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Salo helps Canucks edge Red Wings in overtime

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Ticker) -- The Vancouver Canucks

waited until after regulation to assure themselves that they can

survive without star goaltender Roberto Luongo.

Two night after their captain suffered an injury, defenseman

Sami Salo scored a power-play goal 2:33 into overtime and the

Canucks extended their winning streak to four games with a 3-2

overtime triumph over the Detroit Red Wings on Monday.

Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk scored with the man advantage to snap a

1-1 tie with 3:35 remaining in the third period but Daniel Sedin

pulled Vancouver even with his 400th career point just 70

seconds later.

"It's kind of a fluke play," Sedin said. "Last time they were

in, we probably weren't playing as good as we wanted to.

Tonight, we're a confident team right now. Goals seem to go in

for us right now."

Taylor Pyatt tallied in the second for Vancouver, which improved

to 8-0-2 over its last 10 contests.

"We're just playing as a team and everyone is real excited to be

beating a team like Detroit," Pyatt said. "It's been really

good for us and we'll continue to play the way we can. Great

job by Curtis Sanford to step up and play the way he did. That

feels good."

Sanford stepped up and made 32 saves in the wake of Luongo's

injury. The 29-year-old Luongo, who made one save before the

injury, is 11-5-2 with a 2.18 goals-against average and an

NHL-best five shutouts on the season.

"I felt composed, confident out there. I felt that I was moving

well," Sanford said. "It shows that we can battle through

adversity. We're dealing with it head-on right now. We've got

some key players out and we've had some key injuries in the last

couple weeks so. We're finding a way to get it done and guys

are really stepping it up and playing hard."

Luongo went down attempting to make a save on a shot that was

blocked in front. He was helped off the rink by the training

staff, putting no weight on his left leg. But one game after

making 28 saves in a 3-1 win over the Minnesota Wild, Sanford

entered and turned aside 17 of 18 shots to notch the victory.

Luckily for the Canucks, the 29-year-old Sanford rose to the

occasion again in this one against perhaps the most dangerous

offensive team in the NHL.

"It was a hard-fought game against the Stanley Cup champions,"

Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said. "We played against the

best in the league tonight and, obviously, they outplayed us a

little bit in regulation, but we found a way to stick around.

"They took a penalty in OT and we made them pay for it."

Mikael Samuelsson beat Sanford 9:22 into the first for the Red

Wings, whose five-game win streak came to an end.

However, Sanford turned aside all 11 shots he faced in the

following session and held Detroit in check in the third until

Datsyuk struck late in the session to snap the tie, unleashing a

slap shot from the right faceoff circle that went in between the

legs of defenseman Willie Mitchell and into the open net.

Detroit, which was held under three goals for just the third

time this season, fizzled in overtime as it failed to cover

Salo, who beat Chris Osgood with a hard slap shot from inside

the left circle.

"Finding ways to win is what this game is about," Vigneault

said. "Curtis played a really strong game in net and the fact

that Sami came back obviously helped us out quite a bit. It was

a tight game, hard-fought. We just found a way to get it done

in overtime."

The extent of Luongo's injury is unknown, other than a report

that claimed he will be "week-to-week." Vancouver, which sits

atop the Northwest Division, will have to find a way to keep its

potent defense as the key ingredient to its winning ways. It

has yielded 52 goals this season - third in the Western

Conference - and Sanford has had little to do with it.

The Owen Sound, Ontario native is 33-30-11 over his five-year

career and boasts a goals-against average well north than that

of Luongo.

"I think it just comes with time. I think that every goalie

would love to play all the time but I feel that I'm getting a

little more comfortable every game and through every period,"

Sanford said. "That just comes with being in net."

Still, Sanford was able to stymie a Detroit team which had won

seven of eight, with its only blemish coming in a 7-6 overtime

loss to the Penguins on November 11. The Red Wings' last

regulation loss came on October 30 against the San Jose Sharks.

"We had lots of opportunity to score we just didn't finish

around their net," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. "There were

lots of second opportunities there and we didn't get to enough

of them. Give them credit; they battled hard.

"But I think anytime you're playing on the road like we are you

know you've got to give yourself a chance, play solid

defensively, and don't give up much and you'll probably get a

chance with this team we have. We thought we had that here

tonight but in the end we just couldn't get it done."


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