Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen’s legendary run continues in Buffalo Sabres win over Blackhawks

Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen won’t contend for the Vezina this season, but it doesn’t mean he hasn’t made massive strides.

Jan 11, 2024; Buffalo, New York, USA;  Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (1) makes a
Jan 11, 2024; Buffalo, New York, USA; Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (1) makes a / Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
facebooktwitterreddit

Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen posted back-to-back shutouts this week as the Blue and Gold outscored their opponents 6-0. Sure, these shutouts came vs. the two worst teams in the NHL, but should we really care? 

If you watched the Sabres-Blackhawks game, you shouldn’t, as Buffalo had quite a few defensive breakdowns that forced Luukkonen to face plenty of one-on-one shots with Blackhawks skaters charging the net. Luukkonen also had to deal with facing four power plays, and he was also goaltending for a lineup that had quite a few regular starters missing. 

And do the math, because remember, Luukkonen also allowed just one goal vs. the NHL’s highest-scoring team this past Saturday, the Vancouver Canucks. Vancouver has since dropped to second in the league in that category, and Luukkonen played a pivotal role in that. 

Buffalo Sabres goaltender has allowed one goal in the last nine periods

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen’s legendary run has included a 5-1-0 record dating back to December 30th, and in that span, he’s either shut out or allowed just one goal against opponents in four of those contests. The two games when he allowed two or more came vs. the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Ottawa Senators, both wins for the Sabres. 

Overall, Luukkonen has posted 152 saves on 159 shots on goal from December 30th to tonight, good for an incredible 0.955 save percentage, and this run he’s been on lately has been entertaining, to say the least. 

It’s curious that even as recently as December 19th, we still didn’t know if Luukkonen would be in Buffalo much longer. And while we still don’t know the answer as he’s only posted one sensational month this season, he’s making us believe that will be the case. 

If the Buffalo Sabres keep playing this well with Luukkonen in the net most of the time for the next three months, then those lingering doubts will be erased. For now, at least, he is the Blue and Gold’s starting goaltender, and rightfully so. 

feed

(Statistics provided by NHL.com and Hockey-Reference)