It turned out Garon needed to be even better, and he was up the challenge.
Garon made 29 saves through overtime and stopped all three in the shootout before Ales Hemsky finally beat Luongo on a backhand deke, lifting the Edmonton Oilers to a 1-0 victory against the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday.
"When you play against a good goalie like Roberto Luongo, you don't want to fall behind early and give up a goal," said Garon, who stopped Byron Ritchie's deke, pokechecked Brendan Morrison and got a piece of Ryan Kesler's backhand.
"I felt good in the shootout. I knew it could have went long with Roberto in net."
It almost did. Luongo stopped Sam Gagner's deke and watched as Raffi Torres fanned completely from the slot, but Hemsky faked a shot and made a strong move to his backhand, lifting the puck quickly and sharply over the sprawled goaltender.
"I knew I just had to get it up and I did it," Hemsky said. "Matty played an unbelievable game and gave us a chance to win the game with one goal."
It was the first time the Oilers won back-to-back games since the first two of the season, and Garon was the story in both. He made 37 saves in a 4-2 victory in Calgary on Saturday and was rewarded with back-to-back starts for the first time since joining the Oilers as a free agent this summer.
Garon responded with another strong effort in Vancouver, especially early.
Edmonton was outshot 16-5 in the first period and 23-10 through 40 minutes, but Garon made great saves on a deflection by Alexandre Burrows and against Brad Isbister on a rebound late in the first period.
"The goalie was outstanding. Obviously, he was the story of the game," said Oilers coach Craig MacTavish, praising his netminder despite doubts about the one-sided shot total in the first period. "They must have been counting by twos."
Luongo made 19 saves in regulation and overtime and gets credit for his first shutout of the season. But it was little consolation as the Canucks had a season-high three-game winning streak snapped and fell to 2-6-1 at home this season.
"I don't really care to be honest," Luongo said of the shutout. "I just care about the win. We've got to find a way to win at home, that's the bottom line. It doesn't matter how we do it."
The victory snapped a handful of streaks for both clubs. It was Edmonton's first against the Canucks in eight games dating to Dec. 4, 2006, including the first two this season. It also was Vancouver's first loss (6-0-1) within the Northwest Division this season.
"It means a lot," Hemsky said. "They're in the same division. It's a four-point game for us. They win the first two games so we get them back."
The Oilers got the victory by finally shutting down Vancouver's Daniel and Henrik Sedin. The identical twins had 31 points in their previous 10 games against Edmonton, but were limited to only three shots this time.
"We did a good job against the Sedins," Garon said. "They seemed to have our number earlier in the season but tonight we really limited their chances."
As well as they played, both goalies also got early breaks.
Edmonton's Dick Tarnstrom hit the post 30 seconds in, and defenseman Willie Mitchell swept a puck off the goal line behind Luongo after Hemsky's one-timer from the blue line trickled through his pads less than eight minutes later.
Garon also got some help from the post when Morrison ripped a shot over his shoulder less than three minutes into the game, with the puck caroming back out and off his goal mask before being cleared. Ryan Kesler also hit the seam of the post and cross bar behind him again with 10 seconds left in the second period.
"This is not a 1-0 game in a shootout; there was some quality chances," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said. "We hit the post a couple of times, they hit it a couple times. It's just sometimes goaltenders are in that zone where they are stopping everything and they were getting some bounces tonight."
|Roberto Luongo is perfect in the game until Ales Hemsky finds a way past the goalie. (Getty Images)|
|Edmonton (6-10-1) «||0||0||0||0||1 (1)||1|
|Vancouver (8-8-0)||0||0||0||0||0 (0)||0|
Save Pct.: 1.000
Save Pct.: 1.000
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|Ales Hemsky (3), GOAL|
|08:30||Kesler, 2 min, Hooking|
|10:39||Horcoff, 2 min, Hooking|
|02:37||Staios, 2 min, Roughing|
|06:40||Bourdon, 2 min, Tripping|
|14:58||Ritchie, 2 min, Tripping|
|04:52||Kesler, 2 min, Hooking|
|Shots On Goal|
|Goalie||MINS||S||GA||SO S||SO GA|
|Attendance - 18630|
|Referees - Rob Martell, Justin St. Pierre|
|Linesmen - Shane Heyer, Don Henderson|