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Luongo's home magic disappears in Game 7

Thursday, 06.16.2011 / 1:41 AM / 2011 Stanley Cup Final - Canucks v Bruins

By Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer

The magic Roberto Luongo displayed at Rogers Arena throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs wasn't there when the Canucks needed it most.

Luongo's performance in Game 7 won't be remembered for any soft goals or blunders. But on a night when he needed to be perfect, Luongo allowed three goals on 20 shots in a 4-0 loss to the Boston Bruins on Wednesday night. It was just Luongo's fourth loss at home in 14 games during this postseason.

Through the first six games of this series, Luongo was either borderline flawless or maddeningly flawed. In Games 1, 2 and 5 at Rogers Arena, he stopped 95 of 97 shots in three victories. In Games 3, 4 and 6 in TD Garden, he was pulled twice and allowed a whopping 15 goals on 66 shots.

Luongo was somewhere in the middle during Game 7, giving up three goals that he couldn't have done much about. While Daniel and Henrik Sedin and Ryan Kesler talked about being better individually following the game, Luongo talked more about the team aspect of the seven-game loss in the Stanley Cup Final.

"Listen, we're all disappointed. It's a team game," Luongo said. "What are you going to do? We all want to be better. Myself, we all want to be better. That's the bottom line. It's a team game. We're not going to point fingers at one individual. I think as a team, if we all could've stepped up a notch, starting with myself, we could've gotten that job done.

"I'm not going to overanalyze things right now. I couldn't get the job done in Boston. All in all, we lost. It's tough to analyze something like that."

Luongo bounced back from getting pulled in Game 4 by delivering a 1-0 victory in Game 5. Fans will remember for years how Luongo decided to take a walk along this city's seawall before the game in an effort to focus himself for the biggest game of his career. But after the shortest outing of his career that wasn't the result of injury in Game 6, he didn't show the same resiliency in Game 7.

Late in the first period, Luongo lost track of the puck after Brad Marchand passed it toward the slot. Instead of setting his sights on Patrice Bergeron, he squared up to a nearby Mark Recchi. But the puck found the stick of Bergeron, who whipped a shot past Luongo to make it 1-0 at 14:37 of the first period.

On the second goal, Marchand was like a greased pig, slipping through the grasp of defenders near the front of the net to corral a loose puck. Marchand pulled the puck through the legs of Kevin Bieksa at the right post before swooping behind the net and wrapping the puck around to the left post to beat Luongo at 12:13 of the second period.

Bergeron's second goal of the game happened while shorthanded. He blew past defenseman Christian Ehrhoff for a breakaway chance that was initially stopped by Luongo. But Ehrhoff hauled down Bergeron, who slid into Luongo and jarred the puck loose and into the net to make it 3-0 with 2:25 left in the second period.

The outcome in this building was a far cry from Luongo's victory in the gold-medal game in the 2010 Winter Olympics. Luongo was unwilling to compare the polar opposite experiences Wednesday night.

"I'm not really thinking about that right now," Luongo said. "You work hard all year to get here. That's the bottom line. No matter what the outcome is if you lose, it's going to be devastating. These are two great teams and one of them had to win. Unfortunately, it wasn't us."

The Canucks scored just eight goals in seven games in the series. Luongo had a 3.42 goals-against average and .892 save percentage in the series, and with Tim Thomas delivering a Conn Smythe-worthy performance in the Final, there wasn't much Luongo could do anyway.

"They worked extremely hard on the other side," Luongo said. "You have to give them credit. They play a great system. They don't give up much and when they do, their goaltender makes the save. I thought they played us hard all series and it came down to the last game."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo

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