- The Washington Times - Friday, March 20, 2009

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA (AP) - Roberto Luongo made 30 saves for his first shutout in four months, and the Vancouver Canucks extended their franchise-record home winning streak to 11 games with a 3-0 victory over St. Louis on Thursday night.

After Vancouver was outshot badly through the first half of the game, Alex Burrows opened the scoring with 5:06 left in the second period. Mason Raymond and Henrik Sedin added goals 1:56 apart midway through the third to help the Canucks leapfrog Chicago for fourth place in the Western Conference.

Vancouver, 16-3-1 since ending a nine-game home losing streak Feb. 2, also trails Calgary for the Northwest Division lead by just three points.

Chris Mason, making his 22nd straight start, made 18 saves for the Blues, who also lost veteran forward Keith Tkachuk to a wrist injury 2 minutes into the third period.

Tkachuk, third on the team with 21 goals, was hit by Mattias Ohlund’s slap shot, went straight to the locker room and did not return.

St. Louis got back into the playoff picture with a 13-5-5 run since the AllStar break. But the Blues have lost three of their last four games for the first time in two months, including a 2-1 shootout loss in Edmonton on Tuesday night.

They certainly deserved a better fate early in Vancouver.

Vancouver didn’t register a second-period shot until a power play more than 11 minutes in, and was being outshot 18-4 by the Blues at that point. But Luongo kept it scoreless in the second period by stopping Patrik Berglund on a 2-on-1, and recovering quickly to get David Perron’s rebound attempt from in tight.

Burrows then opened the scoring with 5:06 left in the period, cutting into the slot off the boards, knocking Henrik Sedin’s pass out of the corner down to his stick, and snapping a wrist shot under Mason’s blocker. It was Burrow’s eighth goal in the last nine games _ and career-best 23rd this season.

Raymond doubled the lead with his first goal in 27 games 8:33 into the third period, driving hard to the back of the net to knock in a perfect cross-ice pass _ just past a diving defender _ from Ryan Kesler off the rush.

Henrik Sedin scored again 2 minutes later after David Backes lost the puck behind his own net. Daniel Sedin pounced on it and fed a pass to his identical twin alone in front of the net, where he deked Mason down and shot it in.

Luongo got a break when Barret Jackman’s point shot glanced off the cross bar three minutes into the third period, and had to recover quickly again to get a toe on T.J. Oshie’s quick wraparound a couple of minutes later.

It was Luongo’s sixth shutout of the season, but first since Nov. 8, a few weeks before the groin injury that forced him to miss almost two months.

Notes:@ The Canucks will start a six-game trip in Phoenix on Saturday. The teams meet again in St. Louis next Thursday. The teams split the first two meetings by identical 6-4 scores, with the Blues’ victory on Jan. 9 starting an eight-game losing streak for the Canucks. But Vancouver has won five of the last six contests.

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