Luongo to start ‘big game’ versus Wild

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A surprise in some ways, not so much in others — Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo will start tonight at home against the Wild in the biggest game of the season for both teams.

It’s a surprise decision from head coach Alain Vigneault in that Luongo has surrendered nine goals in his last two starts, including five on 26 shots in Saturday’s 5-2 loss to the Red Wings.

Meanwhile, Vancouver’s other goalie, Cory Schneider, hasn’t played since March 10 in a 4-2 loss at Minnesota.

Vigneault’s decision isn’t surprising in that Luongo has played very well against the Wild recently. Courtesy TSN’s Farhan Lalji, the 33-year-old is 10-0-1 with a .949 save percentage in his last 11 home starts versus Minnesota.

The Canucks and Wild are tied in the standings with 32 points; however, the Wild have the tie-breaker for first place in the Northwest Division based on regulation/overtime wins.

“This is a big game for us,” said Luongo. “We’re all aware of what the standings are like.”

Regardless of what happens tonight, it shouldn’t be long before Schneider plays again, as the Canucks have nine games in the next 15 days.

Vancouver hosts St. Louis tomorrow.