I’d like to promise this is the last Roberto Luongo-related post we’ll do today, but I’m afraid I can’t do that. Not with back-up (but for how long?!) Cory Schneider getting the nod from Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault to start tonight’s game versus the Blues at Rogers Arena.
Schneider has been very good so far this season, posting a 2-1-0 record with a 1.67 goals-against average and .935 save percentage. The 25-year-old’s numbers stand in stark contrast to Luongo’s (2-3-1, 3.45, .868.)
Schneider isn’t just some journeyman either. He’s a first-round draft pick that would be the number one on half the teams in the NHL. In 2010-11, he started 22 games, posting a 16-4-2 record with a 2.23 GAA and .929 SV%.
In other words, we’re not talking about Brian Elliott outplaying Jaroslav Halak for a stretch, as has been the case in St. Louis so far this season. Nobody in that city is ripping Halak to pieces and ranting about Elliott giving the Blues their best chance to win come playoff time.
Last night in Edmonton — after Luongo was pulled in the second period with the Canucks down by three — Schneider came in and stopped all eight Oilers shots, none of his saves bigger than this one late in the third:
If that goes in, it’s game over. But Schneider gave his team a chance to score the tying goal. Maybe Luongo makes that save too, maybe he doesn’t. The only thing that matters is that he didn’t.
If Schneider shuts the door tonight and the Canucks get the win, look out.