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Stanley Cup finals: Vancouver 1, Boston 0 after first period of Game 2

June 4, 2011 |  6:19 pm

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With their opening-night jitters out of the way, both teams were aggressive and were dishing out teeth-rattling hits in the first period Saturday.

The Canucks, already drawing on the crowd’s energy, got an additional lift with the return of center Manny Malhotra from a severe eye injury.

Malhotra, who has undergone several surgical procedures since he was struck in the left eye by a deflected puck on March 16, got a standing ovation when he came out for his first shift, at 1:48 of the first period. He won his first faceoff, against Boston’s Chris Kelly, and played 2:52 in the period. He lost the only other faceoff he took.

The Canucks scored the only goal of the period, during a power play. Ryan Kesler, who had been hit hard by Boston defenseman Johnny Boychuk about three minutes into the period and seemed wobbly afterward, looked just fine when he tried to get the puck through the legs of Boston’s Zdeno Chara in the Bruins’ zone. Chara impeded his progress and was sent off for interference at 10:24.

The Canucks couldn’t sustain much pressure but made their own luck to set up the goal. Canucks defenseman Sami Salo made a good play along the boards to keep in an attempted clearing pass by Boston’s Andrew Ference and then got the puck toward the net. Chris Higgins touched it before Alexandre Burrows took a meek-looking shot that trickled past Tim Thomas at 12:12.

If the NHL’s justice system made any sense, Burrows wouldn’t have been playing: he bit the finger of Boston’s Patrice Bergeron in Game 1 on Wednesday and probably should have been suspended. Mike Murphy, the NHL executive in charge of disciplinary matters for the finals, ruled that he found no conclusive evidence that Burrows intentionally bit Bergeron’s finger.

Each team had 11 shots in the period.

Check back for more at www.latimes.com/sports.

-- Helene Elliott in Vancouver, Canada

Photo: Canucks left wing Alexandre Burrows, right, celebrates with teammate Mason Raymond after scoring in the first period in Game 2 on Saturday in Vancouver. Credit: Darryl Dyck / Associated Press

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