VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) -This time a shutout was enough to make a winner out of Roberto Luongo, but not by much.
Brendan Morrison scored an early power-play goal and Luongo did the rest, making 27 saves to lead the Vancouver Canucks to a 2-0 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday night.
Daniel Sedin finally ended any suspense an empty-net goal with 31.7 seconds left as Vancouver improved to 7-1-2 in the last 10 games.
It was Luongo's second shutout of the season, but he took no joy from the first one because it came in 1-0 shootout loss to Edmonton 10 days earlier.
"The win is what's most important," Luongo said of his 34th career shutout. "It was a really tight game. It took a solid 60 minutes tonight and even then it came down to the wire."
Luongo made his best save off Dustin Byfuglien on a 3-on-1 rush eight minutes into the second period, sliding across his crease to get his right pad on the quick shot. He preserved the shutout and the win with a point blank save off a Jonathan Toews power-play chance with 3:47 left.
"I got some good wood on it in close but it wasn't good enough," said Toews.
Morrison's early goal was good enough against a team that lost in a shootout in Edmonton the night before and was playing for the third time in four nights. With former Canuck Brent Sopel off for clearing the puck over the glass, Chicago goalie Patrick Lalime committed to Sami Salo's point shot. But the Canucks defenseman sent a perfect slap pass to an open Morrison at the right side of the crease instead, leaving Morrison with a wide open net.
"That was a pretty easy one," said Morrison. "They have to respect Sami's shot and he made a great pass. Sami's friendship dues are in the mail."
After losing for the first time in more than three weeks Friday in St. Louis, the Canucks came out flying early. But Lalime, one of several Blackhawks battling a flu bug, was exceptionally sharp in his first start in five games, keeping Chicago in the game with a handful of highlight saves. He finished with 26 saves as Chicago failed to record at least a point for the first time in five games, and just the third time in the last 12 games (7-3-2).
"Both goalies were good," said Chicago coach Denis Savard. "Pat made some great saves for us and so did Luongo. He's a great goalie, we know that."
It didn't help that the Blackhawks were also missing leading goal scorer Patrick Sharp, who returned to Chicago after missing Saturday's game with the flu. Tuomo Ruutu played in Vancouver despite missing Saturday's game with it.
Chicago also lost defenseman James Wisniewski seven minutes into the game when he was knocked face first into the glass by the shoulder of winger Matt Cooke, who wasn't penalized on the play. Wisniewski did not return, but Savard said it was only a deep cut, he was held out as a precaution, and he'd be back soon.
It was one of many incidents in a game that started with Ryan Kesler knocking Chicago rookie sensation Patrick Kane into his own bench just 32 seconds in, setting tone for a physical game that featured plenty of action after the whistles and a couple of lively fights.
"I'm really proud of our guys, the fact we re going to battle and teams that want to battle with us, we'll be right there with them," said Savard, whose team wraps up a six-game road trip 2-2-2. "We were challenged early and we responded."
Vancouver had another apparent power play goal waved off 6:17 into the third period because the referee blew the play dead with the puck still loose behind Lalime, but it probably wouldn't have counted anyway as a diving Cooke appeared to shove both the goalie and the puck into the net with his stick.
Luongo stopped Adam Burish whacking away three times alone in front, then had his mask knocked off by the Chicago forward as he was being tackled to the ice by three Canucks, touching off another melee as Byron Ritchie fought Burish.
"We'll kill those penalties off every day," Luongo said.
Notes: Canucks D Matias Ohlund returned from a four-game suspension for a slash that broke a bone in the leg of Minnesota's Mikko Koivu. D Lukas Krajicek also returned after missing one game with a sore foot. D Luc Bourdon was sent back to the AHL. The Blackhawks wrapped up a six-game road trip (2-2-2) while a circus occupied the United Center in Chicago.