Final

Series (Game 1 of 1)

Vancouver leads 1-0

Game 1: Tuesday, December 18th
Devils0Final
Canucks5

Devils 0

(18-13-3, 39 pts)

Canucks 5

(18-12-4, 40 pts)

10:00 PM ET, December 18, 2007

Rogers Arena, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

1 2 3 T
NJ 0 0 00
VAN 1 3 15

R. Luongo (Canucks - G): Saves: 32, Save Pct.: 1.000

M. Naslund (Canucks - LW): Goals: 2, Assists: 0

H. Sedin (Canucks - C): Goals: 0, Assists: 3

Back from rib injury, Luongo blanks Devils for fifth shutout of season

Associated Press

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) -- Roberto Luongo picked up right where he left off -- shutting out teams on his home ice.

Markus Naslund overcame the flu to score twice and Luongo returned from a rib injury to make 31 saves and lead the Vancouver Canucks to a 5-0 win over the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night.

"For Roberto to come back and play like this, setting the tone right off the bat by saving the breakaway, he set the pace and got us going, Naslund said.

Making his first start since Dec. 8 because of bruised ribs, Luongo's shutout was his fifth of the season, and fourth in his last five home starts.

Ryan Kesler, Trevor Linden and defenseman Aaron Miller -- with his first goal in more than four years -- also scored for the Canucks, who had one win in five games after winning 11 of the previous 14.

Martin Brodeur finished with 19 saves for the Devils, who opened a rare Western Canada road trip with their third loss in five games. New Jersey is 2-3-1 since a nine-game winning streak.

Brodeur edged out Luongo for last season's Vezina Trophy as the NHL's top goaltender, but Luongo clearly outplayed him.

Luongo was at his best early and late in the first period, stopping Travis Zajac on a breakaway 10 seconds in, and stuffing Sergei Brylin twice in tight with 10 seconds left.

"You want to be ready and unfortunately it was a bit of a bad bounce and ended up on the guy's stick, but things like that can change the game around, Luongo said of the early breakaway. "If he scores there maybe it's a different game.

Luongo also came well out to stop Brian Gionta on a power play midway through the second. It was Loungo's 37th career shutout, well back of Brodeur's 94.

At the other end, Brodeur, who was 11-1-1 with a 1.68 goals-against average and two shutouts in his last 13 starts, was beaten early in the first two periods.

"Every time I play against one of the top goalies I always look forward to the challenge," Brodeur said. "I was definitely disappointed we had that type of game."

Miller's point shot deflected in 2:16 into the game, beating Brodeur on the stick side for the defenseman's first goal since Nov. 27, 2003, a span of 193 games. Kesler doubled the lead 1:09 into the second, batting his breakaway rebound in off Brodeur's pad as the goalie reached to smother the loose puck.

"A long time, I couldn t tell you," Miller said when asked if he remembered when he last scored. "I think it was pre-lockout. It's good to get one and it's good to win a game. Louie s back and played awesome.

John Madden rang a shot off the post behind Luongo a minute later, but 34 seconds after that Linden's long slap shot from outside the right faceoff circle deflected off defenseman Vitaly Vishnevski and through Brodeur on the glove side.

Naslund, who missed practice Monday with a flu bug that has been making its way through the team, scored his first into an empty net after a pretty passing play from identical twins Henrik and Daniel Sedin midway through the second.

"It was beautiful play by the twins and just have to go to the net and try to be ready when the puck comes," said Naslund, who hadn't scored in nine games.

The Canucks captain, who hadn't scored in nine games, added his second 7:44 into the third after another nice pass from Sedin found him alone in the slot.

Game notes


The Canucks were home after a stretch of eight games in eight different cities -- one home game between two road trips -- over 14 days and three time zones. The Devils were playing their first game outside the Eastern time zone this season -- and their first in 93 regular season games overall since Nov. 23, 2006. The last four meetings have come in New Jersey. The Devils' last game in Vancouver was Dec. 29, 2001 and they have not won here since March 15, 1999.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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