The Comeback Kids Save Luongo… Again
The comeback kids have done it again. The Canucks now lead the league with their 10th 3rd period come from behind win after Samuelsson’s 2nd period hat trick helped them stage a 6-4 win in a big NW division tilt. It’s reached a stage where the Canucks level of confidence is so high that they can give up the first goal in nearly every game, they can give up a multi goal lead, and still fight back.
The first time around you could argue that maybe it’s a fluke, and while I’m not suggesting that this is some sort of strategy, it’s certainly something that doesn’t phase them. After overcoming two 3-goal deficits in the game to win 6-4 and stun the Avalanche at the Pepsi Center, a lot of people get completely caught up in the win and neglect to look at the most important part of the game which isn’t the comeback so much as it is the start.
The Sedins are coming alive at the right time (if their play in the last few games is any indication of comeback) but Luongo’s play has to be addressed. It’s alright to let in one soft goal here or there, the best goalies do it at the worst of times. Luongo however seems to be making it a habit though. The worst part is although he’s coughing up early leads, because the Canucks are coming back his shoddy first period play is going unnoticed. While I agree with Vigneault when he says “You never critique a win” you can’t give Luongo a free pass.
Luongo allowed more than one soft goal today and you can’t blame the defense as much as we’ve started to do. He’s paid the big dollars to put up the big saves. Of course many people will point to his stellar saves in the second and third period, but the bottom line is those don’t mean a thing if the Canucks aren’t still in the game, and his weak goaltending in the first detracts from just how well he played in that second and third period.
At this point in the season the Canucks need their highest paid players to be their best players. That goes without saying regardless of the roster station, but becomes even more important based on the current blue line injuries. The Sedins have definitely turned their game back on with their play in the last few games and Luongo really needs to shut down. This stretch drive is the tune up for the playoffs. Teams don’t blow three goal leads in the playoffs and the Canucks can’t expect to play the comeback game when the second season starts.
With one more game on the Canucks road trip, heading home is going to be a nice change. Raycroft’s been fantastic for the Canucks on this road trip so going into tomorrow night the Canucks should be able to ride the momentum from this game to start well against a Coyotes team that is as tough as any team in the West. Luongo better use the night off to get his head together because he’s been shaky in first periods since coming back from the Olympics and if he’s not giving the Canucks a chance to win every night the Canucks have bigger fish to fry.