Roberto Luongo made 27 saves for his first shutout of the season to lead the Vancouver Canucks to a 2-0 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday night.
Rookie Michael Grabner and Henrik Sedin scored on deflections for the Canucks, who have won three straight games for the first time this season.
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Luongo played for a second straight night after making 35 saves in a 3-1 win over Toronto on Saturday, and continued to show signs he is over an early season slump. Despite coming into the game with an uncharacteristically low .894 save-percentage, Luongo has now allowed just six goals in his last five games.
Nikolai Khabibulin, who was brilliant in a 2-1 win over the Canucks six days earlier, got a rare game off after stopping 33 shots in a 5-2 loss in Calgary the night before. Jeff Deslauriers made 27 saves in just his second start as the Oilers lost consecutive games for the first time this season.
Both teams were playing for a second straight night and missing six regulars to injury and illness, leading to a sloppy game with little flow.
Luongo, who has started all 11 games for the Canucks, had to be sharp early as the Oilers got a lengthy 5-on-3 power play less than 8 minutes into the game. He got a glove on Patrick O’Sullivan‘s early blast from the high slot, stopped Shawn Horcoff on the rebound, and later slid across to take an empty net away from Dustin Penner on a nice cross-crease pass from Ales Hemsky.
Grabner, who had two assists in Saturday’s win, opened the scoring on a power play with 2:09 left in the first period, parking himself atop the crease and neatly redirecting Christian Ehrhoff‘s one-timer from the point through Deslaurier’s legs. It was the second goal and fifth point in six games for the speedy rookie since being recalled after Daniel Sedin broke his foot.
Henrik Sedin hadn t scored since his twin brother was hurt on Oct. 7, but doubled the lead midway through the second period, knocking Mikael Samuelsson‘s harmless-looking point shot past a surprised Deslauriers. It was Henrik’s first point in four games after getting five in his first three without Daniel.
Luongo made another good save on O’Sullivan from close range and got a shoulder on Hemsky’s hot shot on a power play late in the second period. He stopped Hemsky again on a one-time blast as the Canucks killed off Grabner’s double-minor high sticking penalty midway through the third period, robbed Sam Gagner with 5 minutes left, and Dustin Penner in alone with a minute left.
Luongo’s 48th career shutout moved into a tie with San Jose’s Evgeni Nabokov for third place on the active list, one behind Detroit’s Chris Osgood, but 54 back of New Jersey’s Martin Brodeur.
It was also Luongo’s 21st shutout with Vancouver, moving him past Kirk McLean and into first place on the franchise’s all-time list despite playing just over three seasons with the Canucks.
Notes: The Oilers came in with 38 goals in their first 10 games, 17 more than the same period last season. … Canucks C Kyle Wellwood broke his big right toe in Saturday’s win over Toronto. … Russian rookie Sergei Shirokov was called up from the AHL and played on the first line with Henrik Sedin and Samuelsson, with Alex Burrows dropped to the third line. … Veteran D Mathieu Schneider, 40, made his Canucks debut after starting the season on the injured list following summer shoulder surgery. … Oilers C Gilbert Brule returned after missing three games with flu, but C Mike Comrie isn’t even traveling as he tries to recover from the bug, which has made its way through the team.