Last season, the Canucks scored first in 49 of their 82 games. They had a 41-2-6 record when scoring first. When they didn’t score first, their record was 13-17-3. And you might recall that the team that scored first won every single game in the Stanley Cup Final.

This season, the Canucks have scored first in only 2 of their first 10 games. They have won both of those games. They are 2-5-1 in their other 8 games.

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Tuesday night, just after the Edmonton Oilers scored three goals in the opening half of the second period, Alain Vigneault abandoned the defense pairings with which he had begun the game in favour of two familiar duos.

Kevin Bieksa, who had started the game alongside Keith Ballard, was returned to last season’s standout pairing with Dan Hamhuis. Alex Edler, who had begun the game with Dan Hamhuis, was reunited with Sami Salo, the blueliner with whom Edler played in the Canucks’ top pairing two seasons ago.

Immediately, the Canuck defense improved. It was a noticeable enough difference to make one wonder why the Canucks hadn’t stuck with these pairings before. The past two seasons have provided ample evidence that each worked, and yet, for whatever reason, the Canucks were averse to sticking with them. Early in the Canucks’ contest with the Blues, even, Edler saw a few shifts with Kevin Bieksa. What are the Canucks up to?

Blame Alex Edler.

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For the second game in a row, Roberto Luongo was the problem, letting in three goals on 31 shots, including two goals on 6 shots in the third period, when the Canucks desperately needed him to shut the door in order to have a chance at clawing their way back into the game. Clearly, it’s time for Cory Schneider to take the reins and – hmm? What’s that? You say that Schneider started this game, not Luongo? Oh.

Cory Schneider was outstanding against the Blues tonight, keeping the Canucks in the game through two periods, giving up only one goal on 25 shots. Unfortunately, the skaters in front of him were unable to provide him with any goal support and, while desperately pushing for a goal in the third, gave up some prime scoring chances at the other end that Schneider couldn’t possibly be expected to stop.

Ugh. I watched this game.

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