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Luongo and Canucks shut out Rangers 3-0

Friday, 01.04.2008 / 1:40 AM / Roundup

By John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

The Rangers has some scoring chances, but were unable to put the puck past Roberto Luongo on Thursday night.
The Vancouver Canucks couldn’t win at GM Place during the first month of the season. Since then, they can’t lose there — even when they don’t play their best hockey — thanks to Roberto Luongo.

Luongo stopped 28 shots for his sixth shutout of the season as the Canucks spoiled the New York Rangers’ first visit to Vancouver in more than five years with a 3-0 victory on Thursday night.

Ryan Kesler’s fluke goal in the second period and late goals 34 seconds apart by Daniel Sedin and Jason Jaffrey were more than enough for the Canucks to extend their unbeaten streak at home to 13 games. Vancouver has allowed just 11 goals while going 11-0-2 in that span since Nov. 9.

“We’re playing especially well in front of our fans at home,” said Luongo, who has all six of his shutouts at GM Place. “We have a lot of confidence at home.”

Thursday's game was the first for the Rangers in Vancouver since Nov. 19, 2002. The Rangers haven't won in Vancouver since October 1997, and although they dominated play for much of the night — outshooting the Canucks 28-19, including 21-9 through two periods — they were unable to get anything past Luongo.

“He was real good,” Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said of his All-Star goaltender. “We didn’t play our best, but Louie kept us is and we found a way to get two points.”

Kesler gave Vancouver the lead 1:51 into the second period on a goal that Rangers netminder Steve Valiquette, getting a rare start in place of Henrik Lundqvist, would probably like back. Kesler's clearing pass from the corner went off his right foot and into the net ( 700K ).

“It was a lucky goal,” said Kesler, who also centered a checking line that shut down the Rangers’ red-hot unit of Scott Gomez, Jaromir Jagr and Martin Straka.

“They did a good job against one of the premier lines in the league,” Vigneault said of his checking unit, which included Alex Burrows and Byron Ritchie.

Valiquette said the puck “just banked into the net off my right leg. I think I got caught between looking in front and looking at the shooter.”

The Rangers' best chance to pull even came midway through the second period when Kesler got a double minor for high-sticking New York defenseman Dan Girardi, clipping him under the left eye as he tried to jump past him on a one-on-one. But the Rangers managed only a couple of shots during the four-minute power play.

“It wasn’t a pretty first two periods,” Luongo said. “In the third period, we got back to our system and scored a couple of goals to put the game away.”

Sedin finished off a two-on-one with 3:04 remaining in the game and Jaffray added an insurance goal with 2:30 left.

The rest of the night belonged to Luongo.

“That’s not a bad goaltender at the other end of the rink,” Rangers coach Tom Renney said. “”We got exactly what was advertised from him. Everybody on our team, and everybody in the league knows about Roberto Luongo. I thought he saw a lot of the shots. Second and third effort will get you goals against a guy like that. I’m not sure we were in position to do that.”

Rangers center Chris Drury said the key to beating Luongo is making it hard for him to see.

“Anything he sees, he’s going to stop,” Drury said. “The whole world knows that.”

Panthers 4, Islanders 3, OT | Video
Jassen Cullimore doesn’t score often, so he has to make his goals count. He did just that by scoring 1:37 into overtime ( 700K ) to give the Panthers a win on Long Island after they had blown three one-goal leads.

''I make them count, don't I?'' Cullimore said after scoring his 22nd career goal, but seventh game-winner, on a blast from the top of the left circle. ''I didn't know it was in. The red light never came on, though the referee pointed. I didn't want to celebrate too soon. I wanted to make sure.''

Nathan Horton scored twice ( 700K, 700K ) and added an assist for the Panthers. Linemate David Booth added a goal and assist ( 700K ), while Craig Anderson got his first win of the season with 38 saves. Bill Guerin gave the Islanders a point when he snapped a shot past Anderson from the high slot with 5:19 remaining ( 700K ). Mike Comrie ( 700K ) and Mike Sillinger ( 700K ) had second-period power-play goals for the Islanders.

Islanders goaltender Rick DiPietro, returning after missing three games with a knee injury, had to change pads after a scoreless first period. He wore new, white pads for the warmups and first period, then reverted to his orange, blue and white pads without an explanation.

