The pregame buzz today was all about whether the Vancouver Canucks will make a change in goal, and start Cory Schneider instead of Roberto Luongo. Later, coach Alain Vigneault spoke to reporters at the team hotel and confirmed that Schneider would start tonight in Game 3. It would be tough to argue that Luongo’s play has been a major problem for the Canucks, but they’re down 2-0 in the series and Vigneault presumably wants to shake things up. The Canucks held an optional morning skate today in El Segundo. Schneider participated but Luongo did not.
Schneider has been excellent this season. In 33 regular-season games, he had a 1.96 goals-against average and a .937 save percentage, better numbers than Luongo (2.41, .919) and similar to those of Jonathan Quick (1.95, .929), albeit with far fewer games. Willie Mitchell, asked about the possibility of the Canucks changing goalies, said, “To be honest with you I thought Lou’s been their best player in the first two games of the series,’’ but Mitchell said the Kings’ focus wouldn’t change if Schneider starts.
MITCHELL: “Our game plan is the same thing. Play to our strengths. We feel that if we play to our strengths, we will have a shot in every game. So, no, it doesn’t change for us.’’
Darryl Sutter was asked whether Vancouver’s goalie choice made any difference to him…
SUTTER: “They were both very successful during the regular season, and they both played a lot of games. Whoever plays, their team is comfortable with both.’’