Canucks switch to Cory Schneider in goal for Game 3

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

Cory Schneider: Roberto Luongo Deserves to Start in Goal for Game 5

The Vancouver Canucks have lost two games in a row since going up 2-0 on the Bruins in the Stanley Cup Final. Boston has not just won two in a row, they’ve spanked the Canucks outscoring them 12-1. Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo had to be pulled towards the end of Game 4 and backup Cory Schneider replaced him once it became 4-0. The poor showing by Luongo the past two games has sparked a debate: which goalie should start Game 5 for Vancouver? Schneider says it still should be Luongo.

“I am ready for anything but I am not expecting anything one way or another. As far as I’m concerned, three lucky goals off our sticks, off our bodies, and I’m not sure what Lou (Roberto Luongo) could have done differently on most of them. So I don’t really see him at fault and he deserves to play the next game.”

Schneider supports Luongo and I’m guessing coach Alain Vigneault will too. However, if he got pulled it wouldn’t be the first time these playoffs. In the first round, the Canucks were up 3-0 in their series with the Blackhawks before being forced into a Game 7. After Vancouver was outscored 12-2 in Games 4 and 5 against Chicago, Schneider started Game 6 and lost before Luongo was put back in place for Game 7.