VANCOUVER – After his 31 save shutout performance in Game 5 on Friday night Roberto Luongo had everyone talking, not about his ability to bounce back from allowing 12 goals in Games 3 and 4, but about his critique of Tim Thomas.
Canucks forward Maxim Lapierre scored the game-winner 4:35 into the third period when picked up the bounce off the end boards and put it past Thomas, who had over committed to a point shot from Kevin Bieksa.
According to Luongo, he would've made the save on that play.
"It's not hard if you're playing in the paint. It's an easy save for me, but if you're wandering out and aggressive like he does, that's going to happen," said Luongo during his post-game presser. "He might make some saves that I won't, but in a case like that, we want to take advantage of a bounce like that and make sure we're in a good position to bury those."
Thomas made 24 saves in the loss, and has surrendered just six goals in the five games thus far in comparison to the 16 Luongo has given up during the Stanley Cup Final.
On Saturday as the team prepared to board its charter to Boston, Luongo wasn't necessarily backing down from his post-game comments.
"I said also that he might make some saves that I don't, so I'm just saying on that particular play I would've played it different and that's the difference between me and him," said Luongo, trying to speak over hundreds of fans chanting 'Luongo, Luongo!' at Vancouver International Airport. "I've been pumping his tires ever since the series started. I haven't heard any one nice thing he's had to say about me, so that's the way it is."
The 32-year-old Montreal native isn't surprised at the attention his post-game comments received given the stage the two teams are on at the moment.
"Obviously we're in the Stanley Cup Final, so every little thing is going to be blown out of proportion," Luongo continued. "He has his style and I have mine, so that's the way it goes."
Both goaltenders, along with Pekka Rinne, are finalists for the Vezina Trophy as the League's top goaltender. Luongo finished the regular season with three more wins (38) than Thomas; however, the Flint, Mich. native had a better goals-against average (2.00) and save percentage (.938) than Luongo.
He's, believe it or not, actually one of my favorite guys, and I've ended up trading him twice. I appreciate what he's done. He was one year away from being an unrestricted free agent, and I felt with this opportunity, that it was a chance that we were able to get somebody for him in Nick Bonino and Adam Clendening.
— Penguins GM Jim Rutherford on forward Brandon Sutter