The old adage of sports is this; a playoff series doesn't really start till someone wins on the road. So, taking that wisdom into effect, we didn't have a real series heading into game 7 Wednesday night in Vancouver due to the home team winning every game in the series so far. That wasn't to remain the case, however, as the Boston Bruins took care of business on the road and blanked the Canucks 4-0 on their way to their first Stanley Cup in over 35 years.
4 goals in hockey is a good amount for any team but in reality, 1 would have done it for the Bruins who got a stunning performance from goalie Tim Thomas. The 37 year old Thomas wasn't letting anything even sniff the inside of the net as he made 37 saves to keep Vancouver without even a glimmer of hope in this game 7.
"I think I went even further than I thought," Thomas said. "I was scared, I won't lie. I had nerves yesterday and today, and I faked it as best as I could, and I faked it all the way to the Stanley Cup."
The game 7 shutout caps a phenomenal Finals series for Thomas. Heading into the series, Vancouver was the NHL's top scoring team but Thomas made them look both ineffective and lost at times, limiting them to 8 goals in the 7 game series. A series, I might add, that featured 2 shutouts by Thomas in the last four games.
Awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy, the most valuable player award, for his efforts, Thomas was invaluable to this Bruins team. For the series, he stopped 238 of the Canucks' 246 shots in the finals for a .967 save percentage.
"If I was going to do it any way, it would have to be the hardest way possible," said Thomas "Three Game 7s in the playoffs, and to have to win it on the road in the final."
For Vancouver, their fate surrounded their goalie as well.
The erratic Roberto Luongo unraveled as the pressure mounted, giving up 18 goals over the final 5 games as he had no answer for a Boston team that just seemed to gain momentum as the series progressed. Without a solid defensive stopper at the net, the Canucks had no chance, and the Stanley Cup is yet again out of the reach for a Canadian Team.
It's been since 1993 that a Canadian team has owned the Cup, a streak that has the Canadians mad as Hell.
"Anybody in our situation right now would feel real disappointed, whether you're the favorite or not," Vigneault said. "We battled real hard. We gave it our best shot. This one game, they were the better team. It's that simple."
With the win, the Bruins avenge their past five failures in the Finals, winning for the first time since the great Bobby Orr led them to Championships in '70 and '72.
Photo Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS