Canucks Report: Luongo's last stand?
Roberto Luongo starts the final home game of Canucks season
The Canucks wind up their regular season at home with the same Anaheim Ducks team they hosted to begin the campaign. The NHL standings may say it's a meaningless affair, but Vancouver will need to keep its foot on the gas to keep its momentum heading into the post-season.
Last time for Luo?
Roberto Luongo could be making his last regular season home start tonight as the Vancouver Canucks host the Anaheim Ducks, but don't expect the Canucks winningest goaltender to spend his time reflecting on his tenure guarding the Canucks net.
"For myself, and the team, the focus is really on these last two games and preparing for next week. That's all that really matters at this point. Reminiscing is for when you retire." said Luongo, who is looking for his 10th win of the season.
While Luongo shyed away from reflecting on his Canuck career, his coach throughout his time in Vancouver, Alain Vigneault, heaped praise on his stand-out netminder.
"Since he came in he's given us a chance to win every night. He was a great role model for any player coming in here whether they were young or old. I think it's been a real privilege for everybody to have him here with us."
During Luongo's seven year tenure with the team he has rewritten the Canucks record books. The Montreal native has set the standard for excellence setting records for the most career wins (224) and shutouts (33) as a Canuck, recording the most wins in a season (47), the most shutouts in a season (9), and winning the William M. Jennings trophy in 2011, in addition to being selected to the NHL All-star Game on three occasions.
After a dominating performance against the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday, Alain Vigneault is electing to keep his top three forward lines together, bringing some consistency to a forward group which has been mixed and matched for much of the season.
Vigneault felt his second line of Ryan Kesler, Derek Roy and Chris Higgins were especially good against the NHL's top club despite being kept off the score sheet.
"Our second line's best game of the 46 games we've played was the last one. They were part of eight or nine scoring chances. We have not had that at one other time this year so I'm hoping that they will be able to do that again tonight."
Despite playing on the wing and not his normal centre position, Kesler says the transition isn't as difficult as many may believe.
"It really doesn't change too much. It's still hockey out there," said Kesler, who will still take a majority of the line's faceoffs.
"I think it gives us different looks whatever he [Vigneault] decides. I thought last game was one of our best offensive games. We can go with three lines or we can go with two stacked lines."
More Canuck Debuts
Two more call-ups are making their Vancouver Canuck debuts tonight with Derek Joslin drawing in for Cam Barker on the backend and rookie goaltender Joe Cannata filling in as the back-up to Roberto Luongo with Cory Schneider nursing an injury.
Keith Ballard and Kevin Bieksa both joined their Canuck teammates on the ice for the team's pre-game skate.
Bieksa will not dress tonight but remains confident that he will be ready to go come the playoffs just a week away. As for Keith Ballard, there is a possibility he will skate as a forward on the 4th line, a position he played three games earlier this season.