May 25, 2011 / 5:03 AM / 6 years ago

Vancouver Canucks advance to Stanley Cup finals

VANCOUVER (Reuters) - Vancouver advanced to their first NHL Stanley Cup finals in 17 years after Kevin Bieksa’s goal in the second period of overtime game them a 3-2 win over the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday.

<p>Vancouver Canucks left wing Alex Burrows (14) shoots the puck past San Jose Sharks goalie Antti Niemi (31) for a first period goal during Game 5 of their NHL Western Conference Final hockey playoff in Vancouver, British Columbia May 24, 2011. REUTERS/Ben Nelms</p>

The Canucks clinched the Western Conference title with the Game Five victory and will face either the Boston Bruins or the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Stanley Cup finals.

Vancouver forward Ryan Kesler, who had to leave the game briefly in the second period with a leg injury, scored with 14 seconds left in regulation to force overtime before Bieksa beat Sharks netminder Antti Niemi with a shot from near the blue line to clinch the win.

Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo was in inspirational form, making several spectacular saves among his 54 stops.

Reporting Allan Dowd; editing by Rob Wilson; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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