CHICAGO -- When Cory Schneider(notes) led the Vancouver Canucks onto the ice before Game 6 at the United Center on Sunday night, it was the first sign that something was amiss with Roberto Luongo(notes).
Any suspicion that it was strictly a play of gamesmanship by the Canucks ended soon thereafter, when Canucks defenseman Dan Hamhuis(notes) confirmed to Versus that the team had been told Sunday morning that Roberto Luongo was not starting the pivotal Game 6 against the Chicago Blackhawks.
"He's been just as steady as Lou all year," Hamhuis said of Schneider. "We're just going to talk to him early and try to clear the front of the net. Try to make it as easy as possible."
So Schneider, with 35 NHL regular season games to his credit, makes his first Stanley Cup Playoff start. Roberto Luongo, with the $10 million base salary this season and the contract that runs through 2022, sits.
Coach Alain Vigneault yanked Luongo in the previous two games, both losses that allowed the Blackhawks to climb to within 3-2 in the series.
The starting lineup sheets bolded the name of Schneider, the 25-year-old who went 16-4 this season filling in for the Vezina Trophy finalist. Injury talk swirled before the game, but Mark Spector of Sportsnet reported that Canucks management confirmed Luongo was not hurt. Luongo was in goal during warm-ups.
Finishing off Chicago has been anything but easy. The Blackhawks have dispatched Vancouver each of the last two years, and the 10 goals Luongo allowed on 40 shots the last two games prompted the change.
The panic button has officially been plunged by Vigneault.
UPDATE: At 2:31 of the third period, Michael Frolik(notes) of the Blackhawks scored on a penalty shot, and Schneider was injured trying to make the save. After making 17 stops on 20 shots, he left the game and Luongo re-entered for the Canucks with the score tied 3-3.
Here's the shot and the injury: