The Vancouver Canucks had an opportunity to take their new acquisition for a spin Wednesday night in Edmonton but the constant chaos in Vancouver’s crease followed the team west, as Roberto Luongo struggled once again in a 3-2 loss to the Oilers.
The home team tallied three goals in just under five minutes early in the second period Tuesday in another rough start to the game for the Canucks. Vancouver continues to allow teams to get in front of them early, forcing the Sedins and secondary sources of scoring to play catch up, which has put the pressure on forwards to produce.
While the Sedin line found the score sheet once in the final frame, David Booth and Vancouver’s newly dubbed ‘American Express’ line failed to score Tuesday in a comeback effort in Edmonton. Despite previous successful comeback efforts this year, the Canucks cannot afford to continue to spot the opposition goals in the first half of the hockey game.
Tuesday’s game against the Oilers was another prime example of an intermittent lack of focus throughout the lineup, resulting in the burst of three goals against.
Roberto Luongo deserved the majority of blame for Tuesday’s meltdown loss, however his defensive partners are also directly responsible for Vancouver’s defensive blunders in their own zone.
The starter’s supporters are happy (and correct) to pass blame on two of Edmonton’s goals, however like backup Cory Schneider, Luongo must choose the proper time and place to play the puck.
As Vancouver’s crease controversy rages on it seems both goaltenders have been infected with a serious lack of confidence outside the crease. Edmonton’s game winner Tuesday was another classic example of a tragic communication breakdown between goaltender and defenceman.
Opposite Luongo and (later) Cory Schneider, veteran goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin had another stellar performance in the Oilers’ crease stopping 32 of 34 shots in his third win of the season. Like the backup Schneider, the Bulin wall continues to prove his critics wrong at age 38 despite having little future as a starter in Edmonton.
Schneider on the other hand stopped all seven shots fired his way after replacing Luongo, including a candidate for save of the year on Jordan Eberle to keep the Canucks within one.
The Canucks’ crease controversy continues Wednesday at home versus the St. Louis Blues following Luongo’s rough removal from the crease Tuesday.
Where: Rexall Place, Edmonton, Alberta
Referees: Don VanMassenhoven, Mike Leggo
Linesmen: Michel Cormier, Vaughan Rody