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2016 Playoff Preview: Roberto Luongo vs. Thomas Greiss

2016 Playoff Preview: Roberto Luongo vs. Thomas Greiss

Two clubs on the rise, both hoping years in the basement can be put behind them over the coming seasons.

For the Florida Panthers and the New York Islanders, the 2016 post season could represent a coming out party for their respective collections of top young talents. A chance to show the hockey world they are competitors again, with designs on a Stanley Cup in the near future.

Florida’s finely crafted mix of young talent and savvy veterans saw them scoop the Atlantic Division title, while the Islanders are hoping their first season in Brooklyn will go down as a successful one.

The loss of Jaroslav Halak to injury changed the dynamic of this particular goaltending duel, pitting the even keeled but inexperienced Thomas Greiss against one of the league’s most successful puck stoppers.

Roberto Luongo

Save %GAAGSAAEven Strength Save %Adjusted Save %High Danger Save %
.9222.3512.34.935.917.847

Winner of two Olympic gold medals (one as starter), two World Championship gold medals and a World Cup gold in 2004, Luongo was once labelled with a somewhat strange reputation as a goaltender who couldn’t get it done when it mattered most.

This narrative was only perpetuated by the Canucks’ 2011 Stanley Cup Final loss to Boston, despite posting a shut outs in games one and five and largely performing well (game threes 8-1 loss aside).

The veteran puck stopper was somewhat reborn after returning to Florida in 2013 though. Not only did Luongo’s personality win over an army of new fans, but his status as one of the NHL’s best goaltenders was restored following a string of impressive displays for the developing Panthers.

The 37-year-old was one of the best performing netminders through the first half of this year, finishing the regular season with a .922 save percentage, improving to .935 at even strength 5v5.

Technically sound, he has almost been a poster boy for the text book butterfly save, often belying his ability to read the game and pull off spectacular saves on the odd occasion he does get caught out of position.

Thomas Greiss

Save %GAAGSAAEven Strength Save %Adjusted Save %High Danger Save %
.9252.3611.92.933.926.862

The Islanders head in to the Eastern Conference quarter finals without number one goaltender Jaroslav Halak, still sidelined with a groin injury which has kept him out of the line up since March 9th.

Thus it falls to German goaltender Thomas Greiss to back stop the club in which is likely to be a tight series with the Panthers.

Greiss has performed admirably for the Islanders this season, posting a .925 save percentage on the way to a 23-11-4 record, but has just 40 minutes playoff experience to his name, which dates back to 2010 when he was still a member of the San Jose Sharks.

The 30-year-old is a well rounded goalie broadly speaking, neither too passive nor too aggressive, Greiss is technically sound but had never played more than 25 games in a season before this year and has occasionally given up bad goals and bad times in the past.

That said, this season has been perhaps the best of his career, suggesting he benefitted from the increased workload, and his calm demeanour should see him ideally placed to handle the pressure and expectation of a fan base keen to taste success again after a prolonged period of frustration.

About The Author

Rob McGregor

A member of In Goal Magazine's editorial team, Rob is also the editor of the One Puck Short blog and host of the One Puck Short podcast . A former goaltender in Great Britain's third tier National League (NIHL), Rob also writes for Today's Slapshot and has previously written for a number of other outlets, including the BBC.

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