Odds Favor Canucks
Vancouver, BC - Roberto Luongo hasn't allowed a goal in more than 10 periods, but the Vancouver Canucks netminder would be happier with a win over a longtime nemesis rather than extend a run that's approaching his team record.
With a shutout streak already in excess of 200 minutes, Luongo and the Canucks meet the Colorado Avalanche for the first time this season on Wednesday night at GM Place.
Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made Vancouver –170 money line favorites (NHL Odds) for today's game, the over/under has been set at 5.5 goals (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 78% of bets for this game have been placed on Vancouver -170 (View NHL Bet Percentages).
Luongo hasn't let a puck in the net since Henrik Zetterberg beat him at 18:52 of the second period on Nov. 2 in a loss to Detroit. The Canucks' new captain then stopped a total of 52 shots in shutouts over Nashville and Phoenix, and made 29 saves on Saturday in a 2-0 win over Minnesota.
"His best performance yet," said teammate Ryan Kesler. "He kept us in it."
With his streak at 201 minutes and 8 seconds, Luongo is close to eclipsing the team record he set almost a year ago. From Nov. 23-Dec. 2, Luongo blanked opponents for 210 minutes and 34 seconds.
Luongo - fourth among active goalies with 43 career shutouts- was named first star of the week by the NHL on Monday, but said he's not thinking about the streak.
"I don't think there is a distraction to be had," he told the league's official Web site. "I mean, I don't go into Wednesday night's game saying, 'Oh, I've got to get a shutout.' I just go in thinking about how I have to play. And if I do that, things will take care of themselves.
"For me, everything's the same. I still focus on my game. I'm not going into Wednesday night's game thinking about beating the shutout streak. I'm just worried about getting the two points, and playing my game."
Luongo, though, hasn't fared well in his career against Colorado, going 0-5-1 with a 4.03 goals-against average in his last six starts. Overall, Luongo is 5-13-2 with a 3.24 GAA, and his only shutout against the Avalanche came on March 27, 2007 in Denver.
Colorado also has a goaltender that's earned another start following a shutout. Peter Budaj stopped 26 shots on Saturday in a 1-0 home win over the Predators.
For Budaj, it was his sixth career shutout, but also his first since March 6, 2007, helping Colorado (6-8-0) snap a five-game losing streak. He told the Avalanche's official Web site that he's looking forward to the expected matchup with Luongo.
"If you ask any goalie, he wants to outplay the goalie at the other end," said Budaj, 1-1-0 with a 3.97 GAA in three career starts in Vancouver. "Every goalie is beatable and we know that Luongo is playing really good right now. He's a great goalie. We just have to do the little things right. Get some traffic in front of him, get some rebounds and hopefully we get onto him."
Darcy Tucker scored his 200th career goal in the win over the Predators, but Colorado will be without captain Joe Sakic to start this three-game road trip due to a back injury.
"He won't be on the ice until it starts to feel better, and hopefully that's in the next couple of days," said Avalanche coach Tony Granato.
Sakic is tied for the team lead with 10 assists. The 20-year veteran also is one point behind scoring leaders Paul Stastny and Milan Hejduk.
With Sakic out, Granato will lean more on Hejduk, whose enjoyed the most success in his career when facing the Canucks. The right wing has 33 goals and 52 points in 55 career games versus Vancouver (9-6-0).
He totaled three goals and two assists in his last matchups with the Canucks.
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Posted: 11/11/08 11:38PM ET