Saturday, June 11, 2011
Luongo closes the door on struggles
After allowing 12 goals on 58 shots in Games 3 and 4 in Boston, Roberto Luongo rebounded in a big way stopping all 31 of the Boston Bruins' shots as the Vancouver Canucks moved within one win of their first ever Stanley Cup Final victory.
This marked the fifth shutout of Lunogo's playoff career, moving him one shy of Kirk MacLean for Vancouver's franchise record.
According to Elias, Luongo joined Frank McCool of the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1945 as the only goalies in Stanley Cup Final history with two 1-0 shutout victories in a single series.
He continued his outstanding play at the Rogers Centre, improving his home playoff record to 10-3 with a .943 save percentage and a 1.70 goals-against average. Remarkably Luongo has now stopped 95 of 97 shots he's faced at home in this series.
The defensive pairing of Kevin Bieksa and Alexander Edler was outstanding in protecting Luongo. Edler, filling in as Bieksa's partner for the injured Dan Hamhuis, registered a series-high 10 hits in Game 5 and blocked two shots.
Bieksa had an assist on the lone goal of the game and also led Vancouver with three blocked shots. The pair logged 4:17 of short-handed ice time, leading all players.
Despite the loss Tim Thomas put together another stellar effort turning aside 24 of the 25 shots he faced. He raised his save percentage to .937, best in the playoffs (minimum four games played).
Maxime Lapierre's goal at 4:35 of the third period ended a shutout streak of over 110 minutes for Thomas. He had stopped 61 consecutive shots between Jannik Hansen's goal in the third period of Game 3 and Lapierre's eventual game-winning tally.
Offensively both teams continued to struggle on the power play going 0-for-7 after combining to go 0-for-10 in Game 4.
For the series the teams are just a combined 4-for-46 with a man advantage (Bruins 3-21, Canucks 1-25). The 8.7 percent on the power play would be the lowest combined power play percentage in any Stanley Cup Final during the Expansion Era (since 1967-68).
During that span only the Islanders-Oilers series in 1983 and Flyers-Bruins series in 1974 have featured a combined power-play percentage lower than 10 percent.