A sequel in the making?
Roberto Luongo extends his exceptional shutout streak to three games with a 2-0 win over Minnesota
Sometimes words just can't do justice.|
No matter how the words are strung together throughout this story, there's no chance of relaying just how incredible Roberto Luongo played Saturday night in a 2-0 win over the Minnesota Wild.
Luongo was here and there, he was everywhere, glove saves, blocker saves, pad saves galore, he refused to allow anything get past him and because of it Louie is now riding a three game consecutive shutout streak.
"I think this was his best performance yet, he kept us in it and he's the main reason we won the game," acknowledged Ryan Kesler of Luongo's 43rd career shutout.
In a carbon copy of Thursday's 1-0 win over Phoenix that saw Vancouver score in the opening period before buckling down defensively en route to a gritty win, the Canucks followed the same script to subdue the Wild on this night.
A power play goal put the Canucks on the board with 6:24 to play in the first period. After some nice puck movement, Sami Salo teed up a laser from the Wild blueline.
With Steve Bernier providing a big screen, the puck travelled at the speed of light off Salo's stick, easily eluding Niklas Backstrom blocker-side.
That was once again all the offence Luongo would need and from the moment Salo's arms rose to the roof in celebration, all eyes shifted to the all-star netminder.
Staying awake was his toughest challenge throughout parts of the opening period, the Wild threw a mere seven shots at Luongo, he was sharp on them all.
The second was a bit of a different story, Minnesota realized that Luongo was completely and utterly in the zone so just getting pucks on net, from anywhere, was their main goal.
They tested Luongo 12 times in the period, and really made him earn his paycheck in the last five minutes. Save after save after save, Luongo barely batted an eye and almost seemed to be enjoying the pressure.
"They were throwing everything at the net and a couple of times it was a desperation play and luckily the guy wasn't able to get it up and I was able to get a pad on it," Luongo said of his play in the middle frame.
The onslaught continued in the third as Minnesota outshot Vancouver 10-5, yet Louie, proving that he might actually be impenetrable, didn't even give the Wild a glimmer of hope.
No rebounds, no loose pucks, no chance for the visitors on this night. Sound familiar Nashville and Phoenix?
"I think it makes everybody's job a little bit easier, he's definitely found his groove and he's playing with a lot of confidence," said coach Alain Vigneault.
"The guys in front of him are also doing a lot of good things out there, helping out, blocking shots, blocking lanes when they need to, obviously it's a combination of a few things that he's on a roll right now."
Roberto's roll has now stretched to 201:08 and counting, his new streak will remain intact for at least another three days as Vancouver doesn't hit the ice again until hosting Colorado on Wednesday.
"Roberto, he's so solid, he's made some real big saves these last few games and he's kept us in there when we've needed to be kept in the game," said Darcy Hordichuk, who dropped the gloves on home ice for the first time when he tangoed with Derek Boogaard.
All shutouts are sweet, no arguing that, but the fact that this 29 save performance came against the Wild defintely brings a little smile to Luongo's face. After all, when Louie was riding a Canucks franchise record shutout streak of 210:34 last season, it was Minnesota that burst his bubble.
Of course you won't hear any bragging from Captain Luongo, as always he just wants the win.
"It's nice to have, but we played a big game tonight, I think it was an important game for us," said Luongo. "We needed two points badly, no matter how we got it and we were able to get two points, so it's just a little added bonus."
Vancouver has now won three straight games for the first time this season and are 3-1-0 on their current six-game homestand. The Canucks are playing with a lot of confidence and they're heading north in the standings because of it.
"We're confident, we've gotten the lead every game and we're a confident group that we know we can protect that lead, still trying to go after them and not sitting back on our heels," said Luongo.
The Canucks haven't been sitting back late in games, they've been going for the jugular and tonight Daniel Sedin hit it with his fifth goal of the season late in the third period.
It's impressive Vancouver was able to seal this game late, but even more so that the Canucks wanted to leave their own zone with the Roberto Luongo show as jaw-dropping as it was.
Nobody would have faulted them for wanting to catch a bit of the action.
0 – Fans that weren't in awe of Roberto Luongo's play against Minnesota
3 – Straight shutouts for Luongo
29 – Saves by Luongo against Minnesota
43 – Career shutouts for Roberto Luongo
201:08 – The length of Luongo's current shutout streak
210:34 – Luongo's franchise record shutout streak from a year ago
Goals either come in abundance for the Canucks, or they barely come at all.
At the end of the game it doesn't matter how many are on the board as long as Vancouver wins, but the Canucks once again couldn't finish when they had the chance against the Wild.
This could have easily been a 4-0 win, Backstrom ensured Minnesota was in it until the end.
The last two games Roberto Luongo has clearly been the story, yet the defence deserves some props as well. Not only are they helping Louie in every which way possible, they're also scoring. Kevin Bieksa had the game-winner against Phoenix, Sami Salo was the hero against Minnesota.
You couldn't ask for anything more from this unit right now.
The Canucks weren't great on the power play once again going 1-for-5. They were working the puck around nicely though and could have had another two or three goals with better finish in close.
The Wild buzzed on all three of their power play chances, the Canucks managed to keep the door shut thanks to 14 blocked shots and of course, Captain Luongo.