Roberto Luongo made 28 saves in his 700th NHL game and led the Vancouver Canucks to a 3-0 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday night.
Luongo earned his second shutout of the season – both against the Wild – and the 57th in his NHL career as the Canucks (25-13-3) moved to the top of the league standings with 53 points.
Luongo, who made 33 saves on Dec. 19 in a 4-0 win over Minnesota, wasn’t severely tested but was good when he had to be. Top-line forwards Daniel Sedin and Alex Burrows had goals, and Manny Malhotra scored into an empty net in the final minute.
Vancouver has one more point than Western Conference-rival Chicago, and the Eastern Conference-leading New York Rangers. The defending Western champion Canucks have won seven of 10.
The Wild (21-14-6), who led the Northwest Division before a rash of injuries in December, lost for the 10th time in 11 games and are five points behind Vancouver. Minnesota has lost 10 straight to the Canucks in Vancouver.
The Canucks took a 2-0 lead in the first period after Minnesota’s Nick Schultz broke in on Luongo but hit the post with a shot off an odd-man rush.
Sedin, with his fifth goal in six games and 18th of the season, opened the scoring with Vancouver’s NHL-leading 44th first-period goal. His shot from above the circle eluded goalie Josh Harding, who was screened by Burrows.
Burrows made it 2-0 just 3:42 later. The Canucks forward fell into the net but managed to finish a three-way passing play with the Sedin twins.
Luongo preserved the lead in the scoreless second period. He got a shoulder on Pierre-Marc Bouchard’s blast and snagged Cal Clutterbuck’s power-play shot that was headed for the top corner.
Later in the period, Luongo stood his ground against Devin Setoguchi on another odd-man rush and found Nate Prosser’s blue-line drive through heavy traffic. He got a glove on Setoguchi’s shot from the slot with four minutes remaining.
Burrows almost made it 3-0 early in the third period when Daniel Sedin’s shot hit him in front of the net and glanced off the post.
Notes: The Canucks held out a Minnesota defense tandem of Keith Ballard and Andrew Alberts. … Setoguchi and Casey Wellman came off the Wild’s injured list. … The Wild will play nine of their next 12 on the road … Both forward David Booth (knee) and defenseman Aaron Rome (thumb) have recovered sufficiently from their injuries to accompany the Canucks on their four-game trip that will begin Saturday at Boston.