Luongo, who raised his stick in celebration as the blue confetti fell, won the Olympic gold medal for Canada in his home arena 15 months earlier, Now he has a chance to capture his first Cup title, too.
"Worked my whole life to be in this situation right now," Luongo said. "It's a great feeling, especially winning in overtime. I'm just looking forward to starting the next series."
Niemi made 31 saves, including stopping Chris Higgins' breakaway in the second overtime, for the Sharks, who lost the West finals last year to Chicago in six games. Niemi was the goalie for the eventual Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks, and this was his first playoff loss in seven career series.
Alex Burrows opened the scoring eight minutes in for the Canucks, but Patrick Marleau tied it with his sixth goal of the series on a power play midway through the second period. Setoguchi added his first into an empty net 24 seconds into the third after Luongo came diving out of the crease on a 2-on-0 break.
The Sharks, who fell to 5-1 in overtime in the playoffs, didn't back off. Luongo was brilliant before and after Setoguchi s goal, including the best of his 15 first-period saves while killing a 1:24 two-man advantage.
The shots were 21-7 for the Sharks when Marleau's power-play deflection tied it in the second period, just as Kesler hobbled off after chasing a short-handed chance. Kesler, second in playoff scoring with 18 points, limped to the locker room favoring his left leg, but returned later in the period.
"I jumped three feet when it went in," he said. "Pure excitement."
Notes: Vancouver last earned a spot in the Cup finals when Greg Adams scored in double overtime of Game 5 against Toronto on May 24, 1994. ... Vancouver D Christian Ehrhoff missed a second game because of a suspected shoulder injury sustained in Game 3. He practiced Monday and is day-to-day. D Aaron Rome, also knocked out in Game 3, missed a second straight game. ... San Jose D Jason Demers, out since Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals against Detroit, was ready to return but didn't. ... The Canucks were swept 4-0 by the New York Islanders in 1982 in the team's first trip to the Cup finals.
PHT: Logan Couture shook off an injury earlier in the game to score an overtime goal that gave San Jose a win in Game 3 and trimmed Los Angeles' series lead to 2-1.
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Highlights: Sharks take critical Game 3 in OT
Logan Couture scored a power-play goal 1:29 into overtime to help the San Jose Sharks bounce back from two losses in Los Angeles to beat the Kings 2-1 in Game 3 of their second-round series on Saturday night
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