Wild cool off Luongo, Canucks
Goaltender Roberto Luongo had one streak end and another continue Sunday night in Minnesota.
Both combined tosinkthe Vancouver Canucks.
The Wild snapped Luongo's shutout streak in the first period en route to a 2-1 victory over the Canucks in St. Paul, Minn.
Winger Aaron Voros netted the winning goal in the second period and goaltender Niklas Backstrom made19 saves, leading the Wild to their fourth straight win.
Centre Eric Belanger ended Luongo's shutout stretch at 210 minutes and 34 seconds, while Mike Brown scored Vancouver's lone goal.
"We played 40 minutes very sloppy, and the third I don't think we came up to a normal standard," said Vancouver defenceman Mattias Ohlund. "If we play on our heels and[don't] work the way we can and have, we're not going to create enough to score goals."
Aided by three consecutive shutouts, Luongo came into the game breaking Vancouver's franchise record of 184:20 without allowing a goal. That record wasset by Ken Lockett in April 1975.
But the Wild not only ended that streak, they extended Luongo's career winless record — 0-5-1 with a tie — against Minnesota.
Despite the loss, Luongo was the only reason Vancouver was able to keep the game close as he made 28 saves.
"To put all the pressure on him is something we can't do," said Canucks centre Ryan Kesler. "He's probably the best goaltender in the league, and that's something we can't take advantage of because it's going to bite us in the [rear] someday."
The victory allowed Minnesota (15-9-2) to move past the Canucks (14-10-2) atop the Northwest Division.
The Wild also cooled off Vancouver, which was a sizzling 9-2-2 in the month of November.
"Without Roberto in net it probably would have been over after 20 minutes," said Ohlund.
Vancouver's parade to the penalty box cost Luongo the shutout streak at 16:38 of the first period.
Belanger redirected a point shot from Sean Hill that Luongo had no chance on to give Minnesota a 1-0 lead.
The Canucks got even 5:37 into the second period on Brown's first career NHL goal.
The winger skated in front of Backstrom and deflected a low drive by defenceman Lukas Krajicek under the Minnesota goaltender.
The Wild regained their one-goal edge after forcing a turnover deep in Vancouver's end with 3:15 remaining in the second. Voros lifted a bad angle shot to the right of the Vancouver net that eluded Luongo.
"I haven't seemed to be having a very good grip on the pucks the past two games. It just seems to bounce off my stick down low," Voros said. "I kind of lost it down in the corner. Then Gabby came, picked it up, and I just tried to get it upstairs with the guy holding my back. I was fortunate for it to go in."
A lack of discipline played a key role in the loss for the Canucks, who were sent to the box 13 times.
"We gave them seven power plays tonight, and three of the penalties were things that you just can't do if you want to win games," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said. "They got momentum off their power play and the two power plays we had, I don't think we generated a shot."
The game featuredOhlund's first game against the Wild since he was suspended for four games last month for a slash on Minnesota forward Mikko Koviu.
Predictably, some Wild players tried to take liberties with Ohlund in the first period, but the Swedish native stood his ground.
With files from Associated Press