Roberto Luongo still won’t say why he was late to start overtime period

“It was not an equipment problem,” Luongo said Sunday as the Canucks cleaned out their lockers. “Let’s leave it like that.”

“It was an illness and nothing series.”

Luongo didn’t answer when a reporter asked if the delay was caused because he was forced to use the bathroom.

Backup goaltender Dany Sabourin handled the first 3:34 of overtime when Luongo wasn’t available to play. Television replays showed Luongo scrambling to put on his equipment and dashing to the bench.

Sabourin, who had a 2-8-1 record during the regular season, made five saves before there was a stoppage in action and Luongo was able to return to the net.

The Ducks won the game 2-1 at 4:30 of the second overtime despite Luongo stopping 56 of 58 shots. Scott Niedermayer scored with a seeing-eye shot after Luongo took his eyes off the puck when he believed a penalty should have been called after a Rob Niedermayer hit on forward Jannik Hansen.

The heart-wrenching end to a magnificent season made it hard for Luongo to put the year in perspective.

“It’s a shame it had to end the way it did in the last game,” said Luongo, who had shaved off his playoff beard, but still felt guilty over the Canucks being eliminated from the Western Conference semifinal in five games.

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“I worked hard all year, the whole team worked hard all year. Hopefully this summer I’ll be able to look back and enjoy what I did this year.”

Luongo, obtained from Florida last June in a trade for Todd Bertuzzi, was the catalyst for the Canucks success this season. The 28-year-old had a 47-22-6 record, a 2.63 goals-against average and .921 save percentage. He’s been nominated for the Hart and Vezina Trophies, plus the Lester B. Pearson Award.

“It was the most fun I’ve ever had in the NHL and I enjoyed it,” said Luongo. “The prospect of next year is even more exciting.”

It didn’t take long for Luongo to make an impact in his first playoff appearance. He faced a record 76 shots and made 72 saves in Vancouver’s 5-4, quadruple overtime victory against the Dallas Stars in the first round.

Luongo said he was thrilled to finally be in the playoffs.

“That’s why it’s so hard to see it end,” he said. “I wanted to keep going and try to go all the way.”

Captain Markus Naslund said the Canucks’ future is bright with Luongo in goal.

“He’s someone you can build a winning team around,” said Naslund. “There’s not many teams that have that, especially at his calibre.”