September 08 2012 10:25AM
There were not many positive highlights from Vancouver's first round series against the LA Kings, as the Canucks were thoroughly outclassed throughout the majority of the five game defeat.
However, Cory Schneider's play was one bright spot. He stepped in to replace Roberto Luongo in Game 3 after the Canucks had dropped the first two games at home. Luongo's play wasn't poor, but the team needed a shake-up. Schneider stopped 19 of 20 shots in a 1-0 defeat in Game 3. He was good, but the team was unable to give him any goal support.
He was at his best in Game 4, though. The Kings out-shot Vancouver 44 to 30, but Schneider only let one puck get past him. His best save came five minutes into the third period.
The Canucks, facing elimination, were leading the Kings by one goal. Dustin Brown managed to free himself on a breakaway before getting hauled down by Kevin Bieksa. The play resulted in a penalty shot for Brown, and Schneider was forced to make a monumental save (at the time) to keep the Canucks ahead by one.
The penalty shot (and save):
Let's break it down:
Bieksa has lost the footrace to Brown, so he decides to dive and try and swipe the puck away. He misses, and trips Brown up. A rare instance of Brown falling down while actually being tripped.
The referee correctly plays the game of "guess which Sedin is older?" Sami Salo is showing a lot of emotion, as usual. Brown ends up in the goal after getting tripped up.
Brown comes in on the penalty shot, and Schneider comes out to challenge. This picture kind of writes itself.
Brown tries to freeze Schneider with the leg kick. He's a bit too far out for the move to work, and Schneider doesn't bite.
After the leg kick fails, Brown tries to get Schneider moving laterally with a quick deke. It doesn't work. Schneider stays tall, taking away most of the net. He stops the puck, and preserves Vancouver's one goal lead.
The Canucks ended up winning the game before narrowly losing Game 5 on home ice. If Schneider's arrival as a legitimate contender for the starting goaltender position came back in November, he cemented his position there with a stellar performance in Game 4 on the road.