The Stat Line Of The Night — 4/26/11 — Roberto Luongo
We could have given this honor to the Canadiens’ Carey Price, whose 31 save performance helped push their series to seven games. Or we could have given it to Alex Burrows, who scored both Canucks goals last night. Both players would have been worthy candidates of the “Stat Line of the Night,” but there was one man that truly deserves this honor more than any other player. His name is Roberto Luongo.
Perhaps no one had a bigger monkey on their back than the Vancouver Canucks goaltender, who allowed ten goals against in Games 4 and 5 combined, and was benched for Game 6 in favor of backup Corey Schneider. Had the Canucks blew their 3-0 series lead, many would have pointed the finger at Luongo. He made sure that wouldn’t be the case.
Luongo held the Blackhawks scoreless for 58 minutes, but with his team only able to put one goal past Corey Crawford, Chicago was just one goal away from tying things up and sending the game into overtime. That shot would eventually come off the stick of Jonathan Toews at the 18:04 mark of the third period, forcing Luongo and company to play an additional frame. The Canucks would find themselves shorthanded early in overtime, but a big save by Luongo helped keep them alive, and shortly after it was Alex Burrows exercising the Canucks’ daemons with a slap shot that beat Crawford upstairs and gave the Canucks the 2-1 overtime victory.
Vancouver will now go on to face the Nashville Predators, as they look to ride this new-found wave of confidence towards a Stanley Cup. Perhaps no one is feeling more confident at this point than Luongo, who earns our “Stat Line of the Night” for Tuesday, April 26, 2011.