Hockey Night In Canada Stanley Cup Playoffs 2011

Luongo returns to victorious path

Categories: VAN vs. BOS

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The stroll along the seawall in Stanley Park seemed to have done Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo a world of good. (Rich Lam/Getty Images) The stroll along the seawall in Stanley Park seemed to have done Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo a world of good. (Rich Lam/Getty Images)

By Tim Wharnsby, CBC Sports

VANCOUVER -- How confident was goalie Roberto Luongo that he would bounce back on Friday after two dismal outings in Boston by him and the entire Vancouver Canucks team?

Well, he decided to mentally prepare himself for the must-win Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Boston Bruins with a stroll along the seawall in Stanley Park. Two Stanleys don't always make a right, but the seawall is not exactly a secluded place. Many walk the path on a daily basis.

Luongo was not the most popular person in town after the two games in Boston. He shouldered most of the blame, even though it was a dreadful performance by every single Vancouver player in the 8-1 and 4-0 defeats at TD Garden.

But that fact didn't dissuade him from meandering along the seawall. He took this journey to prepare for Game 7 against the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round and it worked. So he returned to the path in the hopes of the same outcome against the Bruins on Friday.

"I don't know if they have any seawalls in Boston, but I'm going to look for that," Luongo said after he beat Boston with a 31-save performance in a 1-0 win.

"I put my hoody on and my headphones, and I don't know if somebody said anything. I can't hear. But I just focus on the journey and everything I need to do to be ready for the game and that's what gets me prepared.

"I don't do it before every start. Sometimes I need to clear my head and put things in perspective. Usually people don't bother me. I don't know if they're talking or not because I have my headphones on and I can't hear anything. So it's nice for me to be able to do that and focus on what I need to do and don't have any distractions."

Luongo now has four shutouts in this playoff run. He has a pair of 1-0 victories in the final, something that had not been accomplished since Frank McCool turned the trick for the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1945 championship series.

Luongo was especially good early in this game, when the Canucks were forced to kill off four Bruins' power plays in the opening 25 minutes. He made wonderful stops on Boston centre Patrice Bergeron.

The effort was reminiscent of his comeback in the first round against the Chicago Blackhawks. Luongo struggled with a couple brutal outings in Games 4 and 5 losses, and as a result, was replaced by backup Cory Schneider as the Game 6 starter.

Luongo, however, found his game for a critical overtime win in the deciding Game 7.

When he was yanked after four goals on 20 shots in Game 4 against Boston on Wednesday, the crowd that assembled at Rogers Arena to watch the game on the large scoreboard television cheered.

Luongo was upset when asked for his reaction in the dressing room afterwards about what happened back home. But the next day he sat in front of reporters and spoke with confidence. He backed up that poise on Friday. Maybe the walk helped, too.

"Like I said before, you learn from your experiences," Luongo said. "Whether they're good or bad, you always take something from it and try to use it moving on forward with your life.

"Obviously that Chicago series was the perfect example. It's [a] tough two games and you got to find a way to get it done because obviously, we're still in it, and we still have a great opportunity ahead of us. It wasn't time to put your head down or whatever it was. It's was the best of 2-out-of-3, and that's the way I looked at it. We got a great opportunity here coming Monday night."