CHICAGO – Roberto Luongo was in vintage form, and helped the Vancouver Canucks extract a measure of revenge against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Luongo made 32 saves for his second shutout of the season and 53rd overall, leading the Canucks to their fourth straight victory, 3-0 over Chicago on Friday night.
Tanner Glass, Christian Ehrhoff and Henrik Sedin scored to give the Canucks and Luongo the all the offence they needed to avenge a 7-1 home loss to the Blackhawks on Nov. 20.
And Stanley Cup champion Chicago suffered its eighth regulation loss at home, matching its regular-season total from last season. The Blackhawks are 6-8-0 at home after going 29-8-4 last season at United Center.
“These are fun games to be part of,” Luongo said. “We always get up for games against the Blackhawks, so it’s nice to get the win, especially after our last one.”
The Canucks and Blackhawks have an evolving, spirited rivalry. Chicago has eliminated Vancouver from the playoffs in the past two seasons, each time in the second round.
On Friday, the Canucks prevailed because Luongo came up with several dazzling and point-blank stops to thwart prime scoring chances. The Blackhawks winning streak ended at three games although they dominated play at times and outshot Vancouver 32-18.
“That’s what we need from him every night,” Glass said. “He’s a heck of a goalie when he’s on and he was stellar tonight. Tonight we gave up more chance than we usually do, but that’s why Lou makes the big bucks.”
Sedin’s goal was his first since Nov. 4, only his third of the year and ended an 11-game drought. He led the NHL with 112 points last season on 29 goals and 83 assists.
“A win in Chicago, it’s always fun,” Sedin said. “Maybe more fun because we’ve played a lot in the playoffs the last couple of years.”
Veteran Marty Turco was back in nets for Chicago and made 15 saves. Rookie Corey Crawford started the Blackhawks’ three previous games.
“(Vancouver) had some good chances, but they were single-digit, too” Turco said. “We had ample chances to score, but Luongo made some good saves.”
“They didn’t come at us hard and weren’t in our face every single shift,” Chicago captain Jonathan Toews added. “We weren’t good enough tonight.”
The Blackhawks controlled the scoreless first, outshooting Vancouver 14-8 and testing Luongo with several prime chances. His best stops were on Patrick Sharp, Dave Bolland and Toews in the second half of the period.
Chicago kept up the pressure in the second, and Luongo matched it. He made a pad save on Sharp at 7:44 after Sharp and Jack Skille slipped behind the defence and raced in on a 2-on-none. Less than a minute later, Luongo denied Patrick Kane with an acrobatic pad stop on a 2-on-1 break.
Luongo’s effort started to pay off when Glass opened the scoring with 8:42 left in the second on only the Canucks’ second shot of the period. Glass shovelled in a loose puck from a scrum in the crease after Dan Hamhuis’ shot hit traffic in front.
Chicago kept coming, however, and Luongo held his ground. With 25 seconds left in the second, he made a point-blank blocker save on Toews after the Chicago captain beat Ryan Kesler and Alexander Edler to skate in alone.
During a Blackhawks’ power-play just seconds into the third, Chicago’s Tomas Kopecky fired a shot off the side of the net with Luongo down.
The Canucks killed overlapping minor penalties to Raffi Torres and Ehrhoff at start the third to set up the game’s turning point.
Ehrhoff’s power-play goal at 5:06 of the third gave Vancouver a 2-0 lead. Following a faceoff, Ehrhoff’s shot from the right point beat Turco as Kesler screened in front.
“We come right back and score on our side,” Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said. “That was definitely the pressure moment in the game and were able to capitalize.”
Sedin scored on a loose rebound of brother Daniel’s shot with 4:25 left to complete the scoring.
NOTES: The Blackhawks observed a moment of silence before the game for former Chicago Cubs third baseman Ron Santo, who died of cancer early Friday. … Chicago RW Marian Hossa missedhis second game because of a lower-body injury sustained in practice Monday. Blackhawks RW Fernando Pisani sat out his third with an upper-body injury. … Vancouver C Rick Rypien missed his sixth game on personal leave.