''I got those pads about a week before I got hurt,'' DiPietro said. ''I started wearing them and breaking them in, and then started using them in the game. Apparently, they haven't gone through the NHL. I thought we cleared it. After warmup, we found that we cleared it, but apparently, they weren't satisfied with that. We just found out after the first period that I had to switch to the old ones.''

The win gave Florida coach Jacques Martin his 498th NHL coaching victory, putting him in sole possession of 10th place on the all-time win list ahead of Glen Sather.

Bruins 2, Capitals 0 | Video
Boston cooled off the NHL’s hottest scorer, holding Alex Ovechkin without a point for just the seventh time this season as Tim Thomas stopped 31 shots for his first shutout of the season.

Ovechkin, second in the NHL with 30 goals, had a seven-game point streak snapped. He had four goals and three assists in his previous two games, and at least one point in 23 of his past 25. His best chance came when he fired a wrister from the slot that clanged off the left post 1:52 into the second period.

Zdeno Chara and Marc Savard did all the scoring the Bruins would need in a 2-0 blanking of the Washington Capitals.

''Most terrible game of the season for us. We don't move. We don't shoot the puck. We were sleeping tonight — everybody,'' Ovechkin said. ''Only Olie (Kolzig) played well. I don't know what happened to us.''

Much of the credit for shutting down Ovechkin belonged to Boston defenseman Zdeno Chara, who played 26:53 and not only kept the Washington star off the scoresheet but scored a goal himself.

''He stays out there for a long time, but we have to play our game,'' Chara said. ''I do my job for maybe 45 seconds and if he decides to stay out there we have someone else that can do the job.''

Boston coach Claude Julien was delighted with his big defenseman.

''You see what Z does for us back there,'' Julien said. ''We're always pairing him up against guys like Ovechkin.”

Thomas, who recorded his fifth career shutout, also stopped Ovechkin on a pair of rebounds with just under 12 minutes to play ( 700K ).

Marc Savard hustled out of the penalty box and wound up putting his own rebound past Olaf Kolzig at 13:35 of the second period to open the scoring ( 700K ). Chara beat Kolzig with a slap shot from the left point during a two-man advantage with exactly 10 minutes left in the game ( 700K ).

"It was late in the game and the ice wasn't in great shape," said Chara. "(I) decided to take a shot ... it went in."

Canadiens 6, Lightning 3 | Video
Who better to play when you’re struggling at home than the NHL’s worst road team? For Montreal, which has had trouble winning at the Bell Centre, a visit from Tampa Bay was just what the doctor ordered. Michael Ryder scored twice ( 700K ) as the Canadiens rebounded with three third-period goals after blowing a 3-1 lead in the second.

''It wasn't like they were taking it to us,'' said Montreal left wing Chris Higgins, who finished with a goal and two assists ( 700K ). ''We just gave them a couple of goals, sloppy play in our own end, and we just wanted to rebound and get that next goal. Andrei came in with a great shot and put us up there. We were confident we were going to win.''

The Canadiens went up 4-3 at 7:51 of the third when Andrei Kostitsyn put a sharp-angled shot into the net off rookie goalie Karri Ramo's glove for his third goal in two games ( 700K ). Kyle Chipchura scored into a wide-open right side at 11:01, giving the Canadiens their third two-goal margin of the game ( 700K ). Ryder, who put Montreal up 3-1 in the second, beat Ramo for his sixth of the season at 17:22 ( 700K ).

''We knew that we had to come out in the third and push and if we did that we had a good chance of winning, and that's what we did,'' said Ryder, a 30-goal scorer last season who has struggled so far this season.

Tampa Bay matched a season high with its third six-game winless streak of the season — the Bolts are 0-5-1 in their last six games. Vincent Lecavalier ( 700K ), Martin St. Louis ( 700K ) and Vaclav Prospal ( 700K ) scored second-period goals as the Lightning came back to tie it at 3 after trailing 2-0 and 3-1.

''I really liked some of the fight in our team tonight in battling back, but we just haven't been able to finish the game,'' coach John Tortorella said after his team fell to 3-14-2 on the road. ''So we're going to continue coaching, we're going to continue trying to stay together and try to find some positives and try to force things to come our way.''

Wild 6, Stars 3 | Video
Minnesota had dreams of joining the NHL’s elite this season. Finally beating one of the top teams in the West is a start. Marian Gaborik scored twice ( 700K ) as the Wild got a measure of revenge for last week’s 8-3 thrashing in Dallas.

