Sanford made 18 saves for his fourth career shutout and first in nearly three years in the Canucks' 3-0 victory over Ottawa on Sunday night, the Senators' 12th straight loss on the road.
Sanford stopped Daniel Alfredsson from point-blank range in the third minute, but was rarely challenged after that as the Canucks held Ottawa to its lowest shot total of the season. Sanford's last shutout was Jan. 23, 2006, for St. Louis against Vancouver.
"I can't say enough about how the guys played tonight," Stanford said. "We played with discipline and we played with structure. We played with a lot of speed.
"We knew we had to do that because they were playing their second game in two nights, so we had to come out with speed, get the pucks deep on them and make them play in their own end. We haven't been doing that lately but we did tonight."
It was important to the Canucks to preserve the shutout for Sanford and reward him for his play during the absence of No. 1 goalie Roberto Luongo, who went down with a groin strain on Nov. 22.
"He has been playing well for us ever since Lou went down," said Alex Burrows, who dropped down to block a point shot with just 5 seconds left in the game.
"He works so hard in practice and he's such a nice guy, everyone likes him in the locker room, so we wanted to get the shutout for him. We'll do anything as a team to get him the shutout, and more importantly, get him the win."
Henrik Sedin and Pavol Demitra each had a goal and an assist, and defenseman Alex Edler also scored. The Canucks snapped a two-game losing streak to improve to 20-14-5.
With the world junior championship in Ottawa, the Senators played their third game on an eight-game trip. They are an NHL-worst 3-11-2 on the road, and have just one win in their last six games overall.
"There is obviously a lot of frustration in our dressing room," Alfredsson said. "We are just trying to give ourselves a chance every night but we don't seem to be able to play for a full 60 minutes. We have to keep working and try to find a way."
Mike Fisher questioned whether the team was ready to start the game.
"We've got to be ready. We came out and made some mistakes and before we knew it we were down," Fisher said. "It's frustrating. There's no question. But we have to stick with it as a group and find a way to get wins."
Vancouver opened the scoring at 8:17 of the first period, taking advantage of Nick Foligno's poor clearing attempt. Demitra scooped up the loose puck and fed it the wide-open Sedin, who beat Martin Gerber for his fifth of the season.
Demitra made it 2-0 at 10:16 of the second period when he got behind the Ottawa defense and broke in alone on Gerber thanks to a beautiful pass from Daniel Sedin. Demitra fired a snap shot past Gerber from 20 feet out for his 11th of the season.
Vancouver made it 3-0 with just under 3 minutes left in the second period. Edler went end-to-end, finishing it off with a slap shot from just inside the blue line that beat Gerber on the stick side. Edler has three goals this season.
C Mats Sundin is expected to arrive in Vancouver on Monday. Sundin was originally supposed to arrive Saturday, but his departure from Sweden was hampered by weather-related flight delays. Sundin will practice with his new teammates for the first time Tuesday. ... Vancouver LW Taylor Pyatt broke his right foot Friday night in a loss to Edmonton. He'll be out at least four weeks. ... Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo, sidelined since Nov. 22 by a groin injury, will start skating on his own this week. It will be Luongo's second attempt at coming back. He aggravated the injury two weeks ago. The Canucks don't expect to have Luongo back before the All-Star break.
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Arena: Rogers Arena Location: Vancouver, British Columbia
Referees: Tim Peel, Paul Devorski Linesmen: Derek Nansen, Mark Wheler
Attendance: 18,630 (99.0% full)
Team Stat Comparison
Power Play Goals
Power Play Opportunities
Shots on Goal
Henrik Sedin (5)
Assist: Pavol Demitra
Pavol Demitra (11)
Assists: Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin