Luongo helps Canucks blank Blackhawks in opener

VANCOUVER (Reuters) - The Vancouver Canucks opened their playoffs campaign with a 2-0 victory over the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday, goalie Roberto Luongo chipping in with 32 saves for the West top seeds.

The Canucks made a physical start to the best-of-seven series and jumped on Chicago's rookie goalie Corey Crawford with two first-period tallies, including a Jannik Hansen breakaway.

It was all the offense they would need with Luongo in sparkling form, including an amazing leg save in the first period that appeared so impossible to make that the Blackhawks players had started to celebrate a goal.

Vancouver entered the series with the best record in the NHL but Chicago have been the better side of the two in recent post-season matchups, knocking the Canucks out of the playoffs in each of the last two years.

(Reporting Allan Dowd; Editing by John O'Brien; To comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com)