Cory Schneider gets his first game of the season, while Roberto Luongo gets a rest after four straight starts.
"I'm really excited," said Schneider following this morning optional skate. "You know it's never fun not playing but Lui's been doing well and he's getting a rest tonight so it's my job to be around and be ready whenever they call me. I've been preparing for this with Rollie for the past couple of weeks working hard so it's not like I'll be unprepared out there.
"We get to the point where we can't have him sit too long.," said Canucks associate coach, Rick Bowness. "It's important to get him in when we felt the time was right and we felt the time was right, right now."
Schneider played in two games last year with just one start, both on the road. He was 2-4-1 during his time with the Canucks in 2008-09.
"I think I've only had one start here at home in my career so it's nice to get that vote of confidence to play at home so hopefully we'll be ready to go after a tough road trip and come out here and play a good game."
The last time a healthy Luongo sat at home was March 24, 2010 when Andrew Raycroft got the start in the second game of back-to-back games after coming home from a 3-2 loss to Edmonton.
While the buzz around the media pegged Schneider's first start coming later this week when the Canucks play their first back-to-back series on the road, the coaching staff switched up their predictable rotation used in the past few seasons.
Vancouver is schedule to play four games in the next six nights - an intense workload that the team is hoping to split between both goalies.
"Lui's not going to be able to play them all and we want to get the kid in and this gives him a fair opportunity and that's important," Bowness said. "You want to give him some confidence and can't hang him out the dry. YOu can't throw him into those games where you know you're tired and the other team is rested and sitting there ready to go so that's not fair to [Schneider] either. Tonight's a fair opportunity for him."
Schneider finished the 2009-10 season with a .919 save percentage and 2.51 goals against in 60 games with the Manitoba Moose.
The Canucks announced yesterday Keith Ballard is day-to-day after suffering a concussion Friday night against the LA Kings.
In four games with the Canucks so far, Ballard is second on the team with eight blocked shots and has already made an impression on Canuck fans in his first game, when he was part of the 2-minute 4-on-3 penalty killing unit in overtime against the Kings.
Aaron Rome will draw in for the first time this season. Rome appeared in 49 games with the Canucks last season.
"I've been putting the work in so hopefully I feel better than if I wasn't," said Rome. "It's different definitely but I'm going to try to get into as quick as I can."
The year wouldn't be complete without Alain Vigneault's, now infamous, line juggling and tonight's expected to be one of those nights.
The Canucks are 1-2-1 to open the season and after a 4-1 loss to the Kings Friday night and scoring being generated by one line, Vancouver's forward lines are expected to look slightly different than the way the season started.
Mason Raymond will be re-united with Daniel and Henrik Sedin against the visiting Carolina Hurricanes after a slow start for Mikael Samuelsson, who earned his spot to play with the Twins after the preseason. Samuelsson is expected to move down to the third line centred by Manny Malhotra with Raffi Torres on the other wing. Raymond began his NHL career with a shot with the Sedins in 2007-08.
With the earlier start tonight, the Canucks opted against a team skate Sunday morning. The game can be seen on Canucks.com or Sportsnet Pacific at 6pm PT.
A BIGGER FIGHT
The Canucks host its Hockey Fights Cancer Awareness Night on tonight during their home game versus the Carolina Hurricanes.
Cancer patients and their families from BC Children’s Hospital and Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada will attend the game as special guests in Lui’s Crease Club charity suite. In addition, members of Prostate Cancer Canada and Leukemia Lymphoma Society Canada will have display tables on the concourse offering fans the opportunity to learn about various cancers and to make donations. In support of the initiative, Canucks players will be wearing Hockey Fights Cancer decals on the back of their helmets for all games during the month of October.
Additionally, Canucks President & General Manager Mike Gillis, as well as members of the coaching staff and team broadcasters will be wearing lavender Hockey Fights Cancer ties on Sunday night to show support for the initiative. Lavender, which represents awareness for all cancers, is the designated colour for this initiative.
Fans can also help support the Hockey Fights Cancer initiative by purchasing Hockey Fights Cancer ties from the Canucks Team Store. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Hockey Fights Cancer.