Dennis Seidenberg (44) of the Boston Bruins celebrates with the Stanley Cup after defeating the Vancouver Canucks in Game Seven of the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Final at Rogers Arena on June 15, 2011 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The Boston Bruins defeated the Vancouver Canucks 4 to 0. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Boston Bruins Win Stanley Cup, 4-0, Over Vancouver Canucks

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Boston Bruins Win Stanley Cup, 4-0, Over Vancouver Canucks

No team ever won three Game 7's and won the Stanley Cup.

The Boston Bruins just broke that streak.

The Bruins won their third Game 7 of the postseason, defeating the Vancouver Canucks, 4-0, to win the Stanley Cup Championship. It's their first championship since 1972 and the sixth in team history.

Tim Thomas won the Conn Smythe Award as the playoff's most valuable player. The Bruins goalie set a record for saves in a postseason, and stopped 228 of 236 shots. He's come full circle from last season, where he found himself supplanted by Tukka Raask.

He's just the second American to win the Conn Smythe. Brian Leetch was the first after the New York Rangers won the Stanley Cup in 1994.

Boston's offense struggled on the road, scoring just two goals in three games. Roberto Luongo, vilified for his terrible road play, stopped 93 of 95 shots. He twice shut out the Bruins, in Games 1 and 5.

But in this final game, the Vezina trophy winner failed to replicate those prior performances.

Patrice Bergeron, the hero of Game 4, opened the scoring at 14:37 of the first period. Brad Marchand held the puck along the side boards, shaking a Canucks defenseman. He passed the puck to the slot, where Bergeron slapped it past Luongo for his fifth goal of the postseason.

The Bruins, 11-1 when leading after one period, put the game away in the second period.

Marchand put himself in the goal column at 12:13 of the middle period. He skated a loose puck behind the net and wrapped his shot around the post. Luongo lunged back and put his stick on the puck, but failed to control it. The puck slid over the goal line for the rookie's 10th goal of the postseason.

Bergeron's second goal, at 17:35 of the period, iced the Canucks. With Zdeno Chara in the box, Bergeron pounced on a loose puck that caromed off the side boards. He raced past Christian Erhoff and Alexander Edler and into the offensive zone. Erhoff hooked him, sending both players tumbling to the ice and into Luongo. The puck went into the net, and video replay confirmed the goal.

Marchand added an empty-netter in the third period, stretching the lead to 4-0. It gave the rookie four points, more than any other skater.

After blowing a 3-0 series lead to the Philadelphia Flyers during last year's Eastern Conference Semi-Finals, the Bruins admitted they had "unfinished business." But they fell behind the Montreal Canadiens, 2-0, during the first round of this year's playoffs. They defeated their rivals in seven games, meeting the Flyers in the second round. They exorcised their demons, beating them in five games. It took seven games for Boston to beat the Tampa Bay Lightning and move onto the finals.

Mark Recchi, a two-time Cup winner, said he'd probably retire if Boston won the Cup tonight. The 43-year old served as the team's elder statesman, doling out hits and keeping younger players in check throughout the series. 

Luongo and the Canucks led the league in points and several offensive and defensive categories. But they struggled as a unit, and their goalie symbolized their inconsistent play. Luongo was pulled - and benched - against the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round of the playoffs. He found his game in the next two series, but regressed during the finals.

His offense provided little help. The Canucks eight goals in seven games was the worst offensive performance by a team in the Cup finals since 1945, when both the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs scored nine goals. Henrik and Daniel Sedin, the lethal twin combination, combined for a minus-4 rating in Game 7. Ryan Kessler never found his offensive groove either.

Heading back to Vancouver, the chips seemed stacked against the Bruins. But Thomas' magic - and a few lucky bounces - brought the Cup back to Boston.


Stanley Cup Finals, Game 7: Second-Period Score -- Boston 3, Vancouver 0

The Boston Bruins scored a pair of second-period goals Wednesday to push their lead over the Vancouver Canucks to 3-0 in Game 7 of the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup finals.

At the 12:13 mark of the second period Boston’s Brad Marchands scored on a wrap-around shot. Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo blocked the shot initially, but could not control it and it trickled into the net.

At the 17:35 mark the Bruins scored a short-handed goal to push their advantage to 3-0. Patrice Bergeron of Boston grabbed a bouncing puck, broke in on Luongo and fired a shot while being dragged down from behind. Bergeron collided with the goalkeeper and the puck wound up in the net. Had Bergeron not scored, a penalty would have been called on the Canucks.

