Roberto Luongo has had two bad games in a row against Chicago. Despite the fact that many of the shots that beat him were screened, or from danger areas, or came about as the result of a defensive breakdown, the simple fact is that he hasn’t been very good and he needs to be better in Game Six.
Since Alain Vigneault has made the decision to start Luongo, I think it’s worth asking: exactly how good has Luongo been after consecutive bad games in the past?
Roberto Luongo doesn’t string two bad games together very often.
October 15-20: Luongo got off to a lousy start this season. He allowed four goals in his fourth game (versus Los Angeles), posting a 0.789 SV%, and followed that up with a six goals against, 0.667 SV% performance against Minnesota on October 19. After the game on the 19th, the Canucks played the second-half of a back-to-back match against Chicago. It would have been easy for Vigneault to justify sitting his underperforming ‘tender on a back-to-back, but he didn’t. Luongo responded with 31 saves on 32 shots (0.969 SV%) in a shootout loss.
May 5-9: In their playoff series against Chicago, Luongo got blasted for 11 goals over a two-game stretch, posting a 0.857 SV% and then a 0.819 SV% in consecutive losses. He followed those up by stopping 29 of 30 shots (0.967 SV%) in a Game Five win.
April 19-23: In the first round against Los Angeles, Luongo allowed four goals in two consecutive games (one a win, one a loss), posting save percentages of 0.750 and 0.846. The next night he stopped 24 of 26 shots (0.923 SV%) in a Canucks’ victory.
April 2-7: We jump back to 2008-09 for the next example of two consecutively awful games from Luongo. After allowing five goals versus the Ducks (0.844 SV%), the Canucks played a back-to-back series. In two games in two nights, Luongo surrendered four goals to Edmonton (0.833 SV%) and Colorado (0.846 SV%). His next game came against the Calgary Flames, and he stopped 46 of 47 shots in the victory (0.979 SV%).
March 26-30: After allowing a total of nine goals over two games against Colorado (0.783 SV%) and Minnesota (0.810 SV%), Luongo played well against Calgary, stopping 27 of 29 shots (0.931 SV%) en route to a win.
November 2-6: Luongo had poor outings in consecutive games against Minnesota (five goals against, 0.792 SV%) and Colorado (three goals against, 0.850 SV%). He followed that up by stopping 19 of 20 shots (0.950 SV%) against the Dallas Stars in another win for the Canucks.
That’s it for Luongo’s Canucks’ career. There are six instances (including twice in the playoffs) where Luongo had consecutively awful games, and in five of the six (including both playoff instances) his game following those two was tremendous. On one occasion, Luongo laid three stinkers in a row before playing brilliantly in a win.
My takeaway from all this is that despite the talk of Luongo’s “mental fragility,” he has shown the ability to bounce back from a couple of poor outings during his time with the Canucks. I’m fairly confident that Vigneault’s ongoing faith in his star goaltender has something to do with how Luongo’s performed in similar situations in the past for him.