FanPost

Stuck in the middle with Lu

Walkersz_medium

You guys, leave me alone! You're all out to eat me alive!
(this was an early job, so kind of poor)

Yankee opened up some scabs that may never heal with that link to the Hockey Prospectus article on Luongo. Which was great, by the way. It reminded me of one of the most common, and well worn, knocks against Roberto Luongo out there: He can't win the "big game". The pressure gets to him and he chokes. 

So let's take a look at his results in "big games". 

First of all, we're going to have to define what a "big game" is, since it's a pretty subjective measure. Currently, "big game" seems to equate to "whatever game Luongo plays poorly in", so I think we need a bit better of a definition here. I'm going to call any game in the playoffs where elimination is possible a "big game", as well as any international medal game.

We'll start with his international "big games", which would be the 1999 World Junior Final, and the 2010 Olympic Gold medal game.

1999 WJC Saves Total Shots SV%
Luongo (loss) 37 40 (OT) 92.5%
Russia 16 18 88.8%
2010 OLY Saves Total Shots SV%
Luongo (win) 34 36 (OT) 94.4%
Miller 36 39 92.3%

 

So here we have 2 gold medal games. One Luongo wins, one he loses. Both times he "outduels", so to speak, the opposing goaltender. In '99 he is awarded Best Goalie for the Tournament (that means he played pretty well, as far as I know). In 2010 Miller takes those honours while Luongo is left with the honour of being "that guy who Canada won in spite of", even though Miller let in a couple softies and Luongo bailed his team out in a couple circumstances (most noticeably the Niedermayer give away right at the circle in OT).
I consider both of these to be "strong performances".

For the playoffs, we have two games from 2007 (Dallas Game 7 and Anaheim Game 5), one game from 2009 (Chicago Game 6), two games from 2010 (Chicago Games 5 and 6), and two games from 2011 (Chicago Game 7 and Boston Game 7, although Game 5 against San Jose was probably equally a "big game").

Dallas G7 Saves Total Shots SV%
Luongo (win) 19 20 (OT) 94.4%
Turco 28 30 93.3%
Anaheim G5 Saves Total Shots SV%
Luongo (loss) 56 58 (OT) 96.5%
Giguere 26 27 96.3%
Chi 09 G6 Saves Total Shots SV%
Luongo (loss) 23 30 76.7%
Khabibulin 33 38 86.84%
Chi 10 G5 Saves Total Shots SV%
Luongo (win) 29 30 96.7%
Niemi 20 23 86.9%
Chi 10 G6 Saves Total Shots SV%
Luongo (loss) 30 35 85.7%
Niemi 29 30 96.7%
Chi 11 G7 Saves Total Shots SV%
Luongo (win) 31 32 (OT) 96.8%
Crawford 36 38 94.7%
Boston G7 Saves Total Shots SV%
Luongo (loss) 17 20 85.0%
Thomas 37 37 100.0%

 

From this, I would call the following games "strong performances": both games in 2007, Game 5 vs Chicago in 2010, Game 7 vs Chicago in 2011. 

In total, that gives us 6 strong performances and 3 weak ones. I would not call this a trend of "not being able to perform in the big game". Also, if we add up all the shots and saves from these games we get an average of 91.7%. Remember this number.

Let's take a look at a couple other tables before we leave this.

First up, total regular season save percentage for goalies with more than 250 career games:

Rk

Player

From

To

Tm

GP

W

L

SA

SV

SV%

GAA

SO

1

Dominik Hasek

1991

2008

TOT

735

389

223

20220

18648

0.922

2.2

81

1

Tim Thomas

2003

2011

BOS

319

161

102

9773

9006

0.922

2.5

26

3

Roberto Luongo

2000

2011

TOT

672

308

269

20098

18476

0.919

2.53

55

4

Henrik Lundqvist

2006

2011

NYR

406

213

137

11316

10393

0.918

2.32

35

5

Niklas Backstrom

2007

2011

MIN

281

141

91

7914

7261

0.917

2.42

22

5

Tomas Vokoun

1997

2011

TOT

632

262

267

18495

16957

0.917

2.56

44

7

Ilya Bryzgalov

2002

2011

TOT

326

156

116

9350

8561

0.916

2.53

23

8

Ryan Miller

2003

2011

BUF

399

221

126

11748

10744

0.915

2.57

22

9

Martin Brodeur

1992

2011

NJD

1132

625

350

28443

25976

0.913

2.22

116

9

Cristobal Huet

2003

2010

TOT

272

129

90

7216

6591

0.913

2.46

24

9

Miikka Kiprusoff

2001

2011

TOT

529

276

177

14424

13163

0.913

2.46

40

9

Jean-Sebastien Giguere

1997

2011

TOT

525

231

195

14398

13140

0.913

2.53

34

9

Kari Lehtonen

2004

2011

TOT

285

134

111

8755

7990

0.913

2.79

17

Who is that there in third? For best career save percentage...ever, in the regular season? Looks like Luongo.


Next up, career playoff save percentage for goalies with more than 25 games:

Rk

Player

From

To

Tm

GP

W

L

SA

SV

SV%

GAA

SO

1

Tim Thomas

2008

2011

BOS

43

26

17

1393

1302

0.935

2.06

5

2

Chris Osgood

2008

2009

DET

42

29

12

1067

990

0.928

1.8

5

3

Dwayne Roloson

2006

2011

TOT

35

22

10

1159

1073

0.926

2.41

2

4

Marty Turco

2006

2008

DAL

30

14

16

876

807

0.921

2.09

4

5

Cam Ward

2006

2009

CAR

41

23

18

1160

1064

0.917

2.38

4

5

Ryan Miller

2006

2011

BUF

47

25

21

1457

1336

0.917

2.46

3

5

Roberto Luongo

2007

2011

VAN

59

32

25

1804

1654

0.917

2.5

5

5

Ilya Bryzgalov

2006

2011

TOT

27

12

13

808

741

0.917

2.55

3

9

Martin Brodeur

2006

2010

NJD

37

15

22

1105

1009

0.913

2.56

3

9

Miikka Kiprusoff

2006

2009

CGY

26

9

16

817

746

0.913

2.89

1

11

Marc-Andre Fleury

2007

2011

PIT

69

41

28

1953

1777

0.91

2.52

5

Is that Luongo showing up again near the top? Tied for 5th place? Ahead of known "playoff performers" like Brodeur, Kiprusoff and Fleury? 

Remember that "big game" SV% average I told you to keep in mind? It was 91.7%. Exactly the same as his career average SV% in the playoffs.

Not exactly overwhelming proof of shitting the bed in "big games". In fact he performs, on average, the same in "big games" as any other game in the playoffs.

But hey, don't let me get in the way of the narrative.

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