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Luongo humbles Hawks
By Joe Aguilar | Daily Herald Staff

Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo celebrates with teammate Alexandre Burrows on Tuesday at the United Center.


Associated Press

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Published: 5/5/2009 11:14 PM

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Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo sought out Dustin Byfuglien after the final horn sounded Tuesday night.

Much like the Blackhawks' offense at the United Center, Byfuglien was quiet.

It was another night of trash-talking, with the 6-foot-3, 247-pound Byfuglien doing his best again to get in the face mask of the 6-3, 205-pound Luongo.

"Unfortunately after the game I was going to go over and congratulate him, but he skated away with his head down," Luongo said after making 23 saves in backstopping the Canucks to a 3-1 win in Game 3 of the teams' Western Conference semifinal series.

"I'm sure we'll chat next game."

After the Blackhawks put eight pucks past Luongo in Games 1 and 2 in Vancouver (not counting an empty-netter), and talked about how they solved the Canucks' star netminder, Luongo silenced them. He was near-flawless on a night when the Canucks played with injured defenseman Sami Salo.

Not that he took any credit or felt he redeemed himself in any fasion.

"It's a team game," said Luongo, who allowed only a second-period, power-play goal by Brian Campbell. "It's not only one player on the ice. When we play within our system, and take away their time and space, my job's easier. Tonight we did a great job of that."

Canucks defensemen Kevin Bieksa agreed with his goalie.

"Team defense starts in the other team's zone, making good decisions with the puck and having a third guy high, and we did that continously all night," said Bieksa, who had an assist. "I can't think of too many odd-man rushes we gave up. We didn't give them a whole lot of room in the neutral zone, and in our zone I thought we did a good job of keeping them to the outside."

Vancouver jumped out to a 3-0 advantage on goals by Mason Raymond, Steve Bernier and Henrik Sedin. Sedin's goal midway through the second gave the Canucks their second 3-0 advantage in the three games.

There was no letdown this time.

'We just kept forechecking them and playing within our system," Luongo said. "We didn't sit back and try to protect the lead. We just kept playing our game."