Defensive support is possibly the most important thing a goaltender needs to be successful. The NHL nowadays have so much talent that you will see back-door saucer passes and slap-pass tip-ins night in and night out. Not only that, but goaltending has evolved into more of a positional game than a reactional style. If you don't believe me look at the size of the pads now and 20 years ago.
Luongo is fine in the regular season, sure. That's not because he's only good in the regular season, but it's because his D plays the right way and isolates many of the point-blank chances (ie. rebounds). The Canucks D do this job very well, and though it's not tangibly provable, I and a number of other CDC'ers have come to notice the strange difference in effort in the Canuck players when Schneider plays (perhaps this inflates his numbers).
So everything is good, up until April. What happens? Luongo doesn't let in 4 or 5 every game. He has some insane games and some horrible games. Sometimes he lets in 1 or posts a shutout while sometimes he posts a stinker with 4 or more. Why does this happen?
Unless you are actually suggesting that the April weather suddenly destroys his consistency, there is no other plausible explanation other than the theory that the defence COMPLETELY changes their game. This is in fact provable.
You will notice that the Canucks team vamp up their physicality by a tremendous amount, so much that sometimes the hit is prioritized over simple defensive plays. This is specific to players such as Bieksa or Edler since they are big-minute eaters and love to hit.
What will happen then is that because the Canucks D change their game and how they operate, the rhythm completely breaks for Luongo. Suddenly there are ridiculous point-blank chances appearing all around him:
The best example:
Watch as O-Brien, the last D-man back for Vancouver, goes to hit Hossa instead of marking Sharp. This creates a complete breakaway for Sharp (First guy back was Mason Raymond, what a surprise), and Luongo is forced to make the great save.
These highlight-reel saves are often from the playoffs, because Luongo is forced into these situations. The D are often found not marking key players who are WIDE open, so Luongo has to bail them out. When he gets them, he posts those miniscule numbers. When he doesn't, the GAA climbs up.
And, when Luongo's got the defensive support (Burrows checking MacDonald), he makes the saves.
Now obviously I took a small sample of the many videos out there, but as you can see, the main point I'm trying to make is that in the playoffs, the defence leave holes and gaps that normally are covered in the regular season. This creates make or break chances that Luongo must deal with almost alone.
I also feel that Schneider's playoff numbers are inflated partly because of tighter defensive coverage provided by the team. It's not like Schneider is often beat on a goal where the defense hangs him out to dry, because the defence plays tighter when he's in goal. Conspiracy? Maybe, but the theory is there.
Edit: Before the haters come in to accuse me of trying to find an excuse for Luongo, I would like to say that doing so would prove to me that you cannot find an appropriate counter to the theory that the D is in fact partly responsible for the breakdowns. Think about that before simply posting "QQ Luongo sucks!!1!".
Edited by LordofBrussels, 15 June 2012 - 07:29 PM.