Canucks' Luongo sets record in shootout loss
Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo did more than break his own franchise record Wednesday night. He obliterated it.
Luongo extended his shutout streak to a remarkable 242 minutes 36 seconds in Vancouver's 2-1 shootout loss to the Colorado Avalanche at General Motors Place.
That's the equivalent of more than four games without giving a goal, and shattered the old team mark of 210:34 he set last winter by more than 1½ periods.
"I don't really care about the streak," Luongo said. "The goal tonight was the two points and we fell short of that."
Marek Svatos ended the record-setting shutout string with a power-play goal 88 seconds into the third period, chipping the puck over Luongo during a frenzied scramble in which defenceman Sami Salo fell to his knees in pain.
The goal was originally credited to Paul Stastny, but the NHL made a scoring change on Thursday, giving Stastny and Wojtek Wolski assists on the play.
Salo looked to be favouring his arm as he failed to regain his feet in time to prevent Svatos's second goal of the season.
"It is those second and third opportunities that you have to take advantage of," said Stastny, who shovelled at the puck until it finally entered the net.
Luongo entered the contest with consecutive shutout victories over the Nashville Predators, Phoenix Coyotes and Minnesota Wild.
He had held opposing skaters at bay since Henrik Zetterberg of the Detroit Red Wings scored during a 5-on-3 power play at 18:52 of the second period in a 3-2 victory at Vancouver on Nov. 2.
"He is playing on top of his game right now, so it is so much sweeter we were able to beat him," Avalanche netminder Peter Budaj said.
On Wednesday, Svatos scored the decisive goal in the fourth round of the shootout, fooling Luongo high to the glove side with a wrist shot that went in off the crossbar.
Peter Budaj had 33 saves as the Avalanche (7-8-0) chalked up their second straight win following a five-game skid.
"Credit to the guys," Budaj said. "You're down 1-0 in Vancouver, playing against the hottest goalie in the league, and we persevere and come back — it is a big win for us."
'It was a rough start'
Luongo, who finished with 33 saves, looked sharp from the outset as Colorado outshot Vancouver 16-8 in a scoreless first period.
"It was a rough start," Luongo said. "For about the first 10 minutes, they were throwing everything at the net.
"We were able to keep them off the scoresheet. I thought we got it going there in the second half of the first period."
Taylor Pyatt opened the scoring for the Canucks (9-6-1) on a penalty shot 2:43 into the second period, beating Budaj high to the glove side with a wrist shot for his second goal of the season.
"I tried to get him moving with a little fake and just shot it quick," Pyatt said. "The side of the net was open."
The penalty shot was awarded when Avalanche defenceman Ruslan Salei whacked Pyatt's stick so hard on a partial breakaway that he broke the shaft.
'You cannot be satisfied'
After Svatos tied it 1-1 early in the third, Colorado had a glorious opportunity to take the lead as both Mattias Ohlund and Alex Burrows were penalized for delay of game.
But Milan Hejduk misfired from point-blank range, Stastny slid the puck through the crease and Luongo smothered a slapshot from John-Michael Liles to keep it knotted at 1-1.
"He had three shutouts on the line," Avalanche forward Wojtek Wolski said of Luongo. "It wasn't like he was all of a sudden going to fall apart on his team."
Luongo preserved the deadlock with a spectacular save as time expired in regulation, sliding to his left to rob Wolski of what seemed a certain winning goal.
"You don't want to give up a chance like that at the end of the game," Luongo said. "We were able to get a point.
"But you cannot be satisfied with the performance. We want to make sure we get the two points every night."
Wolski later solved Luongo in the shootout, but Burrows offset the goal by scoring on a backhand deke.
"Luongo played an amazing game," Wolski said. "But Peter stepped up … they had so many good scoring chances in front of the net and he just seemed to keep us in it, especially on the penalty kill."
With files from the Canadian Press