(Reuters) - The Vancouver Canucks scored four power play goals to edge the defending champion Boston Bruins 4-3 on Saturday in a spirited rematch between last season's Stanley Cup finalists.
Animosity from last season's seven-game championship series was rekindled early on and led to 107 minutes in penalties and 18 powerplay opportunities at the TD Garden.
Boston failed to convert on their seven powerplays while Vancouver took full advantage of their 11 chances.
"All I know is today our power play was pretty good," Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa, who had two assists, told reporters.
"We were shooting pucks, we were gaining entry into the zone, pretty much whenever we wanted, and that's the way our power play has got to be."
Surprise Vancouver starting goalie Corey Schneider turned aside a penalty shot opportunity by Daniel Paille with a very nice glove save with the score tied at 1-1 in the opening minute of the second period.
"He shoots the puck real hard," Schneider said. "I remember in the finals he scored a few glove side shots and I've seen him rip it glove side a couple times, so I kept it high and just presented it to try to take it away early. He kind of cut across and fortunately I had it in a good spot."
Ryan Kesler and Brad Marchand exchanged first period goals and Rich Peverley gave the Bruins a short-lived lead in the second before Alexandre Burrows scored for Vancouver.
Henrik Sedin and Cody Hodgson scored during a pivotal five-minute penalty, spanning the second and third periods, which was assessed to Marchand for clipping Vancouver defenseman Sami Salo who did not return.
BREAD AND BUTTER
"What I can tell you is that they scored four power play goals, so we gave them an opportunity to score on their bread and butter," said Bruins coach Claude Julien.
"Instead of criticizing the referees, I would much prefer criticizing us for the penalties - whether they're worthy or not, take the responsibility. We knew before the game started that they have a good power play."
David Krejci pulled the Bruins to 3-4 down early in the third period but Boston could not get the equalizer on Schneider who was spectacular in the final period, making 18 of his 35 saves.
Boston found themselves a player short four minutes into the game when physical winger Milan Lucic was ejected for an illegal change when the referee concluded he came back on the ice from the bench during a scrum.
"It wasn't an illegal change, he didn't come off the bench" said Julien. "There are no issues there in my mind, it's clear. What's unfortunate is that we lost a pretty good player early in the game, and that's what is more disappointing.
"He's a guy looking forward to playing this game, he's from Vancouver, and he gets tossed out, but he actually didn't do anything wrong. We'll let the league take care of that stuff because there's nothing more we can do."
(Reporting by Mike Mouat in Windsor, Ontario; Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes)