Roberto Luongo stood tall and flopped beautifully on Sunday night to backstop the Vancouver Canucks to a 2-1 victory over the visiting Anaheim Ducks.
The win improved Vancouver's home record to 10-0-2 since a Nov. 1 loss to Nashville, and the club's mark when leading after two periods to 18-0.
Daniel Sedin in the first period and Matt Cooke in the middle frame built a two-goal lead goinginto the third when the defending Stanley Cup champion Ducks finally got their wings going. They outshot the Canucks 11-3 in the last 20 minutes and got a goal from Ryan Getzlaf to close the gap.
But Luongo pulled the game out, sometimes by keeping his pads square, and others by laying his six-foot, three-inch frame across the goal line and challenging the Ducks to shoot it over him.
"[Roberto] can only do so much, but he seemed to make the saves even with people on top of him," said Canucks' captain Markus Naslund. "And that's why he's the best."
The only one that got by him came with the clubs playing four-on-four, and that was a bit unlucky.
Scott Niedermayer raced into the right corner and backhanded one towards the goal that hit a Vancouver defender and deflected right to Getzlaf's stick. He converted it at 9:43 and gave his club more than 10 minutes to find the equalizer.
Luongo and a revitalized defence took away the chance.
Canucks nowtied for 2nd place
Sedin's opener came at 10:28 of the first period on a five-on-three, with assists to Henrik Sedin and Naslund.
Henrik made a good play to free Cooke for the second goal at 4:18 of the middle period.
"I didn't think the game overall was one of our better ones," said Naslund. "Especially in the third, we let them get the momentum."
Still, they'll take it, especially as it moves the Canucks into a second place tie in the Western Conference with the Dallas Stars.
Anaheim is two points up on Chicago for eighth.