The bad – Defense and goaltending
It’s totally understandable to say, “You can’t blame Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen in this one.” I agree, but let’s be honest: How many more times can we use this excuse? Listen, the defense wore down as the game progressed, and at times, they left Luukkonen to fend for himself, but when the opposing goaltender is making big saves and UPL isn’t, there’s a problem.
Luukkonen has ample experience at the professional level, including 59 starts at the AHL level, and 23 in the ECHL, even if he is still relatively inexperienced in the NHL. But when is he going to consistently step up and make big saves when his team needs them? He enjoyed a stellar outing on Tuesday, but then he reverted to his usual self last night.
There is no question the defense needs to give their goaltenders help, but Luukkonen has an opportunity to show he can be a 1A with possibly Devon Levi and Eric Comrie shelved tomorrow and perhaps longer. There are no more excuses for Luukkonen: It’s time to step in and prove you can be a game-changer in the net.
(Data provided by Elite Prospects)