Goaltender Tim Thomas led the Boston Bruins to their first National Hockey League championship title in 39 years, shutting out the Vancouver Canucks 4-0 for the second time in the series.
REUTERS - The Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup for the first time in 39 years on Wednesday when they beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-0 in the seventh and deciding game of the National Hockey League championship.
Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand each scored two goals for the Bruins while Boston goaltender Tim Thomas won the most valuable player award after notching his second shutout of the finals.
The Bruins, one of hockey’s “Original Six” teams, had not won the Stanley Cup since 1972 and defied incredible odds to win it this time in one of the most enthralling finals series in years.
Three of their four playoff rounds went the full distance of seven games and they came from 2-0 behind in the finals to beat the Canucks, who were favorites to win after finishing the regular season with the best record in the league.
That gave Vancouver the home advantage for the final and although they won their first three games at home, they lost all three they played away in Boston then Wednesday’s decider on home ice.
“We never made things easy on ourselves,” said Boston’s veteran winger Mark Recchi, who had announced at age 43 had announced he would retire if the Bruins won the cup.
“It’s a hell of a way for me to go out that’s for sure.”
For Vancouver, the loss ended their dream of winning the Stanley Cup for the first time.
They joined the NHL in 1970-71 season and were appearing in the finals for the first time in 17 years.
It also ruined the celebrations of thousands of fans that had crushed into the city’s
downtown area in the hope of repeating the street party that erupted when Canada won the hockey gold medal at last year’s Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
Riots had erupted in Vancouver the last time they lost the Stanley Cup finals and there were sporadic reports of violence in the downtown area shortly after the game.
Bergeron scored the only goal of the first period then scored a shorthanded goal at the end of the second period which stretched Boston’s lead to 3-0.
Marchand also scored in the middle frame then finished it off with a second into an empty net while Thomas turned away all 37 shots that were fired at him with the same aggressive acrobatic style that stymied the Canucks throughout the series.
“Their goaltender was phenomenal,” Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said.
“He made some huge saves and we just couldn’t beat him in their building and tonight we had some Grade A chances but didn’t have much puck luck.”
Date created : 2011-06-16