Roberto Luongo stops 24 as Vancouver Canucks shut out Colorado Avalanche 3-0

Jim Morris, The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER - Roberto Luongo turned in another strong performance for a shutout to raise more questions about the goaltending situation as the Vancouver Canucks defeated the Colorado Avalanche 3-0 on Wednesday night.

Luongo, who has been on the trading block since Cory Schneider replaced him as Vancouver's No. 1 goaltender, was rarely tested by Colorado but still made some big saves while stopping 24 shots.

It was his first win of the season and 61st career shutout.

In the third period, with Vancouver leading 2-0, Luongo stopped Matt Duchene on a short-handed breakaway that brought calls of "Louuu, Louuu" from Canucks fans. Later in the same period he blocked a John Mitchell shot from the slot.

Defenceman Jason Garrison and centre Max Lapierre both scored their first goals of the season as the Canucks improved their record to 3-2-2.

Zack Kassian meanwhile scored his fifth goal in seven games. The big right-winger tipped a Dan Hamhuis shot past Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov at 8:18 of the third period. That broke an 0-for-13 power-play drought for the Canucks.

It was another frustrating night on the road for the Avalanche, who dropped to 2-4-0. Colorado is winless in four games away from the Pepsi Center this season and have been outscored 15-3. The Av's struggling power play has managed just one goal all season and is 0 for 12 on the road. Against Vancouver, the Avs failed to score on a 1:25 two-man advantage and on four opportunities overall.

Garrison, a free-agent signing from Florida in the off-season, opened the scoring at 7:34 of the first period. Avs defenceman Erik Johnson was trying to clear a puck but it ended up on Garrison's stick. The big defenceman let go a shot from the blue-line that beat Varlamov.

Lapierre showed some strength and speed on his goal at 15:12 of the second. He beat Avalanche defenceman Greg Zanon in a battle along the boards, skated in alone, and slipped the puck through Varlamov's legs. Varlamov finished with 20 saves.

Luongo was a surprise starter against Colorado. He stopped 26 shots and was one of the best Canucks on the ice in Vancouver's 3-2, shootout loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Monday night. Schneider is expected to start Friday against Chicago.

One of Colorado's best scoring chances came with the game less than two minutes old. Jan Hejda fired a shot that Luongo got a piece of. The puck dropped behind him and lay on the ice. A falling Luongo knocked it out of the crease with the knob of his goal stick.

Notes: Attendance at Rogers Arena was a sellout at 18,910. ... Garrison's goal came on the Canucks' first shot of the game. ... Vancouver defeated the Avs in all six meetings last season. ...In the first period Canuck defenceman Keith Ballard sent Colorado's Cody McLeod flying with a hip check. ... Henrik Sedin played his 588th consecutive game and now ranks seventh in NHL history for the longest ironman streak.