Roberto Luongo only faced 22 shots last night, but he allowed three weak goals and the Canucks lost.
Sound familiar? How about March 16 against the Islanders, where he allowed four goals on 12 shots? Or January 13 against Minnesota (five goals, 19 shots) or January 30 against Toronto (three goals, 8 shots)?
Luongo has been pulled eight times this season. Once was against Chicago. The other seven were against teams headed to the golf course when the season ends: the Islanders, Minnesota (twice), Toronto, St. Louis, Columbus, and Calgary.
Do Luongo’s legs fall asleep when he doesn’t face enough shots? Compare his save percentage in games grouped by the number of shots he faced.
|No. of shots (weighted)*||GP||SA||GA||Save %|
|40 and over||6||227||23||0.899|
As we suspected, Luongo is dismal when he faces under 25 shots, and only average when he faces under 30 shots.
His sweet spot is 30 to 39 shots. Three of his four shutouts came in those 21 games, and he’s got an impressive .947 SV%, crushing Ryan Miller’s league-leading .929.
In fact, Luongo hasn’t played a single bad game this season when facing that many shots. The worst he did was to surrender 4 goals to the Sharks on November 29, the second of back-to-back games. (Compare that to six games allowing 4 or more goals this season when facing under 30 shots.)
The stats confirm what we all knew: the busier Luongo is, the better he plays. He slides down to 0.899 SV% when facing 40 or more shots, though, so it would be rash to promote Andrew Alberts and Shane O’Brien to the number one pairing.
But there may be one tip for Alain Vigneault: put Andrew Raycroft in net against the crappy teams. He could hardly have done worse last night against the Oilers than did Luongo.
* Shots are weighted to 60 minutes. For example, if Luongo was pulled after the first period for allowing 5 goals on 14 shots (as he was against Chicago on March 5), I averaged that out over 60 minutes and recorded that as a 42-shot game.