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Pre-season Game 2 - "Working like an animal"

Thursday, 19.09.2013 / 12:54 AM / Features
By Derek Jory
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Pre-season Game 2 - \"Working like an animal\"
Roberto Luongo’s early season struggles, particularly in October, have been well documented over the years.

He’s going about it a little differently this season and shaking off the rust in September, during the pre-season.

Luongo was beat four times on his first 12 shots faced, including three goals against on 10 shots in the opening 7:38, as the Edmonton Oilers rolled past the Vancouver Canucks 4-1 Wednesday night at Rogers Arena.

I know what you’re thinking, but relax, it’s pre-season.

It was the second pre-season game for the Canucks and while Luongo wasn’t at his best, neither was the team around him.

The Canucks were outshot 14-8 in the first period and trailed 4-1 after 20 minutes; Vancouver responded with an inspired second period outplaying Edmonton and peppering Devan Dubnyk with 10 shots to four against on Luongo (all saves), but an uninspired third period dropped the Canucks to 0-2-0 in pre-season play.

Luongo was scheduled to play 40 minutes and he finished with 14 saves before Joacim Eriksson manned the pipes for the final period.

As usual, Luongo was his own toughest critic post-game.

”Obviously I’m not very pleased with the way things went, the good news is it’s all little details of the game that can be easily fixed,” said Luongo. “I’ve just got to keep working like an animal out there and keep improving every day.”

A number of Canucks regulars, namely Daniel and Henrik Sedin, Kevin Bieksa, Jason Garrison, Zack Kassian, Jannik Hansen and Chris Tanev suited up Wednesday, the rest of Vancouver’s roster was made up of roster hopefuls like Hunter Shinkaruk, Bo Horvat, Nicklas Jensen and the lone Canucks goal scorer Brendan Gaunce.

In the first period it didn’t seem to matter who was on the ice, veteran or rookie, for Vancouver as the Canucks were a step behind and smidge discombobulated early on.

“I felt the like in the first 10-15 minutes, guys weren’t too sure what to do out there and as the game went along, I felt we got better as a team,” assessed Luongo. “I think everybody is just trying to work out the kinks right now as a team and as individuals.

“These games obviously don’t count, but you want to learn from them and improve.”

Ryan Kesler played big minutes in Vancouver’s first pre-season game and on this night it was the blueliners logging a lot of ice time. Injuries to Patrick Mullen and John Negrin left the Canucks with just four defencemen with Garrison (33:03) and Bieksa (31:04) picking up the slack.

The Canucks have Thursday off before practicing early Friday in advance of the Jake Milford Golf Tournament.

Vancouver’s next game is Saturday night in Edmonton.