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Luongo shutout streak at 3 and counting

by John Kreiser / Vancouver Canucks
Not many of us can point to a week in which we were perfect. Roberto Luongo can.

Vancouver's captain was flawless last week. Not only did he win his 3 starts to lead the Canucks into first place in the Northwest Division, he didn't allow a single goal.

Luongo stopped 28 shots to beat Nashville, 4-0; 28 to beat Phoenix, 1-0; and 29 in a 2-0 victory against Minnesota on Saturday night.

Luongo leads all goaltenders this season with 5 shutouts and is second to San Jose's Evgeni Nabokov with 9 victories. He takes a shutout streak of 201:08 into Wednesday night's game against Colorado. The way he's playing, Luongo looks like no one can beat him.

Five up -- Five players who've been hot:

Shea Weber -- Tied for the top spot in scoring among defenseman (7-7-14), Weber has 4 goals in his last 5 games, including a pair in Calgary last Wednesday. He gives the Preds some serious offense from the blue line.

Mikhail Grabovski -- The former Canadien came back to score a goal and add an assist in Toronto's 6-3 win against his old team Saturday. Grabovski has 7 goals and 3 assists in his last 8 games and is a big reason the Leafs are off to a good start.

Slava Kozlov -- Kozlov's play has been a key to the Thrashers' recent hot streak. He scored 2 goals in a 4-3 win against the Islanders and set up 3 the next night in a 5-4 win at Buffalo. He has 8 goals and 14 points already after getting just 17 and 41, respectively, last season.

Ryane Clowe -- The big San Jose forward is turning into an offensive force this season. He had 4 goals and an assist in the Sharks' 4 games last week, plus the shootout winner against St. Louis. With 9 goals, he's already more than halfway to his career high of 16, set in 2006-07.

Mark Parrish -- Parrish couldn't find a taker after Minnesota bought him out during the summer. He signed with the Islanders' American Hockey League team in Bridgeport, and then was signed by the Dallas Stars. Their reward: a hat trick in Parrish's first game, a 5-2 win at Anaheim.

Five down -- Five players who are struggling:

Alex Ovechkin -- Ovechkin will have a hard time matching the 65 goals he scored last season. He has just 2 so far and hasn't scored in 9 games, the longest drought of his career.

Ryan Smyth -- After a good start, Smyth's scoring touch has vanished. He has just 2 assists in Colorado's last 6 games and hasn't scored a goal in the Avs' last 8 -- a big reason Colorado has struggled after a 5-game win streak.

Kimmo Timonen -- Philadelphia lost all 3 games it played last week, and Timonen has to take a share of the blame, as he registered just 1 assist and was a minus-5. For the season, he has just 5 assists.

Jeff Tambellini -- The AHL's best goal-scorer last season has yet to translate that prowess into NHL success. Tambellini has just 1 assist and is a minus-6 in 12 games for the New York Islanders and was a healthy scratch for a couple of games.

Erik Cole -- Edmonton can't be happy with the lack of production from Cole, who came in an offseason deal with Carolina. He has just 2 goals and 4 points in 14 games this season and is just 1-1-2 in his last 11 games.

Injuries, news and notes -- It's something New Jersey fans have always dreaded -- an injury that will keep Martin Brodeur out for a sizeable length of time. Brodeur underwent surgery last week to repair a torn biceps tendon in his left arm and isn't expected back until late February at the earliest. Kevin Weekes will carry the load in goal for now.

Out -- Blues forward Paul Kariya missed the last 2 games of St. Louis' swing through California with a lower-body injury suffered in Anaheim. An MRI didn't reveal any serious problems, and the Blues hope he'll be back sometime this week. ... San Jose goaltender Evgeni Nabokov suffered a lower-body injury on the final shot of the shootout in Thursday's win against St. Louis. Brian Boucher played in the Sharks' 2 weekend games. Forward Jonathan Cheechoo also missed both of the Sharks' weekend games, with an upper-body injury. ... Atlanta netminder Kari Lehtonen has missed 5 games with an illness, though he may be back this week. ... Toronto forward John Mitchell is out for 1-2 weeks with a separated shoulder suffered in Thursday night's loss at Boston. Defenseman Mike Van Ryn sustained a concussion, a broken nose and a broken hand when he was hit from behind Saturday by Montreal's Tom Kostopoulos. ... Minnesota sent defenseman Brent Burns home for treatment of an undisclosed upper-body injury that has kept him out of 4 games. ... Edmonton lost defenseman Ladislav Smid with a concussion. ... Atlanta defenseman Mathieu Schneider injured a hip flexor in the morning skate Thursday and will miss at least 3 games. ... Nashville forward Martin Erat sat out Saturday's game at Colorado with an upper-body injury. ... Colorado captain Joe Sakic sat out Thursday's game with a back injury, then played briefly Saturday before leaving with the same injury. ... New Jersey placed rookie forward Pierre-Luc Letrouneau-Leblond on injured reserve due to a nasal fracture. Devils forward Brian Gionta didn't play Sunday after being checked into the boards by Detroit's Derek Meech on Saturday. Defenseman Bryce Salvador also sat out Sunday; he left Saturday's game in Detroit after blocking a shot. ... Florida forward Kamil Kreps sustained a concussion Thursday and didn't play in either of the Panthers' weekend games. ... Islanders rookie forward Nate Thompson left Thursday's game at Atlanta with a groin strain and will miss 2-4 weeks.

