Skip to Main Content

Canucks 2, Blue Jackets 0 @NHLdotcom

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) -Roberto Luongo wasn't focused on any shutout records, but his teammates certainly were.

Luongo made 26 saves for his third straight shutout, setting personal and franchise records while leading the Vancouver Canucks to a 2-0 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night. Luongo, who began the streak against Chicago and Anaheim, hasn't allowed a goal in 193 minutes, 56 seconds.

"It's nice, but I think right now we've got to look at the way we're winning games and the type of hockey we're playing and I think the whole group should feel good about themselves," said Luongo, insisting his play is a result of vastly improved team defense through the month of November.

"You just got to make sure you're on top of your game and challenging. It helps to know the guys are doing a good job taking away backdoors and slot rebounds and plays and stuff like that. It gives an opportunity to challenge a bit more."

He got some help from Brendan Morrison, who swept a dangerous loose puck away from the goal line with 17 seconds left, but Luongo was on his own for stretches while making 15 saves in the second period.

With the exception of robbing Sergei Fedorov in alone 5 minutes in, Luongo made his best saves late in the second. He made point-blank stops off Michael Peca and David Vyborny, and deflection saves off Dan Fritsche in a late flurry late, before setting both records in the third with six saves - and more help from teammates.

"Absolutely," said captain Markus Naslund when asked if the focus in the third was getting Luongo the shutout records. "He's the backbone. He's our leader and it's great to see him get that kind of recognition. I don't think we had a strong second period, but Louie was sick again back there and he just keep amazing me."

Defensemen Matttias Ohlund and Lukas Krajicek scored for the Canucks, who after losing the first game in November - and losing top defenders Kevin Bieksa and Sami Salo to serious injuries the same night - finished the month on a 9-1-2 run.

Luongo is 8-1-2 in that same stretch with a 1.43 goals-against average, a 94.7 save percentage, and all four of his shutouts this season.

"We all know what he means to our team," coach Alain Vigneault said. "In the third, our guys I think understood what was at stake and they buckled down. We're playing well defensively but when we're not - the first period against Anaheim (also 15 saves) and second period tonight - the goalie is real good."

Fredrik Norrena, starting while Pascal Leclaire recovers from a slight hamstring pull, made 19 saves as the Blue Jackets fell to 4-7-2 on the road.

"I told the players at the start of the game if you're going to beat a goalie like him you have to outwork him and we went soft on three obvious goals," coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We didn't put it through the back of the net. He came back and made the save and that's the difference in the game. You're going to have to outwork a goaltender when he's in a zone like he is right now."

Luongo, who had consecutive shutouts three times with Florida, passed his personal best of 182:37, set with the Panthers in 2004, in the third period. He then eclipsed a 32-year-old franchise record of 184:20, moving past Ken Lockett, a backup who played 55 games over two seasons and set the mark in April 1975.

"I'm feeling the same as game No. 1. I'm going to repeat it for the 20th time this year," said Luongo, runner-up for the Hart and Vezina trophies last season. "But sometimes you get the bounces and the score is more indicative of your play and sometimes you get a couple mishaps and the score is not the same."

Ohlund got credit for the opening goal 4:05 into the second period after his cross-ice pass banked off the back of the skate of Columbus defenseman Adam Foote and past a helpless Norrena.

"It was something between a shot and a pass but we ll take it," Ohlund said. "It wasn't the prettiest goal, but we got the win."

Krajicek doubled the lead after some nice passing from twins Daniel and Henrik Sedin during 4-on-4 action midway through the second, driving to the back of the net to knock Daniel's cross-crease pass off Norrena and just over the goal line.

Notes: Leclaire, who leads the league with six shutouts, hurt his leg Sunday in Edmonton. He was on the ice at Thursday's morning skate taking shots, but did not drop into the butterfly and is still a question mark for Saturday's game in Calgary. ... Canucks captain Markus Naslund remained one point behind Trevor Linden, who was a healthy scratch, for the franchise record of 724 points. ... Vancouver plays seven of its next eight games on the road. The Canucks improved to 6-1-1 at home in November, moving back over .500 at home this season (7-6-1).

View More