|Vancouver goaltender Roberto Luongo made 26 saves for his second straight shutout as the Canucks defeated the Anaheim Ducks 4-0 on Tuesday night.
Facing the Anaheim Ducks for the first time since they sent him home for the summer, Luongo stopped all 26 shots he faced and posted his second straight shutout as the Vancouver Canucks got a measure of revenge with a 4-0 win over the defending champions at GM Place on Tuesday night.
Anaheim eliminated Vancouver in the Western Conference semifinals in five games last spring. Tuesday also marked the first time the Ducks have lost at GM Place since Dec. 28, 2002.
Not only has Luongo not allowed a goal since last Friday’s 3-1 loss at St. Louis — a span of 135:34 — but he improved to 7-1-2 in his last 10 decisions. With the victory, the Canucks improved to 13-9-2 and took over sole possession of first place in the Northwest Division, two points ahead of the idle Minnesota Wild. Vancouver has earned at least a point in nine of its last 10 games.
''They were firing everything at the net and I was able to challenge the shooter every time,'' said Luongo, who stopped 15 shots in the scoreless opening period. ''Luckily, there was no backdoor plays or stuff like that and no rebounds, so it makes me much more comfortable knowing that I can focus on the shooter.”
Ryan Kesler chipped in with two power-play goals, while Markus Naslund and Matt Cooke also found the back of the net. Cooke also contributed an assist, but on this night, he handed the bulk of the credit to his goaltender, who bailed out his team while the Ducks badly outplayed the Canucks in the opening period.
“He kept us in the game early,” Cooke said of Luongo. “That’s not unlike Louie. We expect that of him. He held the door long enough for us to be successful. We took over the game in the second period.”
Chris Pronger agreed. The Ducks’ top defenseman believed his team should have been ahead entering the first intermission. But Luongo simply would not comply, thus keeping Vancouver in the game.
“We did have a good, solid first period, but we didn’t have any results on the scoreboard,” Pronger said. “We outshot them and controlled the play. They came out stronger in the second period. We made some mistakes and it cost us some goals.”
Indeed it did, as the Canucks scored three times in the middle period and outshot the Ducks by a 17-4 margin . Naslund gave his team a 1-0 lead with his 11th goal of the season at 3:20 when he beat Jean-Sebastien Giguere with a wrist shot from the left circle.
“It was a good measuring stick playing against these guys,” Naslund said of beating the defending champs. “We knew we had to play a strong game to beat them. It was a statement game for us. We did a lot of good things, and it paid off. It’s a little bit of a rivalry.”
Kesler made it 2-0 when he banged home Naslund’s rebound during a two-man advantage 12:38 into the second — roughly four minutes before Cooke put Vancouver up by three when he tipped home a shot from the point by Alex Edler.
Kesler scored again 5:05 into the third period. The power forward made a nice move as he skated around an Anaheim defender before roofing a shot over Giguere for his fourth goal in as many games as Vancouver took a 4-0 lead.
For one night, said Kesler, revenge was sweet.
''Last year in the playoffs we were pretty sour they knocked us out and we wanted to come out and not get dominated by them tonight,'' Kesler said.
Luongo certainly carried his share of the load. Tuesday was the 35th shutout of his career. Canucks coach Alain Vigneault realized who was most responsible for the impressive win.
“They played really well in the first period,” Vigneault said of the Ducks. “Roberto was the difference. Roberto was really good again.”
Red Wings 5, Flames 3 | Video
|Valtteri Filppula's third period goal helped seal a 5-3 Detroit Red Wings victory over the Calgary Flames.
His first tally came at 15:49 of the opening period ( 700K ), when he put the puck through the legs of Flames’ defenseman Cory Sarich before firing a gorgeous wrist shot past Miikka Kiprusoff to make it 1-1. Robyn Regehr had given the Flames a 1-0 lead 11:01 into the contest ( 700K ).
''That was an amazing move on the first goal, that was a big boost for them,'' said Calgary captain Jarome Iginla, who assisted on all three Flames goals. ''To make a move like that and score just under the crossbar has to be a big boost for their team and their fans.''
It certainly was, as Kris Draper gave Detroit the lead just 23 seconds later to put the Red Wings in front ( 700K ). Datsyuk scored again 37 seconds into the third period when he brought the puck into the Flames’ zone, skated past three defenders and backhanded a shot past Curtis McElhinney ( 700K ) to give Detroit a 4-2 lead. McElhinney relieved Kiprusoff after Tomas Holmstrom put the Wings up 3-1 at the 4:36 mark of the second period ( 700K ).
''Today, I'm not feeling energetic,'' Datsyuk said. ''Today, I went strong (to the net), not more dancing.''
Whatever the case was, the Flames couldn’t contain him. His play left Calgary coach Mike Keenan impressed.
''Certainly he put on an offensive show on two separate occasions,'' Keenan said. ''That's the type of player that gets people out of their seats.''
Alex Tanguay got the Flames within a goal when he beat Chris Osgood 3:02 into the third period ( 700K ). Calgary wouldn’t get any closer, however, as Valtteri Filppula scored just over three minutes later to regain Detroit’s two-goal lead ( 700K ).
Osgood put forth another solid performance, as he made 20 saves on the day after he celebrated his 35th birthday. The victory improved his record to 7-0 against Northwest Division teams.
"It was nice to get a good start, now that I'm over the hill, in hockey terms," Osgood joked. "I feel good. I just have to keep working in practice, stay sharp, do the things I have to do to stay ready, and when I do that I feel confident, and I just go out there and play."
As for Datsyuk, Red Wings coach Mike Babcock was thrilled with the forward’s performance. Datsyuk also had a goal and an assist in a 3-2 shootout loss at Columbus last Saturday.
"He was the best guy on the ice tonight," Babcock said. "I though he was the other night too, in Columbus. That's a good sign and when he's going like that and feeling it like that — things happen for him, and that's good for our team."
Material from wire services and team Web sites was used in this report.