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Canucks no match in Game 7 as Thomas blanks them 4-0

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Michael Terranova
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« on: June 16, 2011, 01:17:03 pm »

Canucks no match in Game 7 as Thomas blanks them 4-0

By Helene Elliott, Tribune Newspapers
11:17 p.m. CDT, June 15, 2011
VANCOUVER, B.C. Canada's Stanley Cup drought continues, as the gritty Boston Bruins cruelly dashed its best hope in years.

Defying the odds and a historical record that strongly favored the home team in the seventh game of the Stanley Cup finals, the Bruins played a patient and near-perfect defensive game Wednesday night to defeat the Canucks 4-0 at Rogers Arena and win their first Cup title since 1972.

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The Bruins raced off their bench at the end, mobbing goaltender Tim Thomas and hurling their sticks and gloves in the air as they embraced. Winger Nathan Horton, who suffered a concussion in Game 3, skated out in uniform to join the celebration. Thomas, who had two shutouts in the finals, was voted the Conn Smythe trophy as the most valuable player in the playoffs.

"I think they got really cocky and they thought they were going to roll over us," said Bruins rookie forward Brad Marchand, who scored twice Wednesday and 11 times in postseason play.

"But we took pucks and bodies to the net and we were able to pull it off. It's surreal. I don't know if it will ever kick in. It was unbelievable. I'm lost for words right now."

The Bruins became the first team to win three Game 7s in a playoff year and only the fourth road team to win a Game 7 in the Cup finals in 16 tries. This was also the first victory in the series for a visiting team.

Theirs was a tense and grueling road, but it ended with a victory over the team that had the NHL's best record this season.

"I would like to do it again. It was amazing," Boston defenseman Tomas Kaberle said. "I have great teammates here. I would love to do it again."

Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo called the loss devastating.

"We obviously didn't get the job done in Boston," he said. "These playoffs were the hardest thing I've gone through in my professional career. It's just a grind, mentally and physically."

Canucks coach Alain Vigneault wouldn't disclose which of his players had been playing injured it's thought Ryan Kesler and Henrik Sedin were hampered throughout the finals and said the Bruins were worthy winners.

"You have to give credit where credit is due. Their goaltender was real tough to beat," Vigneault said. "The way they played in front of him was real tough to beat."

Patrice Bergeron also scored twice, the second time a morale-breaking short-handed goal. Mark Recchi, the oldest player in the NHL at 43, earned an assist and finished as the top scorer in the Cup finals with three goals and seven points. Knowing a good exit line when he saw one, he announced his retirement while still on the ice.

No Canada-based team has won the Cup since 1993 when the Montreal Canadiens prevailed over the Kings. That has become a sore point here but the high-powered Canucks seemed to have a good chance to change that. But they couldn't solve the Bruins' defense or their physical play.

Twin forwards Henrik and Daniel Sedin, the NHL scoring champions last season and this season, respectively, combined for two goals and five points.

The Bruins scored the only goal of a fast-paced and physical first period, when Marchand threw a pass toward the slot to Bergeron, whose shot found space inside the post to Luongo's right at the 14 minute, 37 second mark.

The suddenness of the goal deflated the crowd for several minutes but fans quickly regained their voices and restored the pulsating energy they had been creating.

The Bruins broke things open in the second period with two goals, the second short-handed. It got so quiet in Rogers Arena you could hear the Stanley Cup being polished.

After taking a pass from Recchi, Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg took a long slap shot that Luongo saved with his chest. But Luongo couldn't control the rebound and Marchand pounced on it, controlled it and took a wraparound shot that eluded Luongo at 12:13.

Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara was serving the game's first penalty for interference called at 16:07 when the Bruins scored again. Bergeron broke in alone on Luongo and was impeded by defenseman Christian Ehrhoff. The referee raised his hand to signal a penalty, but the puck slid into the net at 17:35. The play was reviewed and the goal stood, a stunning blow to a team that was being outscored 22-8 in the Cup finals. The final goal tally was 23-8 for the Bruins and one Stanley Cup.

helliott2@tribune.com
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