Don't pin Game 4 loss on Luongo

After being outscored 12-1 in two games in Boston, the Canucks know it was a team-wide meltdown and not just bad goaltending from Roberto Luongo.

Thursday, 09.06.2011 / 12:44 AM / Features
By Dave Lozo
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Don\'t pin Game 4 loss on Luongo
After being outscored 12-1 in two games in Boston, the Vancouver Canucks know it was a team-wide meltdown and not just a case of bad goaltending from Roberto Luongo.

Cory Schneider did what he could to diffuse the potential goaltending controversy that has once again cropped up around the Vancouver Canucks.

"It was just a couple unlucky goals. I don't know if he (ticked) off the hockey gods, but it just seems like the past two games he can't buy a break," Schneider said after replacing Roberto Luongo in the third period of the Bruins 4-0 win in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final that evened the series at 2-2. "As a team, we're throwing just as many pucks as they are to the net. For whatever reason, ours are lying in the crease or hopping over sticks. Their's are going in. We have to find a way to change that."

After allowing eight goals on 38 shots in an 8-1 loss in Game 3, Luongo gave up four goals on 20 shots before being pulled in favor of Schneider with 16:21 left in the third period of Game 4. Luongo's save percentage in this series -- despite a 36-save shutout in Game 1 -- is .887.

Schneider, a native of Marblehead, Mass., playing in front of friends and family at TD Garden, stopped all nine shots he faced. Coach Alain Vigneault turned to Schneider in a similar situation during the first round against the Blackhawks after Luongo had two bad games in a row that turned a 3-0 series lead for the Canucks into a slim 3-2 deficit.

With Game 5 set for Friday night at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, Vigneault has no interest in going to that well again.

"Louie is going to be fine," Vigneault said. "He's one of the best goaltenders in the League. We've got a lot of trust and faith in him, in his ability to play well."

The four goals Luongo allowed Wednesday night came in different fashions.

Rich Peverley capitalized on a missed assignment at the blue line and beat Luongo five-hole on a breakaway to make it 1-0 at 11:59 of the first period. The second goal came midway through the second period from the stick of Michael Ryder, but it was helped by the stick of Sami Salo, who deflected it enough to give Luongo trouble.

"Sami tried to block it. It was going high glove and it dropped about three feet," Luongo said.  "I don't know what else I could say about that. I was out, I was challenging, I was ready. It just dropped. It's probably going to be viewed as a bad goal. I don't know what else to do on that play."

Brad Marchand made it 3-0 just 2:18 later after a giveaway behind the net by defenseman Kevin Bieksa. Bruins center Patrice Bergeron pushed the puck in front to Marchand, who backhanded it over a helpless Luongo.

Peverley ended Luongo's night early in the third period after a centering pass by Milan Lucic was chipped away by Luongo. However, the puck ricocheted off the body of a hard-driving Peverley and into the net to make it 4-0.

"It was a tough one. A few of the goals went off something in," Luongo said. "We're not getting the breaks. It's just a matter of staying focused."

Luongo's teammates came to his defense after the game, although they all said they would've been better served to come to his defense during the game.

"You don't pull the goalie all the time because it's his fault," Bieksa said. "Sometimes you do it to give him a rest or to shake up the team. It's definitely not Roberto's fault. It's a team loss."

"This is a team," forward Manny Malhotra said. "Especially in playoff hockey, you're not pointing fingers anywhere. He did a great job making some big saves for us, but we just made too many errors in front of him."

After two rough games against the Blackhawks, Luongo found his game when he relieved an injured Schneider in Game 6 and delivered a dominant performance in an overtime win in Game 7. Luongo believes he can do the same against the Bruins.

"We've got to win two out of three with home-ice advantage," Luongo said. "Obviously, we would've liked to have won one game here, but we worked hard all year to get home-ice advantage. This is where it's going to serve its purpose. We want to make sure we get to playing like we did in the first two home games and establish a good tempo and take it to them."