Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault wasted little time defusing any possible goaltending controversy by saying he'll start Roberto Luongo in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday night.
Luongo was shelled for three goals on eight shots before being lifted 9:45 into what turned out to be a 5-2 win by the Boston Bruins in Game 6 on Monday night. He was replaced by rookie Cory Schneider, who played well while allowing two goals.
But Schneider will be back on the bench in Game 7, with Luongo in the net.
"He knows he's going back in the net," Vigneault said of his starting goaltender. "He's going to be real good."
The Bruins pumped 15 pucks past Luongo in winning all three games in Boston, but the three games in Vancouver have been a completely different story: He has allowed just two goals on 97 shots in Vancouver's three wins at Rogers Arena, becoming the first goaltender since Toronto's Frank McCool in 1946 to win two 1-0 decisions in one Final.
Asked what he would say to Luongo to help with mental preparation in Game 7, Vigneault said, "I don't have to say anything to him. He's a professional. His preparation is beyond reproach, and he's going to be ready for Game 7."
For our team, as a group, we've never been this far before, and so it's just more lessons learned, and sometimes you have to go to the school of hard knocks to find out what works and what doesn't. We've got a young group. They've played some unreal hockey here to get us this far, and we showed if we're not going to play the proper way, a really, really good hockey team is going to beat you, and that's what they did. It's a lesson learned.
— Lightning coach Jon Cooper after Rangers win in Game 6 forced a Game 7 that will be played at Madison Square Garden on Friday