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The Goods: Go with Luongo

Monday, 03.26.2012 / 10:30 PM PT / Features
By Derek Jory
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The Goods: Go with Luongo
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The Vancouver Canucks beat the Los Angeles Kings at their own game.

Manny Malhotra scored 3:05 into the first period and once in front, the Canucks clamped down defensively and road the goal, and stellar goaltending from Roberto Luongo, to a 1-0 win Monday night at Rogers Arena.

The Canucks, opening a five-game homestand, carried over the structured, consistent play they established as part of a four-game road trip last week and although the Kings’ recipe for success is low scoring victories (Los Angeles has won nine games when scoring two goals or less), it’s also the game Vancouver is hoping to reestablish.

Based on this performance, the Canucks aren’t far off.

“We were pretty happy with our effort, even in the game in Chicago that we didn’t win, we were happy with the way
things turned out and we were happy with the way we were playing,” said Kevin Bieksa, looking back at the end of his team’s recent road trip.

“Tonight that carried over from the road, we had all four lines contributing, a big goal by Manny, and then after that we just played patient, we took what they gave us and I don’t think we gave them a whole lot offensively. Like I said, we’re fine with those kinds of wins.”

There was push for more goals from the Canucks, yet they didn’t roll the dice and give up chances the other way. Luongo stood on his head making 38 saves for his fourth
shutout of the season, and a lot were beauties, but overall the home team kept the visitors at bay.

The above statement is true for 59 minutes and 30 seconds. Over the final 30 seconds, it was mayhem for Luongo, who stopped upwards of six shots, all from in tight with the Kings on the power play and showcasing an extra attacker in place of Jonathan Quick.

How close did the Kings come to scoring?

“Not close enough,” laughed Luongo.

“They were just trying to throw everything at the net and I had two or three guys in front whacking away and I was just trying to seal the bottom of the net and the boys were
doing a good job of making sure that they didn’t have time and space to raise it up.”

Luongo stopped all 17 shots faced in the third to back the Canucks to their third consecutive win and again pull them to within two points of the Western Conference leading St. Louis Blues.

Regardless of playoff placement, the Canucks look to be a dangerous team at both ends of the ice, even without sniper Daniel Sedin.

The Canucks forward missed his third consecutive game because of a concussion and in his absence Vancouver’s secondary scoring stepped up. Again.

Malhotra’s seventh goal of the season, set up by Maxim Lapierre and Alex Edler on Vancouver’s second shot of the game, continued a string of seven consecutive goals scored from players outside the top-five in team scoring.

Secondary scoring is always vital, but this time of year with teams pushing for the post-season, it’s a must.

“It’s always important every time you have different guys stepping up offensively and scoring some big goals it’s huge,” said Alex Burrows, who had one shot. “I thought Manny
had a great shot, even though Lappy said he was going five-hole, but I didn’t think so. That was a great shot by him.”

Henrik Sedin said all the third and fourth lines need to succeed is a chance. Now that Vancouver’s is back to winning tight games, they’re getting the minutes needed to produce.

“The last few weeks before this I think we felt pressure to win games 3-1 or 4-1 and that’s when we’re not giving our third and fourth lines a chance to win us games,” he said, adding the Canucks are a confident group in low-scoring battles.

“This is our game as well. It was last year and it’s been throughout parts of this season as well. I think we’re right back to where we want to be and we’re going to win more
games 3-0 or 4-0, but it can’t be because we’re sacrificing our defensive efforts.”

The Canucks welcome another playoff hungry team, the Colorado Avalanche, to town Wednesday night.

Don’t back your chair up and hit former Canucks enforcer Jack McIlhargey. The man didn’t have 1,102 PIM because he enjoys being hit.
Tweet of the Night - "you will never hear a bad thing from me regarding @canucksgame ever! He really is the best! ;)" - 
-@ann1130sports. Who says a Jonathan Toews bobblehead can't be traded for anything.
If you like goals... - …you’ve come to the wrong place. According to Mr. T, aka Jeff Paterson, this was the
25th time in 76 games the Kings have entered the 3rd period at 0-0, 1-0 or 1-1 this season.
100 - The Canucks hit the century mark Monday going 100 games without a regulation
loss when leading after two periods (95-0-5). Write that down.
Sign language - There’s a new sign on the popcorn machine in the press box at Rogers Arena: Please leave popcorn scoop
in the designated area. Thank you, management
. Is someone actually stealing the popcorn scoop?!?