The Boston Bruins have won the Stanley Cup. The Bruins defeated the Vancouver Canucks by a score of 4-0 in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final, claiming the franchises sixth championship in history.
Through 60 minutes of the most important game in his career, Tim Thomas did not let a shot get by him, and his 37 save shutout led the Bruins to their first Stanley Cup since 1972.
Thomas was the consensus pick going into the game to win the Conn Smythe trophy regardless of the winner, and he was rewarded with the award just prior to the presentation of the Cup itself.
After splitting the first six games of the series with the home team winning every one, the Canucks and Bruins left it all on the ice and in the end the Bruins were too much for the President's Trophy winners.
The Canucks started the game strong, establishing an early forecheck and getting more opportunities through the first period, leading the Bruins 8-5 in shots at the end of the frame. But the Bruins struck first late in the period, as Brad Marchand, who has been a thorn in the side of the Canucks since Game 1 of the series, sent a backhand pass into the slot which Patrice Bergeron quickly shot past Luongo.
The goal silenced a loud Vancouver crowd at Rogers Arena with less than six minutes left in the first period. The Canucks tried to tie the game in the closing moments of the period but Thomas robbed Ryan Kesler on a bad angle shot from the left side and the Bruins took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission.
In the second period the Bruins did a good job of controlling the play, and though the Canucks led the period in shots they were not dominating the play, and soon enough Marchand found his way on the scoresheet again. On a scramble in front of the Vancouver net, Marchand quickly took the puck around the net and his wraparound barely trickled in over the line past a diving Roberto Luongo.
Once again the goal seemed to silence the 18,860 at Rogers Arena, but the Canucks got an opportunity moments later to get back in the game on a powerplay. Zdeno Chara took an interference penalty, and the Canucks powerplay looked good to start, moving the puck around and getting quality scoring chances.
As Boston attempted to clear the zone, a "Boston bounce" as commentator Jim Hughson dubbed it, ricochetted off the glass and right onto Bergerons stick as he broke in alone on Luongo. Bergeron took the puck hard to the Vancouver net but was tripped and slid into Luongo, with the puck following and ending up in the net. Veteran referee Stephen Walkom immediately signalled a goal and after a quick conversation with the video goal judge the Bruins went into the second intermission up three goals and 20 minutes away from winning the Stanley Cup.
In the third period a desperate Canucks team tried to cut into the lead but the Bruins controlled the play and sucked the will out of the trailing Vancouver team. Eventually it was clear that the Canucks were not going to come back, though Alain Vigneault still pulled Luongo with a few minutes to go in the third period. As the Canucks put 12 shots on Thomas in the period, the Bruins turned the puck over and Marchand put the game away by shooting the puck past Kevin Bieksa and into the empty Vancouver net. As the final minutes winded down the Bruins' excitement was visible on the bench and on the ice.
At the sound of the horn, Thomas celebrated his first Stanley Cup with his teammates while veterans Mark Recchi and Shawn Thornton relived the moment they've already experienced before with other teams. The Canucks players remained on the ice for the handshakes and the Vancouver crowd showed their respect by applauding the teams efforts, coming one win short of their ultimate goal.
As the Canucks left the ice, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman came out to present the Conn Smythe Trophy for the most valuable player to his team in the playoffs. As most expected, Tim Thomas was awarded with the trophy to cap off his record-setting save percentage in the regular season and Vezina Trophy (awarded to the best goaltender) nomination.
As a smiling Thomas took pictures with the trophy and passed it onto the Bruins staff, a beaming Zdeno Chara was presented with the Stanley Cup. In a memorable Cup acceptance, Chara's excitement was priceless for a player who has received so much bad publicity this season. It is the sixth Stanley Cup in Bruins history and the first one for all but two on their roster.