Farhan Lalji wrote:Kel wrote:I think we're going to know more about the series after game 1. Luongo shows up for the big games generally, and he's eager to redeem himself after the recent struggle.
Agreed, but there are a few things that concern me:
1) The 6th game against Chicago last year. Yes - the team defense was ATROCIOUS in that particular game, but a superstar goalie should be capable of bailing them out atleast some of the time. In game 6 last year, Luongo was burned on all chances.
2) The Olympics: Although many people are labelling Luongo as "proven" now that he's won Gold, the fact of the matter is that Luongo didn't have to do all that much.....since the team in front of him was so superb (i.e. similar to Brodeur and Canada's team in 02'). While Luongo wasn't terrible during the Olympics, he was not stellar either. Again Slovakia, Luongo let in a brutal goal when Canada was leading 3-0.....and this almost helped precipitate a Slovakian comeback. Also - that last "save" on Demitra wasn't even a save....it had more to do with Demitra missing the net. In the Gold Medal game, Luongo did not look particularly brilliant on that 1st goal, while he gave up the 2nd goal to Parise in the last minute.
Long story short: Luongo still needs to prove himself as a superstar clutch goalie come playoff time. He did it against Dallas back in 07', but hasn't done it on a consistent basis since then. Hopefully, this will be the year where he silences the naysayers.
Understandably you are concerned, and I think that's why everyone is us isn't as confident as, say, last year. On point 1) Chicago got lucky on a few of the 7 goals, and Luongo probably made great saves that were forgotten because of the goals scored against. On point 2), The Demitra one was a definite save as shown by replays and frame-by-frame captures, plus Luongo and Demitra both confirmed that. In the Gold Medal game, nobody realized Luongo made a critical save right before Crosby scored. Niedermayer turned over the puck to Pavelski in the defensive zone and Pavelski was allowed to take a shot in a great scoring area. It was a more dangerous shot than the one Crosby scored against Miller, farther away but heading towards the top corner and more unexpected because of the turnover. On the 1st goal, it was tip play that happened so fast one has to look at the replay to realize Kesler made a great tip. On the 2nd goal, the initial shot was deflected by a skate and changed direction completely, Luongo still made the save and Parise scored on the rebound because nobody checked him and he was allowed to skate across right in front of the crease. Again, you have to look at the replay in slow motion to realize how much the initial shot was deflected. I know he didn't catch the puck clean right before this scoring play when the puck was shot from the blue line, yet he probably would have covered up the rebound if his D didn't clear it away so fast (and give the puck away to the Americans). And Miller was allowed the hook for giving up a bad goal in OT because he doesn't play for Canada.
Luongo set the bar so high that people are disappointed if he's not perfect. But he said he enjoyed the pressure so let's see how he responds starting Thursday. He has some luxury this playoffs because his team can score more, but hopefully he won't need that.