VANCOUVER -- The fast and furious finish by the Slovaks on Friday night may have taken the Canadians by surprise, but Roberto Luongo came up with arguably the save of his life when he got his catching glove on Pavol Demitra's shot in the waning moments.
That save preserved a 3-2 victory for Canada, setting up a huge continental matchup for the gold medal on Sunday against Team USA. Luongo, who gave up goals to Lubomir Visnovsky and Michal Handzus in the final 8:25 to make it interesting, will get to start in the biggest game of his life with the top prize on the line.
He stopped to chat about that and more with NHL.com moments after making that incredible save on Demitra, his 19th and final one of the night. Here's what he had to say:
NHL.com: When it was 3-0 and even 3-1 it didn't seem like they were going to have much push. Did you expect that from them, though?
Luongo: I thought we were still under control but they made a good play on the second goal, a wraparound, and Handzus batted it out of the air and into the top corner. So they had one last push and we were able to hold them off.
NHL.com: Now you're moving on to the biggest game of your life, what are your thoughts at this juncture about that?
Luongo: It's exciting. I'm looking forward to it. You work for something like this your whole life so I can't wait for Sunday.
NHL.com: You weren't in net for that 5-3 loss to the Americans, but how much are you guys looking at this as a measure of revenge, as motivation or do you even need that?
Luongo: No, I don't think so. I think the stage is big enough. We just want to win the game. We were pretty satisfied with the way we played against them the first time around. Obviously the result was not indicative but we have to keep working.
NHL.com: You're one win away from the gold medal that Canada really wants. It's been hyped for so long, so is it kind of hard to fathom that it is finally here and you have made it this far?
Luongo: It's here, but it's not over. We got a big game left so we're going to focus and we'll enjoy it after that one.
Contact Dan Rosen at firstname.lastname@example.org