Vancouver - Nov. 26, 2011 - This game and result was just what the Canucks needed, and the fans craved, a laugher of a win. The Canucks have now won three straight and Schneider has earned his 2nd consecutive shutout as the Canucks definitively beat the dogs, 5-0.
For the second straight game, all of the Canucks goals came at even strength with the barrage of goals being scored in the second period within a 2:12 time span, and the Canucks D held the Coyotes to a mere handful of shots towards Schneider as they put forth a solid 60 minute, every “man in” effort to prove that they can be the team everyone expected them to be this year.
After the Canucks dominated the Coyotes in the first period, holding the Coyotes to a mere four shots on goal, you had the sense the Canucks were on the verge of busting the game open in the second period, and it didn’t take long for Sami Salo to sound the war drums as his trademark bullet of a slap shot opened the flood gates to start the scoring. Within five minutes of the second period, Sami’s blast made it 1-0 as the seeing eye shot found it’s way just under the crossbar. The goal seemed to rattle goalie Mike Smith’s confidence as 1:22 later Ryan Kesler stole the puck from Coyote Raffi Torres as he tried to clear the zone, and he was in all alone to beat Smith with a blazing wrist shot. Wanting a piece of the action, David Booth scored 40 seconds later to make it 3-0, ands serve notice that the rout was on in the desert.
As ironic as it seems, the Canucks potent power play was stymied shortly after Booth’s goal when they had 1:30 two man advantage but couldn’t beat Smith even though they passed the puck around like it was on a string but just couldn’t find the right opportunity to beat the Coyote netminder. While the Canucks piled up the goals in the second period, the D-men again kept the Coyotes away from Schneider as they limited their chances to a paltry 6 shots. After two periods, the Canucks were putting their seal of ownership on the game, and the Coyotes as they outshot them 26-10.
The Canucks French Connection contingent added two more goals in the third period to seal the win. Maxim Lapierre’s goal was a beauty if not a highly improbable one as he took the puck away from Derek Morris in the corner and skated towards the front of the net, then while still being dogged by Morris, he spun around and backhanded the puck past Smith to make it 4-0. Then less than a minute later, Alexandre Burrows skating into the play was yelling for the puck as he headed towards the net, and Cody Hodgson was only to happy to oblige him with a sweet pass the Burrows banged home for the definitive 5-0 goal.
The Coyotes tried to save some self respect as they battled back in the third, outshooting the Canucks 12-11, but Ginger Jesus was up to the task as held the dogs at bay to earn his second consecutive shutout in two starts. I think I will now call them Schneidermans instead of shutouts, because the way he’s played these past two games he deserves to have them named after him!
Two solid efforts have resulted in two definitive wins for the Canucks, but the real test looms on the horizon, and that is their next game against the San Jose Sharks tomorrow night. Neither the Avalanche nor the Coyotes hold a candle to the Sharks, so tomorrow’s game will be THE test of the Canucks mettle, but I think the Canucks now have tasted the sweet nectar of victory and will be more than up for the challenge. But one question remains and needs to be answered before tomorrow night, and that is what is coach V going to decide in terms of who gets the start? Ginger is playing well, real well. And the Canucks seem to play well in front of Schneider as well, seemingly better than they do in front of Luongo. So who will it be? It makes perfect sense to start Luongo even though he is still prone to bouts of shakiness and hasn’t proven to be a consistent puck stopper yet. Plus this would be Schneider’s 3rd start in four days, but he is definitely playing hot right now.
So what do you do, sit the hot goalie for the number one and hope Lou gets into the groove quickly, or do you continue to ride Schneider and hope he has enough left in the tank to put on a strong performance and backstop the Canucks to their 4th straight win? What say you coach V, what say you?