The team’s captain could be back in net Wednesday night as the Canucks look for their first win while trying to continue their recent dominance at GM Place over the Montreal Canadiens.
Vancouver (0-3-0) has been outscored 13-6 while opening the season with three straight losses for the first time since 2001-02. Though the Canucks are averaging 40 shots per game, the area of concern is on the defensive end, particularly Luongo.
Considered one of the NHL’s best goaltenders and fresh off signing a 12-year, $64 million contract extension, Luongo - who has a 2.58 career goals-against average - is 0-3-0 with a 4.56 GAA.
“None of (the responsibility) is (Luongo’s),” forward Alex Burrows(notes) told the Canucks’ official Web site. “We win as a team and we lose as a team. We think he’s the best goalie in the league and he’s going to bounce back.”
Luongo was pulled after allowing four goals on 12 shots in a 5-3 loss to Columbus on Monday. Andrew Raycroft(notes) stopped 11 of 12 shots the rest of the way to possibly earn some consideration to start this contest.
“(Luongo’s) the least of my concerns,” said Canucks coach Alain Vigneault, whose team tries to avoid going winless through its first four games since opening 0-3-1 in 1994-95. “Roberto is one of the best goaltenders and definitely one of the hardest workers in this league, so he’s going to find his game, like he always does.”
Luongo could find his game against his hometown team. The Montreal native is 8-8-2 with three ties and a 2.47 GAA against the Canadiens, who’ve lost seven straight at Vancouver since Nov. 30, 2000.
After opening the season with two overtime wins on their five-game road trip, the Canadiens (2-1-0) look to bounce back from a 4-3 loss at Calgary on Tuesday while being aware that they will next face a team desperate to get in the win column.
“Vancouver is going to be hungry after an 0-3 start, they’re going to be waiting for us,” first-year Canadiens coach Jacques Martin said. “We just have to come out and play three periods. We had some good intensity (Tuesday) and we have to be prepared to battle for 60 minutes.”
Scott Gomez(notes), who spent the last two seasons with the New York Rangers, scored his first goal with his new team. Michael Cammalleri(notes) added his third assist in his first season with Montreal, which has scored nine goals so far.
Gomez, Cammalleri and former New Jersey forward Brian Gionta(notes) were all brought in as part of offseason overhaul to boost a club that ranked in the middle of the pack in the Eastern Conference with 242 goals last season.
Cammalleri, who spent his first five seasons with Los Angeles and scored a career-high 39 goals for Calgary in 2008-09, has seven goals and 10 assists in 20 games against the Canucks. Gionta had a goal and assist with the Devils in a 5-3 win at Vancouver on Jan. 13.
Carey Price(notes), who’s 2-0-0 with a 1.89 GAA, should start for the Canadiens after sitting out Tuesday in favor of Jaroslav Halak(notes). Price made one save in eight minutes in his only appearance against Vancouver, a 4-2 loss on Feb. 15.