Luongo is feeling at home in Florida

3/26/14 in NHL   |   patrickhoffman3530   |   122 respect

Mar 16, 2014; Sunrise, FL, USA;  Vancouver Canucks left wing Nicklas Jensen (46) scores the winning goal past Florida Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo (1) during the shootout at BB&T Center.  The Canucks won 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY SportsThings certainly have not been easy over the last few years for Florida Panthers' goaltender Roberto Luongo.

In the 2010-11 season, Luongo, 34, got his former team, the Vancouver Canucks, to within one game of winning the Stanley Cup. Had it not been for his poor performances in Boston in Games 3, 4, and 6, he and the Canucks probably would have won the Cup.

The following season, Luongo had a solid regular season but faltered in the postseason as he lost the net to then back-up goaltender Cory Schneider. In two postseason games that year, Luongo went 0-2 with a 3.59 goals against average and a .891 save percentage.

Last season, Luongo played in just 20 games while Schneider got the other 28 in a shortened season due to the lockout. Luongo's numbers were not terrible but for the second straight year, he did not win a playoff game despite getting two starts between the pipes.

Things hit rock bottom in Vancouver for Luongo this season when he was not selected to start the Heritage Classic game against the Ottawa Senators. While Eddie Lack deserved to start the game, many thought Luongo would start because of the kind of game it was and that the team would go right back with Lack the following game.

Things changed for the better for Luongo just one day before the trade deadline. That day,
Luongo was traded back to the Florida Panthers, the place he called home for the better part of five years before going to the Canucks.

Since the trade, Luongo has started looking like the Roberto of old between the pipes. In nine games with the Panthers since the deadline, Luongo is 4-4-0-1 with a 2.53 goals against average, a .923 save percentage and one shutout.

Over the last week or so, Luongo has been really strong between the pipes for his hockey club. On March 18 against his old mates from Vancouver, Luongo stopped 29 of 32 shots in an 3-2 overtime loss and then two nights later, Luongo was unbelievable in stopping 52 of 54 shots in a 3-2 win over the San Jose Sharks.

Last night, Luongo was more than solid in the net for the Panthers in a 3-2 win over the Ottawa Senators. Luongo stopped 37 of 39 shots while continuing to show Panthers' fans that he still has some good hockey left in him.

There are a few reasons why Luongo is playing well for the Panthers. The first reason is that he is the undisputed number one goaltender.

There is no doubt that Luongo is the Panthers' starting goaltender both now and at least for next season. Luongo will not be competing for playing time in the net and will know night in and night out for the rest of the year that he is the Panthers' main met in net.

Another reason why Luongo is playing well right now and that is that he is where he wants to be. For the past two seasons, Luongo wanted out of Vancouver and wanted to be in a place where there was less of a goaltending controversy.

Lastly, Luongo is playing well because when he is where he wants to be, he is still considered a more than above average goaltender in the NHL. This is a goaltender that more than knows how to stop pucks and probably has a few more good years in him.

I guess Luongo has proved that the saying "you can never go home again" is not true in his case as he has more than found his game again in Florida.
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