Roberto Luongo recorded his first shutout with Vancouver, making 32 saves in a 5-0 victory over the Blackhawks on Wednesday night. Luongo, acquired in a multiplayer trade from Florida in the offseason, registered his 28th career shutout. “They worked hard all night and outshot us 18-11 in the second period,” said Luongo said. “Even though the score was a little lopsided they worked for 60 minutes.
“It’s nice to get the shutout,” he added, “but I think the main thing for me is to get some wins under my belt.”
Henrik Sedin had two goals and an assist as the Canucks handed the Blackhawks their third straight loss. Chicago skated without forwards Martin Havlat, Michal Handzus and Tuomo Ruutu, and goalie Nikolai Khabibulin.
Sedin’s goals were his first this season.
“If you miss three of your key guys, I don’t think any team in this league is going to have the success they would otherwise,” Sedin said. “We knew if we could match their work ethic, we’d have a good chance to win.
“I’ve been shooting a lot, but the puck wasn’t going in,” he added. “So it was nice to get a couple tonight.”
Matt Cooke, Brendan Morrison and Taylor Pyatt also scored for the Canucks, who completed a five-game road trip with a 3-2-0 record. Daniel Sedin had three assists.
Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault, whose team has played nine of its first 11 games on the road, was more pleased that his team is off to a 6-4-1 start.
“These nine of 11 games on the road were going to permit us to find out about our team and whether we could play on the road,” Vigneault said. “I think in general we did that. We’re coming back home with an above-.500 record and it’s a good start for us.”
Vigneault was pleased with the Canucks offensive breakthrough against Chicago. Vancouver hadn’t scored more than four goals in a game this season.
“We finally found a way to score a couple of goals,” he said. “Roberto did a good job of shutting them down. Once we took a four-goal lead, it’s challenging for the opposition to have to score four goals off of Luongo.”
Havlat is out for two to three weeks with a sprained ankle. Handzus is out with a season-ending knee injury. Khabibulin is out for 10 to 14 days with a broken finger. All three were hurt last weekend. Ruutu, who sprained a knee in the pre-season, has resumed practising and may return next week.
Chicago goalie Brian Boucher stopped 26 shots.
“Our defence wasn’t as good as it has been and our goaltending was average,” Blackhawks coach Trent Yawney said. “We’ve got to find a away to nip this as fast as possible. No one is going to feel sorry for you.”
Cooke opened the scoring 4:54 into the first period when he spun and backhanded in a rebound of Mattias Ohlund’s shot just past Boucher’s outstretched glove and inside the right post.
Morrison’s deflection on the power play with 3:02 left in the period gave Vancouver a 2-0 lead. Positioned at the left edge of the crease, Morrison redirected Ohlund’s shot from the right point in mid-air, about a foot off the ice.
Sedin stretched the lead to 3-0 at 3:41 of the second when his 45-foot wrist shot fooled Boucher.
Pyatt made it 4-0 with 8:15 left in the second, and Sedin completed the scoring with 3:36 left in the third.
Notes: Handzus is expected to get a second opinion before undergoing surgery to repair a torn ACL. The operation is scheduled for Friday. … Sebastien Caron backed up Boucher. … Last season, the Blackhawks lost 306 man-games to injuries. … Vancouver D Willie Mitchell missed his second game with a concussion. C Tommi Santala was a healthy scratch.