For all those Blackhawks fans who believe Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo might be a tad fragile mentally, here's a chance to adjust your opinion.
Despite surrendering 5 goals during Game 4's relevant 18-minute stretch Tuesday, the slicked-back Luongo looked fresh and said he felt just fine after the Hawks' 7-2 win.
Luongo gave up 6 goals in all before skating over to the Vancouver bench and enjoying a siesta with 15:55 to go.
“I felt good,” Luongo said. “I was seeing the puck well. I'm just going to put it behind me and move on. I'm not going to beat myself up over it.”
“If I would have told you that I felt shaky tonight or wasn't seeing the puck well, maybe I'd be a bit concerned. But I felt good the whole game ... there wasn't a lack of confidence there.”
There was, however, a lack of saves.
Less than two minutes into Game 4, Blackhawks winger Bryan Bickell opened the scoring with a nifty move and an easy shot at close range.
But it was Bickell's other shot of the first period — an innocuous blast as the clock ran out — that wound up doing more damage to Vancouver.
After Luongo went to his knees to parry Bickell's shot, he toppled back into the net and didn't look pain-free as he puttered along the boards back to the bench.
Luongo returned for the second period, but he didn't look like the same guy.
The Hawks pummeled him for 4 consecutive goals during the second stanza — 2 fewer than Luongo allowed in the first 10 periods of this Western Conference quarterfinal — to force Game 5 Thursday in Vancouver.
With each successive goal, the United Center faithful took delight in increasing the decibels on their derisive “LOUUUU!!!” croon.
In the quiet of Vancouver's postgame dressing room, Luongo took pains to dismiss any suggestion of injury.
“Ah, nothing major,” he said. “I kind of just cramped up, but it went away afterwards.”
Right about the time backup goalie Cory Schneider replaced Luongo in net, Game 4 denigrated from physical to chippy.
Vancouver earned 55 penalty minutes during the final 15:55, while the Hawks merited 33 minutes.
The Canucks' Raffi Torres, who drilled Brent Seabrook in Game 3, was banished from the rink at the 15:25 mark along with the Hawks' John Scott; both got 10-minute misconducts after a non-physical encounter as they awaited a faceoff.
Torres, credited with just 1 hit in 12:57 of ice time, dodged the media after Tuesday's morning skate but spoke briefly after the loss.
Asked whether he was convinced his Seabrook hit was clean, Torres responded, “I'm not going to talk about that.”
Not long after Torres and Scott left for the night, Vancouver defenseman Kevin Bieksa and the Hawks' Viktor Stalberg were sent off for fighting.
Initially it appeared Bieksa might receive a penalty for instigating, which comes with a 1-game suspension when it happens in the final five minutes, but Hawks coach Joel Quenneville agreed with Bieksa that it wasn't merited.
“Let's not make a bigger deal of this than it was,” Bieksa said. “There was a few things: A blind-side hit and then he speared Max (Lapierre). It's part of the game and it's not a big deal. It's not going to carry over.”Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.