Roberto Luongo was the best player on the ice in the Vancouver Canucks game in L.A. Monday night but it didn't get him his first win of the season. The Canucks took a 2-0 lead and tried depending on their new 2nd string goalie, but the Kings fought back.
The game had a meaning beyond simply trying to put away two points early in the season as it was the eventual Stanley Cup champion Kings who bounced the Canucks from the playoffs in the first round last year. That series also marked the bouncing of Luongo from first string to second, and to the trading block, after he was replaced after two losses to start that series by Cory Schneider.
Kings' first power play goal of season
In just his second start of this season, Luongo saw his club take a two-goal lead on rookie Zack Kassian's goal from in tight in the first period and Alex Burrows wraparound in the second. But the rest of the way Vancouver offered little in the way of offence and were outshot 28-23.
The Canucks did, however, play a gritty and determined defensive game only to be thwarted by a Jeff Carter power-play marker late in the second - the Kings first goal on the power play this season - and, after pulling Jonathan Quick, Slava Voynov's shot through traffic with 43 seconds left in regulation. Luongo made a number of highlight saves throughout, including getting his glove on a shot from the slot by Dustin Brown, playing in his 600th regular season game.
The teams battled through overtime without a goal and on came the shootout. Luongo, who did not look good in a shootout in his only other start of the season against Edmonton, made good saves on Anze Kopitar and Brown, only to have Carter's deke to the backhand beat him. Alex Burrows, Alex Edler and Zack Kassian all failed to score for Vancouver.
Mike Gillis: in Luongo trade talks
During the game's first intermission Canucks GM Mike Gillis appeared on TSN in Canada and said he has been keeping in contact with teams interested in the services of Luongo but that there was no deal imminent. He did not say which NHL teams he is talking with.
Vancouver ended their three game California jaunt at 1-1-1 while the Kings got their second straight win after starting the season 0-2-1. It was the third time the Canucks blew a two-goal lead this season, having done so in a 3-2 shootout loss to Edmonton and a 3-2 shootout win against the Calgary Flames.