If in early October, you were tasked to write the most dramatic scenario for how the Vancouver Canucks’ 2013-14 campaign would play out, your fiction would pale next to the truth.
Just when we’re ready to mathematically eliminate Canada’s last great Stanley Cup threat and tie a bow on this seven-month disaster, Sunday gave us one more ironic wrinkle.
With a victory over Roberto Luongo’s Florida Panthers, the Dallas Stars would officially hammer the final peg in the Canucks’ season. Things began as planned, with super Stars Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin kicking Dallas off to a 2-0 lead.
But then Luongo found a new level to his game, helping both his current and former clubs by saving 35 of the 37 shots he faced for a .946 save percentage on the night.
The highlight was this slice of paddle desperation on the red-hot Benn:
The Cats rallied with three unanswered goals to win 3-2 in regulation and keep the Canucks alive for the time being.
“Myself and also the team got better as the game went on,” Luongo told reporters. “We’re competitors. Anytime we step on the ice, it doesn’t matter what the circumstances are, you want to have that winning mind-set and try to win.”
Then ol’ Strombone1 fired off his first tweet in a month, and it was a gem:
— Strombone (@strombone1) April 7, 2014
Wonder if Don Cherry will instruct Luongo to keep his mouth shut again…
The Stars hold a one-point lead over the Phoenix Coyotes for the final Western Conference wild card, while the last-gasp Canucks — thanks to the efforts of a guy still on their payroll — technically still have something to play for Monday night as the Anaheim Ducks visit Rogers Arena.
A Luongo Time Ago, on Star Wars Night, Lu Skywalker makes 35 saves to get the #FlaPanthers the win.
— Florida Panthers (@FlaPanthers) April 6, 2014