Canucks-Red Wings: Vancouver Not Flustered in First Game Minus Roberto Luongo

Joel LefevreAnalyst INovember 25, 2008

Vancouver may have lost the cornerstone of their franchise for a while—but they haven't lost their edge.

The Canucks continued their dominance in the month of November on Monday with a 3-2 overtime victory over the Detroit Red Wings.  It was their fourth straight win, and the first since the injury to starting goaltender Roberto Luongo. 

The Canucks looked unfazed Monday, as they came back from behind twice against the defending-champion Red Wings, and were able to win the game in overtime thanks to a Sami Salo power-play goal. 

The Canucks had gotten a goal from Taylor Pyatt and an equaliser late from Daniel Sedin before Salo won it in OT.  Curtis Sanford looked especially sharp in the victory, stopping 32 of the 34 shots he faced, as he won his fourth game of the season. 

Daniel and Demitra looked once again, exceptional as the two picked up another two points each.  They now each have at least a point in each of their last six games and they set up Salo's OT winner. 

Sanford was playing his third straight game, and will  be counted upon for the same effort he put in Monday.  He felt really comfortable, as he told, "We're rallying around each other," Sanford said. "There's adversity right now and we're finding a way to deal with it. We have each other's back out there and we're going to find a way to get through all this." 

Sanford moved to 3-1 as a starter this season, collecting a 913 save percentage and a 2.33 goals-against average along the way. 

The Canucks have called up goaltender Corey Schneider from Manitoba, and it is likely he will see his first professional action at some point during Luongo's absence.  With Luongo out for at least  a month, it will be on Sanford and Schneider to keep the Canucks afloat.

The Canucks received more bad news Monday, as Steve Bernier left the game with an apparent bruised shoulder and center Ryan Johnson is seeing a hand specialist to evaluate his hand, which was injured while blocking a shot Monday.  The two are only expected to be day-to-day—but with Bieksa still out through injury as well, this team will really have to dig deeply. 

Six of their next 10 match-ups will be against Northwest division teams, starting Thursday against the Calgary Flames.  The Canucks have recalled forward Alexandre Bolduc from Manitoba in case Johnson cannot go on Thursday.

With the win, the Canucks have gone 8-0-3 in their last 11 games and only five points back of the NHL-leading San Jose Sharks.  But more importantly, they've improved their record to 14-6-2, good for first in the Northwest with a five-point cushion on the Wild and Flames.