Luongo's shutout streak snapped as Avs edge Canucks

The Canadian Press
11/13/2008 2:59:31 AM
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VANCOUVER - Don't think. Just shoot.

That was the winning formula Wednesday night as the Colorado Avalanche finally solved Vancouver netminder Roberto Luongo and defeated the Canucks 2-1 in an NHL shootout.

''We've been having trouble scoring lately and we're not going to overthink it,'' said Paul Stastny. ''We've just got to keep it simple and crash the net.''

Stastny said Avalanche shooters weren't about to second-guess themselves even though Luongo had a string of three consecutive shutouts and wound up with 242 minutes 36 seconds of scoreless hockey.

''The minute you do that, you get yourself in trouble,'' Stastny said. ''He's in the zone.

''These guys know what they have to do to score. Sometimes the initial shot doesn't go in but it's those second and third opportunities that you have to take advantage of.''

Taylor Pyatt opened the scoring on a penalty shot awarded when Jordan Leopold broke his stick on the Vancouver forward, who had a partial breakaway.

''I tried to get him moving with a little fake and just shot it quick,'' said Pyatt, who couldn't beat Avalanche netminder Peter Budaj in the shootout. ''The side of the net was open.''

Marek Svatos tied the game early in the third period with a power-play goal after a goalmouth scramble. Stastny, who was originally given credit for the goal, and Wojtek Wolski had assists.

Wolski beat Luongo with a deke and his reach in the shootout and Svatos won the game by banking a shot in off the crossbar.

''I had my mind set on the move that I'm going to do.'' Svatos said of his shootout winner. ''I did it in the warm-up and it worked so I might as well do it again.''

It was a welcome win for a Colorado club that has only 10 goals in their last six games as Luongo and Budaj staged a memorable goaltending duel.

''It was unbelievable,'' Svatos said of the netminders. ''Both of the guys in the third period with a few minutes left in the game made huge saves.''

Luongo, who improved upon his old club record of 201 minutes eight seconds of shutout goaltending, finished with 33 saves while Budaj, who blanked Nashville on Saturday with a 26-save effort, stopped 31 Canuck shots.

''He had three shutouts on the line,'' Wolski said of Luongo. ''It wasn't like he was all of a sudden going to fall apart on his team.''

Although both goalies blinked in the shootout, Budaj allowed only a backhand move by Alex Burrows.

Colorado ended a three-game Canuck win streak in the first meeting of the season between the two clubs as the Avalanche posted their seventh straight triumph over Vancouver dating back to 2007-08.

The Canucks dropped to 9-6-1 but moved into a tie with the Calgary Flames atop the Northwest Division with the single point.

''I don't really care about the (shutout) streak,'' Luongo said.

''The goal was the two points and we fell short. That's more disappointing than anything else.''

Colorado, 7-8-0, won its second straight game in a streaky start to a season which began with three losses followed by five straight wins and five consecutive defeats.

It was the second shootout victory for the Avalanche who have won six straight dating back to last season.

Luongo gave the sellout 18,630 fans several opportunities to chorus Loo-oo-oo in the first period when the outplayed Canucks were under a 16-8 shots-on-goal seige.

Luongo denied Wolski from the side of the net and got his right pad on drives by Ruslan Salei and David Jones. He also foiled Wolski late in regulation time.

At the other end, Budaj beat Henrik Sedin on a late third-period power play, Steve Bernier missed an open net and Budaj got a shoulder on Kyle Wellwood's shot.

''Budaj made some great saves but I feel from our standpoint that we should have had a couple of goals in the third period, myself included,'' said Mason Raymond, who was sitting out an offensive zone tripping penalty when Stastny tied the game.

NOTES: Jannik Hansen returned to the Vancouver lineup after missing four games with a groin injury .. Canuck centre Pavol Demitra is practising after being out since Oct. 19 with a rib injury .. Joe Sakic was left home with a sore back .. his 10 assists ties him for the Colorado team lead .. the Avs continue their three-game road trip Saturday in Edmonton where they'll play their 1,000th regular-season NHL game since moving to Denver.

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