for this game

Luongo guides Canucks closer to franchise wins record

Mar 22, 2007 - 6:28 AM
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Ticker) -- It is no coincidence the Vancouver Canucks are on the verge of setting the club record for victories in Roberto Luongo's initial season with the team.

Luongo made 20 saves and Jan Bulis and Tommi Santala scored goals as the Canucks climbed within one win of the tying the franchise mark with a 2-0 triumph over the Nashville Predators.

The victory was the 45th of the season for Vancouver (45-23-6), which climbed three points ahead of second-place Minnesota (43-24-7) in the Northwest Division and within two of idle Anaheim (43-18-12) for second in the Western Conference.

"We have to focus on our own game and not worry too much about what's happening around us," Canucks captain Markus Naslund said. "We know that Minny is playing well and they are pushing us. We want to win our division."

"Our main focus is to try to win our division," Luongo added. "Then if the other teams falter, we may be able to sneak up a bit. But we just have to keep winning."

Vancouver also is four points behind Nashville for first in the West.

"They've got an unbelievable record in the last 35 games," Predators center Peter Forsberg said. "There's a reason why they're doing so well - they work hard and they have a great goalie."

The Canucks are one triumph shy of matching the club record set in 1992-93, when they went 46-29-9.

Acquired in a blockbuster trade with Florida last summer, Luongo turned aside four shots in the first period, nine in the second and seven in the third to post his fourth shutout of the season and 31st career. It was his 43rd win of the campaign, moving him one ahead of New Jersey's Martin Brodeur for the league lead.

"It was a great effort by everyone tonight, I think in all aspects of the game," Luongo said. "In the third period, when we were up by two goals, we really didn't give up anything."

Bulis gave Luongo all the support he needed midway through the first period with his 12th goal of the season. Santala doubled the lead late in the session for Vancouver, which has won four straight games and improved to 8-0-1 in its last nine at home.

"It was another tight game," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said. "Instead of being a one-goal game, tonight it's a two-goal game, so it's a big offensive outing for us. But that's the way we play. We played hard, we played smart, we beat the best team in the league right now."

"We really had a good game plan tonight," Vancouver center Brendan Morrison added. "We didn't give them a lot of room, we back-checked hard."

Tomas Vokoun made 28 saves for the Predators (47-21-6), who fell one point behind the Buffalo Sabres (47-19-7) in the race for the Presidents' Trophy.

"We hate to look at the standings and other teams and what they're doing," Vokoun said. "It's more important for us how we play, and we didn't play good today, at least not for 60 minutes. That's a lot more important."

With just one tally in his previous 19 games, Bulis got the Canucks on the board at 10:58 of the opening session. The Czech unleashed a slap shot from just above the left faceoff circle that was misplayed by Vokoun, who watched the puck slide under his left pad and into the net.

"It's finally going in for me," Bulis said. "It was a tough start to the season, but I think it's turned around a little bit and coming my way."

Santala ended a 35-game drought with 2:03 remaining in the first, giving Vancouver a 2-0 bulge. Trevor Linden completed a pass from low in the left circle to Santala, who beat Vokoun with a wrist shot from the top of the slot for his first tally since November 16, 2003.

"Trevor gave me a couple good passes in the first, and the second one went in," Santala said. "I had a lot of chances to score, but I haven't scored, so I didn't doubt (that I would). I had chances and I'm happy that it went in."

Vancouver outshot Nashville, 17-4, in the opening period.

"We left (Vokoun) out to dry," Predators center Jason Arnott said. "They had something like 16 or 17 shots in the first period, and that's way too many, especially at the start of the game."








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NASHVILLE 0 0 0 0
    VANCOUVER 2 0 0 2 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: VAN - JAN BULIS 12 (MARKUS NASLUND, LUKAS KRAJICEK) 10:58
    VAN - TOMMI SANTALA 1 (TREVOR LINDEN) 17:57
    2ND PRD: NONE
    3RD PRD: NONE
    POWER-PLAY CONVERSIONS: NAS - 0 OF 4, VAN - 0 OF 7.
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD

    Mar 22 12:33 AM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NASHVILLE 0 0 0
    VANCOUVER 2 0 2 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: VAN - JAN BULIS 12 (MARKUS NASLUND, LUKAS KRAJICEK) 10:58
    VAN - TOMMI SANTALA 1 (TREVOR LINDEN) 17:57
    2ND PRD: NONE
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NAS 4 9 1

    Mar 21 11:38 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NASHVILLE 0 0
    VANCOUVER 2 2 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: VAN - JAN BULIS 12 (MARKUS NASLUND, LUKAS KRAJICEK) 10:58
    VAN - TOMMI SANTALA 1 (TREVOR LINDEN) 17:57
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NAS 4 4
    VAN 17

    Mar 21 10:45 PM


  • NHL
    NASHVILLE 0
    VANCOUVER 2
    1ST PRD: VAN - TOMMI SANTALA 1 (TREVOR LINDEN) 17:57

    Predators vs. CanucksMar 21 10:43 PM


  • NHL
    NASHVILLE 0
    VANCOUVER 1
    1ST PRD: VAN - JAN BULIS 12 (MARKUS NASLUND, LUKAS KRAJICEK) 10:58

    Predators vs. CanucksMar 21 10:27 PM