Boston beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-0 last night in the deciding seventh game of the series to claim the cup for a sixth time and deny the host its first NHL championship.
“It was such a long and hard run for us,” said Bruins team captain Zdeno Chara in a televised interview. “It’s a good feeling to stand at the end a winner.”
The Bruins also won Game 7 matchups with Montreal and Tampa Bay in the Eastern Conference playoffs, making them the first team in NHL history to win three deciders in the same postseason. The victory ends Boston’s run of five losses in the Stanley Cup Final since they last claimed the trophy in 1972.
Boston’s Tim Thomas, who stopped 37 shots, became the 15th goaltender to be named Most Valuable Player of the series. The Bruins outscored the Canucks 23-8 over the seven games.
“It feels great; it still hasn’t kicked in,” Thomas said before receiving the Conn Smythe Trophy. “The physical work we had done during the series had built up.”
Since the Bruins last won the Stanley Cup, the Boston Red Sox have twice won Major League Baseball’s World Series, ending an 86-year title drought; the National Football League’s New England Patriots have won the Super Bowl three times; and the Boston Celtics have been National Basketball Association champion six times.
The Canucks finished the regular season with the best record in the NHL and began the final as the 1-2 favorite at Las Vegas Sports Consultants to win the title for the first time since joining the league in 1970. They lost in their previous trips to the championship series in 1982 and 1994.
The host team has lost the past two Stanley Cup Final deciders, giving visiting teams a 4-12 record in seventh games. Pittsburgh won at Detroit in the last Game 7 two years ago.
Vancouver fans clashed with police after the game at Rogers Arena, hurling beer bottles at television screens set up in the downtown area and setting fire to at least two parked cars. Rioters also overturned a bus and set two police cars alight. Police estimated that about 70,000 people crowded into the downtown area to watch the game on three giant screens.
The numbers swelled after average Game 7 ticket prices soared to more than $5,000 on the secondary market. The average exceeded the $4,300 for last year’s Olympic gold medal hockey game between Canada and the U.S., which was also played in Vancouver, according to FanSnap.com, an Internet search engine that finds seats on about 50 ticket-reselling websites.
There were riots in downtown Vancouver the last time the Canucks lost a deciding game in the Stanley Cup, against the New York Rangers in 1994.
There was also a rampage through the streets of Montreal a year earlier when the Canadiens became the most recent Canadian recipient of the Stanley Cup.
Bruins President Cam Neely said it was “incredible” that Boston recovered to win last night after losing the first two games in the series and forcing a decider with a 5-2 victory in Game 6 three days ago. Prior to Game 7, the home team had won every game in the series.
Bergeron opened the scoring after 14 minutes, 37 seconds when he redirected Marchand’s center off Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo’s right-hand post and into the net.
Marchand got a goal 12:13 into the second period when he took the puck behind the Canucks’ net before slipping it past the sprawling Luongo.
Bergeron made it 3-0 with a short-handed goal with 2:35 remaining in the second period without Chara, who got a penalty for interference.
Marchand completed the scoring with his 11th goal of the playoffs into an empty net with 2:44 to play in the game.
“I’m so happy to say I’m part of the team to bring the cup back to Boston,” said Bergeron.
The team wanted to win the title for Mark Recchi, who will retire after playing 1,652 NHL regular-season games, the fourth- most in league history, Bergeron said.
Recchi, 43, won the Stanley Cup with three teams in three decades. His first title came in 1991 at the Pittsburgh Penguins and he was also a part of the Carolina Hurricanes team that lifted the trophy in 2006.
“Game 6 was the turning point,” said Recchi. “We came out and played a helluva game. When our backs were against the wall we played great in Games 6 and 7.”
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