Schneider is stellar in stopgap effort
The goalie that most wise guys came to heckle yesterday remained on the bench.
Roberto Luongo, more pumpkin than puck-stopper in three TD Garden losses in last year’s Stanley Cup Final, was Cory Schneider’s backup. Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault explained that he wanted Schneider, a Marblehead native and Phillips Andover graduate, to start before family and friends.
Schneider proved his coach right to start him. The three-year Boston College standout stopped 36 pucks, including 18 in the third period.
“When we needed him, he always stepped in and did a great job,’’ Vigneault said. “He never got the opportunity to play in front of his friends and family. We thought after analyzing not just that - there were other areas to analyze - we just thought he’d give us a good game.’’
Schneider’s best save came early in the second. At 0:23, Henrik Sedin hauled down Daniel Paille to wipe out a scoring chance, and Paille was given a penalty shot.
Paille approached Schneider with speed and tried to snipe over his left pad. But Schneider snatched Paille’s shot, keeping the score tied at 1-1.
“I never really had a set plan,’’ Paille said. “I wanted to fake to one side. I thought his glove was a little bit higher. But he got a quick glove on it and made a good save.’’
Schneider’s start was somewhat surprising considering Luongo was coming off a 3-0 shutout of Minnesota Wednesday. During last year’s Final, Luongo allowed 15 goals at the Garden.
“I think they feel the same way we do about our goaltending tandem,’’ said Bruins coach Claude Julien before the game. “I think they have a lot of confidence in Schneider. To be honest, I would have no issues with putting Tuukka Rask in net today with the way he’s played.’’
No thank you
At 14:58 of the first period, Shawn Thornton shed his gloves in anticipation of a fight he believed was coming.
Dale Weise thought otherwise.
Weise, who had tangled with Nathan Horton earlier in the first, kept his gloves on. Weise, however, was slapped with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, the same infraction that Thornton drew for the fight that wasn’t.
According to Thornton, referee Don VanMassenhoven heard the exchange prior to the faceoff. VanMassenhoven reminded Thornton to wait until the puck dropped before fighting.
“[Weise] said, ‘Let’s go,’ ’’ Thornton said. “I don’t know if he was talking to me or someone else. Donny heard him. That’s why he went with him, I’m assuming.
“Donny said, ‘Wait until the puck drops.’ I said, ‘Of course.’ I heard [Weise] say, ‘We’ll go.’ Maybe he was talking to [Adam McQuaid]. I don’t know. I obviously thought it was go time.’’
As expected, both the Bruins and Canucks felt a Stanley Cup hangover. Both clubs sputtered at the start of this season, but have rebounded to become elite clubs.
The Bruins staggered out to a 3-7-0 pace in October. The Canucks went 5-5-1 in the first month.
“When you play until the end of June, you’ve only got a couple of months,’’ said Julien. “With the effort and everything you put into the playoffs, let alone the series, people have to understand that we’re almost a seven-day-a-week work group. It’s not like we have weekends off.
“When you calculate days off that a normal person has, it’s a lot more than what we had over the course of the summer. In talking to some of the Canucks people and looking at what we experienced here, guys just weren’t ready to start the year. Their heads weren’t into it.’’
A bout time
One second after Brad Marchand tied the game in the first period, Gregory Campbell and Maxim Lapierre threw down. Both fighters removed their helmets (Lapierre wears a shield) and engaged in a spirited scrap. The linesmen busted up the scrap before either player hit the deck . . . Vancouver forward Andrew Ebbett suffered a broken collarbone, and Vigneault said Ebbett will require surgery . . . David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron, and Joe Corvo led the Bruins with five shots apiece. Krejci, who scored in the third, has five goals and seven assists in his last eight games . . . The Bruins were down to two left wings after Lucic (1:27 of ice time) and Marchand (10:49) were tossed. Benoit Pouliot replaced Lucic on the No. 1 power-play unit, while Campbell assumed Marchand’s shifts as net-front man on the No. 2 unit. “We had some pretty big obstacles to overcome,’’ Julien said. “Some of it was losing two real good players out of your lineup and having a short bench. That didn’t help. Having said that, had we stayed out of the box and not given them the power plays we gave them, I really felt, five-on-five, we controlled the play.’’ . . . Zach Hamill and Steven Kampfer were the healthy scratches . . . The Bruins are off today. They will practice tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. at Ristuccia Arena.