VANCOUVER, B.C. – The fans in Vancouver have waited 40 years to call their Canucks the Stanley Cup champions. They’ll have to wait at least one more year to get that opportunity.
With a chance to finally secure that elusive first Cup victory in franchise history on home ice at Rogers Arena – a building in which they came into the contest having won 10 of 13 games played at during the course of these playoffs including a perfect three-for-three in the Final series – it was the Bruins who overcame the odds by becoming just the fourth road team in NHL history to win a Stanley Cup Final Game 7 with a 4-0 win on Wednesday.
“You know at the end of the day, I think both teams competed real hard,” said Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault following the defeat. “We played well the first three games in this building and they played real well in their building.
“Came down to Game 7 and we weren’t able to get it done.”
It is the Bruins’ first Stanley Cup championship since 1972 when they defeated the New York Rangers four games to two.
There have been games in this series where it could be argued the Canucks didn’t deserve to win but Wednesday’s contest was not one of them. Vancouver came out strong and was the aggressors all night long on offence out-shooting Boston 37-21 overall in the contest but couldn’t find a way to beat Conn Smythe Trophy winner Tim Thomas.
“I think you’ve got to give credit where credit is due,” said Vigneault. “Their goaltender was real tough to beat. The way they played in front of him was real tough to beat.
“We had some grade ‘A’ chances and we weren’t able to score.”
Patrice Bergeron’s goal at 14:37 of the opening period was all the offence the Bruins would need even if they didn’t know it at the time.
“We were hoping,” said Bruins forward Chris Kelly when asked if he thought the goal would be enough to stand up. “We knew how good this team is. We couldn’t let our guard down for a second because if we did, they would capitalize on their opportunities.
“They were the best team in hockey during the regular season for a reason.”
Vancouver did have chances to equalize with their best coming off the stick of Alex Burrows in the second period. Burrows picked off a deflected Zdeno Chara pass and was all alone in the slot but after pulling Thomas out of position, his shot labeled for the bottom left corner of the net went off the knee of Chara who had recovered from the giveaway and positioned himself in the crease behind Thomas.
Brad Marchand made it 2-0 for the Bruins moments later and the rest was history.
“That’s huge,” said Kelly. “That’s kind of the way the year has been going – guys sacrificing their bodies for the greater good of the team and helping one another out. Zee, he showed that.”
Bergeron and Marchand both finished with two goals in the contest.
“It was a dream season, even better playoffs. To win it in my hometown, local boy, I can’t explain what the feelings are right now.” – Bruins’ forward and Vancouver-native Milan Lucic on winning the Stanley Cup.