Cory Schneider, Roberto Luongo

Should Roberto Luongo start Game 5 for Vancouver?

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Through the first two games of the Stanley Cup finals, Roberto Luongo appeared to be the man destined to make a run at the Conn Smythe Trophy leading the Canucks to victory. He earned a shutout in Game 1 and held strong to get the Canucks to overtime to win Game 2.

In Boston, things took a vastly more disturbing turn as Luongo went on to allow 12 goals in 103 minutes played through Games 3 and 4 as the Canucks dropped both games by a combined score of 12-1. Cory Schneider took over for Luongo just minutes into the third period of Game 4 and did his part by stopping all nine shots he faced as the Bruins took Game 4 4-0.

So now we have to ask the question: Should Luongo start in Game 5? After all, the last time we saw Luongo get lit up this hard by an offense it came in Games 4 and 5 against Chicago in the first round of this year’s playoffs. Vancouver dropped Game 4 7-2 and then lost Game 5 5-0. Cory Schneider then got the call to start in Game 6, a game he ultimately left early thanks to injury and saw Luongo come into only to lose in overtime 4-3.

Some are thinking that coach Alain Vigneault might do the same thing this time around. We’re not so quick to jump on that bandwagon for a big reason. Against Chicago, the Canucks were playing with house money in Game 6. They had a 3-2 series lead heading into that game and if Schneider helped get the Canucks past their mental nemesis from Chicago, all was well. This time around the fate of the Stanley Cup finals hangs in the balance.

The winner of Game 5 will have a chance to end the series on Monday in Game 6. For Vancouver, a Game 5 loss could mean the end of the series given how poorly they played in Boston. For Vancouver, a win in Game 5 would mean they’d at least buy themselves a one game grace period should they get bombed on again in Boston. Versus’ Keith Jones and Jeremy Roenick said they’d stick with Luongo for Game 5.

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Of course, there’s the worry about whether or not Luongo is going through a mental phase here where he loses focus and confidence. You could argue that two or three of the goals he allowed in Game 4 he should’ve stopped. He certainly should’ve had Rich Peverley’s first goal that beat him five hole and he had to have Michael Ryder’s shot that beat him over the shoulder.

Luongo had his own reasons why he missed on Ryder’s goal saying the shot dipped about three feet after glancing off Sami Salo’s stick. We’re a bit skeptical of that take but we’re not the pros here.

So what would you do? Would you go back to your Vezina Trophy finalist who had a couple of bad games or would you go with your rookie backup goalie who has looked decent in the limited duty he’s had in the playoffs? Let us know in the comments and vote in our poll as to what you would do.

‘It’s embarrassing,’ says Gulutzan after lopsided loss to Oilers

DALLAS, TX - NOVEMBER 21:  Head coach Glen Gulutzan of the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center on November 21, 2011 in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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The Battle of Alberta was a tad lopsided Saturday.

The Edmonton Oilers scored early. They scored often. And despite holding a distinct advantage in shots on goal and puck possession, the rival Calgary Flames couldn’t get much going until the third period and by then the damage had been done.

The Oilers, tied in points with the San Jose Sharks, are one point back of the Anaheim Ducks for the Pacific Division lead after their 7-3 win over the Flames. Laurent Brossoit also collected his first career NHL victory.

This game wasn’t even six minutes old when Jordan Eberle scored to give Edmonton a three-goal lead. Chad Johnson was promptly pulled from the Calgary net, making one save on four shots faced.

The Flames were bad from the start. They didn’t get any better in the second period, falling behind five goals after 40 minutes and watching as the likes of Eberle and Connor McDavid piled on for a regular-season series sweep of Calgary.

Flames coach Glen Gulutzan had some strong words to describe the play of his team, which still holds down a wild card spot in the West.

“It’s embarrassing,” he said, per the Calgary Sun. “Our resolve to stick to it wasn’t there.”

“That’s a bunch of games in a row now where we’ve fallen behind and haven’t been able to get any push-back. And in our rink, it’s unacceptable,” added Mark Giordano.

The coach was utterly perplexed by his team’s breakdown on Edmonton’s third goal, which started off as a rush in the neutral zone and finished with Eberle, wide open down the right wing with a clear path to the net, beating Johnson on the shot.

“I don’t know what we were doing,” said Gulutzan. “I actually have no explanation for what our ‘D’ were doing on the third goal. It was a complete mistake.”

That should be concerning for the Flames.

They hold a playoff spot, but just barely with the Vancouver Canucks one point back and with two games in hand.

Talk about a Wild comeback for Minnesota

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The Minnesota Wild took back sole possession of the lead in the Central Division, thanks to a thrilling comeback win over the Pacific Division-leading Anaheim Ducks on Saturday.

Minnesota trailed 3-1 early in the second period. Jason Zucker closed the deficit in the middle period, before they took the lead for good thanks to a frenzy of three goals from Erik Haula, Ryan Suter and Zucker in 1:59 late in regulation for a 5-3 victory.

“When we came in in between the second and third, knowing we were only down a goal, and knowing our history, we didn’t think we were out of it,” said coach Bruce Boudreau, per the Pioneer Press.

And so the Wild remain one of the hottest teams in the league, leading Chicago by two points.

While it’s a comeback for them, the Ducks don’t quite see it the same way.

“It’s not what they did, to be honest. We self-imploded. Gave up too many opportunities, left our goalie out to dry,” said Cam Fowler.

Additional bad news for the Ducks, however, was that goalie John Gibson left the game in the second period with an upper-body injury, and didn’t return.

 

Bust a move: Capitals win includes unlikely OT hero and dad’s dancing in Dallas

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The usual suspects contributed for the Washington Capitals on Saturday. Down a pair of goals entering the third period, Alex Ovechkin and T.J. Oshie helped ignite the comeback on the power play.

But then an unlikely hero emerged.

Jay Beagle scored his 10th goal of the season and the overtime winner to give Washington a 4-3 victory over the Dallas Stars. That aforementioned goal total matches his previous career high from two seasons ago.

He initially accomplished the feat over the course of 62 games. This time, he hits 10 goals in 46 games played.

Officials needed to review the play, although replays quickly showed the puck over the line from the Beagle shot in the slot.

The comeback win led to a memorable post-game celebration.

Disclaimer: Don’t try this at home.

The Capitals maintain their lead in the Metropolitan Division ahead of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

This game versus the Stars included some feisty moments, particularly in the first period when tempers boiled over. Tom Wilson and Brett Ritchie dropped the gloves for a lengthy fight. Three seconds later, Daniel Winnik fought Antoine Roussel.

Ducks goalie Gibson leaves game versus Wild with upper-body injury

GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 01:  Goaltender John Gibson #36 of the Anaheim Ducks in action during the preseason NHL game against Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on October 1, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) Anaheim goaltender John Gibson has left Saturday’s game against Minnesota with an upper-body injury.

A short-angle shot from Mikko Koivu appeared to hit Gibson in the upper chest with 5:39 to play in the first period. The goaltender immediately went down on one knee and was quickly attended to by a trainer. Gibson gingerly skated to the bench and went straight to the locker room.

Anaheim announced that Gibson is doubtful to return.

Gibson is 7-1-1 with two shutouts in his past nine starts. He was replaced by Jonathan Bernier.

Gibson stopped four of five shots he faced while making his fourth straight start.