The Vancouver Canucks are enjoying having two established goaltenders for now.
The Calgary Flames certainly don’t know what it’s like to have that luxury.
It’s not clear who will start in goal for either team - for vastly different reasons - when they meet Saturday night in Vancouver, with the Canucks seeking a fifth straight victory.
Roberto Luongo continues to be shopped around by Vancouver (6-2-2), and had made four straight starts before giving way to Cory Schneider for Thursday’s 4-1 victory at Minnesota. Schneider made 22 saves, and insists he isn’t upset about the situation.
“It’s great knowing there’s another guy who can go in there and put up those kind of numbers, and it just motivates you to be that good and chase him,” said Schneider, who saw his first action in 11 days. “I’ve been doing it for a couple years now, and I think the team enjoys that, just knowing whoever’s in the net we can win.”
Canucks coach Alain Vigneault has not yet announced a starter for Saturday.
“We’ve got two world-class goalies and it’s a problem a lot of teams would like to have,” winger Chris Higgins said. “Great guys and we’ll take that effort every night from our goalies.”
Miikka Kiprusoff was placed on injured reserve Friday with a knee sprain suffered Tuesday, prompting Calgary to sign goaltender Danny Taylor Leland Irving made 26 saves in his first start of the season Thursday in a 4-3 overtime win at Columbus.
“There’s nothing better. It’s pretty exciting,” Irving said. “The boys really came through tonight and played great. I’m glad they were rewarded with two points.”
Irving’s only previous NHL win came Dec. 23, 2011, 3-1 at Vancouver. It’ll be either Irving or Taylor in net for the next two games until Kiprusoff is eligible to come off IR on Tuesday.
Calgary goaltenders have posted a 3.25 goals-against average for the NHL’s sixth-worst mark. Vancouver is tied for the fifth-best at 2.10.
The Flames (3-3-2), who have won consecutive games for the first time, had four different goal scorers against the Blue Jackets. Alex Tanguay scored in overtime to extend his point streak to seven games (nine points).
“I really like the way that we’re performing right now,” coach Bob Hartley said. “I’m proud for the guys. We’re very demanding intensity-wise, discipline-wise but they’re responding well.”
Hartley also has injury concerns with his skaters. Mike Cammalleri, tied for the team lead in assists with five, sat out Thursday while fellow center Mikael Backlund left the game with an MCL sprain.
“It opens the doors for other players to come in,” Hartley said. “It’s very unfortunate, I feel very bad for the guys getting injured, but it creates opportunities for the other guys to come in.”
Schneider and Kiprusoff each stopped 34 of 36 shots in the first matchup between these teams Jan. 23, but the Canucks goalie was better in the shootout as his team posted a 3-2 victory.
Nine of the last eleven meetings between these Northwest Division rivals have essentially been one-goal games, with two of those ending in two-goal margins thanks to empty-net tallies.