Islanders beat Vancouver in a shootout

November 17, 2008 7:06:58 PM PST
Roberto Luongo made 34 saves against the team that let him get away, but couldn't stop Frans Nielsen in a shootout as the New York Islanders beat the Vancouver Canucks 2-1 Monday night for their season-best third straight victory. Nielsen scored on the first shot of the tiebreaker, and Joey MacDonald turned aside all three Vancouver shooters - ending the game with a poke check against Alex Burrows. MacDonald stopped 31 shots through overtime.

Luongo, the Canucks captain, could've been the Islanders' prized possession after he was taken with the No. 4 pick in the 1997 draft. He appeared in 24 games with New York during the 1999-2000 season, but was traded when the team made goalie Rick DiPietro the face of the franchise.

Luongo kicked off Vancouver's four-game road trip with his 13th straight start and 17th in 18 contests.

Pavol Demitra gave the Canucks a 1-0 lead in the opening minute, and it stood up until Doug Weight tied it with a power-play goal in the second period.

Luongo is on an amazing run, one that recently featured a team-record shutout streak of 242 minutes, 36 seconds. During the just-completed homestand, Luongo went 4-1-1 and allowed only six goals - five on power plays.

Tim Jackman, who had three prime scoring chances on Luongo in the second period, drew the penalty the Islanders turned into their goal. Jackman stole the puck from Mason Raymond while New York was short-handed and skated in alone. Raymond slashed him from behind just before he got off a drive.

On the power play, Weight moved the puck from the left point down to captain Bill Guerin, who returned it. Weight let go a hard drive that appeared to hit the stick blade of defenseman Shane O'Brien before finding its way past Luongo with 5:25 left.

It was the first goal Luongo allowed before the third period in six games, dating to his previous regulation loss Nov. 2 against Detroit. Luongo rebounded from that defeat with three straight shutouts and two outings in which he allowed a total of three goals before Monday. He lost a 2-1 shootout to Colorado last Wednesday.

The Islanders outshot the Canucks 10-0 early in the middle period, in which they enjoyed three power plays, and 18-10 overall in the frame. For a while, it seemed as though New York might become Luongo's latest shutout victim.

Less than five minutes into the second, Luongo flashed his left pad to kick out a good shot by Sean Bergenheim, and then denied Jackman seconds later after the forward was set up on the doorstep.

MacDonald was sharp on the other end, too, as he gets more comfortable in the starting role in place of injured regular DiPietro - the man the Islanders drafted No. 1 overall in 2000 on the day they traded Luongo to Florida.

MacDonald made his seventh straight start and 10th in the past 11 games. Just 12 seconds in, he turned aside Vancouver's 2-on-1 and had to avoid teammate Andy Hilbert, who crashed into the net and then had the cage fall on top and trap him inside by the end boards.

The Canucks kept coming and grabbed a 1-0 lead at 49 seconds when Demitra took a return pass in the right circle from Daniel Sedin and fired in his third goal. Demitra played in only his eighth game of the season, after missing nine due to a rib injury.

Notes: Islanders D Andy Sutton played in his 500th NHL game. ... Canucks D Alex Edler, who missed Saturday's game against Toronto because of the flu, sat out again. Edler scored the decisive shootout goal on Jan. 8, the last time these teams met. The Canucks hadn't played on Long Island since Jan. 14, 2006. ... New York C Mike Comrie (hip) was out for a third straight game.