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Luongo, Worsley set standards considered untouchable in modern game
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Roberto Luongo knew 20 years ago that he jumped high into the all time single season most saves list when the low profile statistic was quoted to him. Today, he considers the late Lorne "Gump" Worsley, who is probably an untouchable No. 1 and 2 on the list, and he just shakes his head. "It sounds exhausting, doesn't it?" Luongo said in recent conversation. The NHL began charting saves as a statistical category in 1955 56, and it was that season that Worsley, playing goal for the defensively challenged New York Rangers, stopped 2,376 shots of the 2,574 he faced playing all 70 games. Thus, Worsley automatically became No https://www.flyersprostore.com/marc-staal-jersey. 1 in NHL history for saves made, his save percentage a sterling. 923. Sixty eight years later, he remains in the top spot, challenged only by himself in 1962 63 with 2,306 saves . 914. Luongo, with the Florida Panthers in 2003 04, passed Eddie Johnston of the 1963 64 Boston Bruins into No. 3 with 2,303 saves in 72 games . 931 save percentage. Bruce Bennett Getty ImagesRoberto Luongo in action for the 2003 04 Florida PanthersJohnston, who in 1963 64 was the last NHL goalie to play every minute of every game in a season, made 2,243 shots in Boston's 70 games, 19 more than Jacques Plante in 65 games that year for the Rangers, which today ranks No. 6. Luongo followed up his stellar 2003 04 with a post lockout 2005 06 season that fourth in history 2,275 saves in 75 games. Worsley and Johnston are the only two on the top 10 list who toiled those seasons without a mask. "The mask part, I still don't understand to this day how they did it," Luongo marveled of his goaltending lodge brothers. "The puck gets elevated, it's deflected, all kind of things happen around the net. Even with masks, the way the game is played today, I don't think we'll see these save totals again. "Indeed, the most recent top 10 season is that of No. 8 ranked Cam Ward with 2,191 saves in 74 games for the 2010 11 Carolina Hurricanes. Juuse Saros of the Nashville Predators made more saves than any other goalie last season, his 1,928 in 64 games ranking 56th in NHL history. "Goaltending is so challenging, you don't see guys playing 70, 75 games a season now," Luongo said. "There are so many good goalies now, a lot of teams have two good ones so they're not afraid to go to their backup. I don't think we'll see those numbers matched anytime soon. " © Graphic Artists Hockey Hall of FameNew York Rangers goalie Jacques Plante in action against Toronto's George Armstrong, defenseman Jim Neilson helping out during a 1963 64 game at Maple Leaf GardensPlante's 65 games is the fewest played among those on the top 10 list, the most being 77 by Marc Denis No. 9 for the 2002 03 Columbus Blue Jackets. "Seventy seven games. That's crazy," Luongo said. Six of the goalies on the top 10 list are Quebec natives: Worsley, Luongo, Johnston, Plante, Felix Potvin No. 7 of the 1996 97 Toronto Maple Leafs and Denis. It was probably for good reason that Worsley replied "the Rangers" when asked during his decade in New York which team gave him the most trouble. 'Gumper's' historic 1955 56 season saw him face at least 40 shots in 23 games and 35 or more 47 times, averaging 33. 9 shots per game. Against all odds, Worsley earned four shutouts 42, 36, 37 and 38 saves , two of them back to back against the Bruins, 36 saves at home on Nov. 23, then 37 the next night in Boston during a shutout streak of 191:12. His highest single game save total was 50 in a 4 2 road win against the Chicago Black Hawks on Nov. 6. © Turofsky Hockey Hall of FameGump Worsley in a late 1950s portrait taken at Maple Leaf GardensGordie Howe of the Detroit Red Wings was the most prolific point scorer against Worsley in 1955 56 with 16 eight goals, eight assists in 14 games. Maurice Richard of the Montreal Canadiens had 15 points nine goals, six assists , as did teammate Jean Beliveau eight goals, seven assists , also in 14 games each. If Luongo knew of his place in this blizzard of pucks, he wasn't fully aware of how good he was in his No. 3 ranked season. His. 931 save percentage is topped by only three goalies who rank among the top 100, and then by only. 001, Dominik Hasek in 72 games for the 1997 98 Buffalo Sabres No Cam York Jersey. 