Make it six: Schneider to start for Vancouver…again

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In a furious race for Interweb supremacy, Vancouver Canucks beat writers (here, here and here) all simultaneously tweeted the big news:

Cory Schneider will start his sixth straight game tomorrow night against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

This is uncharted territory for Schneider, fresh off earning the NHL’s second star of the week. Though he’s been with Vancouver since 2008-09 and started 22 games last year, he’s never rattled off this many consecutive appearances.

(Ironically enough, one of Schneider’s longest consecutive games streaks came in the opening round of last year’s playoffs against Chicago. He relieved Roberto Luongo in Games 4 and 5, then started Game 6. Moving along…)

The always even-keeled Vancouver media is treating this development as you’d expect. The Vancouver Sun ran a column about how Luongo makes for an excellent backup goalie while a local TV journalist made a “Luongo should change his name to Wally Pipp” joke.

Overreactions aside, it is a big development. The Canucks have had reasons (or, excuses) for riding Schneider lately — Luongo was coming off an injury, they needed to string together wins, they weren’t in a playoff position — but those reasons (or, excuses) don’t fly anymore. Luongo is beyond healthy. They’ve won four straight and seven of 10. They’re in the thick of the playoff pack and two points out of the Northwest Division lead.

Plus, Tuesday night’s game is against Columbus. The worst team in hockey. There might not be a better opponent to ease Luongo back in, but it’s also a terrifying prospect. Imagine if Luongo starts against Columbus and stinks the joint out. What happens then?

Ergo, the Canucks will continue employing the “Vegas Philosophy” with Schneider (as coined by Canucks play-by-play man John Shorthouse): You might only get on a heater once, so make sure to ride it as long as possible.

Video: Senators make Penguins pay for penalties with 1-1 goal

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The Ottawa Senators have defied odds during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and they’ve done so with what’s often been an ice-cold power play.

They finally struck gold on the man advantage on Tuesday, and at a key moment. The Pittsburgh Penguins were dominating much of the game and pressing for an even bigger edge after Evgeni Malkin made it 1-0.

Maybe the Penguins got overzealous, or maybe officials … finally started making some calls. Either way, the Senators ended up with a 5-on-3 advantage for almost a minute-and-a-half. With that opportunity, Bobby Ryan scored a huge goal for Ottawa on a shot that was both oddly and perfectly placed.

Moments later, Kyle Turris narrowly missed a golden opportunity, so the contest remained tied 1-1.

Despite a late push by the Penguins to finish the second, Game 6 will enter the third period with a 1-1 score.

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Another big goal from Malkin; another confusing goalie interference review

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The Ottawa Senators are ready for a fight in Game 6, which seemingly means that the Pittsburgh Penguins must grind for space and chances. So far, the Penguins are willing to do just that.

Being that this is the Stanley Cup Playoffs, it also means that you need to shrug off setbacks … and the Penguins are doing well in that area, too.

After a 0-0 first period, it seemed like Trevor Daley scored a “greasy” 1-0 goal, but after a review, it was dismissed because of goalie interference. The crowd’s silent, confused response mirrored many on social media who genuinely don’t know what is or is not interference any longer.

The Penguins could have sulked after that near-goal. Instead, they just kept chipping away. Evgeni Malkin finally broke the ice – for real – with a gritty 1-0 tally. You can watch that ugly-pretty effort in the video above this post’s headline.

This marks Malkin’s seventh goal and 24th point of the postseason. No one else has reached 20 yet.

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Colin White makes Senators playoff debut, Penguins lineup the same

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The Stanley Cup Playoffs often feel like a battle of attrition, which only makes the introduction of fresh faces that much more compelling.

Try this on for size: with their playoff lives on the line, the Ottawa Senators will see the playoff debut of 2015 first-rounder* Colin White against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday. It’s also just his third game at the NHL level, overall.

After rolling with seven defensemen in Game 5, Guy Boucher is opting for a traditional alignment of 12 forwards and six defensemen.

White has that high-level pedigree and possibly fresh legs – even just relatively speaking – so it’s not out of the question for the 20-year-old center to make an impact.

Check out the full roster report here (note: Pittsburgh’s going with the same group as Game 5). Scott Wilson is good to go for the Penguins.

* – 21st overall.

Boucher on Senators’ resiliency: ‘We’ve always chosen to fight’

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It’s almost always intriguing to see how a team responds to a tough playoff loss, but that fascination spikes even more if said team fell by an especially lopsided score.

We’ve seen the Pittsburgh Penguins respond to some blowouts with big wins, but now the shoe is on the other foot; how will the Ottawa Senators rebound from the 7-0 shellacking they suffered in Game 5?

Well, if you ask Guy Boucher, they’ve developed a track record that shows they’re willing to fight with their backs against the wall.

Great stuff, right? It’s honestly too bad that Boucher’s defensive system isn’t always as entertaining as his quotes.

Speaking of how Game 5 feeds into tonight’s Game 6, the video above this post’s headline discusses how Ottawa’s goaltenders might be feeling heading into Tuesday.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE COVERAGE FOR GAME 6