Devils' Schneider regaining form entering tilt with Canucks
New Jersey Devils at Vancouver Canucks
Cory Schneider's 2018-19 NHL season continues to contradict.
Heading into Friday's contest in Vancouver, the New Jersey Devils have lost seven of their past eight games. But aside from being blown out 9-4 on Tuesday in Calgary, the Devils have lost by close counts and displayed strong defense
At least part of the reason: Schneider's recent play. He has posted a save percentage of .923 or better in each of his past three games. As he prepares for a rare meeting against his former Canucks' squad, Schneider is trying to make the most of a trying season in which he has battled injuries and, as part of his rehabilitation, spent time in the minors.
Like the Canucks, the Devils are destined to miss the playoffs. Mainly pride will be at stake Friday. But in addition to seeking pride, Schneider is working on refining his game.
"These games are all really meaningful for me," the 32-year-old Schneider recently told NHL.com. "I haven't played a lot of hockey in the last year, year and a half, at least by my standards. So, it's just fun to play and get out there and get games in. I think we're all out to prove something right now, to ourselves, to coaches, to the management."
Schneider returned from an eight-game conditioning stint with Binghamton of the AHL on Feb. 3 after recovering from an abdominal strain. He was absent from the Devils' first eight games of the season following surgery to repair torn cartilage in his left hip last May. He endured an 18-game winless streak -- with 15 of the losses coming in regulation time -- dating back to last season before he was sidelined in December.
"I think (the winless skid) mentally wore on him a bit," Devils coach John Hynes told NHL.com. "I think his confidence wavered at times for him. Even when he came back this year, you could see it a little bit."
But Schneider, who has been reunited with former Canucks goaltending coach Rollie Melanson in New Jersey, has bounced back nicely in recent games. He backstopped the Devils to a 6-3 victory in
Edmonton on Wednesday night as they ended their seven-game losing streak.
Schneider has allowed three goals or less in four of his past five games. (He did not play in the blowout in Calgary.)
"I just feel a lot more like myself, which is great," Schneider told NHL.com.
Meanwhile, the Canucks, who have only five wins in their past 18 games, are feeling better about themselves after posting a 4-1 home-ice win over the New York Rangers on Wednesday night.
However, the Canucks received some bad news on the injury front. Feisty winger Dominic Roussel was lost for the season to a knee injury after he collided with Rangers forward Brendan Lemieux on the play leading up to Tyler Motte's second goal.
Roussel's legs buckled underneath him following the collision with Lemieux, who received a match penalty.
The Canucks also learned that newly signed defenseman Quinn Hughes' foot injury is more serious than anticipated. Hughes, Vancouver's top draft choice (seventh overall) in 2018, was hurt in his second-to-last game with the University of Michigan over the weekend.
"He's got a pretty good bone bruise, so he's in a walking boot for a week and then we'll re-evaluate him next week," coach Travis Green told reporters.
But the Canucks could breathe a bit easier after learning that rookie sensation Elias Pettersson was not seriously injured when he was elbowed in the head by New York's Chris Kreider, who received a major and game misconduct.
The incident sparked concern because Pettersson, who left the game for a while to be examined and have a bloody nose staunched, was sidelined by a concussion earlier this season.
"I saw (Kreider) was coming, so I jumped away and he lifted, I don't know, his arm or elbow," Pettersson told reporters. "Intentional? I don't know, but I don't think he's a dirty player. I started bleeding from my nose ... but my head was feeling fine all the time. But of course, there's protocol that you have to do if they suspect it's a concussion."
Pettersson is expected to play against the Devils.
--Field Level Media
Updated March 14, 2019