Luongo takes a shot at Thomas

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Luongo takes a shot at Thomas

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.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Julien sidesteps job security question with "shock journalism" comment

Julien sidesteps job security question with "shock journalism" comment

BOSTON -- With three crushing losses in a row at a time when results are really all that matters, the Boston Bruins are reeling at the wrong time during the regular season. The B’s tried their best to win a game 0-0 with strong defense against a sleepy Chicago Blackhawks bunch on Friday night, but ultimately coughed up a Marian Hossa goal in the final minutes for a 1-0 regulation loss at TD Garden.

The defeat continued a swirl downward for the Black and Gold over the last week, and was a second straight shutout loss on home ice for the first time in almost 15 years. The losing stretch has also kicked up the chatter that Claude Julien is in trouble as head coach of the Bruins, and the hockey club’s underperformance up and down the lineup is ultimately going to cost the NHL’s longest tenured bench boss his job.

The Ottawa Senators have passed the Bruins in the Atlantic Division, and it’s only a matter of time before the Toronto Maple Leafs move by them as well with both Toronto and Ottawa holding six games in hand on Boston. Combine all of this with the B’s having missed the playoffs in each of the previous two seasons leading into this one, and it shouldn’t be at all surprising that Julien is squarely on the coaching hot seat.

The B’s bench boss was asked about his job security after the Chicago loss, and clearly didn’t appreciate the tough, but appropriate question.

“Well, I’m not into shock-journalism,” said Julien in a prideful tone. “So I’ll stay away from that question if you don’t mind.”

The Bruins posted their Saturday schedule shortly after Julien and the B’s players had addressed the media following the loss, and sure enough the embattled coach is scheduled to address the media post-practice as part of the regular practice day routine. So it doesn’t seem that a move with Julien is imminent this weekend despite another loss, but both the coach and the players know something is going to happen to shake things up with this team if they continue to struggle.

“Right now it’s a results based situation, so if you’re going to keep losing games then probably something’s going to happen,” said Torey Krug. “But right now we’re just pretty down emotionally after this game, so I don’t want to look at the big picture. I just [want to] focus on what’s going on in this room, and hopefully we can come back with a good effort the next game.”

A good effort might help Julien’s standing with the Bruins in the short term, but it’s impossible to imagine the B’s bench boss making it through the rest of the Bruins regular season given all of things working against him right now.