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Lord Stanley's Dancing In Boston!

by Photo of Kevin Leonard

“And they pour on to celebrate with Tim Thomas, their heroic goaltender.‘ – Doc Emerick.

Lord Stanley's Dancing In Boston!

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There was a sign in the stands in Rogers Arena in Vancouver that read: “Hockey is Canada's Game.” Tonight, Canada went quiet. Before the game, Pierre McGuire said that Boston has nervous energy, and that Vancouver was focused. Well...the Bruins had energy.

And they used it, skating in and behind the weary Canuck defense.

It seems that the patient focus of Vancouver's attack so like a surgeon carving out an open chest, played second fiddle to the gritty, aggressive attack of Boston, more akin to a lumberjack bearing down on a tree with a chainsaw. When it comes to men with beards bearing lumber and sharp blades, you want to play the lumberjack.

First goal – Luongo doesn't flinch as he sits deep in the net. If he's gonna make standing still work, he's gotta play out in the crease and cut off space. Great hustle by Brad Marchand and where is Bergeron? Right in front of the net. Edler lost Bergeron in front, great shot of the one-time.

With his ridiculous consistency, Tim Thomas's stellar play has become almost an afterthought this postseason, and his name was penciled in,for the Conn Smythe, I think, even if Vancouver had won. But if there's a a runner up for the Finals, how bout that Bruins rookie – the one that wasn't picked second overall last year?You draft for the future, but Brad Marchand may have just won Boston the Stanley Cup. Marchand, a 3rd rounder, had an absolutely huge series. Game 7 was no different. His confidence with the puck is just silly for a rookie.

On the Bergeron goal he stole it and skated two ways in a circle before delivering the centering feed. In the second period, he made a gorgeous move that beat the D and Luongo but hit the post. And then the hustle play in the second to dig the puck out and score the wraparound. He added an empty-netter to seal his first Cup and linemate Mark Recchi's 3rd, at age 43.

Vancouver: quiet. Quiet building, quiet offense, quiet goalie.

Boston had a balanced attack, and made use of the 4th line – Thornton, Campbell, and Paille. What more can you say about a trio of 4th liners when they play their whole shift in the offensive zone? Not only did they shut down any line they were up against, but they created offense through their relentless skating.

At the end of the 2nd, the door swung shut, and the crowd was out of it forever: powerplay at the end of the second; Vancouver loses the draw, and Bergeron scores on a breakaway as Luongo basically slides out of his way. The crowd was gone after that, more accepting of the deficit than motivated to give their team some more fight.

Boston played out the game the way they know how: by getting the puck deep. Old-school, simplehockey.

Numbers:

11 playoff goals for Brad Marchand, 3rd most by a rookie, most since 1990 (Jeremy Roenick)

798 saves by Tim Thomas and 239 in Finals, both records.

6 Cups for the Boston Bruins (first since 1972).

16th game 7 for the Cup, 2nd game 7 loss for Vancouver (Rangers in 1994).

Jannik Hansen had a pair of cheapshots, decking Andrew Ference 5 minutes into the 3rd, and knifing his stick into McQuaid's jockstrap with 6 minutes left in the 3rd.

And that dominant Vancouver powerplay? Zero-for-two, with a shorthanded goal for Boston's Bergeron.

Matchups:

Bergeron vs Burrows: combatants of The Bite, Bergeron got the last laugh, getting two goals in the final game, including the game-winning goal of Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

Thomas vs Luongo: Tim Thomas: 3 Game 7 victories in the 2011 playoffs: beast. Conn Smythe winner : beast.

Kesler vs. Marchand: battle of the sparkplugs; Marchand emerged as a gamer, scoring 5 times in the finals while Kesler seemed invisible for the middle part of the series.

Final thoughts on the 2010-2011 NHL season:

Vancouver fans boo Bettman, cheer Thomas and the Bruins – I love it. Marchand is as Boston as Dustin Pedroia. Hockey's a simple game.

The great thing about sports is that they never end. From Ancient Greeks wrestling each other for branches from trees, to South Americans bopping a ball around, to Zdeno hoisting the Cup higher than it's ever been. See the birth of new dreams on June 24th at the Xcel Energy center in St. Paul, Minnesota, with Charged.fm.


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