Luongo Will Get The Start In Game 5-Smart Move

Despite playing poorly in Games 3 and 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals, Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo will get the starting nod for Game 5. With speculation that the Olympic gold medal winning goaltender would be benched, the Canucks announced Luongo will be their starting goaltender in this series.

Even though Luongo played poorly in Games 3 and 4, sticking with him for Game 5 and beyond will be the smart move.

By benching Luongo, head coach Alain Vigneault would have been sending the wrong message to the rest of Luongo’s teammates. Luongo was brought into Vancouver years ago to help build a winning team and has been their number one goaltender all season long. Despite his struggles, Luongo was a key part in getting the Canucks to the Stanley Cup Finals and sitting him down would have sent the message of the white flag to the Canucks bench and the fans. Vigneault has to show confidence in his goaltender by playing him and will need to spread that confidence to the rest of the team.

While Luongo did let up some soft goals in Games 3 and 4, Vancouver’s defense was not spectacular in those games either. At times, the Canucks had difficulty clearing the puck, could not get it out of their own zone during penalty kills and gave up a lot of short-handed shots in Game 3. Not all of the goals given up were Luongo’s fault and continuing to play him in Game 5 could give his defense another chance to make adjustments to help the team win.

Even though Canucks backup Cory Schneider has done well as the second goaltender in command this season, he has struggled during the brief moments he played in the playoffs and starting him in what could be one of the most critical games of the series could be a risky move. Schneider did get the start in Game 6 during the first round series against the Chicago Blackhawks, however, it still resulted in a loss for Vancouver. Schneider gave up three goals on twenty shots in that game and eventually left after cramping up on a penalty shot. Vancouver managed to take that game into overtime and kept it close, however, the Bruins have already proven how well they can take control of a game on poor goaltending. By putting in a cold goaltender, the Canucks would run the risk of losing a critical game in the series.

While Games 3 and 4 did not go as planned for the Canucks, they are still going to utilize Luongo as their goaltender to make their way to a Stanley Cup victory.

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~ by jeffrsabo on June 10, 2011.

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