VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) -Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider combined to make 21 saves and the Vancouver Canucks beat the Calgary Flames 4-0 in a preseason game on Wednesday night.
First-round pick Michael Grabner scored a goal and added an assist in his first game of the exhibition season. Alexander Edler, Jason Jaffray and Ryan Shannon did the rest of the damage for Vancouver.
“We spent a lot of time in their zone, didn’t give up much defensively, and overall I think we did really good,” said Grabner, who scored the Canucks’ third goal, 7:34 into the third period tipping a Lukas Krajicek shot over Curtis McElhinney on the power play.
“The coaches told us to stay in front of the net, that’s what I tried to do, screen the goalie and the puck went off my stick and went in. It’s a lucky goal, but I’ll take it.”
Luongo stopped 14 shots in his first NHL action of the season before handing the shutout off to Schneider. The rookie keeper was perfect facing seven pucks and four power plays in his professional debut.
“Yeah, it was a little nerve racking, but the penalty killers were doing a really great job there clearing rebounds, blocking shots,” said Schneider. “So that made it easier.”
Schneider went long stretches without any action at all as the Canucks dominated a Flames side missing Jarome Iginla and Kristian Huselius.
“You just try to stay focused and stay sharp,” he said. “You can’t just sit there and doze off while the game’s going on. You have to sit there, be alert, and be as much into the game as you can.”
Despite the 4-0 victory, head coach Alain Vigneault saw the plenty of warts on the today Wednesday night.
“It was a training camp game. There were moments of hard work, but they maybe they weren’t going to the right area. Overall the guys were working hard. There were some good moments for us to evaluate where our players are during this game.”
Edler opened the scoring with 1:05 left in the second period with a slapshot under Mikka Kiprusoff. Jaffray made it 2-0 1:36 into the third. Grabner added a power-play goal 6 minutes later, while Shannon scored with 21 seconds left for the Canucks (1-0-1).
Kiprusoff stopped 14 of 15 shots before McElhinney took over for the Flames (0-2-1) to start the third period.
Nathan McIver earned nine minutes in penalties for three skirmishes in a scrappy contest that saw Eric Godard takes a late run at Matt Cooke in the first. Slight Slovak winger Juraj Simek got into the action dropping the gloves with the Flames Brett Palin after throwing three big hits in the final frame.
“It’s not really my game at all,” said Simek, who admitted to earning just one fighting major in his entire hockey career.
“It was just that kind of game and I had to do it,” he said. The Canucks now face the Edmonton Oilers the third game of the preseason Thursday night.
“He didn’t get a lot of work, but he came in when we were killing a penalty 5 on 4 and then 5 on 3. He had a couple saves to make, and he made it. It’s not easy coming in a game when its 0-0, but I thought he did a good job when he needed to make those saves.” – Vigneault on the play of Schneider
“This is the first time I’ve noticed him since camp. It’s the Grabner we saw last year, that during camp, we said this young man has a lot of up side. This is the first time we’ve seen him: this is what he showed last year, so he had good speed, he was going into those puck areas, and played a very good games.” – Vigenualt on Grabner who put up two points in his 2007-08 debut.
“I like so far what he’s done; we’re trying to see where he can fit in this group. Last game we tried him on the right side, point on the power play. Tonight we tried him in the middle, killing penalties. There’s definitely something there -- there’s a lot of upside. Where is all that is going to fit in? We still have six more games to figure that out.” – Vigneault on Shannon who now has a goal and an assist in his first two games.