NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Monday, February 4th (All times Eastern)
Vancouver Canucks (4-2-2) at Edmonton Oilers (4-3-1), 9:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Roberto Luongo is getting a lot of work for a backup goaltender.
The 33-year-old is slated to make his fourth straight start on Monday evening when the Vancouver Canucks visit the Edmonton Oilers.
The Canucks have been trying to trade Luongo since he lost his starting job to Cory Schneider during last season's playoffs, but have so far been unsuccessful. However, he continues to get plenty of work as Schneider has struggled in taking over the No. 1 role.
The 26-year-old Schneider was pulled after 26 minutes of work in Vancouver's first game of the season and has gone 2-2-0 in four games with a 3.13 goals against average and .897 save percentage. He hasn't started since Jan. 27, when he allowed four goals on 27 shots in a setback to the San Jose Sharks.
Luongo, meanwhile, has not allowed more than two goals in any of his five appearances and has given up just three goals on 80 shots over his three straight starts. He has a shutout in that span and is coming off a 2-1 shootout win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday.
Luongo made 27 saves through overtime and stopped all four skaters he faced in the shootout. His fourth stop came right after Jordan Schroeder beat Chicago's Corey Crawford through the pads for the winner.
Playing in his sixth NHL game, Schroeder is still looking for his first NHL goal.
Alex Edler scored in regulation for the Canucks.
"It was the type of game where you could see the skill and you could see the speed, but you could also see both teams capable of checking well and battling," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said. "It was a hard-fought game where both goaltenders had to make some really great saves."
While Luongo has provided a big boost on the ice, the Canucks got a moral lifter on Sunday when injured forward Ryan Kesler participated in his first full practice this season.
The former 40-goal scorer has yet to play this year after undergoing shoulder and wrist surgery this past offseason. Though his return still figures to be some time away, he will travel with the club for its swing through Edmonton and Minnesota.
The Oilers will try to beat the Canucks for the second time in as many meetings this season, but are coming off a 3-1 road loss to the Colorado Avalanche. Nail Yakupov scored a first-period goal, his team-leading fifth of the season, but it was all Avs from then on.
"It's tough to lose to a division rival. We came out strong, but after that, they took it to us," noted Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. "We were turning the puck over too much. We let our guard down for five minutes and that's all it takes."
Devan Dubnyk made 37 saves for Edmonton, which had notched a point in three straight (2-0-1). Sam Gagner pushed his point streak to eight straight games, logging three goals and six assists in that span.
Edmonton notched a 3-2 shootout win over Vancouver on Jan. 20 in its first game of the season. Ales Hemsky had the deciding tally in the breakaway frame, while he and Jordan Eberle scored in regulation. Dubnyk made 27 saves as the Oilers snapped a four-game series losing streak.
Edler and Zack Kassian had the regulation goals for the Canucks and Luongo made 30 saves in his first start.
Vancouver has won four of its past six in Edmonton.
02/04 10:44:17 ET