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Luongo: lost his touch?

The Vancouver Canucks are the only top seeded team in the Western Conference to have not clinched their spot in the playoffs. With what we saw last night, should with anticipate some kind of miracle come out of the Colorado Avalanche, that are only 3.5 wins away from the Canucks, their division leader? Probably not, but Roberto Luongo needs to step up his game.

There has been speculation that the impressive goaltending that we saw out of LuongoL at the Vancouver Olympics has been on the back burner for this goal medal winning goaltender. We all know what went down back in February, so there’s no need to bring it up again, but lets point out some key mistakes from last night’s 8-3 loss to the Los Angeles Kings.

First goal, Luongo attempts to poke the puck off of the stick of Alexander Frolov, but failed as Frolov went right around Luongo making it 1-0 Kings. Later on in the first, Luongo lets up a bad rebound and Anze Kopitar wrists one into a wide open net. So we have bad poke check and uncontrolled rebounds and it’s only the first period.

Before the period is over, Dustin Brown notches is first of the night off a beautiful pass from Jack Johnson. With the amount of traffic in front of the net, we will give Luongo this one. But again with the uncontrolled rebounds, Drew Doughty fires a shot from the point and it appears Luongo has a piece of it before letting it drop behind him and Jarret Stoll taps it inside the net. 4-0 Kings.

Brown scores again midway through the second on the power play. Originally, it looked as if Luongo never would have seen this one coming but after studying the replay it appears Brown fanned on the puck, tricking Luongo into going down early. If it had gone up and over his shoulder it would be one thing, but it slid it right under Luongo, Brown didn’t even touch it again. That puck had no business in the net. 5-0 Kings.

Half the game is gone and your team is losing 5-0, one would think head coach Alain Vigneault would have chosen to sit Luongo in favor of Andrew Raycroft, especially with Raycroft coming off a win not long ago against Anaheim. But Vigneault chose to stick with Luongo and disaster would continue to follow.

Vancouver did come back and score two unanswered making it seem like they were back in this game, but the next time LA would score, Brown’s 3rd of the night came on a beautiful play that began with hit on Stoll in the opposite end. Brown then took the puck all the way down the ice for a 2 on 1, then without passing the puck, nicely put it behind Luongo. He may have thought Brown was going to pass it, but it was the prettiest goal of the night. Yes, prettiest. 6-2 Kings.

The Canucks would tally another, and Kings rookie goaltender Jonathan Bernier doesn’t deserve much credit for helping his team take this one. All three of his were atrocious as well. In fact, Kings head coach Terry Murray has said Jonathan Quick will be in the net next game, and probably the next one as well. Bad night for goaltenders all around? Luongo’s get’s worse.

With a little over 4 minutes remaining in the game, the Kings are still ahead 7-3 when Luongo goes behind the net to play the puck but Michal Handzus interceps the puck and Luongo races back to dive in the front of the net. Not quickly enough however as Handzus shoves it in the net.

So what is up with Roberto Luongo? He has said that he is starting to “feel” the Olympic break, or lack there of, but Ryan Miller is doing just fine in Buffalo. Correct me if he has had an 8 goal loss recently. The 8 goals last game isn’t as much the issue as how most of the goals were scored. For a goaltender who is thought to be in the top of his game, sure everyone has a bad game, but those were some terrible mistakes. And where were the Sedin twins, Alexandre Burrows,and the rest of the Canucks 50+ (point) players? If the Canucks want to hold on to that playoff spot, 3rd in the Western Conference, they need to show everyone they belong there.

  1. April 2, 2010 at 11:09 am

    I don’t know that Luongo has lost his touch so much as never really having found it. In the 2-3 weeks prior to the Olympics, Miller, Brodeur and Luongo weren’t doing particularly well and certainly during the Olympics Brodeur stumbled while Miller shone. Luongo? He picked up the reins, but didn’t shine anywhere near the brilliance of Miller. He had some stellar moments, but didn’t have to steal the game for Canada. So I don’t know that I’d say he’d lost his touch – but he better darn well find it again soon if he has.

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