Canucks Clip Panthers 4-3 in Shootout

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The Associated Press
Monday, January 8, 2007; 1:49 AM

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Olli Jokinen knew enough about Roberto Luongo from their six seasons together as teammates to be certain the Vancouver Canucks' netminder wasn't going to let a few soft third-period goals ruin his confidence.

And he was right.

Luongo stopped six Florida shots in overtime and five of six in a shootout as Vancouver defeated the Panthers 4-3 on Sunday night.

"We battled hard but obviously Luongo was outstanding out there," said Jokinen. "I feel bad for Eddie though. We had three chances to put the game away in the shootout and didn't score. That's what usually happens over there when Luongo is in net."

Josh Green scored in the sixth round of the shootout to give the Canucks their season-high seventh straight win.

Green beat Florida netminder Ed Belfour high to the stick side from 20 feet out for the game winner.

For much of the game it appeared that Luongo was going to steal one from his former club as he held the Panthers at bay for two periods. But the 27-year-old gave up a pair of weak third-period goals to give Florida some hope.

"I'm more happy to get a seventh win in a row than to beat them," said Luongo. "They played hard tonight. I'm sure they wanted those two points but they battled for the full 65 and should be proud."

This was the first time Luongo, who faced 36 shots, had faced his former team since coming over to the Canucks in the biggest trade of the summer.

Knowing many of the shooters and their tendencies may have been an advantage for Luongo as only defenseman Steve Montador was able to put one past him in the shootout.

"I knew a couple of the guys but I think they wanted to switch it up and not show me the same moves," said Luongo. "Monty was the only one who could score on me last year in a shootout and he did it again tonight."

A resurgent Trevor Linden opened the scoring for Vancouver with just 10 seconds remaining in the first period.


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© 2007 The Associated Press

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