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The Goods: Milestone Luongo

Thursday, 05.01.2012 / 1:30 AM / Features
By Derek Jory
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The Goods: Milestone Luongo
VANCOUVER CANUCKS
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Scoring summary
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VAN
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MINNESOTA WILD
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Roberto Luongo ensured his 700th NHL game was a memorable one.

Luongo stopped all 28 shots Minnesota fired his way to record his second shutout of the season, and the 57th of this career, in a 3-0 Vancouver Canucks win over the Wild Wednesday night at Rogers Arena.

Daniel Sedin and Alex Burrows put the Canucks up 2-0 by the midway point of the first period and that’s all the offence Vancouver needed in blanking the Wild for a second consecutive home game and beating them a 10th straight time in Vancouver.

Manny Malhotra added an empty netter late, right about the time fans were getting antsy about the Wild breaking Luongo’s shutout bid. The goal, although unneeded, gave the home crowd something to cheer about after what had been a dry final 40 minutes.

The important thing is the win and that it vaults the Canucks to first overall in the National Hockey League at the midway point of the season for Vancouver.

“We just want to keep winning games,” said Luongo, after game 41 of the season. “Obviously it’s still early in the season, we’ve got a lot of hockey left to be played, but we just want to keep improving every day and winning games and accumulating points and obviously try to get home ice advantage for the playoffs.”

The post-season is 41 games away and if Vancouver continues its superb play of late, a top billing in the Western Conference will certainly be in the cards.

Luongo playing as he did on this night will go a long way in helping that.

In his 28th start of the season, Luongo stopped 11, 10 and seven shots in each period; he saw the puck well, controlled rebounds and was again flashy with the glove.

He wouldn’t go as far as saying it was his best game of the season, but it definitely wasn’t far off.

“The win is what matters here, we’re fighting with these guys for first place and I thought we had a really good effort as a team and a really big two points here in the standings.”

Luongo brushed off his milestone 700th start, other than saying he feels old thinking about that many career games.

While it’s an impressive feat, the 32-year-old is 456 games behind Martin Brodeur for first all-time. Luongo sits 23rd on the all-time games play list among goaltenders.

The 701st start of Luongo’s career could come this Saturday in a Stanley Cup Final rematch with the Boston Bruins, but he wasn’t tipping his hat as to if he’s starting or not.

“We’re going to enjoy tonight’s game, the win, and we’ll focus on Boston tomorrow.”

HONEY BADGER

It would make more sense to refer to Jannik Hansen as Mighty Bull or Redhawk or even Hornet, but Honey Badger seems to be here to stay.

For good reason.

Although Hansen began his professional hockey career with the Rødovre Mighty Bulls and the Malmö Redhawks, and the Herlev Hornets were his hometown team growing up, bulls, redhawks and hornets simply don’t stack up to the honey badger, nature’s most fearless creature.

Now more than ever, the honey badger nickname makes a lot of sense for Hansen, who is having a breakout season with the Vancouver Canucks. Tenacious sums up both honey badgers, the player and the animal; thriving because of their thick skin and ferocious defensive abilities is simply what they do best.

Read more...

KNauts shines bright

Kevin Connauton, all-star.

Not only does that have a great ring to it, it’s now also true.

The Chicago Wolves defenceman has been selected to the Western Conference Team for the 2012 American Hockey League All-Star Classic, going down on January 29-30 at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

The 21-year-old Canucks prospect leads all AHL defencemen in goals with nine, which ranks third overall on the Wolves, and he’s tied for 12th among defencemen in points with 18 in 32 games.

Connauton’s nine goals are two shy of matching his 11 scores, a high for Manitoba defencemen, in 73 games as a rookie with the Moose last year, while his 18 points are five away from matching his 23-point total, which had him third in the AHL in defensive scoring.

RULES OF THE PRESS BOX
If you were given a press pass, wear it. It helps other identify you, or in my case, covers up the hollandaise sauce on my tie.
Tweet of the night - “Stevie Y in the house? I'm hearing Luongo for Lecavalier going down in the 1st intermission.
Predicting 3-2 #Canucks win, Vinny with the GWG " -@jordanclarke_, with funny truth and lies.
Dixon, meet Hodgson - With no points against Minnesota, Cody Hodgson had his home point streak halted at six games.
Still, it was the longest point streak in home games by a Canucks rookie since Dixon Ward in 1992.
Spreading the love - Daniel Sedin has been in on eight of the 11 Vancouver goals scored
against Minnesota this season. That's two goals and six assists, for those counting.
Hansen, t-shirt slinger - The Man in Motion needs no introduction, he's an inspiration. He dropped the puck pre-game. Then he
helped Fin shoot t-shirts into the crowd during the 2nd intermission. He can truly do anything.