For the first time since 1972 the Bruins are on top of the hockey world after stunning the Canucks 4-0 in game seven of the Stanley Cup Final. Vancouver fans didn’t exactly get what they paid for: the multi-thousand dollar per seat game wasn’t nearly as exhilarating as the Gold Medal gem from a year and half earlier. Boston, the underdog coming into the series, deserves a ton of credit.
Bruin Tim Thomas was outstanding; he easily took home the Con Smyth honours – it’s amazing to think he didn’t begin his NHL career until his thirties. And when he got there he threw the goaltending book out the window. Thomas was flopping around like Dominic Hasek, an ugly style but it worked. Eight goals allowed in seven games (and a .976 save percentage) is off the charts, especially when you consider he was up against the likes of the Sedin Twins, who, by the way, finished minus four in game seven.
Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand each scored a pair of goals in game seven’s win, and when Vancouver relied heavily on their top line for scoring, the Bruins found offense from some unlikely sources. Fourty-three year old Mark Recchi contributed nicely alongside Bergeron and Marchand, finishing with an assist in game seven, and 14 points during the post season. Recchi can hang them up happy after capturing his third cup.
Former Leaf Thomas Kaberle has struggled offensively since being traded to Boston in February. But he was sound in his own end for the majority of the cup final, and is one of the best in the league at making that first pass out of the zone. However, head coach Claude Julien didn’t have much confidence in him. Kaberle finished with a team low 9:14 of ice time Wednesday night.
The Canucks looked poised to glide to a cup victory after taking the first two games of the series. Everything changed five minutes into game three when Aaron Rome decked Boston forward Nathan Horton knocking him out of the series; Rome was suspended for the remainder of the playoffs. The hit woke up the Bruins who celebrated two massive wins on home ice, outscoring Vancouver 12-1.
The combination of watching their team blow a 3-2 series lead, and the post game riots have got to leave a bitter taste in the mouths of the Canuck’s faithful. Sure, Toronto hasn’t won the cup since 1967, but Vancouver has to be hurting just as bad. Three trips to the final and still empty handed.