Fortunately for the Canucks, it wasn’t goaltender Roberto Luongo.
Luongo frustrated the Senators by making 34 saves and, despite being outshot 35-14 on the night, the Canucks went on to record a 2-1 victory before a sellout crowd of 19,161 at Scotiabank Place.
“Luongo was the difference,” said Canucks coach Alain Vigneault, who watched his team take a 2-0 lead on goals by Taylor Pyatt and Rory Fitzpatrick then sit back and withstand a 14-0 disadvantage in shots on goal during a third-period siege by the Senators.
“I’m not going to apologize for Luongo shutting them down,” Vigneault said, before joking, “We wanted to tire out their offensive players and we did that by keeping them in our zone.”
Pyatt also added an assist as Vancouver (27-19-1) won its third straight game and sixth in a row on the road. The Canucks, on a four-game road trip, improved to 6-1-0 against Eastern Conference teams this season.
Daniel Alfredsson replied for the Senators (27-20-2), but it was all Ottawa could manage against Luongo, who was coming off his third shutout of the season in beating the Montreal Canadiens 4-0 on Tuesday night.
Luongo was at his best late in the third when the Senators, trailing by a goal, enjoyed a two-man advantage for more than a minute but couldn’t notch the equalizer.
“You’re going to face a lot of difficult situations throughout the year, so it’s important to win in all kinds of ways,” he said.
Ray Emery made 12 stops at the other end for Ottawa, which had its five-game win streak stopped and fell to 10-2-1 in their past 13 contests overall.
“They got the bounces tonight and once they got up, they just tried to sit back and ride on Luongo,” Alfredsson said. “It’s unfortunate our winning streak comes to an end.”
Pyatt and defenceman Willie Mitchell were both back in the Canucks’ lineup after sitting out with injuries. Pyatt missed Vancouver’s victory over Montreal on Thursday with a thumb problem, while Mitchell sat out Tuesday and Saturday’s 6-1 victory over Toronto with a groin strain.
Following a scoreless first period, it was Pyatt who gave the Canucks the lead early in the second when, during a Vancouver power play, Sami Salo’s point shot hit him in the skates and skipped past Emery. The play had to be reviewed, but was allowed to stand.
It stayed that way until the 13-minute mark of the second when Fitzpatrick notched his first goal as a Canuck since signing as a free agent in the off-season.
His shot from the top of the faceoff circle took a deflection off of Chris Neil before bouncing off of Emery’s catching glove and in.
“It’s nice to contribute offensively,” said Fitzpatrick, who last scored 34 games ago, while with the Buffalo Sabres on April 5, 2006. That goal also came in a win over Ottawa. “It was a shot on net, I think someone tipped it and (Emery) misplayed it. I don’t care how it goes in.”
The Senators came close late in the second when Heatley was sent in alone by Alfredsson but proceeded to ring a shot off the crossbar.
The duo teamed up again, this time with success, at the 8:13 mark of the third to make it 2-1 when Alfredsson took a pass from Heatley in the slot and steered the puck past Luongo. The goal ended Luongo’s shutout streak at 154 minutes 42 seconds.
The Senators had a good chance to tie it late in the third with a two-man advantage, but couldn’t beat the Canucks goaltender, who came up with big saves to deny Wade Redden and Alfredsson.
“He’s been spectacular,” Fitzpatrick said of Luongo. “That game in Toronto, that shutout in Montreal, again tonight. He’s our best penalty killer.”
“That’s a huge kill and it gave us the confidence for the last six or seven minutes.”
Ottawa finished 0-for-5 on the power play; Vancouver went 1-for-4.
Notes: Canucks centre Brendan Morrison appeared in his 600th NHL game….Despite missing practice on Wednesday with the flu, Vancouver’s Trevor Linden suited up for the game….Senators right-winger Brian McGrattan played his 100th contest….Ottawa travels to Boston on Saturday for its last game before the all-star break….The Canucks wrap up their road trip Friday at Buffalo.