-- Monday could be a day where fans in Vancouver breathe a sigh of relief.
Or, it could be a day of panic.
It will depend on the news that comes out of the Western Canadian city today, when the Canucks will announce just how long goalie/captain Roberto Luongo
will be out due to the groin injury suffered during Saturday's 3-1 win at Pittsburgh.
"It was just a regular shot," Luongo said after Saturday's game. "I don't know if it actually happened as I was extending or as I was trying to react to it. Pretty much a lot of pain there."
The two-time Vezina Trophy finalist was injured less than five minutes into the contest, following what appeared to be a routine save on a shot from the point by Philippe Boucher, Pittsburgh's first of the game. The goalie was helped off the ice and couldn't put weight on his left leg.
"Right away I knew it wasn't good," Luongo said. "Obviously I don't know the extent of it. It's very disappointing, very frustrating. We've been playing great as a team and I've been real happy with the way my game has been the last few weeks. It's really disappointing to have something like this happen."
Luongo has posted an 11-5-2 mark this season with a .928 save percentage. He had a career-long shutout streak earlier in the season, going 242:36 without allowing a goal. He has an NHL-best five shutouts and a 2.17 goals-against average.
Should Luongo miss a substantial amount of time, the Canucks will turn to backup Curtis Sanford to carry the load. Vancouver also recalled Cory Schneider
from Manitoba of the American Hockey League on Sunday. Schneider, Vancouver's first-round draft choice in 2004, was 10-1-0 with a 1.37 GAA and a .945 save percentage.
"You hate to see your teammate down on the ice like that, he's the biggest part of our team," Sanford said. "But we're going to have to move past that and we're going to have to play some games without him in there." Not-so-special
-- A slow start and a horrid power play proved deadly for the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday afternoon.
Not only did the Hurricanes allow themselves to fall into a 4-0 hole, but they went 0-for-8 with the man advantage, with seven of those power plays coming in the first two periods. Carolina came into the game tied for 20th in the League with the man-advantage, at 16.1 percent.
Five of those power-play chances were wasted in the first period alone, including two substantial five-on-three opportunities – a total of 1:57 -- which generated few chances.
"Whenever you get five-on-threes, you’ve got to at least create some momentum and we just didn’t do that and it kind of translated into our game the first couple of periods," Carolina forward Matt Cullen said. "We know better than to think we can just show up and win a game." 4 For Zubrus
-- There are ways to get out of a scoring slump, and then there's what Dainius Zubrus accomplished Sunday in Tampa Bay.
The New Jersey Devils forward, who had just 2 goals in 19 games, tied a franchise record by scoring four times in a 7-3 victory against the Lightning.
''He played a heck of a game,'' Devils coach Brent Sutter said. ''Just not the goals he scored, but he was very good down low and in our zone. Very strong. Very solid.''
Zubrus believes Sutter's decision to skate Zubrus alongside Patrik Elias and Brian Gionta has played the biggest role in his revival.
''I had chances,'' Zubrus said. ''Since I've played with Brian Gionta and Patrik Elias, I've had more chances than I had before. They just started going in.''
Elias didn't score Sunday, but he did pick up an assist on three of Zubrus' four tallies. New Jersey also received goals from Mike Rupp, Zach Parise and Gionta. In all, the Devils peppered the combination of Olaf Kolzig and Karri Ramo with 45 shots.
''You know what? We're playing hockey,'' Sutter said. ''It's going from our dressing room right on to the bench and out onto the ice. We're getting contributions from everybody. Everyone is just doing their job and playing a sound team game, and that's really important and they're being rewarded for it." Material from wire services and team web sites was used in this report.