The Vancouver Canucks have officially entered panic mode. Down 2-0 to the Kings in their Western Conference Quarterfinals playoff series, the Canucks are switching to backup goalie Cory Schneider over Roberto Luongo.
The No. 8 seed Kings won the first two games of the series in Vancouver by 4-2 scores. Luongo stopped 57 of 64 (89%) shots he faced (one of the goals was an empty-netter). It’s not a terrible performance, but it was enough to prompt coach Alain Vigneault to make the switch.
“Obviously being down, 2-0, the way we are right now is not a reflection of the goaltending that we’ve had so far; but it’s time to change the momentum a little bit and this is one of the cards we might have,” Vigneault said.
Vigneault called both men “great goaltenders,” and forward Ryan Kesler points out that despite being the backup in Vancouver, Schneider would be the starter on most other teams. Schneider had the second-best save percentage in the NHL this season and was third in goals-against average.
Fans who have followed the Canucks in the playoffs the past two years will recognize this is nothing new — they also switched from Luongo to Schneider for Game 6 against the Blackhawks last year. The Canucks lost that game and went back to Luongo for Game 7, which they won. Luongo was also pulled during Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals against the Bruins, and there were calls for Schneider to start Game 5. Luongo started Game 5 and shut out the Bruins, but he played poorly in the final two games and the Canucks lost the series.
UPDATE: Schneider stopped 19 of 20 shots but the Canucks lost 1-0.
Photo Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-US PRESSWIRE