June 15, 2011

BRUINS WIN STANLEY CUP

Thomas, Bergeron secure historic Game 7 victory

by Jesse Connolly

Patrice Bergeron (left) celebrates his shorthanded, second-period goal with teammate Gregory Campbell. Bergeron tallied twice to lift the Bruins to their first Stanley Cup since 1972. (photo: Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)

A moment 39 years in the making has finally come to fruition in the Hub of Hockey.

The Boston Bruins captured their first Stanley Cup since 1972 with a resounding 4-0 victory over the Vancouver Canucks in Game 7 Wednesday night at Rogers Arena.

Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand each scored two goals, and Conn Smythe winner Tim Thomas made 37 saves for his fourth shutout of the postseason.

Bergeron gave the Bruins a 1-0 lead at 14:37 of the first period on an assist from Marchand.

In the second period, Marchand scored at 12:13 on assists from Dennis Seidenberg and Mark Recchi. Five minutes later, Bergeron scored a shorthanded goal on assists from Seidenberg and Gregory Campbell.

Marchand sealed the historic victory with an empty-net goal late in the third period.

After dropping the first two games on the road, the Black and Gold were faced with the daunting task of winning four of the next five games against the Canucks, a team that won the President’s Trophy with the most points during the regular season.

But, as they’d proven throughout their entire postseason run, the Bruins were built on resilience, overcoming adversity in nearly every round.

They fought their way out of an 0-2 hole against the Canadiens, squashing their penchant for losing seventh games in the process with a dramatic overtime victory. They swept a deep, talented Flyers team that tortured them a year ago, avenging the 3-0 series lead they coughed up last spring while finally reaching the conference finals for the first time since 1992.

And it was there against the Tampa Bay Lightning that they made sure their magical run continued with another dramatic victory in a Game 7, as Nathan Horton was the hero with the game-winning goal yet again in Boston’s 1-0 win to punch their ticket to the Stanley Cup Finals.

The Bruins were 0-3 in Vancouver heading into Game 7, losing by one goal in each of the three closely contested tilts. They finally turned the tide Wednesday, handing Roberto Luongo and Co. a crushing defeat on home ice while lifting all of their fans back in New England into a state of utter euphoria.

A drought that spanned nearly four decades is finally over. The dream has come true. The Boston Bruins are champions of the National Hockey League.