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Canucks top Devils, Schneider in shootout

by Mike G. Morreale /

NEWARK, N.J. -- Roberto Luongo got the best of his former pupil for the second time this season with a stellar 28-save performance Thursday night to lead the Vancouver Canucks to a 3-2 shootout win against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center.

Mike Santorelli scored the lone goal in the tiebreaker on the first attempt of the shootout, beating Devils goalie Cory Schneider on a shot into the top right corner. Luongo made it stand when he forced Travis Zajac to shoot wide and Adam Henrique to hit the post before denying Patrik Elias with the back of his right skate to end the game.

The Devils (1-5-4), who have lost two straight, have not scored a goal in 11 attempts in the shootout this season.

Luongo, who made 17 saves in the third period when the Devils put on the heat, earned his sixth win in 10 starts this season. Vancouver coach John Tortorella felt the third period was his goalie's best 20 minutes of the season.

"It's probably his best period," Tortorella said. "He's still trying to get his game to where he wants it, but he was outstanding and certainly gave us a chance to get the point and also earned us the second one."

Not only were the Canucks playing their sixth road game in 10 days, but they also found themselves short two forwards for the second and third periods since David Booth and Dale Weise were each sidelined with lower-body injuries in the first.

"It's tough when they're rolling their lines and you've got to play with a short bench, but that's why you work in the summer," Canucks captain Henrik Sedin said. "A game like this, you try to keep your shifts a little bit shorter and simplify things, but its' fun as well. It feels like you're back playing pee wee again, every second shift."

Meanwhile, Schneider (19 saves), Luongo's teammate in Vancouver for five seasons, certainly wasn't having much fun. He told the media afterward he felt as though he let the team down in a big spot against a fatigued and shorthanded opponent.

"It's frustrating for me," Schneider said. "I expect more of myself. When my team plays like that, you've got to respond and pull your weight. We were challenged before this game and everyone really stepped up, and I didn't really rise to the challenge in the first two periods."

The Canucks (7-4-1) close out a season-long seven-game road trip Friday at Scottrade Center against the St. Louis Blues. The Canucks, 4-1-1 on the road trip, recalled center Pascal Pelletier and left wing Darren Archibald from the team's American Hockey League affiliate in Utica after the game.

Luongo improved to 4-0-1 on the trip.

"Sometimes you feel like you're just hanging on and that's what we were doing," he said. "Guys were battling hard. Not that we were trying to bring it to overtime by any means, but in the situation we were in, guys knew we were short and it was going to take everything we had to at least get to overtime."

Devils coach Peter DeBoer did not reveal his starting goalie for the game Saturday at TD Garden against the Boston Bruins during his postgame press conference.

"It should've been a 2-0 win," Schneider said. "Two bad goals on my part lets them hang around. [Luongo] played real good, made good saves in the third. The coaches expected more out of everyone, and I think everyone gave more, but I wasn't sharp."

On Oct. 8, Luongo made 21 saves in a 3-2 overtime decision against the Devils and Schneider in Vancouver.

Despite the disappointing loss, Schneider did make a big save to keep the game knotted at 2-2 with 6:44 left in the third when he used his left pad to deny Jason Garrison's blast from the point after it deflected off the stick of Marek Zidlicky. A little more than a minute later, Elias broke in down the right wing and backhanded an attempt that rang off the post over Luongo's glove.

The Sedin twins hooked up in telepathic fashion 12:37 into the second to pull Vancouver into a 2-2 tie.

Henrik Sedin fired the puck off the end boards to Schneider's right in the Devils end, setting up his brother in the left circle with a slap shot that eluded a seemingly surprised Schneider between the pads. It appeared as though Schneider was slow in getting his right pad down along the ice.

Devils rookie defenseman Eric Gelinas was in the lineup Thursday since captain Bryce Salvador was back home following a death in his family. Jagr said that Gelinas "made a huge difference" and "was the best player on the ice [for the Devils]."

"He made the right plays," Jagr said. "I felt he didn't play risky, and when he had a chance to make the plays, he made the plays. It was the first time in 10 games where we had the puck and didn't give it to them, and it started with our defense. … [Gelinas] was a big part of that."

Gelinas gave the Devils a 2-1 lead by scoring his first NHL goal 9:41 into the first while working on the first power-play unit with Zidlicky. After collecting a pass from Zajac at the point, the 22-year-old left-hander skated in just above the left circle before snapping a shot that deflected off Vancouver defenseman Christopher Tanev and over Luongo's glove.

Does he feel he did enough to influence the coaching staff to keep him in the lineup?

"Hopefully, but that's not up to me," he said. "All I had to do was try and help the team. I think everyone played really well and hard, so that's what my focus was on."

The home team opened the scoring at 5:05 when Elias swept home a shot at the right post off a nice pass from Andrei Loktionov. Elias was in the lineup Thursday after sitting out the previous two games with a case of food poisoning.

The Canucks pulled into a 1-1 tie 1:02 later, aided by miscommunication between Schneider and defenseman Andy Greene at the left post. Canucks defenseman Dan Hamhuis attempted a dump-in from his own blue line that Schneider blocked with his right pad and tried to leave for Greene, but instead nudged it away from him and onto the stick of Henrik Sedin. He quickly sent a pass across the crease to Ryan Kesler, who lifted a shot over the left pad of the Devils goalie for his team-leading fifth goal of the season.

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