Roberto Luongo broke the Vancouver Canucks' single-season record for wins in his last game. On Sunday night, he'll try to join a more exclusive club.
To become the 20th goaltender in NHL history with 40 victories in a season, Luongo and the Canucks will have to defeat the Anaheim Ducks in a matchup of streaking division leaders.
Of the 19 goaltenders with 40 wins, only six have done it in multiple seasons, led by New Jersey's Martin Brodeur, who reached that mark for the sixth time last week.
All-time shutouts leader Terry Sawchuk and Jacques Plante have accomplished the feat three times while Bernie Parent, Ed Belfour and Ken Dryden have done it twice. Six-time Vezina Trophy winner Dominik Hasek and all-time wins leader Patrick Roy each reached the mark just once.
Luongo made 25 saves and the Canucks (41-22-5) won their fifth straight by beating San Jose 2-1 in overtime on Friday.
"Once the season is over, it might be something to look at as nice achievement," Luongo told the team's official Web site. "But at the same time, our main goal is the playoffs."
Luongo broke the team record set by Kirk McLean in 1991-92, but needed the Canucks' league-leading 27th one-goal victory to do so. Taylor Pyatt snapped a scoreless tie early in the third period and Henrik Sedin scored 3:30 into the extra session.
"Everytime we get into those types of situations, especially OT, it seems like we can't really lose," said Luongo, who's lost both his starts this season against the Ducks (41-17-11).
He was lifted after giving up three goals on nine shots in less than 26 minutes during a 6-0 loss to Anaheim on Nov. 9. Three weeks later, Luongo gave up Ryan Getzlaf's power-play goal with 7:34 remaining in the third period en route to a 2-1 defeat.
The Canucks have won four of their last five in Anaheim, including a 3-2 overtime victory on Feb. 20 in which rookie backup Dany Sabourin made 38 saves for his first career win.
The Ducks enter this contest on a four-game winning streak after Getzlaf had two goals and an assist in a 5-1 rout of Edmonton on Friday night.
"We're headed in the right direction, and hopefully we can keep playing like that," said Andy McDonald, who became the fifth Ducks player with 20 goals this season. "If we're going to have any success in the playoffs, we're going to have to compete like that every night."
Backup Ilya Bryzgalov made 28 saves Friday, so Jean-Sebastien Giguere likely will be in net for this game. Giguere's allowed only seven goals while winning his last four starts - all at home - to improve to 19-2-5 with a 2.01 goals-against average at the Honda Center.
Against the Canucks this season, Giguere is 2-0-1 and has stopped 71 of 75 shots for a 1.32 GAA.
Leading scorer Teemu Selanne will try to avoid going a season-high third straight game without a point and reach a milestone for Anaheim. Selanne needs one goal to match his total from last season and reach the 40-goal mark for the sixth time in his career.
He hasn't scored a goal in three games this season versus the Canucks, but has three goals and five assists in a six-game point streak against them.
|AnaheimDucks.com is the official Web site of the Anaheim Ducks. Anaheim Ducks and AnaheimDucks.com are trademarks of Anaheim Ducks Hockey Club, LLC. NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2013 Anaheim Ducks Hockey Club, LLC and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.|