Friday, January 19, 2007

The All Star shined and the near star scored!

The Vancouver Canucks brought their traveling eastern road show in Ottawa Thursday night and gave a pretty good visual on why Roberto Luongo has been named to the All Star squad for next week.

The Canuck goaltender held off a continuous Ottawa attack to keep the Canuck’s winning ways on the road in the plus column as the Canucks edged out the Senators 2-1, Thursday night at Scotiabank Place.

Luongo was simply amazing as he knocked down and away 34 of 35 shots directed his way, including a 14 shot avalanche of Senator shots in the third period, a period which saw Vancouver cooped up in their own end unable to cross the Ottawa blue line and test Ray Emery.

Taylor Pyatt put the Canucks ahead with a goal in the second period, breaking a scoreless period of play in the first. That goal was followed up at the thirteen minute mark when Rory Fitzpatrick scored his first goal as a Canuck, a timely show of skill that will haunt all star voters for at least the next two minutes or so. Fitzpatrick’s goal gave the Canucks a cushion that Luongo would parlay into a victory, sending the Senators off to their bench time and time again to shake their heads.

Only Sens captain Daniel Alfredsson could solve the Luongo riddle with the Sens only goal of the night with thirteen minutes to go in the third. His goal brought to an end a remarkable run of shut out hockey for the Canucks goaltender, who had ruled over 154 minutes 42 seconds of shutout hockey.

Despite the close nature of the score, the play was clearly in the control of the Sens who outshot the Canucks 35-14 on the night, an entertaining if somewhat frustrating experience for the sell out crowd in Ottawa.

The Canucks finish off their Eastern swing Friday night in Buffalo, a chance to feed a little further on their Eastern competition which sees Vancouver with a 6-1 record thus far against eastern teams.

They eventually have to give Luongo a rest, but few expect that it will be Friday night as the high octane Sabres will be looking to get back on track against the Canucks. Luongo will probably get the nod for one more night, have a week less a period of play at the upcoming all start game to rest up and then it will be back to doing what many a Canuck fan had prayed to the hockey God’s for, provide solid dependable and winning goaltending.

So far, he’s been everything advertised and much much more. Just ask the players of Toronto, Montreal and now Ottawa.

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