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John Garrett: A special breed

by Staff Writer / Vancouver Canucks

Goaltenders are a special breed. They have to be.

You play an individual position in a team sport. You are in play for the full sixty minutes. The only guy who understands what you are going through is the guy at the other end of the ice doing the same thing. At the end of the night they don't talk about the ones you stopped, they talk about the ones that go in.

On Thursday Roberto Luongo had one of those nights that are going to happen because you chose to play the position.

The Canucks got off to a decent start and had three shots on goal before the Kings had their first. Unfortunately it was a breakaway by Alexander Frolov. Does anybody remember Andrew Alberts pinching at the red line and letting Dustin Brown get by him, or Sami Salo coming off the bench and going by Frolov to get to Brown? No. They remember the missed Luongo poke check and Frolov putting it in to the empty net.

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Ten minutes later a long shot comes through a screen, hits Luongo and goes to Anze Kopitar. He is all by himself and puts it away. Two goals on four shots. Five minutes later Jack Johnson goes around a couple of Canucks and sets up Brown in the slot and he wires it just inside the far post. On most nights it goes wide but as I said this was one of those nights. Kings lead 3-0 at the end of one on only seven shots. Ouch.

Period two starts with a five-on-three advantage for the Kings. Drew Doughty fakes a shot and goes around Ryan Johnson. He wires one that hits the post and goes right to Jarret Stoll. In it goes and it is 4-0 at the three-minute mark of the second.

Five minutes later another power play and the Kings work the puck through the crease to Brown. He tries to make a play, fans on it and it squeaks in through Luongo's legs. It’s not even half way through the game and it’s 5-0.

The Canucks have come back more than any team in the league. A couple of quick goals are scored and there is life. It was 5-2 at the end of two and you stay in because there is hope and really you have not let in a bad goal out of the five. You have not made many saves or had any breaks but there hasn’t been any bad goals out of the five in 19 shots.

Period three starts and you know your team is going to take some chances to try and make up the three goal deficit. The Kings get a two-on-one and Brown cashes in with a good backhand forehand deke. Three minutes and thirty seconds in it is 6-2. A minute later Kyle Wellwood scores and there is a flicker of hope. There is still fifteen minutes left but did I mention this was one of those nights?

Justin Williams throws one towards the net from the boards it goes off Salo's stick and goes in.

When will it be over ? It will not be over until Michal Handzus gets a gift with a puck-handling mistake with four minutes left to put an exclamation point on an 8-3 loss.

Goaltenders are a special breed. They have to be because you know that every now and then there is one of those nights.

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