x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Blues hand Luongo first regulation loss to upset Canucks

The less-fancied St Louis score a 3-2 shock win in a 'big step for the club'.

ST LOUIS // The St Louis Blues pulled off a 3-2 upset victory over the NHL-leading Vancouver Canucks on Monday, handing red-hot goaltender Roberto Luongo his first regulation loss in more than two months.

Andy McDonald and Alexander Steen scored first-period goals for the Blues (25-21-9) who went 3-1 ahead in the second on a goal by Patrik Berglund.

Jannik Hansen netted a wrist shot for Vancouver at 1:47 in the third but the Canucks (36-12-9) could not get the equaliser and lost for just the second time in nine games.

Luongo made 31 saves but also made a silly mistake to gift St Louis their second goal when his clearance went straight to Steen, and he suffered his first loss in regulation since December 5, also against the Blues, to snap a streak of 21 games.

"The puck was coming towards me and I thought I had enough time to shove it (away)," Luongo said of Steen's goal. "Obviously, it was a bad decision. He anticipated it and made me look pretty bad."

St Louis netminder Jaroslav Halak finished with 23 saves, one game after he was pulled for allowing three goals during his team's loss to the Minnesota Wild on Saturday.

With just their third win in the last 10 games, the Blues are seven points behind the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

"I think the desperation was there," Blues coach Davis Payne said. "It was five guys going over the boards, making sure they made the right plays. A big step for our club."


Coyotes hold off Capitals

Ray Whitney scored one goal and set up another as the Phoenix Coyotes frustrated Washington's top line with a flurry of blocked shots in a 3-2 win over the Capitals.

Ilya Bryzgalov had 29 saves, Martin Hanzal and Vernon Fiddler each scored and the Coyotes blocked a season-high 20 shots to win their fifth straight game and move atop the Pacific Division.

Phoenix also held Washington's top line of Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Alexander Semin to one point - an assist by Semin on Marcus Johansson's goal in the second period.

Matt Bradley scored in the third period to get Washington back within a goal, but the Caps couldn't get past Bryzgalov even after sending Ovechkin out as a fourth forward late.


Forsberg retirement, Flames hit Avalanche

At Denver, Jarome Iginla scored twice as Calgary routed Colorado. Olli Jokinen and David Moss had a goal and three assists each, and Curtis Glencross also scored two goals just hours after Avalanche star Peter Forsberg again announced his retirement from hockey after two games in his latest comeback.

Anton Babchuk, Alex Tanguay and Matt Stajan also scored and Miikka Kiprusoff had 17 saves for the Flames, who had five goals in the first period. Backup goalie Henrik Karlsson played the final 6:51 and made five saves.

Daniel Winnick scored for Colorado, which has lost eight in a row and 10 of 11. The Avalanche also lost center Matt Duchene to a hand injury late in the second period.