Luongo extended his winning streak against Washington to 10 games by making 27 saves Friday night, and Taylor Pyatt scored twice, leading the Canucks to a 3-2 victory over the Capitals.
Daniel Sedin scored the other goal for Vancouver, which snapped a two-game losing streak and improved to 4-2 on the road. It wasn’t easy, though, because Alex Ovechkin scored on a power play with about 1½ minutes left to draw Washington within a goal, and then another penalty gave the hosts a man-advantage for the final 77 seconds.
But Luongo was up to the task, making a close-range save on Michael Nylander in the closing seconds.
There was a scary moment in the final moment, when Ovechkin’s slap shot caught Capitals captain Chris Clark in the head. Clark dropped to the ice and left a small puddle of blood, before skating off with some assistance.
Ovechkin also had an assist on the Capitals’ first goal, by Nylander in the first period, but they lost for the fifth time in the past six games.
The failure to score a lot should come as no surprise, given who was protecting Vancouver’s goal. Luongo is 7-0-3 with two shutouts in his last 10 starts against Washington, a run of dominance that dates to the 2003-04 season and includes when he was playing for the Florida Panthers.
Asked about that streak before the game, Capitals coach Glen Hanlon attributed Luongo’s success to perhaps having a certain comfort level against a certain team and in a certain arena.
“We’re hoping to make it uncomfortable here tonight for him,” Hanlon said. “It’s all we can do.”
Didn’t quite happen, and Luongo made consecutive stops on Ovechkin and Nylander midway through the third period to preserve a two-goal lead. The only blemish for Luongo was Nylander’s goal 8:45 into the game, tying it at 1.
It came on the first test for Washington’s new top power-play unit, featuring five forwards. Ovechkin smacked a shot, and Clark and Viktor Kozlov battled two Canucks for the rebound. Nylander swooped in and lifted a shot past Luongo, 30 seconds after Markus Naslund was sent off for holding.
Only 2½ minutes later, Pyatt scored off an assist from Ryan Kesler on a breakaway, and Vancouver was ahead for good.
Pyatt made it 3-1 with about 13½ minutes left in the game by poking in a rebound of Brendan Morrison’s shot on a power play for his fourth goal of the season. Naslund was credited with an assist, his 500th point as Vancouver’s captain.
The visitors’ first goal came 2:11 into the game on Sedin’s unassisted power-play goal off a scramble in front of Olie Kolzig’s net. Clark was sent off for interference just 79 seconds in, when he set a pick for Ovechkin.
Notes: Capitals D Tom Poti (groin injury) missed his first game this season. Poti led Washington in ice team in each of its first eight games. … Canucks D Lukas Krajicek (ankle) was scratched. … Capitals coach Glen Hanlon and GM George McPhee wore pink ties as part of the team’s Hockey Fights Cancer Awareness Night. During the first period, the Capitals honoured longtime Washington Times hockey writer Dave Fay, who died of cancer in July, and announced the team’s US$10,000 donation to charity in his honour. … Vancouver hadn’t played at Washington since Jan. 31, 2004.