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Luongo impenetrable as Canucks snare two-game lead

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) -- Roberto Luongo made 30 saves

in his first NHL playoff shutout, and the Vancouver Canucks beat

the St. Louis Blues, 3-0, on Friday night to take a big lead in

the Western Conference playoff series.

Mats Sundin put Vancouver ahead late in the second period, and

Luongo did the rest as the Canucks grabbed a 2-0 advantage in

the series that will continue Sunday in St. Louis.

Alex Burrows added an insurance goal midway through the third

period, scoring on a wraparound less than a minute after Luongo

had bailed him out on a tripping penalty with a couple of great

saves during the ensuing power play.

Henrik Sedin, who had an assist on Burrow's goal, scored into an

empty net with 1:24 left.

Luongo, who finished the regular season with consecutive

shutouts before making 25 saves in a 2-1 victory in Game 1 on

Wednesday, made several spectacular saves. He got some help as

Blues forward Andy McDonald hit the crossbar three times, two on

drives deflected by Luongo.

Sundin, playing his first playoff series in five years after

signing with the Canucks in mid-December, gave the Canucks a 1-0

lead with 1:56 left in the second period. He cut through the

slot off a rush and knocked Pavol Demitra's centering pass out

of mid air, bouncing the puck between the legs of Chris Mason

and just over the goal line.

Mason matched Luongo most of the way, making 24 saves, but was

unable to prevent the Blues from losing consecutive games in

regulation for the first time since the middle of January.

After winning a penalty-filled first game on the strength of

special teams, the Canucks rode Luongo to victory in Game 2. He

made his first big save 24 seconds into the game.

Keith Tkachuk fed a pass out front to an open Dan Hinote, whose

quick shot was turned away by Luongo's right pad. Four minutes

later, Luongo sprawled and threw his blocker on McDonald's

deflection from the slot, getting enough of the shot to knock it

off the crossbar.

That was part of more than eight minutes of fast-paced action

without a whistle. The teams combined for 22 hits in the first

10 minutes. There were 33 hits in the opening period counted by

the end of the first period -- 18 for St. Louis.

Luongo made a pair of improbable left-pad stops on a St. Louis

power play midway through the period. He kicked out his leg to

deny McDonald's deflection from the top of the crease, then

extended it fully to turn aside David Backes on the rebound.

Mason denied Daniel Sedin in tight, forced Demitra to send a

deflection wide from the top of the crease, and slid quickly to

his left to rob Henrik Sedin on a backdoor pass. Burrows knocked

the rebound into the net, but he did it with his glove so the

goal was waved off immediately.

Luongo made two more great stops with Burrows in the penalty box

in the third period, sticking out his right pad to deny McDonald

again. He flashed his glove to get a piece of T.J. Oshie's

one-timed blast from the point as a power play expired.

Burrows then battled out from behind the net and banged the puck

in off Mason less than a minute after his penalty expired.

McDonald hit the crossbar again, this time off Luongo's glove,

with seven minutes left.


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