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VANCOUVER -- Roberto Luongo has helped key the Vancouver Canucks' recent success. They may have to try to continue that success without their star goaltender.
The Canucks seek a season-high fourth straight win on Monday, but may not have Luongo available when they welcome the surging Red Wings.
Vancouver (13-6-2) has collected at least a point in each of its last nine games (7-0-2) as Luongo has posted a 5-0-2 record, a 0.97 goals-against average and a .969 save percentage while starting eight games in that stretch.
The Canucks have won three straight, including a 3-1 victory at Pittsburgh on Saturday to conclude a 3-0-1 road trip. However, Luongo injured his groin less than five minutes into the game, collapsing onto the ice following what appeared to be routine save on a shot from the point.
The two-time Vezina Trophy finalist exited the game and was expected to be evaluated in Vancouver, but the extent of his injury remains unclear.
Curtis Sanford replaced Luongo and turned aside 17 of 18 shots en route to his second straight victory, improving to 2-1-0 with a 2.46 GAA in four appearances this season.
"You hate to see your teammate down on the ice like that, he's the biggest part of our team," said Sanford, who also beat Minnesota on Thursday as Luongo was given a rare night off. "But we're going to have to move past that and we're going to have to play some games without him in there."
Should Luongo be forced out of Monday's game, Sanford would likely start against the Red Wings (14-2-3). He is 1-3-0 with a 2.91 GAA in five career games versus Detroit, which handed Vancouver its most recent regulation loss - 3-2 at home on Nov. 2.
The Canucks beat the Red Wings 4-3 in Detroit on Oct. 16 - the teams' first meeting of the season.
Vancouver's Pavol Demitra has 10 goals and 24 points in 46 career games versus the Red Wings, and has six goals and four assists during a six-game overall point streak.
Demitra centers a line between twin brothers Henrik and Daniel Sedin, who have combined for four goals and 10 assists over the last five games.
The linemates could struggle to keep their production going versus Detroit, which has gone 7-0-1 in November while allowing only 20 goals over those eight games.
The reigning Stanley Cup champions stayed hot Saturday with a 5-2 victory in Calgary.
Pavel Datsyuk and Jiri Hudler had a goal and an assist apiece for the Red Wings, who have won the first two games on their three-game trip and five straight overall. They last won six in a row during an eight-game run from Jan. 17-Feb. 5.
"We know how to win," said Red Wings coach Mike Babcock, whose team has also won its last five road games. "We've been winning for a while here and we're determined. When you get contributions from lots of people, you're better."
Ty Conklin made 29 saves versus Calgary, but Detroit will likely go with Chris Osgood on Monday. Osgood, who has won his last three visits to Vancouver, is 16-4-1 with four ties and a 2.45 GAA in 27 career games against the Canucks.
|Dec 04 '08||VAN 5 at DET 6||D. Cleary|
|Nov 24 '08||DET 2 at VAN 3 - OT||S. Salo|
|Nov 02 '08||DET 3 at VAN 2||H. Zetterberg|
|Oct 16 '08||VAN 4 at DET 3 - OT||A. Burrows|
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