Canucks, Bruins scoreless after first period
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Roberto Luongo made 12 saves and the Vancouver Canucks survived three Boston power plays in a scoreless first period in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals Friday night.
The series is tied 2-2.
Luongo, ventilated for 12 goals in a pair of lopsided losses in Boston and pulled from Game 4 on Wednesday night, got a break when Chris Kelly hit the crossbar over his shoulder on a 2-on-1 rush 4 minutes in.
But there was nothing lucky about Luongo's redirection stop on Milan Lucic and rebound stop on Patrice Bergeron alone in front with 5 minutes left in the period.
Tim Thomas, coming off his third shutout of the playoffs, made six saves for the Bruins. He gave up just five goals in the first four games.
Thomas, 9-1 in the playoffs when facing more than 35 shots, wasn't busy, and had a few long shots trickle dangerous through him. But he also made a great blocker save on Mason Raymond 5:29 in.
Both teams won their first two home games, but the Bruins seemed to have all the momentum coming into Game 5 after two dominant performances at home.
Instead, the Canucks, who were outhit badly in Boston, set the early physical tone in front of a raucous, towel-waving sellout crowd. But they got carried away at times, with three penalties for overaggressive hits that forced the penalty killers, led by Luongo, to bail them out.
The Bruins are seeking their first title since 1972, and the Canucks — celebrating their 40th anniversary — have never won the championship.
The team that won Game 5 of a tied series has gone on to win the Stanley Cup 71 percent of the time — 15 of 21 series — in finals history. Three of the six exceptions have come in the last decade — the 2009 Pittsburgh Penguins, 2004 Tampa Bay Lightning, and 2001 Colorado Avalanche.
Vancouver came in with five straight wins at home, a streak that dates to May 7 and includes late victories in the first two games of the finals.
The Bruins have lost four straight on the road, but appeared to be control of the Cup finals after convincing wins back in Boston. They had dominated since losing top-line winger Nathan Horton to the late, high hit from defenseman Aaron Rome that knocked him out early in Game 3 — and ended Rome's playoffs with an ensuing four-game suspension. They outscored the Canucks 12-1 in the two games in Boston, with most of the damage coming in the second period.
The Canucks shook up their defense again, dressing 21-year-old rookie Chris Tanev ahead of $4.2-million-a-season veteran Keith Ballard. Ballard struggled in his Cup finals debut in Game 4 in place of the suspended Rome, who had moved into the top four after No. 1 defenseman Dan Hamhuis was hurt in Game 1.
Game 6 is Monday night in Boston.