DAVID HUTCHINSON 778-839-5442 DAVID.HUTCHINSON@CENTURY21.CA
VANCOUVER - After conceding at least three goals in each of his past four starts, Vancouver Canucks goalie Cory Schneider has simply had enough.
The 26-year-old was disappointed with Tuesday's 18-save effort in Vancouver's 4-2 home loss to the Phoenix Coyotes and was more than happy to shoulder the bulk of the blame.
Prior to Tuesday's setback, Schneider gave up four goals to Dallas in a Feb. 15 defeat at Rogers Arena, and followed that up with a 4-3 shootout loss in Chicago on Feb. 19 and a 4-3 triumph on the road against Stars two nights later.
Those numbers had Schneider describing himself as an average goalie of late.
"It's getting ridiculous," he said after the loss to Phoenix. "Three or four games in a row giving up three goals or more and you know, I don't care if they were nice goals or guys wide open, it doesn't matter.
"You've got to make some big saves to give your team a chance to at least get a point.
"We worked hard enough to win tonight I thought. It wasn't a Picasso, but we had the effort and we could have won that game and I'm just getting sick of giving up three goals a night and playing like an OK goalie and not the goalie that I know I can be and that my teammates expect me to be."
It could be argued that Schneider, 5-4-1 on the year, was unlucky on Antoine Vermette's game-winner at 12:32 in the third period on Tuesday when the puck bounced in off the back of his pad.
But he was having none of it.
"You've got to find a way to make that big save late in the third and you get most of it, but it hits your pad and goes in," Schneider said. "'Oh it's bad luck' but almost isn't good enough right now, there have been a lot of almosts lately and I'm just tired of it.
"I've got to be better, I've got to find a way to get back to one or two goals a game like we're used to and right now it's just not happening and I've got to figure out why."
When asked about Schneider's self-critique, Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault dismissed the comments, adding it was a "team game."
"We need to score more than two goals, and we need to do a better job of defending on certain occasions," he said.
Of immediate concern for Vancouver is the fact that the club is now on a three-game winless streak at Rogers Arena, with the last victory on home ice coming against Minnesota on Feb. 12.
But captain Henrik Sedin says the Canucks are in no mood to hit the panic button yet, even with the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings in town on Saturday.
"I think we're a team that knows what it takes to get out of this funk," he said.