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At the Rink blog

Numbers point to Schneider starting for Canucks

Monday, 03.19.2012 / 2:02 PM

By Dan Myers - NHL.com Correspondent / At the Rink blog

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At the Rink blog
Numbers point to Schneider starting for Canucks
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Vancouver goaltender Cory Schneider will get a second consecutive start for the Canucks when they play at Minnesota on Monday.

For Schneider, it will be the fifth straight time he has started for Vancouver in St. Paul. Lifetime against the Wild, he is 5-2-0 with a 2.16 goals-against average and a .917 save percentage -- the latter two figures significantly better than Roberto Luongo, who has struggled mightily in this building. Luongo has shut out the Wild on three consecutive occasions, but all of those games were at Rogers Centre.

"I always feel comfortable on the road, I enjoy playing on the road," Schneider said. "(The Wild) are going through a tough time right now, but they've always given us trouble in this building. You can never expect them to lay down."

Schneider, who turned 26 on Sunday, is in the midst of a career season, going 16-6-1 with a 2.12 GAA  and .932 save percentage.

"Flying to Minneapolis," Schneider said when asked how he spent his birthday. And afterwards? "Not much. Just dinner and relaxed."

The Canucks will make a couple of other tweaks to the lineup, as Vancouver will get Manny Malhotra back after he missed two games for personal reasons. He will take the place of Mason Raymond.

"He's struggling a little bit right now," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said of Raymond. "We've tried different possibilities with him. He can be such a valuable player on our team when he's playing his skilled game, being strong on the ice and using that skill and that speed. Right now, we're just having a tough time helping him find the players he can have the most success with."

Vigneault also said defenseman Sami Salo will not play. With the Canucks embarking on a four-game road trip, Vigneault figures tonight's game against 13th-place Minnesota would provide him with the best opportunity to give Salo a rest. Chicago, Dallas and Colorado are the final three stops on the trip and all are in the playoff race.

"He's such an important part of our team," Vigneault said. "Probably our best overall defenseman in terms of being able to contribute offensively and defensively. That combined with the fact that he is our oldest player.

"I had a chat with him a couple of times that if the opportunity or schedule would get to a point maybe we could get him a night off, it would be the right thing to do."

Minnesota had an optional skate this morning with several players expected to play tonight not in attendance. The team did send goalie Matt Hackett back to AHL Houston to make room for injured goaltender Niklas Backstrom, who is back from a lower-body injury.

Backstrom will back up Josh Harding in goal this evening.

Here are the projected lineups for each team tonight:

WILD
Dany Heatley - Kyle Brodziak - Devin Setoguchi
Cal Clutterbuck - Matt Cullen - Nick Johnson
Darroll Powe - Erik Christensen - Matt Kassian
Stephane Veilleux - Warren Peters - Jed Ortmeyer

Marco Scandella - Jared Spurgeon
Steven Kampfer - Tom Gilbert
Clayton Stoner - Nate Prosser

Josh Harding will start in net, with Niklas Backstrom the backup.
 
CANUCKS
Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Alexandre Burrows
Chris Higgins - Ryan Kesler - David Booth
Manny Malhotra - Samuel Pahlsson - Jannik Hansen
Dale Weise - Maxim Lapierre - Zack Kassian
 
Alexander Edler - Kevin Bieksa
Dan Hamhuis - Marc-Andre Gragnani
Aaron Rome - Chris Tanev
 
Cory Schneider will start in goal, with Roberto Luongo the backup.
Quote of the Day

I feel that responsibility, I've felt it for the last two years. We core guys get a lot of minutes, we get a lot of opportunity out there. Our teammates, the organization and fans look to us to be the guys to put the puck in the net and to create momentum out there.

— Jordan Eberle on taking his game and the Edmonton Oilers to the next level