By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins InsiderFollow @hackswithhaggs
VANCOUVER Roberto Luongo was much-maligned for playing deep in the net after giving up 12 goals in one-sided losses to Boston during Games 3 and 4.
So Luongo had a little something for his critics, Tim Thomas and just about anybody else after making 31 saves in a 1-0 shutout win for the Vancouver Canucks in Game 5 at Rogers Arena Friday night that has the Canucks ahead 3-2 in the best-of-seven series.
While Luongo was only intermittently challenged throughout the game while staving off a Bruins attack that looked a little toothless, the Vancouver goalie had some tips for Thomas on the only goal of the game.
Kevin Bieksa fired an intentionally wide shot to the right of the net that caromed off the end board. The puck bounced to Maxim Lapierre near the left post more quickly than Thomas could recover from one side of the post to the other, and that was the difference in a one-goal game for the Canucks.
Thomas certainly didnt need to take any fault on the goal and it was an impossible stop to make for even the most accomplished goaltender but Luongo inserted himself into the conversation in a theoretical spot where he would have made the save.
It's not hard if you're playing in the paint, said Luongo. It's an easy save for me, but if you're wandering out and aggressive like he does, that's going to happen.
"He might make some saves that I won't. But in a case like that we want to take advantage of a bounce like that, and make sure we're in a good position to bury it.
Part of Vancouvers plan against Thomas is to get him moving one way with a pump fake or a shot wide of the net, and then attempt to hit the other side of the net before the 37-year-old can properly recover. Tanner Glass whiffed on a wide-open shot earlier in the game from a cross-ice Christopher Tanev pass that had beat Thomas dead to rights, but the Bs couldnt stave off the Canucks a second time just minutes into the third period.
Lapierre got it off the end of his stick and whacked it toward the net, said Thomas. I think if hed really got it clean with a shot, it would have given me a better chance to stop it. But it hit me in the stomach and it was a couple of inches over the line before I got a handle on it.
I got a pretty good feeling one goal would enough to win it because it almost felt like an overtime game to me. Im just frustrated that I got scored on because I didnt want to let them score. In my mind I was going to hold them off the scoreboard for as long as it took.
Luongo is first goalie with two 1-0 wins under his belt in the Stanley Cup Final since Torontos Frank McCool did it back in 1945.
Vancouvers Green Men got creative with their signage outside the penalty box at Rogers Arena, and did a riff on the Saturday Night Live skit with Adam McQuaid in the box for Boston. The two Green Men held up a cardboard cutout of Mark Wahlberg wearing a Canucks sweater, and above his head was a cartoon bubble that said Say hi to your mother for me. Got to admit thats pretty funny.
The question of the series was asked of Maxim Lapierre if he was mortally wounded in the Game 5 postgame press conference after Lapierre had gone through the second period acting like hed broken a handful of ribs after taking a light poke from Zdeno Charas stick during play. Lapierre immediately went down toward the ground after getting tapped by Chara, and then skated with his stomach hunched over his waste as he put on a great show for a group of officials who werent buying his act.
Nathan Hortons No. 18 sweater sat on a hanger in the Bruins dressing room throughout the Game Five against the Canucks at Vancouvers Rogers Arena, and it appears that the right winger is still being used by his team as motivation now that his teammates know the medical prognosis is good.
Shawn Thornton handed off a No. 22 sweater to Ultimate Fighter Kenny Florian on Thursday for a weigh-in prior to a Saturday night UFC fight tat is needed to help some old friends. Florian is a Massachusetts guy thats struck up a friendship with Thornton, who is also a big friend to the boxing community in Boston.
The home teams are 5-0 through the first five games of the Stanley Cup Finals for the third consecutive season. In the 20 years prior to the 2009 season, the two home teams had never combined to go 5-0 in the first five games.