|CBJ||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||0|
|VAN||0||2||0||(0 - 0)||2|
The Vancouver Canucks have not allowed an opponent to score in their last two games thanks to goaltender Roberto Luongo. With another impressive effort, he can set the franchise's longest shutout streak.
Luongo looks to give the Canucks another victory when they host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday.
Vancouver (13-9-2) hasn't given up a goal in the first two games of its three-game homestand after surrendering 10 in its previous three contests. Luongo has been in net for both victories as he made 27 saves in a 2-0 win over Chicago on Sunday and stopped 26 shots in Tuesday's 4-0 victory over Anaheim.
"(The Ducks) were firing everything at the net and I was able to challenge the shooter every time," said Luongo, who last posted back-to-back shutouts Oct. 5-7, 2005, while playing for Florida, but has never blanked three straight opponents.
"Luckily there was no backdoor plays or stuff like that and no rebounds so it makes me much more comfortable knowing that I can focus on the shooter."
Luongo hasn't allowed a goal in his last 133 minutes, 59 seconds, and now has a chance to reach the Canucks' shutout record of 184:20 - established over four games from March 29-April 4, 1975.
He'll be trying to set that mark against Columbus (11-9-4), which has lost five of its last seven meetings with the Canucks, including a 4-1 defeat on Oct. 21. The Blue Jackets are 3-8-1 all-time in Vancouver.
The Canucks have won four straight and five of their last six at home after opening the season 1-6-0 at GM Place. They last won five in a row there from Feb. 10-March 6.
In 13 home starts, Luongo is 6-6-1 with a 2.02 goals-against average and all three of his shutouts this season. He has lost his last two starts to the Blue Jackets, but is 4-2-2 with a 1.85 GAA and three shutouts against them in eight appearances.
Luongo remains the Canucks' stable presence in net, while the Blue Jackets' goaltending situation isn't nearly as certain. Pascal Leclaire, who has helped Columbus to the best start in the club's seven-year history, injured his hamstring six minutes into the second period of Monday's 3-1 loss at Edmonton.
Leclaire made nine saves before he was replaced by Fredrik Norrena, who will start in Vancouver after the Blue Jackets announced Wednesday night that Leclaire would miss at least one game.
He could be back as soon as Saturday in Calgary, but after watching him come back too soon from a knee injury last season and end up requiring surgery that ended his season, coach Ken Hitchcock made it clear the team won't rush it.
"We've already learned our lesson. He doesn't come back until he's 100 percent," Hitchcock said. "He's chomping at the bit right now. He's feels great. He's had marked improvement. He wants to join the club tomorrow. But we're not doing this until we're 100 percent sure, and we're going to go at it slowly."
Leclaire is 10-5-1 with a 1.88 GAA and an NHL-leading six shutouts in 18 appearances, while Norrena is 1-4-3 with a 2.59 GAA in nine games this season. Tomas Popperle was recalled from Syracuse of the AHL as Norrena's backup.
The Blue Jackets have dropped six of their last seven games away from Columbus, as well as four of their last five overall.
Columbus also looks for Nash to regain his scoring touch after being held without a point Monday. It ended a six-game run in which he totaled five goals and five assists. Nash leads the Blue Jackets with 16 goals and 11 assists in 24 game