After two months of heart-wrenching action, the Vancouver Canucks saw themselves one win away from capturing the first Stanley Cup for their franchise. With a 3-2 series lead, Vancouver had to be feeling good about their chances, given the fact that their best hockey had yet to be played.
But in the end, that feeling evaporated in a matter of moments, as the final two games were never even close. As the city indicated so poorly afterwards, by rioting, the Canucks had a lot of pressure on them to win.
Who knows when they will have this opportunity again? Next year? Five years? When?
To answer this question, the organization must first analyze their goaltending situation, and that starts with Roberto Luongo.
In recent memory, it is hard to come up with another goaltender that has been so haphazard in their playmaking abilities throughout a single Stanley Cup Playoff run. Concerning Luongo, his so-called Jekyll-and-Hyde play has left the organization and its fans thrilled with him on some occasions, but in others, he leaves them wondering why they signed him to that monumental, double-digit year contract after acquiring him from Florida.
Take Game 5, for instance. With the series tied at two, the Bruins were riding the momentum they gained in Boston, having annihilated the Canucks and Luongo. Many believed the same would occur again.
Yet, Luongo put on a dazzling performance and the Canucks won 1-0 to take that 3-2 lead in the series. He had seemingly regained his form and was in prime position to win the Cup. However, for whatever reason, his struggles in the TD Garden appeared again, and he was pulled less than halfway through the first period en route to a 5-2 Boston win.
Where had that superb play gone? Some argued it would show up again in Vancouver for Game 7. This wasn't the case. Although the 4-0 final does not accurately reflect his play, two of the goals he could have been stopped, and in a winner-take-all Game 7, that is crucial.
As the Canucks organization heads into the offseason with a lot of free agents to deal with, they have to continue to analyze the goaltending position. Is Roberto Luongo worth his contract? Can the Canucks compete with another, less expensive keeper, or is Luongo necessary to keep their future playoff aspirations alive?
In the end, Roberto Luongo is a frustrating goaltender to watch, and this trait of his will likely continue throughout his career. Consistency is not his main attribute. He is a streaky goaltender, and as a result, the Canucks will have to put up with these poor performances every once in a while.
So as the offseason begins, the Vancouver Canucks find themselves in a tricky predicament. Do they keep Roberto Luongo as their starting goaltender? With other pieces already in place, that answer, for now, has to be yes.
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