The Goods: Super Schneider
Re-writing history, save by save.
For the first time in franchise history the Vancouver Canucks have recorded back-to-back 1-0 regulation wins by blanking the Colorado Avalanche 1-0 Wednesday night at Rogers Arena for their fourth straight win.
Chris Higgins scored his third consecutive goal against the Avalanche, dating back to last Saturday’s game in Colorado, and second straight game-winner versus Vancouver’s Northwest Division rival, shorthanded, with less than three minutes to play in the first period.
Samuel Pahlsson sprung Higgins from the blueline and he made no mistake beating Semyon Varlamov for his 16th goal of the season.
Some goal insurance would have been nice, but Schneider was in his zone – the same zone he’s been in all year. He’s now sporting a sparkling .937 save percentage, second
best in the NHL, and the fifth lowest goals against average at 1.97.
“I felt great, I got shots a bit early and not exactly breakaways or 2-on-1s, but pucks to get a feel of it and get into the game,” said Schneider, who is now 18-7-1-3 this season. “From there your instincts take over and they eliminated second chance opportunities and blocked shots.”
Schneider was under siege in the third period with 16 shots coming his way, a bulk of those with less than five minutes remaining in regulation. He kept calm and carried on and
the Canucks won their 15th game in 17 tries against the Avalanche because of it.
“They put a lot at the net from a lot of angles, everything they had they put at the net and that’s what a desperate team does. I thought we did a great job either blocking it or
letting me see the puck and there were quite a few where I was just able to catch it and kill the play. The shots were lopsided the actual quality chances, we did a good job eliminating those.”
The win gives the Canucks a 47-21-9 record, good for 103 points and second place in the Western Conference. A second straight Western Conference championship could still
be in Vancouver’s future with the St. Louis Blues leading the Canucks by a mere two points with five games remaining for both teams.
Taking it a step further, the New York Rangers also have 105 points out East with five games left, so if Vancouver keeps winning, and they get some help, another Presidents’ Trophy could be on the horizon.
The Canucks know they’re locked into a great playoff spot regardless of if they win the West or not, so they’re not scoreboard watching as much as you’d think.
“It seems like they don’t give up goals anymore, so it’s tough,” laughed Schneider, referring to back-to-back shutouts by the Blues.
“We’ve done a good job keeping pace with them our last four games and I think we both have five left, so it’ll be interesting. We’re hitting our stride defensively and playing well
and so are they; we’d love to get the No. 1 seed, but we’re just worried about us right now.”
Vancouver will practice Thursday before back-to-back games Friday and Saturday at Rogers Arena.
BOOTH DROPS THE GLOVES
Here we go, fight time. Looks like Mark Olver against David Booth.
WAIT – WHAT?
For just the third time in his career, Booth dropped the mitts as he tussled with Olver 15 minutes into the first period.
At first it looked like Olver had the jump on the Canucks forward, but then Booth wrestled the helmet off the Avalanche forward and started throwing haymakers. And he didn’t stop until the referees split them up.
According to Hockeyfights.com it was a landslide victory for Booth, who used a concoction of rights and lefts to impress the judges; Booth himself wasn’t overly concerned with whether he won or lost, he was just happy he flashed some grit.
If he has his way, he’ll be throwing his weight around a lot more in the coming weeks and months.
“I think I’ve got to start getting more physical, maybe change up my game a little bit and maybe bring more of a physical presence here,” said Booth. “Maybe start doing that a little bit more so maybe teams know we have a little bit of an edge to us.”
The last time Booth threw down was on November 4, 2011, against Scott Nichol of the St. Louis Blues. Booth took home a souvenir from the fight scored overwhelmingly in Nichol’s favour – a black eye.
“That one I was a little tired at the end of the shift, I kind of wanted to go off, but I really wanted to fight too,” laughed Booth. “We’ll see, maybe I’ll work on a few things, get some ice on my body and maybe learn a new skill.”
400 SELLOUTS AND COUNTING...
They’re demanding, they’re opinionated, and they love their Canucks.
Further proof Canucks fans are the best in the NHL wasn’t needed, but more came Wednesday night when Rogers Arena was sold out for the 400th consecutive game giving Vancouver the third longest streak in professional sports behind the Boston Red Sox (712) and Dallas Mavericks (437).
Hockey’s longest sellout streak began on November 14, 2002, a rainy Thursday night in the lower mainland if ever there was one. Friends was new, it was the one where Phoebe meets Mike’s parents for the first time and Ross makes Emma laugh by singing 'Baby Got Back' by Sir Mix-a-Lot, but apparently VCR’s were set to tape it.
That night 18,630 fans packed into what was then General Motors Place to witness a 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings and they haven’t stopped coming to games since.
Of those 400 games, 357 are regular season outings and 43 playoff games, while 100 per cent of them have been appreciated from those who benefit most from the loyalty – the Canucks themselves.
“Great fans and fans that love that game that are real passionate abut their team, they want their team to bring a Stanley Cup to Vancouver and BC and in my mind they’re very supportive and very demanding,” assessed coach Alain Vigneault on the tremendous support his team gets.
“We really appreciate the support, playing in front of a sold out building night after night is very enjoyable and we hope it’s going to continue for a long run."
-@nerdofthisworld, speaking on behalf of sports fans everywhere.
and watching game on Canucks Live app. #WTH" -@mrfeuchuk. A fan's gotta do, what a fan's gotta do.
him three consecutive goals scored on the Avalanche going back to last Saturday’s game.
11 minutes to open the game. The second, on the power play, almost hit Sami Salo in the head.