Friday will mark the third consecutive start for a goaltender who was believed to be the Vancouver Canucks’ backup – or ticket to acquiring some offensive depth – when the 2013 NHL season opened.
Coach Alain Vigneault will go with the hot goaltender and give Roberto Luongo the start Friday as the team welcomes a bitter rival to Rogers Arena, reports Sportsnet’s Dan Murphy.
— Dan Murphy (@sportsnetmurph) January 31, 2013
After shutting out the Colorado Avalanche 3-0 on Wednesday, Luongo, who has yet to take a regulation loss, is now 1-0-2 on the season with a GAA of 1.61 and .938 save percentage. Both stats are good for fourth-best among league netminders.
Canucks goalie Cory Schneider, who started Opening Night against the Anaheim Ducks only to get pulled, has appeared in four games this young season, going 2-2-0 with one shutout, a 3.13 GAA and .897 save percentage.
“I understand why this is an issue outside our dressing room. We’ve got two goaltenders who want to play 60 games in a 48-game schedule. I get it. But at the end of the day, they are both quality individuals, they are both team guys and they will do what I say and never complain,” Vigneault told the Vancouver Sun after Wednesday’s victory.
“Like I have said before, I just get ready to play and whatever the decision is it will be fine,” Luongo said. “I just want to be ready and whoever starts Friday is good.”
Heading into Thursday’s action, Chicago (6-0-1) leads the entire NHL in points with 13. Vancouver (3-2-2) sits sixth in the Western Conference.
First real big game of the reg season, with Chicago Blackhawks in, and Luongo gets the start. Wow. If I’m Nonis, I’m calling on Schneider.
— Mark Spector Sports (@SportsnetSpec) January 31, 2013