The NHL head office killed the Edmonton Oilers' losing streak - but the league's pooh-bahs couldn't keep Roberto Luongo out of town.
Performing the type of goaltending tricks that can take a team deep into the Stanley Cup playoffs, Luongo did everything but stand on his head last night to give the Vancouver Canucks a 2-1 victory at Rexall Place.
The Oilers are now winless in 11 games, three shy of the franchise record.
"It was a great battle of two pretty good goaltenders," said Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish. "Roli made a lot of great saves and Luongo was doing what he has been doing all year long and played really well."
PLENTY OF GOOD THINGS
In a game where the Oilers did plenty of things right - like scoring first, constantly pounding rubber at the net and taking the body - Luongo stole the show.
Joffrey Lupul - victim on a point-blank opportunity in the first period.
Fernando Pisani - denied on another golden chance early in the second period.
Toby Petersen - rejected after a great two-on-one feed from Lupul.
Zack Stortini - frustrated after the puck just slipped past the net in the second.
"He made some big saves at some key times of the game," said a frustrated Pisani of Luongo. "I had some good quality chances in the slot and I have to bury those. There is no question there. I'd like to have those back."
Luongo now has 42 wins on the season, including six against the Oilers.
"Right away I could tell in the first period that they were going to shoot from every angle possible," said Luongo. "It was going to be important not only for me to be sharp but my teammates to make sure we took care of the rebounds."
And the Sedin twins - as usual - provided all the offence the Canucks needed. Henrik and Daniel combined for four points and the game-winning goal. The Sedins have 24 points combined in eight games against Edmonton this season.
"It is really impressive. They know where each are all the time on the ice without even looking," continued Luongo. "Sometimes it really amazes me."
At least the Oilers broke one streak by scoring first.
With Raffi Torres finding the net for the first time in 11 games, Edmonton opened the scoring for the first time in 12 games.
"It was a pretty good hockey game from a lot of aspects," remarked MacTavish before praising his raw rookie defenceman. "It was pretty incredible the way (Sebastien) Bisaillon played.
"He got some shots through and stepped up at the right times and really didn't get exposed."
BRODZIAK SENT DOWN
Robert Nilsson survived - but Kyle Brodziak didn't.
With Lupul recovered from the flu and on the ice last night, the Oilers sent Brodziak back to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.