Game 51: Easing by Edmonton
On Tuesday night, that job fell to Roberto Luongo.
The Canucks' netminder, playing in just his second game since missing six games with an ankle injury, looked as sharp as ever turning aside 28 of 29 shots to help lift the Canucks to a 2-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers at Rexall Place.
Kellan Lain and Zack Kassian provided the offence for the Canucks, who recorded consecutive victories for the first time in 2014 and the first time since their three-game win streak from December 20 to 29.
Jordan Eberle had the lone goal for the Oilers, who have lost all three head-to-head meetings against the Canucks so far this season.
Tuesday night might not have been the busiest night of the season for Luongo but there was no doubt he had to work for his win.
He was particularly solid in the second period when Edmonton tested him 11 times with his best stop arguably coming late in the period on an Oilers power play when he moved from post-to-post to make a blocker save off Eberle, who had taken a nice cross-ice pass from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and looked to have a wide empty net to shoot at from the left faceoff circle.
Vancouver opened the scoring just past the five-minute mark of the opening period when Lain managed to bang in the rebound from a Dale Weise shot past Oilers' starter Ben Scrivens for his first career NHL goal on his first career shot.
The Canucks would double their lead at 7:59 of the second period with Kassian taking a pretty feed from Ryan Kesler and wiring a high, blocker side wrist shot from the slot past Scrivens for his 10th of the season.
Eberle would break Luongo's shutout bid with five minutes left in regulation.
Scrivens made 25 saves on 27 shots in the loss.
The Canucks begin a four-game home stand on Thursday when they host the Nashville Predators.
NOTES AND NUMBERS: Daniel Sedin moved to within two points of recording his 800th career point with his assist on Kassian's game-winning goal... Ryan Kesler was the Canucks' busiest faceoff man but also their least effective winning just seven of 24 draws (29 percent)... Dan Hamhuis logged a game-high 26:59 while Kesler led all forwards with 26:14 of ice-time... Canucks' captain Henrik Sedin's ironman streak officially ended at 679 games as he sat out Tuesday's contest due to injury... The Canucks and Oilers combined for a mere 26 penalty minutes, 13 for each team.
FIRST TIMERS CLUB: Kellan Lain became the third Canuck this season to record his first career NHL goal joining Ryan Stanton (October 17 at Buffalo) and Jeremy Welsh (November 22 vs. Columbus). Of the three first-timers, Lain is the only one to do so with the team he broke into the NHL with.
NEW FOR A NEWFIE: The absence of Torts meant that Canucks' video coach Darryl Williams got the call to join fellow assistant coaches Mike Sullivan and Glen Gulutzan behind the Canucks bench. In the process, he became the first-ever Newfoundlander to be behind the bench for an NHL game. Williams, a native of Labrador City, is one of 28 players from Newfoundland to ever play a game in the NHL (he had a two-game stint with the Los Angeles Kings back in 1992.93). When he was hired back in 2008 to be the Assistant Coach, Video for the Canucks, he became the first Newfie to be named to an NHL coaching staff. Thanks to Canucks TV Host Joey Kenward for digging up this tidbit!