Roberto Luongo will once again start in net for the Vancouver Canucks come Friday night in Game 2 of the Western Conference Quarterfinal.
Luongo revealed he will start his fourth consecutive game in relief of Cory Schneider, who did not even practice with the Canucks on Thursday. Joe Cannata was back on the ice and he figures to draw back-up duty once again.
Coach Alain Vigneault had no real update on Schneider, reiterating that the 27-year-old, who had practiced four straight days, is still “day-to-day.”
Luongo, who recorded 25 saves in Game 1, is confident he can repeat his stellar performance from Wednesday, which included 15 first period saves, eight on the power play.
Vancouver didn’t get the win, so the effort needs to be better come Friday, according to Luongo.
”We want to be a bit more solid on our forecheck and break the puck out cleaner, whether that exchange is with myself and a D-man or D-man with forwards,” said Luongo. “Communication is key, especially in situations like that and we just need to sharpen up in general, have that little extra edge and we’re good to go.”
KESLER IS GOOD – REALLY GOOD
Despite showing a few signs that he’s playing at less than 100 per cent, Ryan Kesler said Thursday that he not only feels goods, but really good.
”I was healthy enough to play and I gave it my all out there,” he said of his effort in Game 1.
Kesler believes the biggest positives from Wednesday’s 3-1 loss to the Sharks were Vancouver’s forecheck and the play of the bottom two lines.
Not surprisingly the Canucks skated in new lines Thursday, with Kesler on the wing with Derek Roy at centre and Chris Higgins the other wing man. Mason Raymond, Maxim Lapierre and Jannik Hansen were the third trio, while Dale Weise, Andrew Ebbett and Zack Kassian made up the fourth line. The defence remained the same.
“I think we all know that changes day-to-day,” said Kesler of his new linemates. “I’ll play wherever they put me. My job is to help the team win and I’ll play wherever they want me.”
Regardless of who plays where, the Canucks know they need to get dirty to get goals.
“We’ve got to have that shooting mentality. We can’t look for that extra pass, we’ve got to jam the net, jam pucks in there, you saw the way we scored our goal, you saw the way they scored their goals. It’s battles in front of the net and they’re all dirty, greasy goals and it’ll be more of that tomorrow.”