Sedin scored the only shootout goal in the fourth round to complete Vancouver’s first third-period comeback of the season and end a seven-game winless skid as the Canucks beat the St. Louis Blues 3-2 on Wednesday night.
Luongo, mired in a 1-4-1 slump, got a break when rookie David Perron hit the post in the third round of the shootout, then made a glove save off Keith Tkachuk to preserve the win after Sedin scored on a nifty deke.
“For (Luongo) and the team, two points going into the break is a good feeling,” Sedin said after faking to his backhand to get Manny Legace moving left, then tucking it back all the way around the Blues’ goalie on the other side.
“I was going to go upstairs, pull it back and go upstairs, but I kind of lost the puck so I had to wait him out, but it was nice to see it go in.”
Mattias Ohlund tied it with his second power-play goal of the game 1:46 into the third period, helping the Canucks overcame a deficit after two periods for the first time all season. Vancouver was 0-17-1 when trailing after 40 minutes.
For a while it looked like the drought would continue as the Canucks created good chances only to be denied by a sharp Legace—and twice by the goal posts.
“You can’t start thinking about those things,” said Sedin, who hit the post once. “You have to keep working hard and hopefully you get a bounce sometimes.”
Brad Boyes and D.J. King scored for the Blues, who failed to hold a third-period lead in regulation for just the second time all season—they were 14-0-1—and extended their winless streak to six games.
“Don’t talk about six in a row. Our kids just worked their tails off. Don’t give me that question,” Blues coach Andy Murray said. “You don’t insult guys that work their tails off. We’re not concerned about five or six in a row, we’re concerned about playing hard every night and doing what we can to get wins.”
An apparent power-play goal by Tkachuk with 2 1/2 minutes left was waved off after he got past defenseman Aaron Miller and snapped a shot that ended up in the net—but only after Tkachuk made contact with the goaltender.
“He thought Luongo had it and caught it and then afterwards he got hit and that’s when it went into the goal, but the puck never stopped,” said Murray, adding the Blues were victimized by a similar call in Nashville on Monday.
Referee Kelly Sutherland waved off Wednesday’s goal immediately, but replays showed Luongo never really had control of the puck. Luongo then made a big save with his left arm off Tkachuk on the tail end of a 5-on-3 a minute later.
“I can’t stop, especially when I get tripped by Miller,” said Tkachuk, who was also stopped in the final shootout round. “He never had possession of it and I wish I could stop in mid-air after I got tripped but there’s nothing I can do.”
Legace made 28 saves through the end of overtime for the Blues, whose only other point in the last six games also came in a shootout loss to Vancouver 10 days earlier.That was also the Canucks only win in their previous eight games, which led to some rare criticism of their star goaltender by coach Alain Vigneault, who said his team needed better from Luongo to have a chance to win every night.
Luongo came into the game top-5 in the NHL in goals-against average (2.11), save-percentage (92.5) and shutouts (six), but was 1-4-1 with a 2.96 GAA his last six starts. It appeared he was headed for more tough talk after a sharp-angle backhand by King slipped between his legs from 13 feet. But Luongo made a couple of highlight-reel saves in the third period among his 26 saves to beat the Blues.
“It was huge. My break’s going to be a little more pleasant now,” said Luongo, who was voted an All-Star starter by fans, but withdrew to spend time with his pregnant wife at their Florida home. “When you get in a bit of a losing streak you don’t have as much fun coming to the rink.”
Ohlund picked the corner on Legace on a power play to tie it with 1:39 left in the first period, but Boyes restored the lead on a Blues power play just 1:16 into the second. With Luongo still sliding to his right after a cross-ice pass, Boyes snapped his team-leading and career-high 28th goal past Luongo low on the left side. It was Boyes’ seventh goal in his last seven games.
Ohlund tied it again after pinching from the point and Luongo kept it tied with a point-blank pad save to take an empty net away from Boyes with 8 minutes left.
“It was one of those things where you make a save, make a couple of saves and all of a sudden you feel like you’re in a groove,” Luongo said.
Legace was also good—and also lucky—for the Blues. The impending All-Star—he was one of three goalies selected by the NHL after Luongo withdrew — made his best stop on Matt Cooke’s short-handed breakaway, and also got some help from his posts on shots by Mason Raymond and Sedin.
“If it wasn’t for Roberto, we would have won in the third period,” Legace said. “He made some unbelievable saves coming down the stretch there. We played a solid 60 minutes and we just didn’t get our goal—not that counted anyway.” ^Notes: Blues D Erik Johnson, who was picked first overall at the 2006 NHL Draft held in Vancouver, was a healthy scratch after going minus-5 his last two games. … The Canucks, already without defensemen Willie Mitchell (back spasms) and Kevin Bieksa (lacerated calf), lost blueliner Lukas Krajicek to a shoulder injury midway through the first period after a heavy hit into the boards by Tkachuk. … Luongo will also miss the Canucks’ first home game against Dallas after the All-Star break after being given permission by the team to stay with his wife and rejoin the team when they start a road trip in Tampa Bay and Florida.