In today’s game edition of nucksaid we look at Luongo’s impressive week. Why was everyone so surprised to hear the announcement that Roberto Luongo was given the start against Colorado last week? Was it really that big of a surprise? To be honest, that decision did not shock me at all. In the previous game Luongo played a strong game despite the shootout loss. On Wednesday against Colorado, Luongo posted his 61st career shutout [34th as a Canuck] that night. Making his best stop of the night just over a minute into the game with the knob of his stick…did you see that one? It set the tone for the rest of the game. He was deep in the blue paint, tight on his posts and strong with glove.When the Canucks got a 2 goal lead, he made a very important stop on Matt Duchene on a short-handed breakaway to preserve the lead. The forwards rewarded his patience by extending the lead to three on the powerplay curtesy of #ZackAttack Kassian. P.S. that was his team leading 5th goal of the season! Did you happen to notice that at the end of that game as the final buzzer went…the ENTIRE arena was on their feet chanting LOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU? Pretty surprising giving to the fact that many of those ‘bandwagoners’ were hoping he would have left by now. Some of us never doubted that he deserved credit long ago and STILL does.
The next day people were once again shocked when the Canucks announced that Luongo would start against their nemesis the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday. Seriously why the shock? Luongo has always had a strong work ethic. The guy is posting his BEST season start numbers with a 1.46 GAA and a 0.944 save percentage! Not mention posting a 2-0-2 record…that means he has picked up 6 of a possible 8 points for the Canucks and is undefeated in regulation. This game lacked the punch of many previous meetings between the bitter rivals. Many expected there to be bad blood following hit by Duncan Keith that ended Daniel Sedin’s season last year. Both teams said simply, that it was getting the win and the two points that was important and not focusing on what happened in the past. And so it was. There was hardly any of the physicality that was expected and the only player to actually knock Keith down was Henrik Sedin. The Canucks may not have exacted revenge on Keith, but the fans were very loud in letting him know their distaste of what he did by booing him EVERY time he touched the puck. Alex Edler was the one to get the Canucks on the board in the first period and it stayed a 1 goal game until midway through the third period when that pesky Patrick Kane tied the game. It looked like the Blackhawks were going to steal the two points with a mad scramble in Luongo’s crease in the final minutes but the puck did cross the line and the crowd erupted in #LOUUUU chants as the buzzer ended regulation. Overtime was all Chicago and Luongo denying them goals…the Canucks had one nice rush short-handed near the end of the overtime period, but like regulation it ended tied. The entire arena, and all the fans watching from home were on the edge of their seats anticipating the Canucks going to a shootout for the 4th time in 8 games! Oi vey! The shootout has never been the strong point for the Canucks….the tension was palpable. The Canucks opted to go with Burrows, Kassian and Lapierre. The Hawks went with their snipers Toews, Kane, and Sharp. All six players were denied[no stop more brilliant than Luongo’s glove save on Sharp to extend the shootout to a 4th round!]. Cue sudden death…first team to outscore the other would win. The Canucks tapped rookie Jordan Schroeder…and he came prepared….he changed his speed midway getting Crawford to bite…just sneaking the puck through the five hole! Cue the arena screaming. All that was needed was one save by Luongo to win the game or a goal by Chicago to extend the shootout to a fifth round. The Hawks tapped Leddy…and Luongo said NO. CANUCKS win and Luongo was brilliant in the shootout stopping ALL 4 shooters. Did I mention that Captain Henrik Sedin played hi 900th NHL game on Friday[fun fact: he will play his 1000th NHL next season!]
Tonight the Canucks will once again lean on the goal-tending of Roberto Luongo when they play in Edmonton. Luongo has been incredible the last three games in particular and I look forward to seeing that continue tonight. Relax Schneider fans, he will get his chance, but Coach V and many other coaches tend to go with the hot hand. And right now that is Luongo as he is playing ridiculously well…why not let him play while he’s in the zone?! It should be an interesting match up tonight…Dubnyk vs. Luongo in Oil Country….go Canucks!
#GoCanucksGo #CanucksG9 #LUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
The puck drops at 6:30PM. Enjoy the game everyone!
In a shortened season every game matters and every point counts. Until next time as always, nuck said.