Vancouver's last line of defense was his superhuman self to open Game 6 against Chicago, but down the stretch Roberto Luongo and the Canucks couldn't handle the Blackhawks' relentless attack.
Luongo stopped all 12 shots he faced in the first period, but was beaten five times in the final 40 minutes as the Canucks fell to the Blackhawks 5-1 in Game 6 of the Western Conference Semifinals on Tuesday -- exactly 365 days after they were eliminated by the Hawks last spring.
Chicago scored twice in 36 seconds early in the second period to grab control of Game 6, then iced the win by connecting twice in 25 seconds in the third.
Luongo, who has lost five straight home playoff games to Chicago dating back to last spring, was front and center again, trying to explain why Vancouver lost all three games on home ice in this series by a combined score of 17-7 after leading the Western Conference in home wins during the regular season.
Q: Tough loss to swallow?
Luongo: It's disappointing, obviously, I don't know how come they come in here and beat us like that. It's disappointing again to be out against these guys.
Q: What's the most disappointing thing about it?
Luongo: I don't really have any answers for you. I thought we had a good game plan coming into the series and I thought we started off the series really well. We just didn't get the job done at home -- which is really surprising considering we were one of the best home teams throughout the year.
Q: Can you pinpoint a turning point in this series?
Luongo: Not really. They made some adjustments after the first game and we couldn't respond. It was 3-1 and we tried to battle back last game and get a big win. But at the end of the day, I don't think they're a better team than us -- but maybe a smarter team that knows how to win.
Q: You guys had a great first period. What happened in the second?
Luongo: I don't know, just breakdowns. I was able to make some saves in the first then they scored the first one on a redirect into the top portion of the net and I'm not even sure how much longer later they get a 2-on-1 and they score again. It was 2-0 and unfortunately that goal I let in (late) in the second period really hurt us.
Q: How much of a factor was your depleted defense?
Luongo: I don't know, I don't want to make excuses. You find ways to battle and win games, we had five D-men last game in Chicago and we found a way to win, that's what the playoffs are all about, guys stepping up and doing a good job and filling roles sometimes more than they have to.
Q: Any explanation for the home losses in this series?
Luongo: That's the part that's going to be tough to understand. We were so dominant at home all year; we go into Chicago, (we) could have easily won all three games and come home and we're not even close in any of the games, I don't really have an answer for why that happened at home.
Q: Can you compare the feeling of losing to Chicago this year, to last year?
Luongo: No, it's different. No matter what happened out there, I'm going to leave tonight with my head up, unlike last year. I battled for 60 minutes and kept it under seven goals so an improvement was made.
Q: What does the team need to do to get by the Chicago Blackhawks?
Luongo: Obviously we shoot ourselves in the foot a little bit, I don't know why that happened this year learning from last year's experiences, Games 3 and 4 at home here really were not the type of hockey we want to play, they came in here and won both games. That should never happen. I don't know why we played the way we did, we played a strong game in Chicago and I don't know if we just assumed it was going to happen here at home tonight.