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rkoshack

Does Luongo really meltdown in the playoffs?

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My question is 'why isn't he pulled before his numbers become ultra-embarrassing for the night?'

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The issue here is that the Canucks are 5-20 (.200) when Luongo has allowed three or more goals in a game over his playoff career.
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Roberto Luongo and postseason breakdowns

Cam Charron

September 20 2011 08:12AM

We are just three days into training camp, and already the 9-5 media is filling time on sports talk radio with a made up Vancouver Canucks goaltending controversy. The Kurtenbloggers, fresh in the noontime spot on Vancouver's TEAM 1040 radio, discussed at length whether Roberto Luongo was capable of winning a Stanley Cup, and whether or not Cory Schneider should be given a chance to compete for the starting job.

As of 12:22 Pacific Time on Monday, 83 per cent of fans on the TEAM 1040's website who voted in their daily poll agreed that "Yes, Cory Schneider should be given a chance to compete for the number one job." The arguments the Kurtenbloggers discussed included Schneider's improvement and success over a small sample of NHL games, but also the perceived mental anguish that Roberto Luongo suffers on a night-to-night basis in the NHL playoffs, and his propensity to "melt-down" and give up buckets of goals in "big games".

Let's face it: the goaltending issue that the Canucks faced in the Stanley Cup Finals was at the other end. Tim Thomas was a brick wall measuring about 7' by 5' in the Cup Finals. Luongo, admittedly, was pretty average over the course of seven games. In his 25 playoff games last season, Luongo won 15 games and had a .914 save percentage. In the first 25 games of the regular season, Luongo also won 15 game and had a .914 save percentage. Calling Roberto a regular season goaltender or somebody who has troubles in the playoffs is not just wrong, it's a fundamental misunderstanding of the ratios at play. Sample size is a big issue when evaluating goaltenders, and this perspective needs to be kept.

Luongo's best games this postseason were Game 7 against the Chicago Blackhawks, Game 5 against the San Jose Sharks and Game 5 against the Bruins. Those were all games in high-leverage situations and vital in their respective series, and yet the Canucks only won those games by a single goal each - two of them in overtime. Much of Luongo's perceived postseason failings (despite never having suffered a first round loss) stem from the fact that his forwards appear to give up in front of him.

To show this, I'm going to bring up the last two Cup-winning goaltenders: Tim Thomas of the Bruins and Antti Niemi, the goaltender formerly of the Blackhawks who now starts for the San Jose Sharks.

First off, here are the percentage of games where a goalie gave up at least 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 goals.

GA Thomas Luongo Niemi

1+ 88% 92% 95%

2+ 58% 71% 83%

3+ 37% 42% 60%

4+ 21% 25% 35%

5+ 7% 12% 8%

As you can see, Luongo is not all that far off from Thomas. In one of every four of Luongo's playoff games he'll allow four or more goal against. The frequency with which Luongo gives up four goals (or more) is only slightly higher than the rate for Tim Thomas. Niemi, who I don't view as a good goalie even though he has won a Stanley Cup, seems to be much more prone to 3+ and 4+ goal "meltdowns".

The 5+ statistic seems to swing a little more towards the anti-Luongo camp, but 12% doesn't imply a meltdown every series, more like one every two, but that's not all that much greater of a rate than Thomas or Niemi. I will add that this chart shows just how lucky the Bruins are to have Tim Thomas: He allows one or fewer goals 42% of the time.

No, the worry I have with the 5+ statistic comes with the guys in front of Roberto Luongo. Even if a team allows 5, you can still win 6-5 or 7-5. Luongo has not had such luck. Here is a list of each goaltenders' winning percentage when they have allowed that amount of goals:

GA Thomas Luongo Niemi

0 1.000 1.000 1.000

1 0.769 0.833 1.000

2 0.667 0.706 0.778

3 0.286 0.300 0.600

4 0.333 0.250 0.273

5+ 0.333 0.000 0.333

The issue here is that the Canucks are 5-20 (.200) when Luongo has allowed three or more goals in a game over his playoff career. It seems that the Canucks have been extremely reliant on Luongo to keep them in games. (Niemi is .417 at 3+ GA, and Thomas is .313). Consider that Antii "knows how to win" Niemi allowed 21 goals in his six games in the Stanley Cup Final in 2010 - but you'll never hear him called a "choker" - not because of how he played, but because his team scored 25 goals in the finals.

