Leafs Can't Solve Luongo As Winless Slide Continues
Saturday, 10.24.2009 / 9:58 PM ET / News
The Canadian Press
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VANCOUVER (CP) - Vancouver neminder Roberto Luongo made 35 saves Saturday as the Canucks beat Toronto 3-1, leaving the Maple Leafs still seeking their first NHL win of the season. Mason Raymond and Ryan Kesler scored quick power-play goals as Vancouver took advantage of the league's worst club on the penalty kill to forge a 2-0 lead in the opening period.
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Raymond added an empty-net goal with 7.9 seconds remaining as the loss meant the worst start to a season in the history of the storied Maple Leafs franchise.
Raymond scored from a scramble in front of goalie Joey MacDonald at 14:50 while Kesler whistled a wrist shot behind the Toronto netminder before the first period ended.
Niklas Hagman cut the deficit in half with the game's third power-play goal after Luongo denied several close-in Toronto chances.
The desperate Leafs had a swarming forecheck going for most of the third period, but couldn't solve the solid Canuck netminder.
The win was Vancouver's fifth in seven games after an 0-3 start to their season. It also left the Canucks at .500 for the first time this campaign at 5-5.
The woeful Leafs, the only winless team in the NHL, dropped to 0-7-1 as the Canucks won their fourth straight game on home ice and fourth straight over Toronto.
The Canucks took a 2-1 lead into the third period after Hagman, benched by coach Ron Wilson earlier in the losing streak, drew the Leafs to within a goal in the second period.
He beat Luongo with a wrist shot from the face-off circle 13 seconds after Henrik Sedin took a holding penalty.
The Leafs held an early 8-1 edge in shots but took five consecutive penalties and surrendered power-play goals to Raymond and Kesler two minutes 42 seconds apart.
Raymond, who drew the penalty that led to the opening score, was credited with his second goal of the season from a goalmouth scramble.
Canuck winger Michael Grabner knocked the puck down in front of MacDonald but it appeared Leaf defenceman Mike Komisarek accidentally tapped the puck into his own net.
It didn't get any better for Toronto when Rickard Wallin was called for delay of game when he shot the puck over the defensive zone glass.
Kesler scored his third goal in six games when his quick wrist shot blew past the glove of the minor-league call-up who had given up eight goals in his previous two starts.
The Leafs had good scoring chances killing the early penalties.
Defenceman Ian White was denied by Luongo and Lee Stempniak fanned on his close-in shot. Both Leafs got break-ins by going around Canuck Michael Samuelsson.
Tanner Glass got in some hard right hands in a spirited fight with rookie Luke Schenn in the second period.
NOTES: The Leafs went six days without a game, their longest layoff since January 1956, excluding the all-star break and the Olympics ... Vancouver won both meetings with the Leafs last season ... the teams have a rematch Jan. 30 in Toronto ... Jonas Gustavsson, the six-foot-three rookie Swedish netminder known as Monster, has resumed skating but did not dress Saturday ... he's been out with a groin injury since an Oct. 6 start against Ottawa.