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Luongo erases bad memories with strong Game 1

by Dave Lozo /
CHICAGO -- The last time Roberto Luongo was on the United Center ice in the postseason, he had to deal with a case of whiplash from looking back into his net as the Blackhawks scored seven goals to eliminate the Vancouver Canucks from the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2009.

One year later, Luongo erased any of those bad vibes with a 36-save performance in Vancouver's 5-1 win on Saturday night against the Blackhawks. He faced a barrage of shots in the first period -- 17 in all -- and stopped them all, allowing his teammates time to find their legs and score twice before the first intermission.

Luongo's best save came against the Patrick Kane, who was stoned on a breakaway with just under seven minutes to go in the first period and the score still just 1-0 in favor of the Canucks.

After the game, Luongo faced an avalanche of reporters at his locker and had this to say:

Q: How tough was it to keep your team in it during that first period?

Luongo: They came out strong. But we were able to contain them. I had a few shots, but we came back, we scored a big goal. And obviously (Mason Raymond) scored a huge one at the end of the first to get up 2-0.

Q: Was it nice to face some quality shots after a week-long layoff between series?

Luongo: Yeah. They got a power play right away, and I was able to make a few saves. It was nice to start that way, especially since we hadn't played since Sunday.

Q: Do you prefer to face a lot of quality chances like that early? Were you in a zone during the first period?

Luongo: Yeah, it was nice. I hadn't played in a week, so it was nice to get that kind of work early in the game, to get that comfort level back right away. After that, it felt normal.

Q: Could you have asked to a better start to this series?

Luongo: It was a good start for us, no doubt about it. That being said, it's only one game. We've got to refocus right away. We know that next game is going to be even harder for us. We want to make sure we come out and execute like that again. By no means are we satisfied with one win.

Q: Do you feel better about your game when you can hold the fort like that in the early going?

Luongo: That's my job. Obviously I want to stop them all. Sometimes you make a big save and go the other way and score. It's always nice to see then. The other thing is it's a team game. They did their jobs tonight and scored some big goals. We want to make sure we're going in the right direction.

Q: Do you temper your enthusiasm over this win knowing it was only one game?

Luongo: It's only the first game. There's a long way to go. We're definitely happy with the result tonight, but by no means are we satisfied. We know that come Monday they're going to come out strong. They're going to want to tie the series up. They lost the first one against Nashville (in the first round this year) and came back and won the second one. We just have to enjoy tonight and refocus and make some adjustments if we have to and come ready to play.

Q: How about the save on Patrick Kane?

Luongo: It was a big save, definitely, but I want to stop them all.

Q: After the seven goals the Blackhawks scored to win the series last year, was did tonight's game mean to you personally?

Luongo: Nothing. It meant nothing to me. It's only one game and we're here to win four games. We're not here to win one.

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DLozoNHL

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