''We've been looking for that all year,'' Wild coach Jacques Lemaire said about his team finally beating a top conference opponent. ''I like it even more because our game is better.''

Minnesota's Marian Gaborik flips the puck over Stars goalie Marty Turco to score a shorthanded goal in first period.

Pierre-Marc Bouchard added a goal ( 700K ) and two assists and Brent Burns had a career-high three assists for the Wild. Pavol Demitra (), Eric Belanger ( 700K ) and Mark Parrish ( 700K ) also scored for the Wild, who improved to 1-5 against the top three teams in the Western Conference: Detroit, Dallas and San Jose. Niklas Backstrom stopped 25 shots for his 16th win.

Starting with Gaborik’s shorthanded goal at 9:50 of the first period ( 700K ), Minnesota scored on four of its first eight shots. The Wild led 5-1 midway through the second period before goals by Steve Ott ( 700K ) and Minnesota native Matt Niskanen ( 700K ) cut made it 5-3.

''They got the lead early and they kept on coming and coming,'' Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas said.

Dallas has lost three in a row and failed to rebound after a poor showing against conference-leading Detroit on Wednesday. The Stars' top line of Brenden Morrow, Mike Ribeiro and Antti Miettinen hasn't scored during their three-game skid.

''Our ability with the puck lately is not really good. Play with the puck, passing, it just seems to be a real struggle to get the puck up and down the ice,'' Stars forward Mike Modano said. ''It's not going to spell too much success for us.''

Dallas was without star defenseman Sergei Zubov and forward Jussi Jokinen, as well as Philippe Boucher and Jere Lehtinen.

The absences showed.

"For us to be a good team, we have to have all the pieces in place," Dallas coach Dave Tippett said. "We're missing a lot of pieces right now. It's just as simple as that."

Predators 5, Oilers 2 | Video
Dan Ellis continues to make his case for the No. 1 goaltending job in Nashville, stopping 26 shots — including a penalty shot — as the Predators beat the visiting Oilers.

Jean-Pierre Dumont ( 700K ), Jerred Smithson ( 700K ) and Alexander Radulov ( 700K ) scored in a span of 7:52 of the opening period to put Nashville ahead 3-1. Jason Arnott added a second-period power-play goal ( 700K ) and after Ethan Moreau cut the margin to 4-2 at 3:55 of the third period ( 700K ), Radulov scored again at 6:54 when he beat Mathieu Garon to his glove side from low in the slot ( 700K ).

Ellis improved to 9-4-0 with his second straight win. He stopped Kyle Brodziak’s penalty shot at 9:41 of the second period ( 700K ).

''I have been terrible on them so far, but I finally mixed in a save'' said Ellis. ''I had played with Kyle in Iowa which was kind of funny. We used to work on breakaways and stuff, but I kind of forgot what his moves were. I had a couple of problems handling his shots early in the game, but he made the same move on the first breakaway he was taken down on. I just followed him across.”

The Oilers were unable to follow up on their overtime victory in St. Louis on Wednesday and lost for the seventh time in eight games.

''We just lacked any composure whatsoever,'' Edmonton coach Craig MacTavish said. ''Early on in the game, on the back end, we were turning pucks over and hanging onto pucks. We weren't moving the puck. We were losing the puck at the point of contact. We were flopping around and diving on the ice. We just didn't ever get in the game from the start.''

Coyotes 4, Blackhawks 2 | Video
Mikael Tellqvist has been doing a lot of watching since Phoenix brought in goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov from Anaheim in November. He made the most of a rare chance to play, stopping 25 shots as the Coyotes beat the visiting Blackhawks.

Phoenix's Mikael Tellqvist stopped 25 shots en route to a 4-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks.

"I'm glad to contribute to this team and try and win games," Tellqvist said. "There's always a little rust and it's so different practicing than playing in games. Obviously you want to play games, but you have to stay professional."

Tellqvist had played just once in 19 games since Bryzgalov was acquired on waivers on Nov. 17. He won his other start, at New Jersey on Dec. 15.

"Tellqvist was outstanding when he had to be," Phoenix coach Wayne Gretzky said. "It was great to see him do what he did because he is well-liked on the team and works hard every day." Craig Weller ( 700K ) and Martin Hanzal ( 700K ) scored in the first period to give the Coyotes a 2-0 lead. Radim Vrbata made it 3-0 early in the third with his 18th goal of the season ( 700K ), tying a career high, as Phoenix won for just the seventh time in 18 home games.

