After a long goaltending controversy and a shocking trade, Cory Schneider and Roberto Luongo found themselves on opposite sides for the first time. In this first match between the former duo, the elder Luongo and the Canucks could depart smiling, but not before the New Jersey Devils and Schneider gave them a run for their money in Vancouver’s 3-2 overtime victory.
“It was fun, it was nice to battle it out. Somebody has to win, somebody has to lose. We both got at least a point for our teams,” Luongo said, according to the Canucks’ Twitter feed.
If this game were an isolated incident, then Schneider and New Jersey could hold their heads high with the knowledge that they at least held their own in a hard fought game. Unfortunately, they have made a habit of coming up just short lately. The Devils have now fallen to 0-1-3 this season. The silver lining is that they have a few days to regroup before facing the Calgary Flames on Friday.
As for Vancouver, they’ve won three straight games to improve to 3-1-0 this season. Their next match will be against the only team that’s beaten them so far, the San Jose Sharks. It will also be Sharks rookie Tomas Hertl’s first game since his crushing performance against the New York Rangers.
Damon Severson was a healthy scratch on Saturday.
It’s the last game he wants to miss this season.
“I had a good chat with a few people and just pretty much said, ‘I want to be in the next 80 games,’” Severson said, per The Record. “I sat out my game and that’s all I want to be out for for the year.”
Severson is one of the Devils’ most important young players. But this is also the 21-year-old defenseman’s sophomore season, and that’s when slumps can occur.
Hence, the early message he was sent by the coaching staff.
Severson is expected to be back in the lineup tonight when New Jersey hosts Nashville.
“He doesn’t have to be perfect,” coach John Hynes told reporters. “We’d just like to see him have a high compete level. We know he’s ready to go. We had a couple of good meetings with him. He’s in a good spot mentally. I know he’s ready to roll.”
Jake Virtanen, the sixth overall pick in the 2014 draft, will make his NHL debut tonight when his Canucks meet the Kings in Los Angeles.
The 19-year-old winger was a healthy scratch for Vancouver’s first three games of the regular season. He had two goals and two assists in six preseason games.
“I can’t wait,” he told reporters. “My energy is high. I want to get a couple of hits on my first shift.”
Big and physical with goal-scoring ability, the consensus is that Virtanen will remain in the NHL and not be returned to junior after he’s played nine games. That consensus could always change based on his play, of course.
The Canucks — who won last night in Anaheim — did not have a full skate this morning, so it’s unclear who will come out of the lineup. The best guess is rookie Jared McCann, who’s been playing third-line center.
If McCann does come out, the Canucks could move Brandon Sutter to third-line center and Virtanen could take Sutter’s spot on the first line with the Sedin twins. Or, there could be more extensive line juggling.