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Vigneault says Luongo will start Game 7

By Dhiren Mahiban - NHL.com Correspondent

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Vigneault says Luongo will start Game 7
Alain Vigneault says Roberto Luongo will start Game 7 for Vancouver against Chicago Tuesday night.
VANCOUVER – Roberto Luongo didn't know what to say when he was asked about the Game 7 starting duties.

"I don't even know guys," he said. "I don't know if (Canucks coach Alain Vigneault) told me or not."

After stepping away from the scrum to discuss the situation with the Canucks PR staff Luongo returned and said, "I'll be ready either way."

Vigneault was much more definitive when asked about his goaltending situation.

"Louie's starting tomorrow," Vigneault said. "Rollie (Melanson) told him yesterday after the morning skate that hopefully there wouldn't be a Game 7, (and that) he'd play Game 1 (of the second round). If there was a Game 7, he'd play Game 7."

Vigneault also confirmed that Cory Schneider would be available to the team to back-up after the 25-year-old left Game 6 with cramping in his right leg.

Luongo came on in relief and made two saves through regulation and 10 in overtime, but Ben Smith beat him on a rebound with 4:30 left in the extra session to give the Hawks a 4-3 win.

"We can't worry about what's happened in the last three games, the same way Chicago probably didn't worry about the first three," said Luongo. "It's a seven-game series, I said it even before this series started, you can't get too high or too low and it would be easy for us to get low right now.



"I don't think this is the time to feel sorry for ourselves. This is the time to roll up our sleeves and get to work here for what’s going to be an exciting Game 7 here especially on home ice."

Luongo gave up 10 goals on 40 shots over 65-plus minutes in Games 4 and 5. He was pulled in favor of Schneider in both games.

The 32-year-old is 2-3 during the playoffs with a .888 save percentage and a 3.45 goals-against average.
Canucks GM Mike Gillis addressed a couple of issues on Tuesday afternoon at Rogers Arena, including the tight lips surrounding the team's starting goaltender in Game 6.

"We kept it quiet because we had some unfortunate incidents in Chicago that we had to address with people coming into our dressing room that were unauthorized and different things like that," he said. "We just kept it quiet, kept the pressure off of Cory and not have people snooping around.

"That will be addressed at a different time, but we've had people that didn't have the proper credentials come into our dressing room and we addressed it."

Luongo has just one Game 7 start under his belt when the Canucks defeated the Dallas Stars 4-1 on April 23, 2007 – the seventh game of the Western Conference Quarterfinals. He is 19-20 all-time in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 40 games, all with Vancouver.


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[He's] real confident with the puck now, getting it off his stick quick and no second-guessing. We need that. He's such a good guy in the room. He works so hard. That's the big thing. For not a big man, he just fights for every puck and when he scores, the guys appreciate that even more.

— Winnipeg Jets coach Paul Maurice on Mathieu Perreault, who scored two goals in win against Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday