A Matchup Inside The Matchup: Pekka Rinne vs. Roberto Luongo

VANCOUVER, CANADA - MARCH 3: Patric Hornqvist #27 of the Nashville Predators slides the puck past goalie Roberto Luongo #1 of the Vancouver Canucks during the third period in NHL action on March 03, 2011 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)

Perhaps the most interesting match-up in Nashville's upcoming Western Conference semi-finals series against the Vancouver Canucks will be the battle between the pipes. Pekka Rinne and Roberto Luongo were two of the most dominant goaltenders in the regular season, posting stellar numbers and each earning a Vezina nomination along the way.

But that doesn't necessarily mean this will be a low-scoring series. Both net minders have struggled to find their regular season form in their respective first-round match-ups.

Follow after the jump for a closer look at Rinne and Luongo.


Pekka Rinne

#35 / Goalie / Nashville Predators

6-5

207

Nov 03, 1982



GP MIN W L EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2010 - Pekka Rinne 64 3789 33 22 134 2.12 1905 1771 .930 6

Scouting Report

Assets
  • Is extremely big for the goaltending position and covers a lot of net when in the crease. Has put up great numbers at every level. Works hard at improving his game.
Flaws
  • Can wear down if overworked, so he needs to be rested from time to time at the National Hockey League level.
Career Potential
  • Excellent starting goaltender.
  • Awards

 

Pekka Rinne was easily the MVP of the Nashville Predators this year. Predator fans can't count the number of times he bailed them out during the regular season, taking over a game in the third period, or making the big save when it counted. Rinne got off to a good start in Game 1, however, he struggled down the stretch before eventually being pulled after letting up 6 goals in Game 4. But Rinne finished strong, making critical saves down the stretch in Game 5 and especially Game 6.

 


Roberto Luongo

#1 / Goalie / Vancouver Canucks

6-3

217

Apr 04, 1979



GP MIN W L EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2010 - Roberto Luongo 60 3590 38 15 126 2.11 1753 1627 .928 4

Scouting Report

Assets
  • Is a true franchise goalkeeper. Has an awesome combination of size and supreme command of the butterfly style. Can steal games for his team. Is a natural leader.
Flaws
  • Needs to avoid occasional lapses in concentration. Must work on better communicating with his defensemen. Isn't a very good puck-handler.
Career Potential
  • Excellent workhorse goaltender.
  • AwardsOlympic Gold Medal2008Named to play in the NHL All-Star Game2006NHL - Second All-Star Team2006Named to play in the NHL All-Star Game2003NHL - Second All-Star Team2003Named to play in the NHL All-Star Game2001Played in the NHL YoungStars Game1996QMJHL - Michael Bossy Trophy (Top Draft Prospect)

 

Fresh off of a gold medal campaign in the 2010 Winter Olympics, Luongo picked up right where he left off, posting a career best in goals against, and second-best for save percentage in the 2010-2011 season. Luongo was similarly dominant in Vancouver's first three games, including a shutout in Game 1. Games 4 and 5 were a different story, however. Luongo allowed 6 and 4 goals, respectively, before getting pulled in favor of Cory Shneider each time. Shneider was given the nod in Game 6, but went down with an injury with the game still tied 3-3. Chicago won 4-3, with the game-winner given up by - you guessed it - Luongo. He was able to bounce back in Game 7, however, stopping 31 of 32 shots in the Vancouver win.

 

This second-round series is a fresh start, and an opportunity for both goaltenders to return to the level of play that earned them Vezina nominations. If they play well, the series could feature a lot of 1-0 and 2-1 finishes. However, if their respective slumps continue, look out. This could be a higher-scoring series than most people think.

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