Canucks’ Luongo outduels Price for fantasy win

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Suffering Canadiens withdrawal? The Gazette has the answer with the ultimate fantasy experience as beat writer Pat Hickey and Gazette techie Eric Tobon employ EA Sports NHL 13 to produce The Season That Isn’t during the NHL lockout. Here’s how things might have looked in Saturday night’s scheduled game between the Canadiens and Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena .

PAT HICKEY
The Gazette

VANCOUVER – Montreal native Roberto Luongo, the subject of off-season trade rumours, outduelled Carey Price as the Vancouver Canucks edged the Canadiens 2-1 Saturday night at Rogers Arena.

Luongo gave up a first-period goal to David Desharnais, but finished the night with 33 saves. It was his seventh win of the season as the Canucks lead the Western Conference with a 10-2 record. The Canadiens, who saw their eight-game winning streak snapped, dropped to 8-3 but continue to sit atop the Eastern Conference standings.   

The emergence of a younger – and cheaper – alternative in Cory Schneider led to speculation that Luongo would be dealt, but general manager Mike Gillis wasn’t happy with what was being offered in return and kept Luongo.

Henrik Sedin provided the winning goal when he beat Price at 17:52 of the third period to snap a 1-1 tie.

“It was a good goal,” Price said. “When you’re in a game like that, you don’t want to give up a cheap goal, but he put a perfect shot under the crossbar on my blocker side.”

Desharnais, who is the Canadiens’ leading scorer, took advantage of a sloppy Vancouver line change to open the scoring at 14:18. He was jumping on the ice when he took a cross-ice pass from Rene Bourque, who returned to the lineup for the first time since undergoing  abdominal surgery in the off-season.

That lead didn’t last long as Pincourt native Alexandre Burrows knotted the score at 16:49 with an assist going to former Canadien Chris Higgins.

Coach Michel Therrrien said he was pleased with his team’s effort, but said the Canadiens took too many penalties.

“Our penalty-killing was good, but it takes a lot of energy away when you’re shorthanded and you can’t get any rhythm in your offence,” Therrien said.

The Canucks were 0-for-6 with the extra man while the Canadiens went 0-for-3.

Montreal returns home for four games beginning with a visit from the Phoenix Coyotes Tuesday night.

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