Maybe Vancouver should always start Curtis Sanford in Edmonton


Curtis Sanford is a goaltender that I’ve always liked, probably because he always shows up against Northwest Division teams.  Sanford was never drafted, and St. Louis signed him, presumably because it never hurts to have extra bodies when running a goaltending carousel. For those of you who don’t like the current three-goalie situation, check out this list of games played in the years Sanford was in St. Louis:

2002-03: Johnson (38), Brathwaite (30), Osgood (9), Sanford (8), Barrasso (6), Divis (2), Rudkowsky (1)

2005-06: Sanford (34), Lalime (31), Bacashihua (19), Divis (12)

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2006-07: Legace (45), Sanford (31), Bacashihua (19), Schwarz (2)

Curtis Sanford’s NHL opportunity may never have come if not for injuries to Johnson, Brathwaite and Divis. His third NHL game came against the Oilers, and although Sanford made 11 saves on 12 shots, it ended differently than he would have liked. From Sports Ticker:

Weight helped set up Keith Tkachuk’s game-winner with 5:32 left as the Blues extended their winning streak to four games.

Rudkowsky stopped 10 shots in relief of Curtis Sanford, who left midway through the second period with a high ankle sprain. That is the same injury that will keep No. 1 goalie Brent Johnson sidelined up to two more weeks. Blues backup Fred Brathwaite and rookie netminder Reinhard Divis are hobbled by groin strains.

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“When I saw there was something kind of wrong with (Sanford), you go, ‘How’d he get hurt there?,'” Blues coach Joel Quenneville said. “I didn’t say anything at all to (Rudkowsky). You don’t even want to look at him.”

That was on October 24th, 2002. Sanford’s next NHL game would come against the Oilers as well, in February 2003, and he was on the right side of a 4-1 win. It didn’t stop there, either – Sanford played the Oilers four more times while with the Blues, winning all of the games with scores of 5-4, 4-2, 5-3, and 3-2 (OT). Sanford’s only loss against the Oilers came last season, a 2-1 shootout loss on December 15th. All told, Sanford’s career record against Edmonton is 5-0-1, with a 2.09 GAA and .923 SV%.

The Canucks are playing the last game of a seven-game road trip, but that means less than it normally does because they’re well-rested (their last game was on Tuesday). They have 35 points on the season, good for the best record in the Northwest so this team will be a good test for the Oilers tonight. Of course, Curtis Sanford has always been a good test for the Oilers.