something they wanted and so badly needed.
The Canucks, who were just 4-8 on the road entering the game, opened their four-game road trip with a 5-2 victory over Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center.
Five different Canucks scored goals as they took an early 3-0 lead, watched it quickly dwindle down to one before storming out for two insurance tallies early in the third period.
Luongo stopped 27 shots while Brodeur, who seemingly couldn't catch a break all night as the Canucks scored off deflections and egregious Devils' turnovers, stopped only 21, including just five in the third period when Alex Edler and Jannik Hansen scored within the first 5:18.
"I'm sure there were a couple of goals that (both goalies) would like to have back … but, in our case we did what we wanted to do," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said. "We wanted to come out skating and moving the puck and getting as many shots as we could on their net. We buckled down in the second and in the third got on them early. We'll take the two points and go to Philly."
No matter the outcome of Wednesday's game, provided Brodeur and Luongo stay healthy they will likely be the two frontrunners to be Canada's No. 1 goalie in Vancouver at the Winter Olympics in two and a half months.
On this night, though, they were not the story.
"I think it's more the way we played," Devils coach Jacques Lemaire said. "If you look at the start, it looks like they were easy goals from both sides, and then they started to get more quality shots than we did. That's only the difference."
Edler and Hansen scored less than four minutes apart to give the Canucks a three-goal cushion. It also made the 5-on-3 Vancouver had to kill three minutes later less critical.
Luongo still stopped all three shots he faced during the Devils' two-man that lasted just over a minute and Alex Burrows, who scored the first goal of the night just 6:33 into the contest, had a big blocked shot that cleared the puck into the neutral zone.
"They get one there you never know, right?" Luongo said. "Our guys did a great job; a couple of great blocked shots there to take away shots in the prime scoring areas. I made a couple of saves and that was it."
The Devils had a chance to tie the game in the second period when Zach Parise found himself alone in front of Luongo with less than three minutes left. He took two whacks at the puck, but Luongo, who dropped down Dominik Hasek-style to cover the entire lower portion of the net with his prone body, kept the puck out before Canucks' defenseman Kevin Bieksa drove Parise right on top of the goalie.
"We didn't give them a whole lot and when we did Roberto was there, especially on that one against Parise in the second," Burrows said. "That could have tied it up and would have changed the game maybe."
Instead of sitting back and trying to protect a one-goal lead in the third, the Canucks raced out of the dressing room and got a goal from Edler just 1:36 into the period. His shot from just above the left circle ricocheted off Rob Niedermayer's right skate, changing directions before going through Brodeur's five-hole.
The play was a result of a turnover in the neutral zone by Brian Rolston, who instead of dumping the puck in tried to make a pass the puck through the middle to Niclas Bergfors. It was broken up by Mikael Samuelsson.
Lemaire, though, wouldn't blame just Rolston.
"There were mistakes from the first minute to pretty much the last minute," he said. "There were mistakes on the forecheck, no support; mistakes on turnovers; mistakes on passing; mistakes on seeing guys open and making the right pass; breakouts; position in our end. You name it."
Hansen made it 5-2 less than four minutes later when scored on a one-timer off a 2-on-1 rush with Bieksa after the Devils gave the puck away in the attacking zone.
"If they have to play catch-up hockey, something they don't like very much, then you can take advantage of it and that's what we did in the third period," Vigneault said.
With these two giants in net, you wouldn't think the score would be 3-2 after 20 minutes, but the Canucks jumped out to their lead by firing shots at the net and getting bodies going there, too, distracting Brodeur and creating deflections.
Burrows, Sami Salo and Daniel Sedin all got goals within six minutes of each other before New Jersey got back in the game with goals from Bergfors and Travis Zajac, who scored with six seconds left in the first.
"I'm just disappointed to lose," Brodeur said. "I could care less about who I was playing. You don't like to lose certain ways. You'll take some good losses, but losses like that -- it was just parts of the game. It was six minutes (in the first period) and three minutes (in the third) that we allowed five goals. That's not a way to be successful."