GLENDALE, Ariz. – Roberto Luongo and the Vancouver Canucks finally figured out how to win in a shootout.
Luongo made 27 saves and stopped three of four attempts in the tiebreaker to lift the Canucks to a 2-1 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday night.
“It has been a while,” said Luongo, who had been winless in three previous shootouts this season. “It’s always exciting when you win and not so exciting when you lose so we’ll take this one.”
Taylor Pyatt recorded his first shootout goal, and Trevor Linden also scored for the Canucks, who have won three straight. Vancouver had lost all four shootouts in which it had participated this season.
“Obviously, it’s a big two points for us,” Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault. “We started off a little slow but we made some big saves.”
Zbynek Michalek tied the game with 5:51 remaining in regulation and Radim Vrbata scored in the shootout for the Coyotes, who lost for just the second time in seven games (5-1-1). Phoenix had been 3-0 in overtime this season.
Pyatt scored the winning goal when he fired a wrist shot between Ilya Bryzgalov’s pads. Joel Perrault had the chance to extend the shootout, but put a shot over the net on his first career shootout attempt.
“I’ve gone three or four times before and it was nice to finally get one,” Pyatt said.
Daniel Sedin broke a scoreless tie with 9:49 remaining when he took a pass from twin brother Henrik at the edge of the right circle and beat Bryzgalov low to the stick side for his team-leading 15th goal.
The goal came moments after Phoenix’s Peter Mueller stole the puck between the circles in the Vancouver zone but couldn’t push the puck past Luongo.
Michalek tied it when he one-timed a pass from Shane Doan past Luongo for his first goal of the season.
“We didn’t give up,” Vrbata said. “We kept pushing and we got a good point.”
Bryzgalov helped send the game to overtime with a pair of tough saves in the final minute. He stopped 34 shots for the Coyotes, who had been held scoreless over their past five periods at home before Michalek’s tally. Phoenix, which just completed a 5-1 road trip, has an NHL-worst five wins and 11 points in 14 home games.
“It’s nice to see that they don’t quit,” Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky said. “Tonight we’re down one-nothing to a stingy team and we scored a big goal to tie it. I’m very, very happy with our effort.”
Though there were plenty of shots early, there were few true scoring opportunities.
“The first period was pretty boring,” Bryzgalov said. “Maybe everyone was already thinking about Christmas.”
The Coyotes had the best chance over the first two periods as the puck slipped behind Luongo as he was poked in the side by Vrbata. Officials ruled the whistle had blown before the puck entered the net, a decision confirmed by replay.
Notes: The Coyotes were without LW Daniel Carcillo, who injured his leg during a scrum at San Jose on Thursday. … Phoenix has been outscored 40-34 at home, where the team is 5-8-1. … Luongo has allowed only eight goals on 263 shots over his last nine games and is 7-1-1 over that span. … Doan and Vrbata were double-shifted for most of the game, playing on the fourth line in addition to their usual assignment. “We have three days off, so no complaints,” Vrbata said.