VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) Through 59 scoreless minutes in their Stanley Cup finals opener,
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Raffi Torres and Jannik Hansen still had one last trick to try and Vancouver’s third line wings only needed an instant to connect on a goal that gave the Canucks an early edge in their chase for their first Stanley Cup title.
Torres put a slick redirection past Tim Thomas to score the latest go ahead goal in a finals game since 1992,
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"I heard Raffi yelling," Hansen said with a grin. "It was easy to hear him."
Roberto Luongo made 36 saves in his third shutout of the postseason for the Canucks, but Thomas matched him until Torres the only Vancouver player with previous finals experience slipped through the Bruins’ defense for an eye popping goal that launched a wild celebration at Rogers Arena.
"Just got to get open," Torres remembered thinking. "(Hansen) made a great play there to get it over. I was fortunate enough to get it in the back of the net."
Game 2 is Saturday night in Vancouver.
Vancouver has won all four series openers in its postseason,
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"I thought we were going to play all night the way it was going,
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Thomas stopped 33 shots for the Bruins, who went scoreless on six power plays. Boston also killed six Vancouver power plays in an outstanding defensive game against the NHL’s highest scoring team until the final minute.
The winning sequence started with Ryan Kesler, who corralled a Boston turnover along the boards and eventually slipped the puck across the ice to Hansen. The Danish forward spotted Torres streaking toward the net and floated a pass right to him,
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The redheaded forward lost the 2006 Stanley Cup finals with Edmonton, but was out of a job this summer until Vancouver took a chance on him.
"We brought him in because he was an emotional, physical player,
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Torres’ goal ended the 37 year old Thomas’ shutout streak at just under 129 minutes. He hadn’t allowed a goal since Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals,
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"It’s a nice goal by them,
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The first 59 minutes featured 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,
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"I don’t mind the rough play and those scrums at the end, as long as it’s just pushing and shoving and all that,
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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 in 1982 and 1994. Boston has lost five straight finals since winning in 1972.
After a full week off,
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But 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.
The Bruins again were hurt by their terrible power play, which managed just five goals in 61 chances in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Boston got nine shots without a goal during an early four minute power play against Vancouver before failing to convert a two man advantage for 1:32 early in the second period,
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Vancouver defenseman Dan Hamhuis skated off in obvious pain during the second period after delivering a low hit on Milan Lucic,
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The Canucks started to turn the game in their favor in the third period,
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Christian Ehrhoff’s pinpoint pass set up Hansen for a breakaway early in the third, but Thomas coolly stopped his low shot, prompting Hansen to slam his stick into the glass in frustration. Maxim Lapierre had a point blank chance with 8 minutes left,
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Alex Edler then made a slick move for quick shot with 5 minutes to play,
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NOTES: Teams winning Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals have gone on to hoist the trophy 77 percent of the time (55 for 71) since the league went to a best of seven format in 1939. . Vancouver scratched C Manny Malhotra, who isn’t ready to return from a career threatening eye injury. Malhotra hasn’t played since getting hit in the left eye with a deflected puck March 16, but he returned to practice two weeks ago after at least two surgeries. Alex Bolduc replaced Malhotra in the lineup, but barely played. . The Canucks hadn’t gone into the third period of a scoreless playoff game this spring. Boston had done it three previous times. . Former Maple Leafs captain and Canucks forward Mats Sundin attended the game, as did Vancouver resident Michael J. Fox.