24 ; Bernie Parent in 73 games for the 1973 74 Philadelphia Flyers No. 87 ; and Tony Esposito in 63 games for the 1969 70 Black Hawks No. 92. Luongo, today a special adviser to Panthers general manager Bill Zito, had seven shutouts in 2003 04, fifth best in the NHL. The 2022 Hockey Hall of Fame inductee was the only goalie that season with multiple games of at least 50 saves, 50 each against the Tampa Bay Lightning and the New York Islanders, his 4,251:42 ranking third for ice time. © Bruce Bennett Getty ImagesRoberto Luongo with the Florida Panthers during the 2003 04 seasonHe had 14 games facing at least 40 shots and was 6 0 4 in his final 10 games of 40 plus, a. 961 save percentage and a 42 save shutout, a streak that included his two 50 save games. Luongo's workhorse 2005 06 season of 75 games ranks is tied for fifth in NHL history, a category led by the 79 games of Grant Fuhr, Luongo's first boyhood hockey idol, for the 1995 96 St. Louis Blues. Worsley played his final NHL game in 1973 74, 25 years before Luongo played his first for the 1999 00 Islanders. Winner of the 1952 53 Calder Trophy as the top rookie in the NHL, a four time Stanley Cup champion 1965 66, 1968 69 and two time Vezina Trophy winner as the best goalie in 1967 68, the Gumper was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1980, a few months after Luongo's first birthday. "I never saw 'Gump' play, but I know the name and that he's always mentioned as one of the greats of all time," Luongo said. The two men atop the shooting gallery list are just seven shots separated for most seen in one regular season game, Worsley's 67 for the Minnesota North Stars in a 4 4 tie Feb. 7, 1971, against the Bruins and Luongo's 60 for the Panthers in a 3 2 overtime loss to the visiting Red Wings on Feb. 27, 2002. Detroit's Brett Hull ended the game on his 10th shot moments after Luongo set two Panthers records, passing John Vanbiesbrouck's 51 saves on 54 shots in a 3 2 win against Florida at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 3, 1994. Almost literally as Luongo's saves record was being trumpeted on the scoreboard, Hull cashed the game winner. "That's like announcing a no hitter before the game is over. You can't do that," Hull told reporters, having respectfully tapped the goalie on his pads after a dazzling second period save. © Graphic Artist Hockey Hall of FameBoston Bruins goalie Eddie Johnston, No. 5 on the NHL's all time single season saves list, stops Toronto's Bob Pulford during a 1963 64 game at Maple Leaf Gardens. Graphic Artist Hockey Hall of FameLuongo laughs about it now, if not then. "I remember being a little bit upset by that," he said of the public address announcement. On the bright side that night, Luongo picked up his first of 23 NHL assists 20 more than the Gumper on Kristian Huselius' first period goal. Luongo's No. 1 was retired by the Panthers on March 7, 2020, the only player in team history so honored. His 28,409 saves place him second in NHL history, 519 behind Martin Brodeur 28,928. Worsley, who died at the age of 77 on Jan. 26, 2007, made 21,766 saves, 11th in NHL history, having worn a mask only the final six games of his 860 game career. In 2015, he was celebrated barefaced by Canada Post, one of six goaltending legends featured on a stamp Bobby Brink Jersey. "It was a good life for me," Worsley told Dick Irvin Jr. for "In The Crease," a book written in 1995. "A great life. I loved every minute I was there. I'd do it all over again. Not for the money. Not for the big money. I'd just do it all over again. "Top photo: Gump Worsley dives for a shot by Toronto's Earl Balfour 24 during a January 1956 game at Maple Leaf Gardens.
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