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Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas reacts to the game-winning goal by Vancouver Canucks Alex Burrows (not seen) during overtime in Game 2 of the NHL Stanley Cup hockey playoff in Vancouver on Saturday. (POOL)
Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas reacts to the game-winning goal by Vancouver Canucks Alex Burrows (not seen) during overtime in Game 2 of the NHL Stanley Cup hockey playoff in Vancouver on Saturday. (POOL)

Canucks cling to Cup final momentum Add to ...

It's not like the Vancouver Canucks have dominated the Boston Bruins.

The Canucks have not over-powered the Bruins, or established themselves as the clearly better team.

What Vancouver has done is play a smart, defensive game, jumped on Bruin mistakes, and managed to take over in stretches of the third period. That has allowed the Canucks to win the first two games of the Stanley Cup final and move half way to claiming the first NHL championship in franchise history.

The Canucks have grabbed the momentum in the best-of-seven series but that can be like hanging onto an eel. It's slippery and can easily fall through your fingers.

"We haven't won anything yet," Game 2 hero Alex Burrows said before the Canucks left for Boston Sunday morning. "We've only taken care of home ice.

"They are a really good team over there. I am sure they are going to feed off their crowd. We have to be ready for Game 3. It won't be easy. Until you win a road game, you are not in control of any series."

Burrows scored his second goal of the game 11 seconds into overtime to give Vancouver a 3-2 win Saturday night. Raffi Torres scored with just 18.5 seconds left in the third period of Game 1 for a 1-0 Canuck victory.

It was a razor thin margin of victory in both games, but enough to cut into Boston's confidence.

"You have to forget about it and just take the positive things," said Bruins centre David Krejci. "There's no room for negatives in these playoffs.

"We're just 2-0. We're still in it. We can do it."

The series shifts to Boston for games Monday and Wednesday. The Bruins believe they easily could be heading home with a split or even leading the series.

"I still don't think we've played the way we can," said Boston coach Claude Julien. "We're a better team than we've shown.

"We've got to go back home and start showing that and get ourselves back in this series."

The Canucks are following the same blueprint in the playoffs they used to finish the regular season with the best record in the NHL.

Goaltender Roberto Luongo has gotten better every round of the playoffs. He's stopped 64 of the 66 shots the Bruins have fired at him and had a shutout in the opening game.

The Vancouver defence has helped Luongo by forcing the Bruins to take mostly long shots. The Canucks have clogged up the middle of the ice, getting a stick or ankle in front of pucks before they get to the net.

Luongo has seen the puck and isn't giving up many rebounds. When he does, there are no Bruins there to get a second shot.

"When he plays like he does now, he's the best goalie in the world," said forward Daniel Sedin. "I don't say that because I'm a teammate and a friend. I say it because I mean it."

Offensively, the Canucks are patient. They continue to move the puck well. They know Boston goaltender Tim Thomas likes to challenge shooters, so they have tried to move the puck back and forth in front of the net, trying to catch Thomas out of position.

That resulted in Daniel Sedin scoring the tying goal midway through the third period Saturday night.

"I think we have four lines that go out there and play the same way," he said. "We get pucks deep. We forecheck really hard.

"It wears teams down. It's been like this the whole season. It's nothing new for us. I think when we're at our best, we usually have a lot of success in the third period."

The Canucks continue to show resiliency. They don't panic when they fall behind. Vancouver gave up the lead Saturday night by allowing Boston to score twice in 2:35.

The Canucks stayed calm and forced the overtime.

"We can push the pace and creating scoring chances," said Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault.

"I'm sure that has not happened very often to Boston this year, where they gave up a lead."

The Bruins are in a tough spot, but it's somewhere they have been before. They lost the opening two games at home against Montreal in the first round of the playoffs, but managed to win that series in seven games.

"We've gone through the experience of being down 2-0," said Julien. "It's probably a better team here.

"It doesn't change the fact we've been through it. We didn't come here just to roll over. We're going (to) regroup and bounce back."

The Canucks are close to winning the biggest prize in their history. Captain Henrik Sedin said after coming this far, the last part of the journey is going to be the hardest.

"We know how tough it is to win two more," he said.

"They could be up 2-0, that's how tight it is. I think this series is going to be a tough, three or four tight games."

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