By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com Follow @dannypicard
BOSTON -- @font-face font-family: "Times New Roman";p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; a:link, span.MsoHyperlink color: blue; text-decoration: underline; a:visited, span.MsoHyperlinkFollowed color: purple; text-decoration: underline; table.MsoNormalTable font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; div.Section1 page: Section1; Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault felt it was the right thingto do at the time.
Backup goaltender Cory Schneider could see itsnowballing.
Roberto Luongo, well, he had to have known that the leash inGame 6 would be short.
Luongo allowed three goals in the first 8:35 of the first period, and after the third -- a shot from the left point by AndrewFerence that Luongo brutally misplayed -- Vigneaultdecided it was time to replace his starter with Schneider for thesecond straight game in Boston.
The Canucks goaltender allowed 15 goals in just about six full periods in the three games in Boston, and his latest misadventure led to a 5-2 Bruins' victory in Game 6 that sets up Game 7 Wednesday night in Vancouver.
This one was especially satisfying to the Bruins and their followers since, after Luongo's 1-0 shutout win in Game 5, he boasted that the only goal Tim Thomas allowed that night would have been "an easy save for me". He subsequently complained that no one on the Bruins' side ever said any nice things about him. ("No one's pumped my tires the whole series.")
No one was pumping his tires after Monday night's performance, either.
Yeah, I mean they came out flying, obviously, and got somegoals, and I obviously didnt make enough key saves to weather the stormearly, Luongo said Monday after Vancouvers loss.
Honestly, I had a good feeling all day, he said. Therewas not extra nerves or anything like that. I was excited to play. I mean wehad a chance to win the Cup. Nerves are part of playing in the playoffs. I thinkwe had nerves every game, pretty much.
Every game in Boston, Luongos been as bad as he couldpossibly be. Still, hes shown that he can bounce back in his own building,which is where Game 7 will take place, and where hell get another shot atredemption.
I havent talked to him, Vigneault said when meeting the media after Game 6. Heknows hes going back in next game. Hes going to be real good.
I dont have to say anything to him, added the Canuckscoach. Hes a professional. His preparation is beyond reproach. And hes goingto be ready for Game 7.
After being pulled in Game 4 in Boston, Luongo bounced backin Game 5 in Vancouver to make 31 saves and record his second shutout of theStanley Cup Final.
If he were to bounce back with a solid performance in Game 7of the Stanley Cup Finals, it wouldnt be the first time he did so in a Game 7,either.
After taking a 3-0 series lead in the first round againstthe Chicago Blackhawks, Luongo was pulled in Games 4 and 5, which forcedVigneault to start Schneider in Game 6.
The series went to a Game 7 back in Vancouver, and Luongogot the call. He saved the day with 31 saves in a 2-1 win.
He was at his finest when we needed him most, saidCanucks forward Manny Malhotra about Luongos Game 7 performance against theBlackhawks. We looked to him for some big saves, and he came up huge.
Malhotra said that he can tell early on if Luongos got hisbest stuff, and in Game 6 that certainly wasnt the case.
He has this look about him, when hes on, said Malhotra.The first couple saves hes made, he was rock solid. No rebounds, he was incomplete control of everything. You just know when hes on.
The Canucks will look for him to be on one more time.
Weve been getting this question a lot in these playoffs,and hes always bounced back for us, said Daniel Sedin. Hes going to do thatnext game, too.
I mean, I got to believe in myself, right?" said Luongo. "Thats a bigcomponent of bouncing back and playing a good game. So, weregoing to put what happened tonight behind us as soon as possible and obviouslyget ready for what is going to be a dream as far as playing in Game 7 in aStanley Cup Final.
Its one game, winner-take -all. Ive been in thosesituations before, I know how to handle it and Ill be ready for it.
The Bruins are also expecting Luongo to bring his A-game inhis own building.
Hes able to shake games off like its nothing, saidBruins forward Brad Marchand, who scored the first goal on Luongo in Game 6.And you know hes bounced back so many times and hes so tough to play againstin Vancouver. So you know hes going to brush this off, hell definitely bounceback from this.
Danny Picard is on twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard.