Yes, looks like an issue with the PCB attached to the LCD. When you take the old LCD out, plug it into the Macbook (whilst not in the lid), and push on the board below the LCD, then the cable. Do this to determine whether it is an LCD or cable fault (bar like this is most likely the LCD).
1. Yes, should be compatible. Try to avoid the 2008 version of this LCD (can't remember the code, but Google and you should find out), since the 2008 LCDs have a terrible viewing angle compared to the newer versions of the A1278 LCD.
2. Never used an iOpener, but would recommend heat gun. A heat gun will allow you to accurately monitor the heat by feeling the glass with your hand, to ensure you do not melt the rubber bezel.