Vancouver has 21 shots on goal to Boston’s 13. The Canucks did get a power play opportunity when Boston’s Zdeno Chara was called for interference. Vancouver could not take advantage and wound up surrendering the short-handed goal.


NHL Stanley Cup Finals, Game 6: Boston Beats Vancouver, 5-2, Forces Game 7

Lord Stanley's Cup was in the building Monday night, but the Boston Bruins made sure the Vancouver Canucks would not be hoisting it at the TD Garden. The Boston Bruins left little doubt Monday night that there would be a Game 7 by scoring four goals before Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals was 12 minutes old and winning, 5-2.

Boston chased Vancouver goaltender Roberto Luongo with three quick goals, then added one in the first period against backup Cory Schneider. This is the second time in the series Luongo has been pulled from a game.

Boston goalie Tim Thomas made 36 saves.

Game 7 will be Wednesday night in Vancouver (8 p.m., NBC). The Canucks have won all three games in Vancouver during the Finals.

Stanley Cup schedule:

Game 1: Vancouver 1, Boston 0
Game 2: Vancouver 3, Boston 2 (OT)
Game 3: Boston 8, Vancouver 1
Game 4: Boston 4, Vancouver 0
Game 5: Vancouver 1, Boston 0
Game 6: Boston 5, Vancouver 2 (Series tied, 3-3)
Game 7: Wed., June 15 -- at Vancouver, 8 p.m. ET (NBC, CBC)

More Stanley Cup Playoffs coverage:

- Full Stanley Cup Finals coverage at SB Nation's series hub.

- Coverage from SB Nation's Canucks blog, Nucks Misconduct, and our Bruins blog, Stanley Cup of Chowder.


Stanley Cup Final, Game 5: Vancouver Blanks Boston, 1-0

Maxim Lapierre netted an early third-period goal for the Vancouver Canucks, while goaltender Roberto Luongo stopped 31 shots to shut out the visiting Boston Bruins, 1-0, in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final. The best-of-seven series will shift to Boston where Game 6 will be played Monday night (8 p.m. on NBC) and the Canucks will have a shot to win their first ever championship.

Luongo posted his second shut out, third win, of the series after giving up a combined 12 goals in Games 3 and 4, which were played in Boston. Luongo was pulled from Game 4, but Vancouver's head coach Alain Vigneault stuck with his No. 1 option for Game 5 and it paid off.

Goaltender Tim Thomas, who has allowed just six goals all series, made 24 saves for the Bruins, who dominated the Canucks at home in Games 3 and 4.

Here's the Stanley Cup TV schedule and past results.

Stanley Cup schedule:

Game 1: Vancouver 1, Boston 0
Game 2: Vancouver 3, Boston 2 (OT)
Game 3: Boston 8, Vancouver 1
Game 4: Boston 4, Vancouver 0
Game 5: Vancouver 1, Boston 0 (Canucks lead series, 3-2)
Game 6*: Mon., June 13 -- at Boston, 8 p.m. ET (NBC, CBC)
Game 7*: Wed., June 15 -- at Vancouver, 8 p.m. ET (NBC, CBC)

More Stanley Cup Playoffs coverage:

- Full Stanley Cup Finals coverage at SB Nation's series hub.

- Coverage from SB Nation's Canucks blog, Nucks Misconduct, and our Bruins blog, Stanley Cup of Chowder.


Stanley Cup Finals, Game 4: Bruins Even Series After 4-0 Win

The Boston Bruins flew back home after Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals down 2-0 to the Vancouver Canucks. Writers wrote their eulogy and analysts predicted the series ending quickly.

All along, the Bruins players and coaches believed they were one or two mistakes away from finding their game. After Game 4, they proved their optimism wasn't just smoke and mirrors.

Boston scored three goals in the second period en route to a 4-0 defeat of the Canucks at the TD Garden tonight. The two teams head back to Vancouver for Game 5 with the series tied, 2-2.

Richard Peverley, who took the lineup spot of injured Nathan Horton, scored two goals in the win. Michael Ryder and Brad Marchand also scored.

Tim Thomas stopped 38 shots for his third shutout of the playoffs.

