The night that was Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final was a disaster both on and off the ice for Vancouver, as the Canucks were shut out 4-0 at Rogers Arena by playoff MVP Tim Thomas and the visiting Boston Bruins.
This was a series where the home team reigned supreme, but on Wednesday night the Bruins broke the mold and took it to the Canucks much like they did in their wins in Boston. All in all, the Bruins just proved to be the better team over the duration of a rough – and sometimes vicious – seven game Final.
“At the end of the day, you’ve got to give credit where credit is due,” said Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault post-game. “Boston played a real strong game. They have great goaltending and they were able to score a couple tough goals around our net and they deserved to win.”
The Bruins outscored Vancouver 23-8 in the series, absolutely crushing the Canucks 17-3 at the TD Garden.
Goaltending turned out to be the story of the final. Bruins keeper Tim Thomas stole the show – and the series – winning the Conn Smythe Trophy after stopping 35 Canucks shots in game seven.
“Winning the Stanley Cup is huge, it’s the biggest accomplishment of my career thus far,” said Thomas after posting his second shutout of the series. “I was scared. I won’t lie. I had nerves yesterday and today. I faked it as well as I could, and I faked my way all the way to the Stanley Cup final.”
Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo also had two shutouts in the Finals, but was ventilated for 19 goals in his team’s four losses.
By the end of the series, it appeared the Canucks just didn’t have enough manpower after being battered and bruised by the Bruins. A number of serious injuries will surface in the coming days, including groin tears for Ryan Kesler and Dan Hamhuis, broken fingers for Christian Ehrhoff, and other mysteries that plagued Alex Edler and Henrik Sedin. Mason Raymond is already going to be out four months, at least, after breaking a vertebrae in his back in game six.
Boston’s Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand had two goals apiece, and alongside Thomas played key roles in delivering the city its first Stanley Cup since the 1971-’72 season.
“As a coach, you stand here and you’re happy about what you gave (fans) on the outside,” said Bruins head coach Claude Julien. “You’re paid to do a job and the job is to succeed. And when you succeed, you’ve made everybody around you, your fans, and everybody else happy.”
Vancouver fans certainly weren’t happy after the Canucks’ fairytale 40th anniversary season startlingly didn’t end in the franchise’s first ever Stanley Cup.
Forty years of futility came to a head in the downtown core post-game, as hundreds of hooligans who call themselves Canucks fans took out their frustrations in the worst possible way: rioting in the streets in a scene too reminiscent of Vancouver’s 1994 disaster – after another seven game final loss against the New York Rangers.
“The destructive actions and needless violence demonstrated by a minority of people last night happened in Vancouver is dissapointing to us all,” the Canucks organization said in a press release Thursday.