After some thought about how Roberto Luongo is likely to be handling the pressures of game 7, given the highs and lows he’s gone through in this series, my final estimation is that he’s probably not even thinking about the past games of this Stanley Cup Final series anymore. (Or I should say, if it was me, I wouldn’t be thinking about them anymore.)
Because for Luongo, this is much like a 2010 redux for the Gold Medal, one game takes all. And given how that turned out for him, on his own home ice no less, it’s probably a pretty inspiring way to approach game 7.
Furthermore, judging by his record on home ice during these 2011 Playoffs, home is a great place to be. Let’s consider the numbers:
- —In 13 home games, Luongo has allowed 23 goals. That’s 1.77 goals per game.
- —Luongo has had all 4 shutouts on home ice, including two against Boston
- —Luongo has recorded a .978 SV% against the Bruins on home ice.
Home is where the heart is, and where the optimism flows.
Of course, game 7s (especially given the Canucks anemic offense in this series) have a way of being decided by unpredictable bounces, so there’s no doubt that it’s anybody’s game. But Vancouver and their goalie have a lot of positives on their side.
In Vancouver on Friday, I was repeatedly asked by different media to defend the team’s fans, the so-called “bandwagon jumpers” who were trying to sell their tickets to game 5 after the poor showing in Boston. My answer then—as now—was that it was a non-story. Yes, lots of people were freaking out and selling their tickets, as is their right. But plenty of other people stepped in to buy those same tickets. And when you’re talking about a price drop of $1,500 per ticket down to $1,100 per ticket, that’s hardly a “bandwagon fan” showing. That people put out these astronomical dollars for a single 3 hour burst of entertainment, astonishes me every day. (Same with the fans in Boston, and other cities, where maybe the tickets weren’t quite as high, but still BIG money for the average person.)
Hockey fans in these playoffs have all done their teams proud by stepping up and paying these kind of bucks, and I hope the NHL gets down on their knees every day and thanks their gods for it.
Secondly, I want to repeat something I wrote yesterday.
[Whatever] happens, this has been one hell of a series, with all its highs and lows. People often expect their teams to be perfect all the time, but I’m not one of them. For one thing, that doesn’t sound like very entertaining hockey. And for another… well, it’s the lows that make the highs so awesome.
If the Canucks lose tomorrow but play a great game, I’m going to be disappointed but grateful. And I’m not going to forget that this team actually gave us a show all the way to the 15th of June. The fans of 28 other teams in the NHL would have killed for that.
And if the Canucks win? How sweet it will be, after so much adversity. If they had rolled through this series like they did the first two games, it wouldn’t have been nearly as exciting.
Of course, now it’s a thousand times more terrifying... but that’s part of the fun, right? ;)