Roberto Luongo can win a Stanley Cup. His "meltdown" propensity is largely a fan-perception issue, and if the Canucks forwards are on the right side of variance, those apparent meltdowns will certainly appear less meltdowny.

http://canucksarmy.com/2011/9/20/roberto-luongo-and-postseason-breakdowns

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Great article! Totally agree with the point of this article/thread. Luongo is not the problem. The problem has been the tendency for the Canucks scoring to dry up during the playoffs in general, but, especially, when they are faced with a hot goalie. One area that really needs some extra attention is the PP during the playoffs. The Canucks somehow manage to plummet from the top PP team to the worst during the playoffs last season. Sure, injuries made a difference. But I think it was more than that. They really need more than Daniel and Kesler as PP snipers!

Unfortunately, the TEAM is up to their old tricks again. I was hoping that with the departure of Pratt, we might see some quality sports journalism happening. No such luck. Much as I can tolerate BMac, he knows practically nothing about hockey (the number one sport in Vancouver) - and, already, he and his mediocre sidekick, Taylor, are creating fake controversy (yesterday it was Hodgson, again). And as far as the so-called Kurtenbloggers are concerned, I think there are at least half a dozen regulars, here, who know more about sports, and could certainly do a better job! But, I guess that station is not really concerned with quality, all they care about is creating controversy! I wish someone would set up another station, again, for some decent competition!

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What a load of rubbish.

The entire team was playing on one leg and Luongo almost won a cup for them

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<br />The Canucks need to score at least 4 goals to win these games, which actually isnt all that reasonable.<br /><br />Vancouver had the best offense in the league, 262 goals over 82 games, averaging 3.19 goals per game.<br /><br />The playoffs are arguably stingier and the emphasis shifts to defense somewhat, so they arent even getting that. That might be why you are seeing 5 wins in 25 games.<br />
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In his 25 playoff games last season, Luongo won 15 games and had a .914 save

percentage. In the first 25 games of the regular season, Luongo also won 15 game

and had a .914 save percentage.

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The thing is Luongo have brilliant games and he has less brilliant games, but that's the thing, to be the best goalie you have to be more consistent. Luongos top form is great but is lowest point is low and shows up to often. Well when i was playing you had to play good to give the team confidence, if I wasn't playing great my defence would struggle. So if you let in like one or two easy goals, the players in front of you get nervous because they don't trust you. Luongo is a great goaltender, but not consistent enough!

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We need a defensemen that can consistently play defense at a Norris level caliber.

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How about we simply look at the Finals numbers, those are the only ones that count. Thomas and Luongo both had shakey games through the forst 3 rounds. The difference in the Finals was Thomas. He didnt have a single bad game in the finals. A 966 sv % while facing 35 shots a game.

Its not to say that even if Luongo didnt have those 2 horrible games in the finals that we would have fun anyway, but he didnt give the team much of a shot at winning if you cant keep the score close. He only faced 29 shots in games 6 and 7 and gave up, 6 goals.

Sorry that does not cut it.

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My question is... how can the media bash Luongo for last years playoffs? The Canucks scored 8 goals total in 7 cup finals games.... was Luongo suppose to get 4 SOs? Luongo had 4 SOs in 60 games during the year... and then put up another 4 SOs in 25 playoff games...

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I agree with what the article is trying to prove. But the thing that killed the Canucks and Luongo is the type of goals that Luongo lets in. A team can come back if it is a good goal that gets by your goalie, but when it is a saveable goal and it goes in. It just kills all momentum that team had. I am a Luongo fan but come playoff time you don't know which goalie you will get. First round is a prefect example games 1-3 was great Luongo was on top of his game then game 4-5 and yea the defense didn't help him out much but there were some goals where Luongo could have saved.

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