Canucks bombed, Cory Schneider ventilated in 7-3 season-opening loss to Ducks (with video)
'It was just unacceptable to play that way,' says starting netminder who was pulled after surrendering five goals on 14 shots
Vancouver Canucks goalie Cory Schneider looks up at the overhead video screen after being replaced by Roberto Luongo in the second period of their NHL regular season opener against the Anaheim Ducks at Rogers Arena in Vancouver on Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013. The Canucks lost 7-3.
Photograph by: Gerry Kahrmann, PNG
VANCOUVER — Minus Ryan Kesler and David Booth to start the new NHL season, the Vancouver Canucks were concerned about their second line. They likely never dreamed goaltending would be an issue.
It was a big one Saturday, however, as new starter Cory Schneider and old starter Roberto Luongo both sprung leaks and the Canucks were humiliated 7-3 by the Anaheim Ducks before the 408th consecutive sellout at Rogers Arena.
Schneider's performance was astonishing given his outstanding season in 2011-12, a performance that was so good it put Luongo on the trading block. On Saturday, Schneider allowed five goals on 14 shots and was wearing a ballcap by the 6:37 mark of the second period. Three of the goals appeared stoppable. He did not give his teammates a chance to win and Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault had no choice other than to hook him.
“It was just unacceptable to play that way and put my team in that situation,” Schneider said after the debacle. “You never expect it to go this way. You know what? I was just maybe half a second off and, at this level, that's all it takes. Sometimes you need to make that one big save that will get you in a rhythm and send you on your way. Tonight, I couldn't make that big save. I didn't perform or produce and that's on me.”
Luongo entered the game to a rousing ovation, stopped the first shot he faced but then allowed a softie to Teemu Selanne with 14 seconds left in the period to put the Canucks down 5-2. He finished with 10 saves on 12 shots and was almost speechless when asked about the crowd's warm reception for him.
“It was ... I don't even know how to describe it, to be honest with you,” Luongo said. “It was a fun moment. I wasn't really expecting to go in but after the fifth goal, Alain just told me to get in there.
“As far as the game, obviously it's disappointing for everybody. It's not the way you want to start the year. We were a little sloppy at times and they made us pay.”
Meanwhile, at the other end. Anaheim netminder Jonas Hiller was getting the job done. He stopped all 16 Canuck shots he faced in the second period and finished with 26 for the night.
The seven goals allowed by the Canucks was the highest total in team history for a home opener.
“Obviously it didn't go the way we planned or drew it up,” Vigneault said. “In the second period, every time we seemed to not address one of our responsibilities on the ice, it ended up in the back of our net. You're going to get nights like that and we had one tonight. The next time I use Schneider, he'll be fine.”
Vigneault would not commit to starting Schneider on Sunday when the Canucks face the Edmonton Oilers in a 6 p.m. start at Rogers Arena.
On Saturday, the teams emerged 2-2 after 20 minutes with the goalies looking rustier than a 10-speed bike from the 1970s. Ducks winger Daniel Winnik ended Schneider's shutout bid just 6:31 into the opening period as he escaped Alex Edler's check and deflected home a Saku Koivu shot flung from the top of the circle,
Dan Hamhuis replied for the Canucks at 9:53 when he ripped a shot past Hiller on a feed from Jannik Hansen. The Canucks power play made it 2-1 as Daniel Sedin collected an Edler rebound and chipped it past Hiller 90 seconds after the Hamhuis tally.
Vancouver's lead lasted just four minutes, Sheldon Souray overpowering Schneider on a Ducks power play after Manny Malhotra lost three consecutive defensive zone draws to 42-year-old Teemu Selanne.
Winnik put the Ducks up for good at 3:33 of the middle period when he blocked a Keith Ballard shot, then raced up ice to finish off a three-way passing play with linemates Koivu and Andrew Cogliano.
Three minutes later, Corey Perry slipped one through Schneider's wickets on an Anaheim power play. Canucks centre Max Lapierre actually won the draw back but Perry managed to beat Hamhuis to the puck before putting it in. Eleven seconds later, Kyle Palmieri flung one through traffic and past Schneider and that was it for the redhead.
Luongo, who had not played since Game 2 of the playoffs last April 13, found some of his old form early in the third period with pretty saves off Matt Belesky, Swedish rookie Rickard Rakell and Palmieri, but was then beaten cleanly by Selanne on a breakaway just 12 seconds after an Edler power-play goal made it 6-3.
Selanne, 42, finished the night with two goals and two assists and the Ducks' power play went 3-for-3. Vancouver's power play was 2-for-4. Daniel Sedin and Edler both had a goal and an assist for the Canucks while Hansen collected two assists.
ICE CHIPS: The Canucks’ healthy scratches Saturday were defencemen Andrew Alberts, Cam Barker and Jim Vandermeer ... Anaheim defenceman Cam Fowler was a late scratch with the flu. His spot was taken by Jordan Hendry ... Saturday's 50/50 winner took home a whopping jackpot of $146,838.
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