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Luongo get elusive shutout as Canucks blank Oilers

The SportsXchange

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo conquered his recent habit of allowing late goals Friday night.

Luongo made 19 saves for the 65th shutout of his NHL career as the Canucks blanked the Edmonton Oilers 4-0 on Friday night.

The goose egg moved him within one of tying Patrick Roy for 14th place on the NHL's all-time list. Luongo now has three shutouts this season along with a 15-8-5 record.

"I felt pretty good," said Luongo. "A (onesided) game like that, it's not the type of game I love to play, but I was seeing the puck well."

He helped the Canucks (19-10-5) post their sixth straight win, while the Oilers (11-20-3), appearing tired and listless throughout, lost for the second time in two nights. Vancouver moved into sole possession of sixth place in the ultra-competitive Western Conference, only three points away from second and five out of first.

For the fourth consecutive home game, the Canucks entered the third period looking for a shutout as they held a precarious 1-0 lead. Eddie Lack managed to get one in the previous game on Monday, but Luongo was denied in his two previous chances.

To add to the frustration, Luongo allowed a goal Sunday against Colorado with only 7.1 seconds left. But there was much less tension this time as the Canucks finished with a flourish.

Edmonton goaltender Devan Dubnyk was credited with 37 saves in the loss as the Canucks outshot the Oilers 40-19. Vancouver scored on one of two power plays, while Edmonton was denied on one.

Canucks left winger Daniel Sedin scored his first goal in six games while right winger Zack Kassian, left winger Chris Higgins and right winger Dale Weise also scored for the Canucks. Defenseman Jason Garrison provided three assists.

"I thought all four lines contributed," said Canucks coach John Tortorella. "So that's good. Hopefully, guys gain some confidence and we'll try to put them in some situations as we go through (the season.)"

Kassian, who scored after being criticized by Tortorella for his inconsistent play lately, said the Canucks succeeded in their plan to play well from the defensive zone out. Vancouver players were also keen to get Luongo a shutout after they had failed to do so in the other recent outings.

"We wanted a good shutout for Louie," said Kassian. "We blew a couple shutouts for Louie, and you never want that as a goalie. We wanted to finish the game (well)."

The Canucks outshot the Oilers 14-4 in the first period, but could not beat Dubnyk.

Sedin provided the only goal the Canucks needed as he opened the scoring at 8:40 of the second period. He snapped in a shot from the point during a four-on-three power play.

Edmonton left winger David Perron said the Oilers failed to generate much offensively because they spent the majority of their shifts defending.

"I'd like to have a couple shots back that I got on him," said Perron. "But when you have a shutout like that, I think he's on his way to being a good player going forward. The (Vancouver goaltending) is situation is cleared up for him (following Cory Schneider's trade to New Jersey in the offseason.) I think he's on top of his game right now, but we have to find a way to beat him."

Perron praised Dubnyk for keeping them in the game. The Oilers did not register a shot on Luongo until the game was just under seven minutes old.

Dallas coach Dallas Easkins indicated his club was tired following a home loss to Boston the night before.

"We just couldn't ever get going," said Eakins. "It seemed every time we got the puck that they had already closed on us, and we just couldn't even get out of our zone most of the night."

The six-game win streak bodes well for the Canucks as they get ready to host the Bruins for the first time since losing the seventh game of the 2010-11 Stanley Cup finals at Rogers Arena.

If Eakins' assessment of Vancouver is any indication, the Canucks will be ready.

"That's as good as I've seen the Canucks play in a while," he said.

NOTES: Canucks D Alex Edler missed his fourth straight game with an undisclosed injury, while LW Tom Sestito sat out his second for the same reason. ... Edmonton C Boyd Gordon returned after being sidelined seven games with a shoulder injury. But G Ilya Bryzgalov remained out, for the sixth straight game, with a concussion. ... RW Dale Weise, usually a third or fourth-liner, also saw some action with the Sedins. ... Hockey Night in Canada aired the game on a rare Friday night telecast, resulting in a start one hour earlier than usual. ... Boston coach Claude Julien scouted the game. The Canucks host the Bruins on Saturday. It will be the first meeting between the teams in Vancouver since the seventh game of the 2010-11 Stanley Cup finals.
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