Tellqvist held Chicago scoreless until Cam Baker ruined the shutout at 11:31 of the third period ( 700K ). Kris Versteeg’s first NHL goal brought the Hawks to within one at with 1:27 remaining ( 700K ) before Fredrik Sjostrom scored into an empty net ( 700K ). We had our chances but their goalie came up big," Chicago's Brent Seabrook said. "We're kind of struggling right now, and need to shore up our game. There's a great deal of character in this room and now is the time for everyone to step forward."

Flames 3, Sharks 2, OT | Video
San Jose still can’t win at home. The NHL’s best road team returned after sweeping a four-game trip and fell to 6-9-4 at home when Jarome Iginla scored his second goal of the game at 3:26 of overtime.

Iginla got his 31st of the season when he charged into a crowd and pushed the puck through Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov and into the net for his 18th goal in 16 games — during which the Flames are 11-1-4.

''We definitely have had a good month of December and it's going good again,'' Iginla said after the Flames’ fourth straight win. ''As a team we're improving and finding ways to win close games and earlier in the year we weren't finding ways.

Iginla gave Calgary a 2-1 lead when he beat Nabokov with a wrist shot wrister at 16:26 of the first period after Kristian Huselius stole the puck from San Jose's Christian Ehrhoff, who was trying to make a pass ( 700K ).

Sharks defenseman Craig Rivet tied the game 2-2 when he connected on a slap shot from the right side of the blue line with 6:06 remaining in the second ( 700K ). It was Rivet's third goal of the season.

Alex Tanguay gave Calgary the lead when he beat Nabokov on a two-on-one rush one minute into the game ( 700K ). Torrey Mitchell tied it for the Sharks at 4:03 ( 700K ).

San Jose has second-worst home record in the NHL but owns the league's best road record at 16-3-2.

''That stat has bothered a lot of people,'' Nabokov said. ''But as long as you keep playing well and keep going. The home season will turn around.''

The Sharks didn’t lack for chances, but were foiled time and again by Miikka Kiprusoff, who stopped 34 shots.

''San Jose played really well and outshot us and we found a way to hang in there and get an important road win which was really big for morale on a back-to-back night,'' Iginla said.

Blue Jackets 4, Kings 3 | Video
Michael Peca’s return sparked Columbus’ offense. The veteran center returned after missing five games with headaches and a sore neck and scored his team's last two goals ( 700K ), including the winner with 5:05 left, leading the Blue Jackets to a win in Los Angeles.

"You feel like you're letting your team down when you're not in the lineup, so you want to come back and do whatever you can to contribute and help the team win," said Peca, a two-time winner of the Frank Selke Trophy as the NHL's top defensive forward.

Michael Peca scored two goals in his first game back from a trip to the injured reserve list, a 4-3 win at Los Angeles.

Sergei Fedorov ( 700K ) and rookie Joakim Lindstrom ( 700K ) each had a goal and an assist for the Blue Jackets, who at 19-16-6 are off to the best start in the franchise's seven-year history.

Brian Willsie ( 700K ), Dustin Brown ( 700K ) and Patrick O'Sullivan scored for Los Angeles. The Kings have been held to three goals or less in 23 of their last 26 games and had their three-game winning streak ended.

Peca scored his 31st career game-winning goal on a tip-in of Jason Chimera's one-timer from the top of the left circle.

"Michael's an experienced guy, he's very good on faceoffs, he's defensive-minded player — and he even scored a couple of goals for us," Fedorov said. "He reads the play pretty well, he was alert out there and played an extremely good game tonight."

The Kings rallied three times from one-goal deficits. O'Sullivan tied it 3-3 with 11:59 to play, batting the puck past Fredrik Norrena from just outside the crease with his stick low enough to withstand a video review.

"Our guys have confidence in their ability to score and they have confidence in their ability to come back," coach Marc Crawford said. "They're doing very creative things offensively, and we generated the kind of chances that should have resulted in a more favorable outcome for us. But we didn't get it."

Material from wire services and team online and broadcast media was used in this report.

Quote of the Day

I'm just excited about the opportunity. I've been on the ice earlier than usual and in the weight room, pushing around a little more weights than usual. Every day I go into a workout with a smile on my face and ready to go. When you do have a little more responsibility, you want to take your lunch pail and get ready to work.

— Brian Elliott to Jeremy Rutherford of the Post-Dispatch on being the Blues' No. 1 goalie