It didn’t matter if you were a hockey fan or not, by the time the Stanley Cup Finals rolled around all of Boston was rooting for the home team. It came to a point where you couldn’t walk into a store without seeing some form of the black and yellow being supported. The 2011 Boston Bruins did the unimaginable and brought Lord Stanley back to Boston. It’s been roughly six months since the team first hoisted the cup after that Game 7 in Vancouver but from the moment the horn sounded on June 15th, 2011 everyone knew that today was going to be the most anticipated game of the season. The Canucks skated into town with the hopes of reclaiming a little vindication from the outcome that brought Boston the cup and the team did just that; beating Boston 4-3.
The excitement from both fans and the team itself was to be expected.
“There’s a special feeling. There’s history behind us from last year’s playoffs, and I think everybody’s looking forward to it,” said Coach Julien pre-game.
With the Garden only ¼ full when the players took the ice for warm ups the cheers from the fans already in the stands had a playoff feel. For those who didn’t get to attend a game during the finals, today was a chance for them to feel part of the magic that encompassed the two teams a few months ago.
With many people expecting a close match up in regards to the playoff rosters; it may have came as a surprise to find that Roberto Luongo didn’t get the start
“I think they feel the same way we do about our goaltending tandem. I think they have a lot of confidence in [Cory] Schneider. To be honest with you, I would have no issues with putting Tuukka Rask in net today with the way he’s played. Maybe for people, it seems to mean a lot, but I think it’s his decision. They’ve got two good goaltenders the way we do,” commented Julien.
While Rask didn’t get the start in today’s game, it’s safe to say that no one was disappointed with who did. Another season and another NHL All Star game in his future; Tim Thomas is still the hero of Boston.
Emotions are running high and with less than 4 minutes into the first period, both teams dropped the gloves with a multitude of fights occurring across the ice and no effort from the referees to stop them. Perhaps in their minds it was best to let them get it out of their systems, or the fights were just an invitation to play some dirty hockey the way Vancouver is known to play. With hits and shoves aplenty the excitement and nerves were visible from both teams throughout the entire first period of play.
“I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out.” It’s an age-old quote that applied to the game perfectly. The game had more fighting than hockey and you couldn’t help but wonder if the teams have been holding things that happened during the playoff season waiting to open the pandoras box. Theme of the game: Fighting. With players dropping the gloves left and right and penalties being handed out more frequent than that. With the loss of both Lucic in the first and Marchand in the second the game took a turn for the frustrating heading into the third period down by a goal, two players and the looming prospect of killing off a 3:47 penalty courtesy of Marchand’s “flipping” indiscretion.
Marchand’s penalty can be blamed for two of Vancouver’s four goals. Two goals on an unnecessary penalty can make or break the spirit of a team. But the Bruins continued to rally through the frustration, as did the fans at the Garden. With continued enthusiasm the Bruins came out fighting in the third period and David Krejci managed to make the score 4-3 and renew the hope of Bruins faithful. Even with the faith alive the clock continued to count down with no goal to tie up the score and inevitably giving the Vancouver Canucks the win. Even with a win, history can’t be changed and it will forever the Boston Bruins who ultimately won the cup during the 2010-11 NHL season.
Coming up this week former Bruins Blake Wheeler and Mark Stuart will jet into town with their new team Winnipeg on Tuesday. Puck drops at 7!
Post game videos from Daniel Sedin, Cory Schneider, Kevin Bieksa, Chris Kelly, Tim Thomas and Andrew Ference: