VANCOUVER – Tim Thomas was still trying to piece together how Alex Burrows got loose to score the second-fastest overtime goal in Stanley Cup final history.
“I don’t know,” Thomas said Saturday in the Bruins dressing room when asked about the play that led to Vancouver’s 3-2 win over the Boston Bruins and gave the Canucks a 2-0 series lead.
“I can’t tell you anything that happened before or after Burrows when he got the pass … I don’t know where it came from I don’t know whether we won the face-off or they won the faceoff.”
The play resulted from a neutral zone turnover on a Boston attempt to chip the puck past the Vancouver blue-line.
Canuck defenceman Alex Edler recovered the puck, chipped it ahead to Daniel Sedin who relayed it to Burrows.
The Vancouver winger swooped in on Thomas and Bruins defenceman Zdeno Chara, and overtime was over in 11 seconds.
Brian Skrudland of the Montreal Canadiens holds the record for the fastest overtime goal in a final at nine seconds.
“It’s not the way I envisioned it going in,” Thomas said.
Burrows faked a shot as Thomas came out to meet him, went around the net with Chara trying to impede him and stuffed the puck in the far side as he fell over backward.
“I’m not sure right now how he got alone but obviously he made a good fake to take that shot and come around,” said Bruins centre Patrice Bergeron who won the opening face-off.
“We got caught. We won the draw but we’ve got to make sure we do a better job in the neutral zone.”
It was the second game with a dramatic ending.
In Wednesday’s opener, the teams were scoreless for 59 minutes before Raffi Torres redirected Jannik Hansen’s pass beyond Thomas’s reach with 18.5 seconds left.
The numbers don’t look good for the Bruins, with Games 3 and 4 in Boston on Monday and Wednesday.
Teams leading the final 2-0 have won the Stanley Cup 42 of 46 times since the best-of-seven format was adopted in 1939.
And teams winning the second game of the final have won seven of the last eight championships.
The Canucks feed off neutral zone turnovers, said Bruins coach Claude Julien.
“We know that they thrive on it, yet we kept turning pucks over in the neutral zone,”Julien said.
“We have to be a little better in those areas. Obviously that last goal was certainly a hard one to swallow.”
Burrows, who has nine playoff goals and five in his last five games, opened the scoring on a first-period power play.
Milan Lucic drew the Bruins even by firing Johnny Boychuck’s rebound under netminder Roberto Luongo and Mark Recchi’s tip gave Boston its first power-play goal of the series.
But the Canucks pressed in the third period, much like they did in the series opener, and Daniel Sedin fired a puck redirected by Burrows past Thomas who was out of position on the play.
When asked whether Thomas, who submarined Daniel Sedin outside his crease on an earlier play, should play closer to his net, Julien dismissed the thought.
“Well, I think at the stage we’re at right now, if I ask him to change his style, I’m not sure that’s real good advice,”the coach said.
The Bruins took some positives from a second period where they outshot Vancouver 14-10 and scored twice in two minutes 35 seconds to grab their first lead of the series.
“We had a chance to get that third goal,”said Bergeron, the Bruins’key face-off man.“It would have been huge but we didn’t do it.
“The guys are hurting no matter what. No matter how we lose, it always hurts. The second period was the way we need to play.”
Recchi said his teammates are disappointed but have shown resilience after surviving an 0-2 deficit at home against Montreal in the Eastern Conference quarter-final.
“Whether it’s 11 seconds in or 19 minutes in it’s still a loss and it sucks,”said Recchi, who scored his first goal in seven games.“It’s disappointing.
“We’ve got to try to get a couple of wins at home, get a win on Monday first then worry about Wednesday.”
Lucic said the Bruins became more confident after his goal, the first against Luongo in 137 minutes 26 seconds of playoff action.
“It felt like we were able to play more confident after that goal and that second period felt like the way we need to play to win,”he said.
Linemate David Krejci agreed.
“We finally knew we can score on that guy,”he said.“It was a big one and right after we got some momentum, we were coming at them.
“It built confidence and momentum. You have to take only the positive things.”
Notes: The Canucks lost Game 2 in their only two other appearances in the Stanley Cup final, 1982 against the New York Islanders and 1994 against the New York Rangers … Wednesday’s 1-0 win gave Canuck goalie Roberto Luongo his fifth career shutout against Boston, the most against any NHL club … Luongo is one shutout behind the four of Kirk McLean in 1994, a club record for a single playoff year.