Before this postseason, the Chicago Blackhawks had tormented Roberto Luongo in their previous two playoff battles: Physically, psychologically and emotionally.
But here's the thing: In the last two Stanley Cup Playoff defeats for the Vancouver Canucks against the Hawks, Luongo's been sneakily good when playing inside United Center. Toss out that elimination game implosion back in 2009 when he gave up seven goals, and Luongo's goals against average in five playoff road games against the Blackhawks is a stellar 1.59.
So the notion that a change in scenery would suddenly turn Luongo (and his 1.50 GAA in this series) into a sieve — or the complete tomfoolery in expecting John Scott to morph into Dustin Byfuglien — was misguided for Game 3.
And Luongo was a difference-maker in the Canucks' 3-2 victory over the Blackhawks, to take a commanding 3-0 lead. Coming up, some of his better stops against Chicago.
Here are few of Luongo's best stops in his 30-save performance.
Luongo on Jonathan Toews, with the Blackhawks already up 1-0:
Luongo and Toews and Kane, with the Hawks still up 1-0:
And this one on Patrick Kane in the third period, with the glove and one of the best of the playoffs:
"I think Roberto did his job, and a great job in the first period when we got in penalty trouble," said Canucks Coach Alain Vigneault after the game, on Luongo's 15 saves in the first period. "Especially on that 5-on-3, he kept us in."
Luongo wasn't perfect, and the Blackhawks certainly squandered as many chances as he thwarted. But he's one win away from vanquishing his postseason tormentors, and is a primary catalyst in the Canucks' 3-0 series lead.