Flip of the 'coin' goes to Canucks' Cory Schneider
HOSEA CHEUNG, QMI Agency
|Wild's left winger Dany Heatley (right) crashes into Vancouver Canucks' goalie Cory Schneider during a Feb 9, 2012 meeting in St. Paul, Minnesota. Schneider will get the start for Vancouver Thursday. REUTERS
This time, the coin flip went in Cory Schneider's favour.
The goaltender will make his first start since Jan. 27 on Thursday for the Vancouver Canucks — having warmed the bench the past four games while Roberto Luongo put together a roll.
And while the team has now won three straight, coach Alain Vigneault will still make the goalie change when they face the Minnesota Wild to close out their two-game road trip.
"Can't overthink things. Trust the coin," Vigneault told media Wednesday. "Coin said Cory, let's go for it."
While the coach won't provide a reasoning for his decision again, Luongo's career numbers in Minnesota could have played a part in giving Schneider the start.
In 14 appearances at the Xcel Energy Center, the Montreal native has a dismal 3-9-1-1 record with a 3.59 goals against average and a .873 save percentage — his worst number at any NHL arena.
Last season, Schneider started four of the six games against the Wild — including all three meetings in Minnesota — compiling a 2-2 record with 10 goals against. The Canucks finished with four victories against their division rivals.
"Lu's done his job but now it's my turn to jump in and try to keep that going and you never want to be the guy that halts the momentum," Schneider said. "I'm really excited to get in there and give my team a chance to win hopefully."
This season, the Wild are off to a slower start than expected — with a 4-4-1 record — after adding some heavy firepower during the off-season. That, of course, include the much-hyped signings of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter — who to date have a combined 14 points this season.
But the team is still struggling offensively, ranked 26th overall in both goals per game (2.22) and shots per game (26.6).
According to the StarTribune, the Wild are expected to break up their top line Thursday, moving Dany Heatley to the second unit alongside Matt Cullen and Pierre-Marc Bouchard, while 20-year-old rookie Charlie Coyle gets promoted to the first line with Parise and Mikko Koivu.
Tough guy Mike Rupp will also make his debut with the Wild after being traded from the New York Rangers earlier this week.
The Canucks counter with the Sedins, who had a total of 17 points against Minnesota last season. Daniel Sedin led the way with three goals and seven assists.
Through nine games in 2013 though, the twins have a combined 13 points with Henrik still searching for his first goal of the year.