This is about Roberto Luongo and that should be surprising. Because this season, for the first time in a long, long time, a Canucks team is about everything but the goalie. There’s the riveting new coach. There’s the fading top six. There’s the ongoing metamorphosis from the skilled playmakers of 2011 to the Burrard Street Bullies of 2014. There’s the cursed power play. There’s even Zack Kassian, who is chewing up screen time this week by single-handedly shaking the Oilers organization to its core. What there is not, is any significant debate, or even discussion, about the goalie. Given what he’s endured for the past couple of seasons, fitting into the background suits Luongo just fine. In fact, and you may have missed this while looking down another hallway, Luongo is thriving in the shadows. His .924 save percentage is crushing his career average (.919) and fits into the NHL’s top 10, tying the oft-lauded Carey Price. His 2.19 goals against average would rank second best in his 14-year career. His winning percentage is .618, and that’s impressive given this Canucks team is scoring 2.47 goals per game. For a reference point, the 2006-07 Canucks, widely mocked for their offensive futility, scored at a 2.65 per-game average. Through the Canucks’ first 51 games this year, Luongo is their MVP and whichever runner-up you want to come up with isn’t close. At 34 years old, Luongo has been putting together a case on the ice that he’s as good as ever. Maybe he’s better. He sure looked it when he robbed Jordan Eberle Tuesday with a stunning blocker save. There was a time when he makes that save and probably is out of the play for a few clock ticks, lying on his belly. On Tuesday, he made that save and was back on his feet with awesome quickness.
Luongo’s drama-free season quietly turning into one of the best of his career
Vancouver Province | Jan 23