Roberto Luongo has a sad. Cory Schneider gets the nod again, tonight.
Remember when there was mass panic following a shootout loss to the Los Angeles Kings on January 28th? Sure the Canucks were 2-2-2, but more important they had failed to play a well-rounded 60 minute game. It’s safe to say that things have changed a little bit since then.
The Canucks have won 4 games in a row, and are set to add much-needed reinforcements in the form of David Booth and Ryan Kesler in the coming days. As if there isn’t already enough reason for excitement, let me give you one more: they’re hosting the Calgary Flames in the third of 3 Hockey Day in Canada games today.
Read Past the Jump for More on the Game.
Puck Drop: 7 PM PST
Radio: Team 1040
Last time these two teams went up against each other, on January 23rd, the Canucks were looking for their first win on the season. On that night, we saw Zack Kassian really step up into the forefront as the caddy for the Sedins, as he logged over 19 minutes, scored a goal, made his presence known in front of the net, and ultimately won it with a beautiful move in the shootout. As you may have noticed, he has replaced by Burrows in the past two games. Expect things to stay this way given the results.
Taking care of business in this tilt is important for the Canucks; they are just starting a four-game home stretch with some very winable games in front of them, before hitting the road for a tough jaunt through the Central division.
For me personally, it’ll be weird seeing the Canucks go up against the Flames without Miikka Kiprusoff trying to thwart the good guys’ attempts. But believe it or not, a 37-year old who has been ridden for years upon years is out with an injury. While it’s not as serious as was first believed (a 1st degree MCL sprain), the entire situation was a perfect example of how dysfunctional the Calgary Flames are as an organization. Their plan B is Leland Irving; the same goalie who couldn’t find the ice for the Abbotsford Heat during the lockout, despite being completely healthy. As for their plan C? Well, they didn’t even have a third goalie under contract until the Kiprusoff injury happened. Fun stuff.
Thus far the Flames have actually been able to get their second line working with the new additions of Jiri Hudler and Roman Cervenka gelling well together. And obviously their first line featuring Jarome Iginla and (one of the most underappreciated players of this era) Alex Tanguay is quite dangerous. But after that, there are some names on the roster that make you snicker, satisfyingly, beccause they are after all the Flames. It certainly doesn’t help their causes that their strongest possession player in Mikael Backlund and their best tire-flipper (Michael Cammalleri) are now out.
What stands out immediately about the Flames is that they are 4th in the league in shots on goal/game (32.0), and are giving up the third fewest amount. Their goalies just flat out have not been able to stop the pucks that have been shot at them. I can recall last Saturday night’s game against the Blackhawks, when they threw everything but the kitchen sink at Ray Emery, with only 2 goals and 1 point (in the form of a shootout loss) to show for their troubles.
You’ll note that I didn’t really touch on the news that Cory Schneider was getting to the call to start this game. Why? Because there’s nothing to be said about it. He had a strong effort in Minnesota, and the Canucks have made it clear that they’ll ride the guy that’s playing well. Luongo will be back in if/when Schneider stumbles. Until then, enjoy the pucks that are being stopped.
Finally, if anyone out there is good with cameras and knows someone who would be willing to invest in the filming of a short documentary, please let me know. I won’t stop until ‘Feast or Famine: The Jay Feaster Story’ is unleashed on the masses.