Burrows scores fast in OT, Canucks lead Bruins 2-0

Vancouver Canucks left wing Alex Burrows scores the winning goal during the first overtime period as Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara  and Bruins goalie Tim Thomas look on during Game 2 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals on Saturday, June 4, 2011, in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Vancouver Canucks left wing Alex Burrows scores the winning goal during the first overtime period as Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara and Bruins goalie Tim Thomas look on during Game 2 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals on Saturday, June 4, 2011, in Vancouver, British Columbia. Photo by The Associated Press.

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Everybody knew Alex Burrows was fast. Just not this fast.

With the second-speediest overtime goal in NHL playoff and finals history, Vancouver’s bitingly talented forward moved the Canucks halfway to their first Stanley Cup title.

Burrows circled the net and scored a stunning goal 11 seconds into overtime, and Vancouver took a 2-0 lead in the Stanley Cup finals with a 3-2 victory over the Boston Bruins on Saturday night.

Right after the opening faceoff of overtime, Burrows received a pass from Daniel Sedin and streaked down the boards, eluding Boston captain Zdeno Chara behind the net before extending his stick for a wraparound goal, beating out-of-position goalie Tim Thomas for his second score of the game.

Game 3 is Monday in Boston.

Only four teams have rallied from an 0-2 series deficit to win the Stanley Cup finals in 46 tries, although Sidney Crosby’s Pittsburgh Penguins did it against Detroit in 2009.

Burrows’ goal nearly was the fastest OT goal in finals history, taking just a bit longer than Brian Skrudland’s goal for Montreal 9 seconds into Game 2 against Calgary on May 18, 1986.

Sedin tied it with 10:23 left in the third period, and Roberto Luongo made 28 saves for the Canucks. But the night belonged to Burrows, who avoided suspension for this game after being accused of biting Boston’s Patrice Bergeron in Game 1. He also up Sedin’s tying goal with a sharp pass from the slot.

Thomas stopped 30 shots for the Bruins, but his trademark aggressiveness put him too far away from his net during the brief overtime. Burrows used his speed to elude the 6-foot-9 Chara before slipping the puck into Thomas’ unguarded net.

Mark Recchi put the Bruins ahead in the second period with a power-play goal just 2:35 after Milan Lucic scored Boston’s first goal of the finals. Recchi, the NHL’s oldest active player at 43, ended the Bruins’ 5-for-68 power-play drought with a deflection from the slot.

The Canucks got a pregame boost from the inspirational return of center Manny Malhotra, who hadn’t played since incurring a career-threatening eye injury March 16. The Canucks also played without top defenseman Dan Hamhuis, who missed his first game of the playoffs after getting hurt midway through Game 1 while delivering a check. Andrew Alberts filled in, playing his first game in four weeks.

But until Sedin’s late goal, Boston played a second straight game of impressive shutdown defense against Vancouver’s vaunted top line featuring the NHL’s last two scoring champions — Daniel and twin brother Henrik Sedin.

Turns out the Bruins should have been paying attention to Burrows, their less-heralded linemate who has 17 points in the postseason.

Burrows scored his first goal while skating on Vancouver’s second-team, power-play unit with just 12 seconds left in the man advantage, taking a short pass from Chris Higgins and flicking a shot under Thomas’ arm.

The Bruins had scored just one goal in their previous seven periods of playoff hockey before Lucic finally ended the drought in the second period. The Vancouver native bulled into the slot and batted the rebound of Johnny Boychuk’s shot under Luongo’s extended pad.

The goal ended Luongo’s playoff shutout streak at 137 minutes, 26 seconds.

Recchi put the Bruins ahead 2:35 later, scoring just their second road power-play goal of the entire postseason. The veteran forward from nearby Kamloops, British Columbia, artfully deflected a heavy shot by Chara, who moved back to the point on Boston’s power play after playing in front of Luongo in Game 1.

The Bruins had just one goal on the power play in six games before Recchi scored. Recchi, who plans to retire if the Bruins win the Cup, hadn’t scored any goals in their previous 11 playoff games since April 30.

The Sedins’ line finally connected midway through the third period after Daniel took the puck away from Chara in Boston’s end. Burrows eventually found Daniel Sedin on the other side of Thomas’ net, and the NHL scoring champion fired home his ninth goal of the postseason.

Malhotra seemed unlikely to make an impact on Vancouver’s playoff run when a deflected puck hit him in the face nearly three months ago. He needed two operations around his left eye, yet the cerebral faceoff specialist and defensive forward surprised the Canucks with his rapid recovery, returning to practice three weeks ago.

After a false start before Game 1, Malhotra was ready Saturday. When he stepped on the ice wearing a full face shield for pregame warmups, Vancouver’s fans rose and roared, waving white towels — and when his face appeared on the scoreboard between warmups and the opening faceoff, the crowd chanted his name.

When Malhotra stepped onto the ice 1:48 into the first period for a faceoff at center ice, he got an arena-shaking ovation — and he won the draw cleanly.

Malhotra played nearly 7 1/2 minutes and won 86 percent of his faceoffs.

In Wednesday’s opener, Vancouver won on Raffi Torres’ dramatic goal after 59 1/2 scoreless minutes. Both teams failed to score on six power plays, but generated numerous chances that were denied by two of the NHL’s best goalies.

Vancouver is chasing the first NHL title in its four-decade franchise history after two previous failed trips to the finals. The Bruins haven’t won the Stanley Cup since 1972, losing their last five finals appearances.

Notes: The Canucks haven’t lost at home since May 7. ... Vancouver C Alexandre Bolduc was scratched in Malhotra’s favor. ... Hamhuis is third in ice time among the Canucks during the playoffs, averaging 24:50. He’s second with 38 blocked shots. ... Alberts hadn’t played since May 3, sitting out nine games as a healthy scratch. ... Thomas broke Andy Moog’s franchise record for minutes played in a single postseason. Moog played 1,196 minutes during Boston’s run to the 1990 finals. ... Vancouver native Cobie Smulders, who plays an avid Canucks fan on CBS’ “How I Met Your Mother” and in real life, attended the game with her partner, Taran Killam of “Saturday Night Live.” ... The Boston Red Sox moved up the start time of their home game against Oakland by six hours so it wouldn’t conflict with the Bruins game — but then the Red Sox played 14 innings against the Athletics, eventually winning 9-8. The Sox still finished about 90 minutes before the puck dropped in Vancouver.

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