Through the first two games, Boston couldn't find any offensive production. They managed a meager two goals in the two losses to the Canucks. But since the Nathan Horton hit, they have outscored Vancouver, 12-1.

Peverley scored the game's first goal at 11:59 of the first period. David Krejci poked a loose puck at center ice past Raffi Torres, sending Peverley in on a breakaway. The Bruins center skated down the right wing and fired a shot through the pads of Roberto Luongo for his third goal of the postseason.

Ryder extended the lead to 2-0 at 11:11 of the second period. Ryder carried the puck into the right circle and fired a shot toward the net. Sami Salo deflected the attempt, and the puck knuckled past the glove of Luongo for Ryder's 11th goal of the playoffs.

Marchand extended the lead to 3-0 at 13:29 of the middle frame. Patrice Bergeron caused a turnover behind the net, and the puck trickled to the front. Marchand lifted a backhand that deflected off his left arm and into the net for Marchand's eighth goal of the postseason.

Peverley's second goal at 3:39 of the third period capped the scoring. Milan Lucic carried the puck into the defensive zone, dekeing around Canucks' defenseman Kevin Bieska. His pass across the net was deflected by Luongo into Peverly and into the net.

Canucks' coach Alain Vigneault pulled Luongo after that goal. In the past two games, he's allowed 12 goals on 56 shots. It's the second time he's been pulled from a game during the postseason.

The Stanley Cup Finals are now a best-of-three series, with Game 5 coming Friday night.

Game Notes:

Horton, out for the rest of the Stanley Cup Finals, was in the locker room after the game. He presented "The Jacket," a team award, to Peverley after the game...Thomas' 701 postseason saves are second to former Canuck's goalie Kirk McLean's 761 during the 1994 playoffs...Daniel and Henrik Sedin totaled just 4 shots in a combined 43:06 of ice time...The Bruins improved to 10-1 when scoring first in the postseason...Bobby Orr led the pregame ceremonies, waving a flag with Horton's name and number.


Stanley Cup Finals: Canucks Defenseman Aaron Rome Suspended Four Games

Aaron Rome's Stanley Cup Finals are over.

Interim league disciplinarian Mike Murphy suspended the Vancouver Canucks' defenseman four games for his late hit on Nathan Horton in the first period of Game 3 Monday.

Horton completed a pass and attempted to enter the Canucks offensive zone. Rome stopped along his blueline and hit him late, making contact with his head. Horton went to the ice and laid motionless for several minutes before leaving the arena on a stretcher.

Rome received a five-minute major penalty for interference and a game misconduct.

Murphy explained his decision to The Sporting News.

"Two factors were considered in reaching this decision," said NHL senior vice president of hockey operations Mike Murphy in a statement. "The hit by Rome was clearly beyond what is acceptable in terms of how late it was delivered after Horton had released the puck and it caused a significant injury."

Boston announced today that Horton will miss the remainder of the Stanley Cup Finals.


Stanley Cup Finals 2011, Game 3: Bruins Dominate Canucks, 8-1, To Cut Series Deficit In Half

The dormant Boston Bruins offense finally woke up.

Boston scored four goals in both the second and third periods to blow out the Vancouver Canucks, 8-1, in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals tonight in Boston.

With the win, the Bruins cut the Canucks series lead to 2-1.

The first Stanley Cup Finals game in Boston since 1990 included plenty of fireworks. It started in the first period, when an Aaron Rome hit sent Nathan Horton to the hospital. After sending a pass to a teammate in the neutral zone, Horton attempted to skate into the Canucks zone. Rome stopped near his own blueline, took two strides and checked Horton. His shoulder went directly into Horton's head, sending the forward to the ice.

Horton laid on the ice for several minutes before being taken off on a stretcher. Rome was given a five-minute major for boarding and a game misconduct.

It was later reported that Horton was transferred to Massachusetts General Hospital. He had feeling in his arms and legs.

Andrew Ference would spark the offensive onslaught just 11 seconds into the second period. The defenseman fired a knuckling puck past a screened Roberto Luongo and into the net for his third goal of the postseason.

Mark Recchi stretched the lead to 2-0 at 4:22 of the period. With Jeff Tambellini in the box for hooking, Recchi took a pass from Michael Ryder at the left circle. His cross-ice pass got through the pads of Robert Luongo for the veteran's fourth goal of the playoffs.

