Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Schneider, Canucks Clinch Playoff Spot with 2-1 Shootout Win over Red Wings

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Schneider, Canucks Clinch Playoff Spot with 2-1 Shootout Win over Red Wings

Article excerpt

Lapierre scores shootout winner for Canucks

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VANCOUVER - Cory Schneider did not let a sub-par effort get him down for long.

Schneider made 33 saves and three more unofficial ones in the shootout as the Vancouver Canucks clinched a berth in the Stanley Cup playoffs with a 2-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday night.

"It's nice to finally get that check mark," said Schneider. "You're never in until you're in. This Western Conference is so competitive, and it seems like everyone wants to win it and everyone goes on a run at some point.

"So to get into the playoffs is our first goal and, hopefully, we can go a step further now and clinch our division. So we're just going to try to put our heads down and keep going."

Schneider was happy to rebound from a poor showing in a 5-1 loss to the Dallas Stars, in which he allowed four third-period goals. He revived his game in a big way, blanking the Wings while they outshot the Canucks 17-2 in the third period and 4-1 in the shootout.

"He was real good," said Canucks coach Alain Vigneault. "He made some great saves against some great players. He gave us a chance to win it in the shootout and, obviously, he was our best player tonight."

The coach also praised his club for getting into the playoffs with three games remaining in the regular season after battling numerous injuries, notably to centre Ryan Kesler, who was sidelined for extended periods with wrist and shoulder problems stemming from last season and a broken foot this season. Vancouver is currently dealing with health woes to defencemen.

"It's not easy to get into the playoffs, to have the opportunity to challenge for the Cup," said Vigneault. "It's the first step, and this group, I believe, deserves a lot of credit for getting in. It's tough to get in, and we did it under some very tough circumstances."

Maxim Lapierre scored in the shootout as the Canucks (25-13-7) posted their seventh consecutive victory at home. The Red Wings (20-16-8) missed out on a chance to jump over the playoff bar.

Lapierre, Vancouver's last shooter in the shootout, beat Jimmy Howard with a forehand-to-backhand deke, roofing the puck into the net.

"I wanted to be patient," said Lapierre, who skated towards the net slowly. "There's not many holes there. He's pretty big in net."

Alex Edler scored for Vancouver and Damien Brunner had one for Detroit in the first period, but neither team could score again until the shootout as Howard and Schneider sparkled at different times.

Schneider was by far the busier of the two goaltenders as the Red Wings outshot the Canucks 34-14. The performance was an important one heading into the playoffs, because Schneider will be the go-to-guy in goal again in the post-season after displacing Roberto Luongo as No. 1 in net in last spring's playoffs. …

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