Game Day: Canucks, Cory Schneider ‘need to find urgency’ facing plucky Ducks
Anaheim, off to 2-0 start, open at home with rematch against Vancouver
Vancouver Canucks goalie Cory Schneider looks on as Toni Lydman and Francois Beauchemin of the Anaheim Ducks celebrate Kyle Palmier's goal at Rogers Arena last Saturday in Anaheim's 7-3 win. Schneider and the Canucks hope to fare better tonight in the rematch in Anaheim.
Photograph by: Getty Images, The Province
ANAHEIM, Calif. — The last time the Anaheim Ducks started a National Hockey League season 2-0, they won the Stanley Cup in 2007. Actually, that season was the only time Anaheim started with two wins.
The Ducks are in their 18th season have had solid teams, but counting to two wins has been almost impossible until now, when Anaheim opened Saturday with a 7-3 embarrassment of the Vancouver Canucks, then followed with a 5-4 win against the Calgary Flames.
How can a team, with a history of high-end forwards, not build a winning streak longer than a game to start?
“We have been wondering that, too,” future Hall of Famer Teemu Selanne said after this morning's skates. “That's a good question. That's why we have been very critical about ourselves. Last season, again, we put ourselves behind the eight-ball right away. Especially how the league has been lately — it's going to go all the way to last games (to decide) who makes the playoffs or not — those games you lose in the first half, you can't get back. That's why this is important.”
Especially for the Canucks, who have started the shortened lockout season playing catchup.
They've blown two-goal leads in two of three games and are 1-1-1 heading into tonight's contest (7 p.m., Sportsnet Pacific, Team 1040), which is the 2-0 Ducks' home opener.
Cory Schneider, chased from the net Saturday when the Ducks scored five times on 14 shots, will be back in goal tonight trying to reaffirm what we already know: that he is the Canucks' starter and the guy being counted on to help carry the team as general manager Mike Gillis attempts to trade Roberto Luongo.
This is Schneider's third start in four games and the Canucks' first road game of the season.
“I don't think (the opponent) really has any bearing,” Schneider said when asked about redeeming himself. “We understand we didn't play well in that home opener. We have a lot of respect for Anaheim and this has always been a tough building to play in. We have to have our best no matter who we play.
“We need to find urgency in our game. We can't sit here and say the first road game is more important than the next one. They're all extremely important. I think once we get that (mindset) into our game and the fact that every game determines who makes the playoffs, that's first and foremost.”
Anaheim starter Jonas Hiller expects better from both Schneider and the Canucks than what he saw Saturday.
“Every goalie goes through that kind of game,” Hiller said. “That's probably not the last time it will happen in his career. But that whole game was weird. It seemed like the puck was always bouncing off something.”
Canucks forward Manny Malhotra, whose wife Joann gave birth to a baby boy on Thursday, will miss tonight's game. Former Duck Andrew Ebbett, a healthy scratch in Vancouver's 3-2 shootout win Wednesday against Calgary, replaces Malhotra in the lineup.
Malhotra is scheduled to rejoin the team Saturday in San Jose, where the Canucks play Sunday before finishing their California tour with a game Monday against the Los Angeles Kings.
Centre Maxim Lapierre, who missed practice Thursday due to a sore groin, was one of the handful of Canucks who skated here this morning and said he'll be able to play tonight. If he can't, coach Alain Vigneault will need to use one of his spare defencemen on the fourth line.
• PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Canucks: G Cory Schneider rebounded from an embarrassing opening night with an excellent 34-save win on Wednesday. He and his team need some momentum.
Ducks: C Daniel Winnik, set adrift last summer by the San Jose Sharks, has four goals in his first two games with Anaheim. He scored only eight all of last season.
Canucks: C Ryan Kesler (shoulder), RW David Booth (groin).
Ducks: No injuries.
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