Roberto Luongo

It’s OK everyone, Luongo’s “gotten used to” being booed

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A quick follow-up on Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo, who we wrote about this afternoon on PHT. Vancouver’s starting goalie heard a few Bronx cheers last night at Rogers Arena in a 4-0 loss to the Rangers. He didn’t play especially poorly, but the jeers weren’t really about last night’s game. They were about…everything.

Clearly Luongo’s relationship with the fans is on shaky ground. If they were a married couple, they’d be taking separate vacations and telling the kids everything’s going to be fine.

Vancouver reporters were predictably all over the story today, and as a reward for their doggedness they got a great quote out of the man himself. When asked how it felt to be booed on home ice, Luongo replied, “The good thing is it has happened so many times, I’ve gotten used to it.”

Ladies and gentlemen, your Vancouver Canucks. Finished first overall in the regular season. Scored the most goals. Surrendered the fewest. Fell one game short of winning the Stanley Cup. Aaaaaand the starting goalie has grown used to being booed.

That’s not to say the fans are wrong to boo. Nor is it to endorse the booing. It’s more to say…this is a rather bizarre situation, don’t you think?

Some other quotes:

“[Luongo’s] probably harder on himself facing his teammates in the dressing room or the personal pressure he puts on himself to perform than what some minor group of fans might think.” —- Coach Alain Vigneault

“You always want to do good and you want to be liked. I think that’s how everyone is as a person. When you don’t do that, you get down on yourself. And he’s no different than anyone else.” —- Daniel Sedin

“It kind of sucks. For a guy who’s done more for this franchise perhaps than any other goalie in the history of the team, you would think he might get a bit of slack or some more leeway.” —- Cory Schneider

“I think people love pointing the finger in this town when things aren’t going well but it’s part of the business. Everyone’s going to get blamed for losses but unfortunately Louie takes more heat than anyone.” —- Kevin Bieksa

“You can never get used to it. Maybe, you become tolerant, a little bit. That’s all you can really do. He’s taken a lot of heat over the years and he’s had to learn to deal with it. He knows if he wants to play in this market he has to learn to deal with this. It’s part of the territory. He has a microscope on him. There are mistakes made all over the ice. Coaches can hide the easiest from those, then forwards, then the defensemen. For a goalie, there’s really no hiding.” —- Bieksa

Lightning lament Game 6 effort, Cooper doesn’t blame disallowed goal

TAMPA, FL - MAY 24:  Brian Boyle #11 of the Tampa Bay Lightning reacts after losing to the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Final with a score of 5 to 2 during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena on May 24, 2016 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images)
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The Tampa Bay Lightning seemed to sleepwalk through the first two periods of Game 6, and waking up in the final frame wasn’t enough to edge the Pittsburgh Penguins.

On the bright side, at least the Lightning aren’t in denial about that weak first 40 minutes.

It seemed like everyone on the team more or less admitted as much in unison.

Brian Boyle added that he felt like the Lightning tiptoed around this game. Jon Cooper often provides great quips, yet he was pretty matter-of-fact in this case.

Many will linger on this disallowed goal for Jonathan Drouin, which would have provided a 1-0 lead for Tampa Bay in the first period.

Let’s face it; that moment came pretty early in the game. To Tampa Bay’s credit, they’re not pinning the loss on that setback.

Now they must set their sights on competing throughout Game 7 … and maybe earning some bounces of their own in the process.

Read more about Game 6 here.

Penguins force Game 7 after holding off Lightning rally

TAMPA, FL - MAY 24:  Kris Letang #58 of the Pittsburgh Penguins celebrates with his teammates Sidney Crosby #87 after scoring a goal against Andrei Vasilevskiy #88 of the Tampa Bay Lightning during the second period in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Final during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena on May 24, 2016 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Jason Behnken/Getty Images)
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The Pittsburgh Penguins played with fire late in Game 6, but they also showed plenty of fire in beating the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-2.

With that, this thrilling Eastern Conference Final will go the distance with Game 7 on Thursday.

There are at least a few “What if?” scenarios to consider, especially for the Lightning.

What if that offside goal counted?

Jonathan Drouin played some fantastic hockey on Tuesday, yet his most memorable moment came via something that ultimately “didn’t happen.” An offside call on a goal review kept a 1-0 lead from happening for Tampa Bay:

Instead, the Penguins poured it on during the first period and eventually went up 1-0. They then carried that momentum over through the second period, adding two more goals to go up 3-0 heading into the final frame.

What if Tampa Bay played more like they did in the third period?

The difference between the level of play in the first 40 minutes and the final frame were night-and-day.

Now, you can make a chicken-and-the-egg argument here. Did the Penguins take their feet off the gas with that lead? Maybe Jon Cooper finally unleashed the hounds when the Lightning were facing a big deficit?

Maybe it’s a combination of those factors; either way, the Bolts couldn’t come all the way back even after making it interesting. At one point the game was 3-2 before a Bryan Rust breakaway goal and an empty-netter put things out of reach.

Both Matt Murray and Andrei Vasilevskiy faced plenty of tough chances and came through more often than not. We’ll see if there are any goal controversy rumblings, but each netminder came through at times tonight.

***

Now the series shifts back to Pittsburgh for Game 7 with a Stanley Cup Final on the line. Excited and/or nervous yet?

More: Great goals by Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel.

Sidney Crosby scores a superstar goal

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With the Pittsburgh Penguins’ season on the line in Game 6, plenty of eyes are on big guns Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and Phil Kessel.

Those marquee names are really coming through so far as they’ve now built a 3-0 lead through two periods against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

You likely already saw Kessel’s display of high-end hand-eye coordination (if not, check it here). Kris Letang scored his first goal of the series to make it 2-0 on a very tricky, well-placed shot.

The highlight really might be Crosby’s tally, though. He left multiple Lightning players baffled and beat a very-much-game Andrei Vasilevskiy to beef that lead up 3-0.

Video: Phil Kessel displays incredible hand-eye coordination on goal

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This has been a tough postseason for Phil Kessel haters.

The supposed “choker” is on a team that’s in the Eastern Conference Final, but Kessel obviously isn’t just in for the ride with the Pittsburgh Penguins. He scored his 18th point in 17 postseason games by scoring the 1-0 goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 6.

(Watch that goal in the video above.)

It was a dramatic first period, with a Jonathan Drouin goal getting disallowed and Andrei Vasilevskiy making some huge saves on tough chances.

Can Pittsburgh protect this slim lead with 1-0 down one period? We’ll see, but either way, what a great postseason for Kessel.

Update: Here’s the goal Kessel accidentally “scored” for the Lightning:

Ouch.