Canucks 4, Islanders 1
Vancouver defenseman Aaron Rome has gotten his teammates' attention.
''Lots of skill, great hands, a ton of speed,'' Roberto Luongo said after Rome had a goal and two assists in the Canucks' 4-1 victory over the New York Islanders on Sunday night.
''We're fighting over who gets on the ice with him, who changes for his partner so you get a couple seconds out there with him just in case (he scores),'' added Kevin Bieksa. ''Everything he touches is turning to gold.''
Rome, known for tough play and dependability in his own zone, had three goals in four games after missing the first 14 games of the season because of a broken thumb.
In the first 131 regular-season games of his career, he had two goals.
''I like to be in the background, but it's not a big deal,'' Rome said.
''When you play with confidence you don't really think about what you're doing, you maybe get back to the game that you played when you were younger. I played in offensive situations at all levels, so I knew that I kind of had it in me, but maybe not to this extent.''
Luongo made 23 saves, Cody Hodgson and David Booth each had a goal and an assist, and Henrik Sedin also scored for Vancouver, coming off a six-game trip.
Mark Moulson scored for New York. The Islanders are 1-6-3 in their last 10 games after opening 3-1-0.
''I never call out guys, but there are guys that need to find their game and you've got to have some will,'' Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. ''Our team, let's face it, there is not a lot of room for error, and once again we had a few guys that took a night off and we can't have it.''
The Canucks, who did not take single penalty in the game, are trying to regain last season's form that saw them come within one game of winning the Stanley Cup.
The defense, which has been error-prone for much of the season, limited New York's chances. And a new-look offense - with an effective third line of Booth, Hodgson and Maxim Lapierre - peppered Evgeni Nabokov with 36 shots. Hodgson had one of his stronger games of the season.
''We had some good chemistry with Boothy and Lappy, and we had a lot of chances that we didn't convert on, too,'' Hodgson said. ''As a line, we feel comfortable.''
With the Canucks leading 2-1 early in the third period, the 21-year-old rookie parked himself at the side of the net on a power play and chipped Rome's shot past Nabokov for his fourth of the season.
Hodgson also got things rolling for Vancouver in the first period, leading a rush that ended with Rome backhanding a loose puck behind Nabokov on the first shot of the game.
Rome, who missed the first 14 games of the season because of a broken finger, has three goals in his only four games of the season. In the first 131 regular-season games of his career, he had two goals.
Sedin upped it to 2-0 on the first shot of the second period. He took advantage of Jannik Hansen's screen and lofted a soft shot off Nabokov's glove.
Nabokov, who was pulled in his last start after allowing three goals on 12 shots in a 6-2 loss to Boston, looked shaky on the play. But he redeemed himself a few minutes later, robbing Sedin with a miraculous glove.
Luongo had one of his best games of the season.
His best stop came 6 minutes into the third period, when he made a point-blank glove save off Michael Grabner that left the former Canuck looking skyward. Four minutes later, Luongo took the puck off his mask to prevent Mark Streit from making it a 3-2 game.
''We've gotten our chances the last few games,'' Grabner said. ''We've just got to keep on working. We've only played three or four games together now so it's coming a little better.''
Moulson was the lone Islander to beat Luongo, charging hard to the net midway through the second period for his fourth goal of the season.
Islanders coach Jack Capuano pulled Nabokov with 3:30 remaining, but it didn't pay off as Booth scored his second as a Canuck to make it 4-1.
NOTES: New York is 0-4-2 on the road. ... Islanders RW Brian Rolston played his 1,199th career game. He's fourth in games played among active players, trailing only Nicklas Lidstrom, Jaromir Jagr and Teemu Selanne. ... Luongo was originally drafted by the Islanders, fourth overall in 1997. ... Daniel Sedin had his three-game point streak (1-6-7) snapped, but remains second in the NHL with 22 points. Toronto's Phil Kessel has 24 points.