Olympics Prove That Luongo Is a Big Game Goaltender

Joel LefevreAnalyst IMarch 2, 2010

With the Olympic hockey tournament finished and Canada coming out on top Canadians everywhere can rest easy knowing they have four years to brag about being on top of the world.  When the chips were down Team Canada answered the bell and came out stronger than ever.  One man who really answered the bell was Roberto Luongo who looked strong all tournament long and helped backstop Canada to the gold medal.

His performance should answer any questions people have of his ability to perform in the big games.  As if coming in relief of one of the greatest of all-time (Brodeur) wasn't pressure enough, Luongo was thrust into action against Germany knowing their was no room for error.  With an entire country counting on him and his home fans in Vancouver watching his every move nobody had more pressure to perform in these Olympics than Bobby Lu.  As if there isnt allready enough pressure put on Luongo on a daily basis with the Canucks he had the added pressure of knowing Canadians everywhere would not settle for anything besides gold.

Luongo started off strong, posting an 8-2 victory over Germany.  Despite the win many still criticized Luongo and still questioned his big game ability.  Surely he couldnt be that great against the high flying Russians in the quarterfinals right?  Well he was even better as he helped Canada post an impressive 7-3 win to advance to the semis making several key saves to help Canada maintain momentum and a cushion on the scoreboard.  But there was no way Luongo could keep it going, his bubble had to eventually burst didnt it.  Well it didnt appear to in the Semis against Slovakia.  Despite letting in a bit of a first goal to the Slovaks Luongo showed some real mental toughness late in the game when his teamates left him out to dry.  And what can you say about his save off Demitra in the dying seconds except Wow!  When they needed him most Luongo helped his teamates and a country rest easy knowing they would have a shot at gold on home ice.  But facing a red hot American team and Ryan Miller as rock solid as ever, the Americans would surely end Luongo`s run.  Well once again Luongo had other ideas as he was just as solid as his counterpart throughout the contest.  Despite giving up the late goal to Parise he came out in overtime and made a critical save off Joe Pavelski which eventually led to Sidney Crosbys game winner. 

Roberto Luongo`s Olympic numbers speak for themselves, a 927 save percentage to go along with a 1.76 goals against average and most importantly a record of 5-0.  No doubt many of you were doubtful Luongo was capable of performing in the big game but this Olympics should answer most of those questions.  Let`s face it nobody had as much pressure to win as Roberto Luongo got the job done.  He showed once and for all he can handle the pressure.  Bottom line Luongo`s only option was to win and that`s exactly what he did.