BOSTON – In some ways, Roberto Luongo is back where he started.
The Vancouver Canucks goaltender was still feeling confident after being shelled 8-1 by the Boston Bruins in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup final—his roughest performance since enduring 7-2 and 5-0 losses to Chicago in the opening round of the playoffs. Luongo managed to shrug off those games and expects to do the same again.
“I waited my whole life to be here,” Luongo said Tuesday. “I’m not going to put my head down. It’s time to get back to work. Obviously, last night was disappointing for all of us. We have a great opportunity, we’re in the Cup final.
“Even though there are going to be some tough times, you have to be in the moment and focus.”
It was a sentiment shared by a number of Canucks players ahead of Wednesday’s Game 4 at TD Garden. Despite the lopsided loss, they are only one win away from going home with a chance to clinch the first championship in franchise history.
The ability to maintain an even-keel has been important to a playoff run that has seen its share of ups and downs.
“Our mentality is going to be the same whether we win or lose a game,” said forward Manny Malhotra. “I think we’ve done a great job throughout the entire playoffs. We’ve never been too high, we’ve never been too low on ourselves.”
The last time Luongo allowed eight goals in a game was April 1, 2010 against the Los Angeles Kings.
There was plenty of blame to share in the Game 3 shellacking. Alex Edler’s broken stick set the table for the opening goal, Ryan Kesler accidentally knocked the puck in is his own net on the second one and the entire team experienced a major letdown after Brad Marchand made it 3-0 with a nice short-handed effort.
“You can’t really say it was his fault,” Canucks forward Daniel Sedin said of Luongo. “As a team, we didn’t help him out. They scored a few on the power play and a few on our power play, which shouldn’t happen.”
Vancouver’s performance with a man advantage has been puzzling during the series. They were clicking at a success rate of over 28 per cent coming into the Stanley Cup but find themselves just 1-for-17 against the Bruins through three games.
“We looked at it this morning with our units,” said coach Alain Vigneault. “We’re not that far away. We’re making some good things out there. Sometimes when it’s time to shoot, we’re passing; and when it’s time to pass, we’re shooting.
“We’re just a little bit off.”