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.