Bruins 0, Canucks 0

Roberto Luongo made 26 saves while keeping the Bruins without a
goal on six power plays, and the Vancouver Canucks’ Stanley Cup
finals opener against Boston was scoreless through two periods
Wednesday night.

Tim Thomas stopped 20 shots while extending his shutout streak
to more than 109 minutes, and Boston killed six Vancouver power
plays in a tense, tight-checking game featuring stellar defense and
bad-tempered play by both clubs.

Canucks forward Alex Burrows even appeared to bite the gloved
finger of Boston’s Patrice Bergeron after the first-period
buzzer.

Both teams entered their first playoff meeting looking to end
lengthy Stanley Cup droughts. Vancouver has never won the NHL title
in four decades of existence, losing its only two trips to the
finals. Boston has lost five straight finals since winning in
1972.

The officials kept both teams on a steady parade to the penalty
box in the first two periods, a big change from the Bruins’
penalty-free Game 7 in the Eastern Conference finals against Tampa
Bay – yet neither team capitalized.

Boston failed to capitalize on every opportunity, even a two-man
advantage for 1:32 early in the second period. The Bruins’ power
play was mostly hideous in the Eastern Conference playoffs,
managing just five goals in 61 chances.

The Canucks’ power play has been among the NHL’s best all
season, but high-scoring Vancouver twins Daniel and Henrik Sedin
also couldn’t get the puck past the scrambling Thomas in the
Canucks’ first finals appearance since 1994.

Thomas shut out the Lightning in Game 7, and he was equally good
in the finals opener, hustling for saves against the NHL’s
highest-scoring team.

Luongo also started out strong in his attempt to win the Stanley
Cup for the first time on the same ice where he backstopped Canada
to the gold medal in last year’s Olympics.

After a full week off, the Canucks came out with palpable energy
from a crowd that shook the arena violently enough to dislodge a
bit of confetti left over from the Western Conference finals onto
the ice before the game.

The Sedin twins’ line generated three decent scoring chances on
the opening shift, but Thomas showed off the scrambling
effectiveness that allowed him to lead the Bruins out of the
East.

The Bruins got a four-minute power play 4:03 into the first
period when Daniel Sedin caught 6-foot-9 Bruins captain Zdeno Chara
with a very high stick. Chara skated to the bench to wipe blood off
his face and returned immediately to the ice, taking his spot in
the slot to block Luongo’s view – but Luongo turned away all nine
shots, denying Vancouver native Milan Lucic twice in the waning
seconds.

Both teams engaged in a lengthy scrum after Thomas made a glove
save to close the first period, shoving and exchanging shots.
Bergeron complained to officials before skating off the ice,
holding up his finger – and television replays appeared to show
Burrows biting down, possibly putting the Canucks’ rambunctious
first-line wing in danger of a suspension.

Burrows got a double minor from the exchange, and he committed a
tripping penalty just eight seconds into what would have been a
lengthy 5-on-3 advantage for the Canucks midway through the second
period.

Vancouver defenseman Dan Hamhuis skated off the ice in obvious
pain during the second period after delivering a low hit on Lucic,
who fell head over skates to the ice. Hamhuis, a shutdown
defenseman enjoying a strong playoff run, had to crawl over the
Vancouver bench to get to the locker room.

Vancouver was the NHL’s best team in the regular season, setting
franchise records with 54 wins and 117 points while winning the
Presidents’ Trophy. Boston finished third in the East and survived
a nail-biting first-round series with Montreal before outlasting
the Lightning in the conference finals to reach its first Stanley
Cup finals since 1990.