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Alain Vigneault says the Canucks will stick with Roberto Luongo in Game 6

Apr 22, 2011, 3:27 PM EDT

Roberto Luongo, Cory Schneider AP

The last two games have been a disaster for Roberto Luongo and the Vancouver Canucks. He hasn’t made it through either contest, allowing 10 goals on 40 shots as people wonder if the Chicago Blackhawks remain in his head.

At times, Luongo’s body language has been bad enough that some might call it melodramatic.

Things have declined to such a level that many wonder if the team should go with his solid young backup Cory Schneider. Schneider went 16-4-2 with a 92.9 save percentage and 2.23 GAA during the regular season, so it’s not like the team is unfamiliar with playing in front of him.

Whatever doubt there might have been about who will start for Game 6, Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault didn’t hesitate to say that he’s sticking with Luongo. TSN has the report.

When asked if Roberto Luongo would start in Sunday’s game, despite being pulled in each of the last two contests, Vigneualt offered a quick “yes” in response.

Luongo seemed confident that he would be able to bounce back from these last two games.

“You know what, I just keep doing what I’ve been doing all year,” Luongo said.  “I’ve been at the top of my game for the last five months…Obviously you don’t lose something like that in a game or two.

“For me, nothing changes. The work is going to be there and I’m going to be focused to play the next one.”

The Canucks take a 3-2 series lead back to Chicago for Game 6, and are still in a good spot but need to focus on the positive, according to Luongo.

“There’s ups and downs in the playoffs.  The key is, we’ve got to stay composed here. Obviously, you don’t want to get caught in these situations but we’ve got to take a deep breath here and relax a little bit.  I think it’s a good thing we’ve got a couple of days to re-group here as a team and just get back to doing what we do best.”

When you invest in a goalie as much as the Canucks are investing in Luongo, your fate is tied to his in many cases. Sometimes it’s better to roll the dice with your main guy, although Vigneault will face plenty of naysayers if the Blackhawks complete their improbable turnaround from a 3-0 deficit.

  1. tjeremy - Apr 22, 2011 at 4:52 PM

    Of course he goes with Luongo. Why would you decide to ride your rookie goalie when Luongo is their bonafide starter. Not to mention, what is the best case scenario? Schneider plays well enough to win, they then have to ride him through the playoffs until he falters. I’d much rather not rely on a rookie goaltender who prior to this year had a horrible time in the NHL(*AHL amazing, but yeah it’s a different beast).

    If the best case scenario in starting your backup is you have to rely on him for the rest of the playoffs, no thanks, give me a Vezina trophy candidate, shaken or not. If you bench him, and Schneider does no better, and they lose game 6, then do you then go back to Luongo? You would have to go back to your starter if that doesn’t work, and at that point not only was he shaken by Chicago, he also he is torn down by his team and coach for putting in a rookie above him. Good luck in Game 7 at that point.

    You can argue he would be motivated if he is benched then brought back in for Game 7, but that is a big if, and if you’re assuming the Blackhawks have wrecked him, then why wouldn’t it destroy his confidence when his team doesn’t believe in him?

    No brainer. Ride Luongo into glory, or into sunset, I get the need to write stories in the media, but for anyone with a slight grasp on the game this is a non story.

  2. tommytd - Apr 22, 2011 at 7:55 PM

    Good deal…lets go…start him again!

  3. tommytd - Apr 23, 2011 at 1:00 AM

    Bottom line is…at this point the Cnuckleheads are running out of options at goaltender. Their coach has a starting goaltender who is supposedly world class and competing for the Vezina this year but, when it comes to the Blackhawks is mentally “fragile” and can’t seem to stop a beachball in the crease! What’s up with that??? Are we “in his head”? Stay tuned cause it ain’t over till it’s over and all of a sudden I like our chances.

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