Canucks beat Pens, lose Luongo to injury
The Vancouver Canucks defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-1 on Saturday afternoon, overcoming an injury to star goaltender Roberto Luongo.
Luongo departed less than five minutes into the game with a groin injury.
The injury came a few seconds after Luongo reacted to a deflection that went wide. The netminder was helped off the ice, not putting any pressure on his left leg.
"We're not exactly sure the severity of it," said Canucks coach Alain Vigneault after the game, adding that Luongo would be evaluated Sunday after making the trip with the team back to Vancouver on Saturday night.
Later Saturday, the Canucks recalled goaltender Cory Schneider from the Manitoba Moose of the American Hockey League.
Curtis Sanford, who started the team's last game, came on in relief and finished with 17 saves.
"You hate to see your teammate down on the ice like that, he's the biggest part of our team," Sanford said. "But we're going to have to move past that and we're going to have to play some games without him in there."
Vancouver (13-6-2) finished up a four-game trip. The club has points in its last nine games (7-0-2).
"It was our fourth game in five and a half nights," Vigneault said. "We have gone across North America and back, and we played a good, solid road game."
Pavol Demitra scored his second of the game into an empty net to seal the result, while Daniel Sedin had a goal and two assists.
Henrik Sedin registered three assists as Vancouver's top line outshone Penguin stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Both players were held off the scoresheet.
"It's a great feeling playing with guys like [the Sedins]," Demitra said. "As a team, we didn't really give [the Penguins] anything, not even on their power play. Our [penalty] killers were playing great."
Mike Zigomanis replied for Pittsburgh (12-5-3), which had not lost in regulation in over three weeks.
Dany Sabourin made 16 saves, losing for just the second time this season. In his previous loss, his teammates were shut out by NHL-best San Jose.
No. 1 goalie Marc-Andre Fleury missed his third consecutive game for the Penguins owing to an undisclosed injury.
Tempers flared at the beginning and end of the game.
Former Canuck Matt Cooke low-bridged Alex Edler with a hit soon after the opening whistle. Jannik Hansen was among the Vancouver players taking umbrage, and gloves were dropped.
Cooke and Hansen were tossed from the game, with the Canucks ending up short-handed as a result. Luongo's only save of the game was a big one — off Kris Letang — and seconds later he was fortunate when Petr Sykora hit the post.
Demitra gave Vancouver the lead late in the first, converting a rebound off Henrik Sedin's shot. Demitra has three goals and four assists in four games since returning from an absence of nearly a month with a rib injury.
Shortly after a faceoff early in the second, Daniel Sedin drove to the net hard and picked up his own rebound at the side of the crease.
Pittsburgh began buzzing around the net late in the period but couldn't convert, with Crosby crashing into Sanford on one play.
The Penguins did score 22 seconds into the final frame. Zigomanis took a pass down low from Tyler Kennedy, and his shot squeezed through the Canucks goalie.
Luongo was having record season
Pittsburgh had few great chances to tie the game. Malkin fired a shot over the top of the net midway through the frame, with Jordan Staal shooting right at Sanford in the final minute.
Mattias Ohlund delivered a crunching hit just seconds before Demitra's second goal, with both actions greatly displeasing the Penguins.
The Canucks return to action with a home game on Monday against Detroit.
Luongo has five shutouts in 18 games this season, just two shy of the franchise record. He strung together of shutout streak of more than 246 minutes that ended last week, but not before establishing a new team record.
With files from Associated Press