Returning -- Philadelphia fans were surprised to see center Daniel Briere back on the ice for Saturday's game against Tampa Bay. Briere missed 6 games after having surgery to repair tears in his abdominal muscles. He wasn't expected to play for at least another week, but had the Flyers' lone goal in a 2-1 loss. ... Florida center Stephen Weiss returned to the lineup Thursday after missing 4 games with a strained groin. Defenseman Bryan McCabe also made his return Thursday after missing a month with a back injury. ... Boston forward Chuck Kobasew had a goal and an assist in Saturday's 3-1 win against Buffalo in his return after missing 12 games with a fractured ankle. ... Buffalo's Jochen Hecht returned to the lineup Friday after missing 10 games with a broken finger. ... Dallas welcomed back All-Star defenseman Sergei Zubov on Friday. He hadn't played since last season after undergoing hip surgery. The Stars hope forward Jere Lehtinen might be able to play Tuesday. He has yet to dress this season due to a groin injury. ... Tampa Bay forward Radim Vrbata was back in the lineup Thursday after missing 6 games with a groin injury. ... The Islanders got forward Sean Bergenheim back Saturday after he missed 3 games with respiratory problems. ... Johan Franzen, out since Oct. 26 with a sprained knee, is expected back in Detroit's lineup Tuesday. ... San Jose forward Marcel Goc returned Saturday; he'd been sidelined with a back injury since Oct. 25. ... Blues goaltender Manny Legace was back in net Saturday after missing more than a week with a hip injury sustained when he slipped on a carpet that had been rolled out to allow Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to drop the puck for a ceremonial faceoff. ... Anaheim forward George Parros returned Friday after missing 3 games with a scratched cornea.

Still out -- Carolina placed forward Brandon Sutter on injured reserve with a concussion. He hasn't played since being leveled by the Islanders' Doug Weight on Oct. 25. ... Devils forward Brian Rolston is skating again as he works to come back from a high ankle sprain. He's expected to miss another week or so. ... Anaheim forward Brad May practiced for the first time since injuring his right knee Oct. 30, but isn't ready to return. ... Vancouver center Pavol Demitra, who suffered fractured rib cartilage Oct. 19, will be out at least another week. ... Tampa Bay center Jeff Halpern, who hasn't played all season after undergoing reconstructive surgery on his left knee in May, skated at practice last week but is nowhere near being ready to play. ... Los Angeles defenseman Jack Johnson says he's weeks ahead of schedule in his rehab from shoulder surgery. He's officially not expected back until after the All-Star break, but appears likely to return sooner. ... New Jersey defenseman Paul Martin's upper-body injury has kept him out of 4 games, including both of the Devils' contests this past weekend. ... Pittsburgh defenseman Ryan Whitney has started skating again as he recovers from foot surgery. The Penguins hope he'll be back by the end of December. ... Carolina defenseman Joni Pitkanen skated at practice last week for the first time since undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery late last month. He could be back within a week.

The week ahead -- It's a hectic week, with 5 teams playing 4 times and 12 playing 3 times in 4 days.

Games to watch:

Tampa Bay at Washington (Nov. 10, 7 p.m. ET, VERSUS, RDS) -- Olaf Kolzig, who won 301 games in goal for the Capitals before signing with Tampa Bay this summer, makes his return to Washington.

Pittsburgh at Detroit (Nov. 11, 7 p.m. ET, VERSUS) -- The Penguins visit Joe Louis Arena for the first time since their three-overtime epic in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final last spring. Pittsburgh won that one, but Detroit captured Game 6 to take home the Cup.

Boston at Chicago (Nov. 12) -- The Blackhawks will retire No. 3 in honor of defensemen Pierre Pilote and Keith Magnuson prior to their game with the Bruins.

Montreal at Boston (Nov. 13, 7 p.m. ET, NHLN-CA, RDS) -- Montreal has beaten the Bruins in their last 12 regular-season meetings, the longest active win streak by 1 team against another.

Nashville at Los Angeles (Nov. 15) -- The Predators come to the end of a 6-game trip that will see them travel 6,400 miles between home games.

Tough week ahead:

Philadelphia Flyers -- It's a hectic week for the Flyers, who play 4 games in 6 days, the first 3 on the road.

Tampa Bay Lightning -- The Lightning won't be getting much rest, with 4 games in 7 nights, 3 within their division. They visit Washington and Florida, make a 1-night stop at home against Detroit on Thursday, then fly to Carolina for a game Saturday night. 

Washington Capitals -- The Caps have 4 games in 6 days, and while 2 of the games will be at home, they're not consecutive, meaning Washington has to travel for each of the 4 games.

Easy week ahead:

Anaheim Ducks -- The Ducks can enjoy the Southern California sunshine. They have 4 days off before hosting Nashville on Friday, then stay home for a game with Los Angeles on Sunday.

Minnesota Wild -- The Wild get a light week at home, with games against Phoenix on Wednesday and Columbus on Saturday.

Vancouver Canucks -- The Canucks host Colorado on Wednesday and Toronto on Saturday to finish off a 6-game homestand before heading east.
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