Luongo helps Canucks edge Kings

BY foxsports • April 10, 2009

Roberto Luongo made 20 saves for his career-high eighth shutout of the season, Ryan Kesler scored on a second-period power play and the Vancouver Canucks beat the Los Angeles Kings 1-0 on Thursday night.

Luongo faced one fewer shot all game than he did in the first period in a 46-save, 4-1 win over Calgary on Tuesday night. The 13th-place Kings only fired 13 shots through two periods - four fewer than Luongo saw the first 10 minutes against the Flames.

The Canucks moved two points ahead of idle Calgary atop the Northwest Division, but the Flames still control their own destiny in race for the third seed in the Western Conference, and can clinch both by matching Vancouver over their final two games.

The Canucks will close the regular season in Colorado on Saturday, while the Flames, who have the tiebreaker with more wins, will finish with a home-and-home series against Edmonton on Friday and Saturday.

With Anze Kopitar in the penalty box for holding Mats Sundin behind the net, Kesler - honored as the Canucks' MVP in a ceremony before the game - banged in a rebound of a hard shot from Sundin at the top of the faceoff circle. It was Kesler's career-best 26th goal and 59th point of the season.

Luongo did get an early break when Kings captain Dustin Brown shot wide of an empty net on a rebound just 3 minutes into the game. Luongo made his best save with 6:39 left, throwing out his glove to get a piece of Alexander Frolov's hard shot from the high slot off the rush to preserve the 1-0 lead.

Loungo also got his stick on Kopitar's shot from the slot with the Kings totally controlling play shortly after Kesler's goal in the second period, a long shift in the Vancouver end that led to a Canucks timeout. Kopitar had another good chance on a rebound 8:35 into the third period, but his backhander went through Luongo's legs and well wide of the goal. Other than that, however, the Canucks lived up to a pledge to tighten up defensively after being outshot 47-25 on Tuesday, which came after giving up 14 goals in the previous three games - all losses.

At the other end, Kings goalie Jonathan Quick faced more - and harder - chances among his 27 saves. He shot out the left pad to deny Rick Rypien on a breakaway at the end of a power play, and sprawled to rob Kyle Wellwood in tight.

The Canucks, 12-1-1 since Feb. 1 at home, also moved within two points of fourth-place Chicago. But the Blackhawks only need one point in their final two games - a home-and-home series with Detroit - to clinch home-ice advantage in the first round against either Vancouver or Calgary.


Luongo is fourth among active goalies with 46 shutouts. ... The Kings went 1-2-0 on their trip, eliminating Edmonton from the playoffs with the win Tuesday. ... In addition to Kesler being selected the team MVP in fan voting, RW Alex Burrows was honored as the most exciting player, Willie Mitchell as the top defenseman, and RW Steve Bernier as the unsung hero. The award for top scorer has to wait until the final game because identical twins Daniel and Henrik Sedin each have 81 points.

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