It’s been only a week and Roberto Luongo is already trying to
regain his Olympic form that resulted in a gold medal.
Luongo should be in net Sunday afternoon in an effort to rebound
from one of his worst performances of the season when the Canucks
visit the Nashville Predators, who were also victimized by sloppy
play in their last game.
Luongo became a national hero by winning all five starts with a
1.76 goals-against average to spur Canada’s run to the gold medal
He carried that play back to the Canucks (39-23-2), making 28
saves in a 6-3 win at Detroit on Wednesday. However, Luongo
followed by giving up five goals as the Canucks committed several
costly defensive errors in a dismal opening period before
eventually falling 6-3 at Chicago on Friday.
One of the miscues came on a goal that trickled over the line
after deflecting off Luongo’s stick following a seemingly harmless
centering pass from the right boards.
“I don’t think we had a great period and I don’t think we were
ready to play,” said Luongo, who was pulled after the first.
“Unfortunately, I felt good. That’s the sad part. I felt ready. I
felt sharp. And the goals kept going in.
“I didn’t want to be in there for a dozen, so you might as well
take me out after the first.”
Luongo is 3-4-0 with a 3.70 GAA in starting eight of the
Canucks’ 11 games during this NHL-record stretch of 14 consecutive
road contests caused by the staging and clean up of the Olympics.
He’s been pulled three times in that span.
Luongo is 1-3-0 with a 2.78 GAA in his last four starts against
the Predators (35-24-5). He stopped 22 of 25 shots in a 4-2 loss
Dec. 8 in the most recent matchup in Nashville.
Canucks left wing Alex Burrows has scored a goal in each of the
three games since the Olympic break after managing one in the
previous seven. He leads Vancouver with a career-high 29 goals,
scoring twice in a 3-2 loss to the Predators on Jan. 11.
The Predators, seventh in the West, gave up the first four goals
in Friday’s 5-2 loss at Detroit, with one coming off a stunning
lapse by Kevin Klein.
The defenseman was stripped of the puck by Pavel Datsyuk in
front of the Nashville net before the Red Wings’ center beat Dan
Ellis with a backhander.
“We gave them two free goals,” coach Barry Trotz said of the
miscue by Klein and Detroit’s short-handed goal in the second
period. “The first goal and the fourth goal. Bad turnovers, bad
Nashville could use some increased production from Patric
Hornqvist, the team leader with a career-high 23 goals. The right
wing is on an eight-game goal drought after scoring 10 in the
He has two goals in four career games against Vancouver.