Brad Marchand continued the scoring at 11:30 of the period. With the Canucks on the powerplay, Marchand caused Daniel Sedin to turn the puck over in the neutral zone. He played the puck off the boards, skating past the Canucks defense. He cut across the crease and Luongo went down on the ice. He put the puck to the top of the net for his seventh playoff goal.

David Krejci ended the second period scoring at 15:47, pushing the lead to 4-0. Ryder carried the puck over the blueline and fired a shot on Luongo. The rebound came to Krejci between the circles, and he fired the puck past Luongo's glove for his 11th of the playoffs.

The offense would continue to flow in the third period, but the bigger story became the chippy on-ice play. The two teams combined for 116 penalty minutes, including nine game misconducts. Post-whistle scrums involved all ten skaters on the ice, and frustration boiled over. Several times, Bruins players stuck their fingers near the mouths of Canucks skaters. Mild-mannered players like Daniel Sedin collected game misconducts.

Tim Thomas stopped 40 shots in the win. Luongo made 30 saves in the loss.

Game 4 is Wednesday night at the TD Garden in Boston.


Canucks Rome Ejected After Illegal Hit; Bruins Horton Hospitalized

Add yet another Vancouver player controversy to this year's Stanley Cup Finals.

Alexandre Burrows began "Bitegate" after apparently chomping down on the finger of Patrice Bergeron. Aaron Rome started "Hitgate" tonight.

Rome was ejected during the first period of tonight's game after flattening Nathan Horton with an illegal check. Horton remained on the ice for several minutes before being taken off on a stretcher.

The play occurred in the neutral zone near the Canucks blueline. Horton made a pass and attempted to enter the zone. Rome stopped at the blue line, took two strides and shouldered Horton. He made contact with an unsuspecting Horton, hitting him in the head. The Bruins forward tumbled to the ice, striking his head as he fell.

Immediately after the hit, Horton lay on the ice with his right arm near his chest. He was moving his arms and speaking with the trainer.

The referees charged Rome with a five-minute major for interference and a game misconduct.

Interim league disciplinarian Mike Murphy once again faces a difficult decision. During the regular season, a hit like this would draw a multi-game suspension. The league, however, has shown an unwillingness to suspend players during the playoffs. Murphy did not suspend Burrows for his bite despite clear video evidence.

Horton was transferred to Mass General with movement in all extremities.


Stanley Cup Finals 2011: Boston Needs To Fix Late-Game Gaffes To Climb Out of 2-0 Hole

Both Boston Bruins losses in these Stanley Cup finals followed a similar script.

The B's have either equaled or outplayed the Vancouver Canucks for nearly the entire game. But then, almost inexplicably, someone makes an error that results in a goal.

It's these critical mistakes that have the Bruins staring at a two game deficit. If they can't fix those errors, they're dreams of a Stanley Cup comeback will quickly end.

Pinpointing an exact reason for their late-game failures isn't simple. The Bruins routinely turn the puck over, making careless mistakes in their own zone. The breakout struggles to move the puck up ice, and the Canucks dominate possession time.

The mistakes aren't committed by inexperienced fourth-liners or first-year rookies. Zdeno Chara, a Norris Trophy finalist, has been the victim of both late-game errors. In Game 1, he allowed Jannick Hansen's pass to go under him and to Raffi Torres, who beat Tim Thomas with 18.5 seconds left in regulation.

Saturday night, Alex Burrows made Chara a victim again. He blew past the towering defenseman, forcing Thomas to dive and challenge the Canucks forward. He easily beat Thomas, then deposited his wrap-around chance into the open net for the win.

It's a team-wide epidemic, but Chara has become the poster boy for Boston's third period futility. Usually a great third period team, Boston is breaking down at the worst possible times. The mistakes can be credited to the speed of the Canucks, which has the Bruins worn down by game's end.

"All season the Bruins have been aces in the final 20 minutes of games and shown the ability to finish strongly against the opposition," Jim Haggerty of said. "But Boston's defenseman and forwards are so worn down by the frenetic pace of the Canucks that they've been outscored 3-0 in the the third period and overtime of the first two games of the series."

Boston skates on home ice tonight, and Claude Julien will get the last change. Maybe that'll help keep his players fresh into the third period. The support of the home crowd may refocus them.

One thing remains clear - if they can't turn the tables and force the Canucks' hand, they'll be making summer vacation plans without Lord Stanley.

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