|Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Pascal Leclaire has surged enough through two months of the season to turn himself into a surprising candidate for the Western Conference at the NHL All-Star Game.|
In the hockey world, Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Pascal Leclaire has surged enough through two months of the season to turn himself into a surprising candidate for the Western Conference at the NHL All-Star Game in Atlanta on Jan. 27.
At last count, Leclaire trailed incumbent starter, Vancouver Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo, by a mere 4,261 votes in the XM/NHL All-Star Fan Balloting. It’s the tightest of the combined six races between the Eastern and Western Conferences.
Leclaire entered this season having never played in more than 33 games in a season. He had never won more than 11 games and had a career record of 17-32-5, and a career goals-against average of 3.13. His only NHL shutout came last season.
Well, just look at him now!
Leclaire leads the NHL with six shutouts. He’s already won 10 games and has posted a remarkable .911 save percentage, which is second in the League behind Boston’s Tim Thomas. His 1.92 GAA ranks third behind Detroit’s Chris Osgood and the Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist.
Catching Luongo is not going to be easy, however, not now at least.
Vancouver fans are thrilled with their goalie these days as he’s gotten himself and the Canucks out of their early season rut and posted 10-2-2 record since Nov. 3.
Luongo, who wasn’t among any of the League’s leaders in any category after October, is now tied for second in wins (13), sixth in GAA (2.17), tied for sixth in save percentage (.923), and tied for second in shutouts (4).
There’s no question he’s has been out campaigning hard in the last month, but now, like GOP front-runners Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney, Luongo has to fend off the competition for a little while longer.