BETWEEN THE PIPES
After twenty minutes of solid play, turning away 11 Columbus shots, goaltender Curtis Sanford did not return to the ice after the first intermission. Suffering from upper back spasms Sanford decided he wouldn’t be able to continue playing. AHL call-up Cory Schneider
stepped in to finish the game, his second NHL appearance, making 15 of saves in the 3-2 loss.
Schneider was named the Reebok X-Pulse/AHL Goaltender of the Month
today for his play with the Vancouver Canucks AHL affiliate, the Manitoba Moose, in November. He was 5-0-0 in five appearances for the Moose last month, with a 1.20 goals-against average, a .959 save percentage and one shutout before being recalled by the Vancouver Canucks.
Sanford did not practice with the team today in Columbus and there is no word yet whether he will be able to play on Thursday in Detroit.
The next goalie in line under contract with Vancouver is Julien Ellis of the ECHL Victoria Salmon Kings. Ellis is in his third year in ECHL and has recently returned from an ankle injury suffered in the preseason, playing his first game of the season on November 29th.
The current AHL Moose starting goaltender Karl Goehring is not signed by the Canucks.Roberto Luongo
continues to work with training staff as the Canucks head to Detroit tomorrow and is improving every day. He skated yesterday for the first time since November 22nd, but is still unsure when he will be back in the lineup.
"I'm excited," said Luongo. "I have been wanting to get back for a few days now. It's just nice to be back out there on the ice. It [was] a good day for me.
"Once you know you can get back on the ice it's a good step forward and working toward where you want to be and that's obviously playing. It's a matter of making sure before I get into practice I'm feeling 100% comfortable. We're gradually building it up. It's a small step and we're going to try to build the workload every day."GETTING BACK ON TRACK
The Canucks (14-9-2) are playing remarkably well despite losing key players to injuries, but were unable to net a tying goal after falling behind late in the game last night in Columbus. The Blue Jackets’ young goaltender Steve Mason stood on his head in the dying minutes of yesterday’s match up to prevent the Canucks from pushing overtime.
Kyle Wellwood opened scoring in the second period on the power play and Kevin Bieksa
also on the man-advantage, in his third game back after fracturing his foot, put the Canucks ahead 2-1, before Columbus tallied two unanswered goals in the third.
"They were looking for that all night," said Schneider of the game winner. "Just throw it in front. You could kind of see it coming. Watching the replay, I just missed it by a couple inches with my pad. I have to get that extended a little bit faster next time. That's a savable shot if you get your leg out."
The Canucks’ power play drastically improved in last night’s loss, going 2-for-4. Their penalty trouble started early on however. The team took eight minor penalties throughout the game, making it difficult to create momentum.
“It’s inexcusable to give up a lead and we did it twice,” said Ryan Kesler
. “We have to nip this in the bud right now and go on.
“We’re working hard. We took too many penalties and took the flow out of the game. It’s three games in a row we lost here. Obviously, we all know that. We’re not going to play any differently. I thought we played pretty well, we just gave up too many chances and took too many penalties."
The team is 0-2 into their seven-game road trip, heading into back to back games against Detroit and Minnesota. The players know they have a challenge ahead of them as they look to win tight battles and find success on this long road stretch.
"When we were on that roll, we were finding ways to win at key moments," said head coach Alain Vigneault. "At 2-1 [Monday], we should have been able to shut it down and we didn't. Is that making a defensive play? Is that making a save? I think it's a combination of everything. Right now, we have to find a way to win."