x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

A match to forget for Luongo

Actually, the Vancouver goalie had eight he lost sight of, and has put out of his mind, as he prepares for Game 4 of the Stanley Cup finals.

Roberto Luongo is not panicking after watching all those pucks go whizzing by him.

It is just one loss, Vancouver's goalie said, no matter how lopsided.

He has a day to erase those images from his mind, forget the 8-1 rout by the Boston Bruins on Monday night and prepare to play much better for the Canucks in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup finals tonight.

"Obviously, we're all disappointed with the result, but a loss is a loss whether we lose in overtime or 8-1," Luongo said.

"It's a loss. We move on and get ready for the next game."

The Canucks still lead the best-of-seven series 2-1.

If they win the next game they can clinch their first NHL championship on Friday night at home.

"Luckily, we are not playing with an aggregate score," Kevin Bieksa, the Vancouver defenceman, said. "Next game is huge for us, and if we take care of that, we are in a great position."

Luongo had a career-best 2.11 goals-against average in the regular season and 2.16 in the play-offs before Game 3. But he was in some uncomfortable positions Monday as he stopped just 30 of 38 shots.

After a scoreless first period, he allowed four goals in the second and four more in the last eight minutes of Boston's first home game of the series.

"I've been through it a few times in my career," Luongo said. "So I know what I need to do, and I'll be ready for Game 4."

The eight goals were the most against Luongo in his 55 play-off games.

And in 727 appearances, including the regular season and play-offs, he has allowed nine goals once and eight only one other time.

Alain Vigneault, the Vancouver coach, hopes his goalie can regain the form he displayed in the first two games when he conceded just two goals.

Luongo and Tim Thomas, his opposite number, are two of the three finalists for the Vezina Trophy, given to the NHL's top goalie in the regular season.

Thomas "has been unbelievable," said Daniel Sedin, the Canucks forward and the NHL scoring champion this season.

The Bruins have never lost faith in Thomas, even after he wandered from his net to cut down the angle but was beaten by Alex Burrows just 11 seconds into overtime of the Canucks' 3-2 win in Game 2.

Vancouver, similarly, still have confidence in Luongo. Sami Salo, the defenceman, said: "Not just the goalie. The whole team needs to bounce back."

* Associated Press

4am Thursday, ESPN America