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Luongo goes the distance in 8-1 loss to Bruins

Tuesday, 06.07.2011 / 1:22 AM / 2011 Stanley Cup Final - Canucks v Bruins

By Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

BOSTON -- Game 3 was already out of hand with the Bruins up 4-0 heading into the third period, yet there was Roberto Luongo skating back to his position in the blue paint as the Canucks came back on the ice for the final 20 minutes Monday night.
 
Maybe you don't want to question that too much since Luongo is the No. 1 goalie and the Canucks are capable of scoring a couple of quick goals to get back into the game.
 
But what about after Luongo gave up Boston's fifth goal to Daniel Paille with 8:22 remaining in regulation? Why didn't Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault give him the hook then? What was the point of keeping him in for those final minutes?
 
"Alain asked me with eight minutes left and I said I wanted to stay in," Luongo answered while standing in front of a huge media scrum in a dwarfed visitor's dressing room at TD Garden. "I didn't really want to leave the crease."
 
Vigneault said the timing was slightly different, that he actually confronted Luongo about coming out after Jannik Hansen scored to bust Tim Thomas' shutout in the other crease with 6:07 remaining. Nevertheless, he confirmed Luongo's answer.
 
"He said, 'Don't even think about taking me out,' so that's what I did," Vigneault said.
 
But was it the right decision? Why leave Luongo in there to get peppered and pounded for the rest of a brutal night that finished with Boston scoring eight times on 38 shots for an 8-1 drubbing of the Canucks?
 
That answer may come Tuesday after Vigneault has time to think about his decision and how it may affect his goalie going forward. The last time Luongo was pounded in a blowout loss, he came back to start the next game and gave up four goals on 12 shots in just 21 minutes of work.
 
That was Game 5 against Chicago. Luongo did not start Game 6.
 
No one is suggesting Luongo should be benched for Game 4 Wednesday. That would seem ridiculous considering the Canucks are still leading the series, 2-1, and Luongo has put enough good games in his pocket in these playoffs to deserve the benefit of the doubt.
 
For now, Vigneault and Luongo have to live with the fact that the eight goals are the most he's given up in his playoff career. It's the third time in his more than 700 NHL games that Luongo has given up at least that many.
 
After Vigneault's conversation with Luongo, Boston scored three times on three shots in a span of one minute and 50 seconds. Michael Ryder later completed the scoring binge with 31 seconds left.
 
It was a brutal end to a brutal night for Luongo, who came into Game 3 with a 2.16 goals-against average for the playoffs, but finished it with it bloated to 2.44.
 
"Nothing falls on his shoulders," Canucks captain Henrik Sedin said, trying to absolve the blame from Luongo, who up until Monday had been pretty much lights out since Game 5 against Chicago on April 21. "We didn't play good as a team. He's a guy that is going to have bad stats, but the team in front of him wasn't good enough."
 
There's no questioning that. The Canucks were more than just a step behind the Bruins in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final -- they were admittedly lazy, especially in the second period when Luongo gave up four goals on 14 shots.
 
However, Luongo left rebounds in juicy spots for the Bruins (see David Krejci's goal with 4:13 left in the second) and he could never come up with the save that would stop the bleeding and maybe, just maybe turn the momentum.
 
"We had a big (penalty) kill early in the game with five minutes and it was 0-0 on the road, so I thought the guys were pretty happy with that," Luongo said. "But, they got a couple of lucky breaks off the hop and that was all she wrote."
 
Not for Luongo. He stayed in the rest of the way and the Bruins feasted on him.
 
Right or wrong, that's the way it went Monday.
 
Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter: @drosennhl

Quote of the Day

[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.

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