Canucks' Luongo blanks Wild for 3rd straight shutout
Roberto Luongo shines in the month of November — at least during the last two NHL seasons.
Luongo made 29 saves to earn his third consecutive shutout and lead the Vancouver Canucks to a 2-0 victory against the Minnesota Wild Saturday night at General Motors Place.
The Vancouver goaltender, who blanked Nashville and Phoenix in his two previous games, leads the NHL with five shutouts.
Luongo was equally brilliant at roughly the same stage last season, recording four shutouts last November, including three straight.
The Quebec native has now gone 201 minutes eight seconds without allowing a goal.
The last time Vancouver fans witnessed their goaltender surrender a marker was last Sunday to Detroit's Henrik Zetterberg with 1:08 remaining in the second.
Sami Salo and Daniel Sedin provided all the offence Vancouver would need. The Canucks (9-6-0) win their third in a row and take over the lead in the Northwest Division.
"We're building on some good team play right now and obviously we had a big game for first place in our division," Luongo told Hockey Night In Canada. "That was the importance tonight and we had to make sure we were aware of that and came out and had a solid game.
Luongo, who has amassed 43 career shutouts in his career, is already on pace to surpass Dan Cloutier's franchise record of seven in one season.
Goaltender Nicklas Backstrom made 27 saves for Minnesota (8-4-1), which dropped its second game in the last four contests. Undaunted facing the best penalty-killing unit in the NHL, the Canucks got on the board first with a power-play goal at 13:36 of the opening period.
Salo scored his first goal of the season when his low point blast beat Backstrom to the blocker side.
Luongo took over from there, making 12 saves in the second, including two key stops to keep his shutout string intact.
The Vancouver netminder denied Wild forward Andrew Brunette on a breakaway, and robbed Pierre-Marc Bouchard with a leg pad save, taking away an apparent empty-net shot with seven minutes remaining in the period.
"He did a couple of moves and I think he lost the puck, so I kind of lost it, too, and it ended up in my pads somewhere," Luongo said of Brunette's breakaway. "I got a bit lucky on that play."
The Canucks received a minor scare when Luongo appeared shaken following a collision with Wild centre Colton Gillies in the second, but the veteran remained in the game.
After withstanding heavy pressure by Minnesota, Daniel Sedin gave Vancouver some breathing room with 2:40 left in the third. Twin brother Henrik rifled a long pass to a streaking Daniel, who buried a shot over a sprawling Backstrom.
Luongo will get a chance to better the franchise-record shutout streak of 212:12 he set last season when the Canucks host Colorado on Wednesday night.
"I wish we played in a couple of days, not [have to wait] until Wednesday," said Luongo. "As long as we get the two points [for a win] that's what matters. We're confident we can win games, all types of games this season."