VANCOUVER, B.C. – Roberto Luongo made 27 saves for his first shutout of the season and the Vancouver Canucks blanked the Edmonton Oilers 2-0 Sunday.
Luongo’s 21st shutout as a Canuck moved him past Kirk McLean as the all-time franchise leader. Luongo was at his best when Edmonton had a five-on-three power play for one minute 32 seconds midway through the first period.
He got his glove on a Patrick O’Sullivan slapshot and then foiled Shawn Horcoff on the rebound, came across the crease to thwart Dustin Penner and corralled an Ales Hemsky shot from the face-off circle to his right.
Rookie Michael Grabner opened the scoring with his second goal in the last three games. The 22-year-old native of Villach, Austria now has five points his first six NHL games.
After a poor pre-season, the Canucks’ 2006 first-round draft choice was demoted to the minors and not expected back any time soon. But Grabner got a second chance after perennial top scorer Daniel Sedin was sidelined four to six weeks with a broken foot, and he is making the best of it.
Henrik Sedin, with his first goal in six games, also scored for Vancouver (6-5-0) as the Canucks recorded their third straight victory before a sellout crowd of 18,818 at General Motors Place.
With the win, the hosts evened their season series with Edmonton at 1-1. The flu-ridden Oilers (6-4-1) suffered their second loss in two nights.
The Canucks, missing six regulars, continued to struggle offensively at even strength. But Vancouver’s potent power play, which ranks among the league’s best, again atoned for the offensive inefficiency.
The Canucks converted one of four man-advantage opportunities while the Oilers were blanked on their six chances. Vancouver led 1-0 and 2-0 by periods.
The Canucks outshot the Oilers 29-27.
Grabner opened the scoring at 17:51 of the first as he deflected home Christian Ehrhoff’s point shot during a power play.
Early in the second period, Grabner missed an excellent chance to count his second of the night as Kesler stole the puck from Grebeshkov behind the net and passed it out to the Austrian winger as he stood alone in front of the net. But Grabner fired the puck way wide.
About two minutes later, Edmonton goaltender Jeff Deslauriers robbed Alexandre Bolduc as he tried to one-time a rebound. Luongo was shaken up at 5:41 as Edmonton tough guy knocked him over during an Oilers power play, but the Canucks goaltender stayed in the game after laying on the ice momentarily.
Near the eight-minute mark, the Vancouver goaltender foiled O’Sullivan again, this time on a wrist shot from the wing that he froze in his mid-section.
Henrik Sedin put the Canucks ahead 2-0 midway through the second on a mid-air deflection of Mikael Samuelsson’s seemingly lazy wrist shot from the point. It was his first goal since he scored a pair in a 7-1 thrashing of Montreal on Oct. 7. In a rare move, Canucks coach Alain Vigneault had criticized Sedin’s effort in Saturday’s victory over Toronto.
Tough guy Darcy Hordichuk drew an assist on the play, earning his first point of the season.
The Oilers received a four-minute power play in six and a half minutes into the third as Grabner took a high-sticking double-minor for clipping defenceman Lubomir Visnovsky under his visor. Visnovsky appeared to suffer a cut, went to the dressing room briefly, but returned.
Luongo got his glove on a dangerous Hemsky shot during the extended power play. But it was only one of three shots that the Oilers could muster over the four-minute span.
Notes: The Canucks recalled rookie Sergei Shirokov from Manitoba of the American League to replace centre Kyle Welwood, who suffered a broken toe Saturday against Toronto . . . Defenceman Mathieu Schneider, signed as a free agent in the summer, played his first game with Vancouver after recovering from off-season shoulder surgery. As a result, blue-liner Aaron Rome was scratched while winger Rick Rypien was again sidelined with a groin injury, but is considered close to returning . . . Edmonton centre Gilbert Brule returned to the lineup after missing three games with the flu. Steve Staios (concussion) Sheldon Souray (concussion) and Ryan Stone (knee) remained out with injuries while Mike Comrie missed his second straight game with the flu . . . Canadian Olympic team coach Mike Babcock scouted the game. He was in town early for his Detroit squad’s game against the Canucks on Tuesday . . . Canucks winger Alex Burrows, once a longshot to make the NHL, is one game away from 300 for his career.