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Luongo Turns 100

by Jeff Paterson / Vancouver Canucks
As milestones go, it won’t receive a whole lot of attention – no pregame ceremony and no letter of congratulation from the Commissioner’s office.

But the next time Roberto Luongo tends the net for the Canucks it’ll be the 100th appearance by the star netminder in a Vancouver uniform (76 regular season games last year, 12 post-season contests and 11 starts so far this season).

When the 28-year-old Montreal native’s numbers from his first 99 Canuck appearances are totalled, it paints a pretty impressive picture of what he’s meant to the organization since being acquired on the eve of the 2006 National Hockey League Entry Draft.

Jeff Paterson is a Team 1040 broadcaster and a regular contributor to the Georgia Straight.

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Luongo has posted a record of 56-36-6 (if you wonder why that adds up to 98, you may recall he made one relief appearance and did not figure in the decision in a 6-0 loss in Nashville last season). With Luongo in goal, the Canucks have played .596 hockey.

  In his time with the Canucks, Luongo has posted a 2.28 goals against average and 92.8 save percentage as well as recording five shutouts. In his 99 games played as a Canuck, including his first taste of NHL playoff action last spring, Luongo has allowed 226 goals.

 By comparison, the Canucks surrendered 293 goals in the 100 games immediately prior to Luongo’s arrival on the West Coast (using a multitude of goalies and playing under a different coach and system).

And since Luongo’s 100th appearance as a Canuck won’t get any official recognition, we’ll mark the occasion by presenting this subjective list of Top 10 Roberto Luongo moments in a Canuck uniform:

1. Faced 76 shots and made 72 saves in his NHL Playoff debut – a 5-4 quadruple overtime marathon win in Game 1 of the Western Conference Quarter-Finals vs. Dallas on April 11, 2007.

2. 56 saves in a 3-2 triple overtime loss in Anaheim that eliminated the Canucks from the Stanley Cup Playoffs in Game 5 of the Western Conference Semi-Finals on May 3, 2007.

3. Stopped Stu Barnes’ point-blank shot with 10 minutes to play in the third period with the Canucks leading Dallas 2-1 in Game 7 of the Western Conference Quarter-Finals vs. Dallas on April 23, 2007.

4. Stopped all 30 shots he faced and posted a 3-0 shutout in Montreal January 16, 2007 after spending the previous night in hospital for observation after being hit in the throat by a Daniel Sedin wrist shot at the previous day’s practice.

5. Stopped four of six Minnesota Wild shooters including Marian Gaborik with a chance to win on March 4, 2007 giving the Canucks a 4-3 victory which moved Vancouver two points ahead of the Wild in that heated stretch run battle for top spot in the Northwest Division.

6. Made a sensational glove save off a spinning Henrik Zetterberg shot from the slot in his Canuck debut in Detroit October 5, 2006 giving fans and teammates an early indication of things to come.

7. Stopped 21 of 22 second period shots and 38 of 39 shots on the night as the Canucks beat the surging San Jose Sharks 3-1 at General Motors Place on January 28, 2007.

8. Eclipsed Kirk McLean’s mark for victories in a season by recording his 39th win of the year 2-1 OT at San Jose on March 9, 2007.

9. Represented the Canucks at the National Hockey League All-Star Game in Dallas on January 24, 2007.

10. Made 39 saves and five more in a six-round shootout leading the Canucks to their fifth straight win – a 2-1 shootout victory over the Dallas Stars on January 3, 2007.

While lists like this can always debated, what can not be questioned is Roberto Luongo’s value to the Vancouver Canucks. It will be fun to watch his accomplishments over the next 100 appearances and Canuck fans are certainly hoping that ‘Luongo hoisting the Stanley Cup’ is at the top of the next list of his greatest moments in Canuck colours.
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