VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Raffi Torres ended an ugly Stanley Cup Finals opener with a dramatic flash of beauty for the Vancouver Canucks.
Torres scored on an exceptional pass from Jannik Hansen with 18.5 seconds to play as the Canucks stunned the Boston Bruins, 1-0, on Wednesday night.
Roberto Luongo made 36 saves in his third shutout of the postseason for the Canucks, but Boston's Tim Thomas matched him until Torres - the only Vancouver player with previous Finals experience - slipped through the Bruins' defense for an eye-popping goal that launched a wild celebration at Rogers Arena.
"I thought we were going to play all night the way it was going," Luongo said. "It was an exciting way to start the series. It was such a close game. It could've gone either way, a flip of the coin."
Game 2 is Saturday night in Vancouver.
Thomas stopped 33 shots for the Bruins, who went scoreless on six power plays. Boston also killed six Vancouver power plays in an outstanding defensive game against the NHL's highest-scoring team until the final minute.
"I heard Raffi yelling," Hansen said with a grin. "It was easy to hear him."
With uneasy fans anticipating overtime, the Canucks' third-line wings connected. Hansen spotted Torres streaking toward the net and floated a pass right to him, and Torres slipped it past Thomas for his third goal of the postseason.
"We brought him in because he was an emotional, physical player," Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said of Torres. "He's had nothing but a great attitude and a great work ethic with us all year long."
Torres' goal ended Thomas' shutout streak at just under 129 minutes.
Ryan Kesler also got an assist for forcing Johnny Boychuk's turnover that set up the final-minute scoring sequence in a tense, tight-checking game that featured stellar defense and bad-tempered play by both clubs.
Canucks forward Alex Burrows even appeared to bite the gloved finger of Boston's Patrice Bergeron after the first-period buzzer, raising the possibility of a suspension for the Canucks' rambunctious first-line wing.
Bettman talks alignment
Commissioner Gary Bettman believes the NHL will adopt a more balanced schedule when the relocated Winnipeg franchise likely moves to the Western Conference in 2012.
In his annual state-of-the-league address before the Stanley Cup Finals opener, Bettman also said he hoped the NHL would begin issuing harsher suspensions for rough play.
Bettman confirmed the relocated Atlanta Thrashers will be the northwesternmost team in the Southeast Division next season in Winnipeg, but likely will move to the West a year later.
New lord of discipline
Colin Campbell is done serving as the NHL's chief disciplinarian, handing off one of the most thankless tasks in hockey to Brendan Shanahan.
For the last 13 years, the former New York Rangers coach has handed out the league's supplemental discipline - mostly suspensions and fines for dangerous play.
Campbell will continue to work for the NHL as a senior vice president and director of hockey operations.
The Florida Panthers introduced Kevin Dineen as the franchise's 11th head coach. Dineen replaces Pete DeBoer, who was fired on April 10. . . . The Calgary Flames traded defenseman Tim Erixon and a fifth-round pick in this month's draft to the New York Rangers for junior forward Roman Horak and two second-round draft choices.
Bruins 0 Canucks 1
Canucks lead series, 1-0
Game 2: Saturday at Canucks, 8 p.m.