Ice hockey: Bruins win Stanley Cup

The Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup for the first time since 1972 today, beating the Vancouver Canucks 4-0 in Game 7 of the finals.

Tim Thomas capped a spectacular playoff run with 37 saves at the Canucks' hostile home arena, and Patrice Bergeron scored two goals as the Bruins earned the only away victory of the two-week series.

Brad Marchand also scored two goals for the Bruins, who disappointed an estimated 100,000 Canadian fans who gathered in downtown Vancouver to celebrate the Canucks' chance at their first championship.

Boston had lost five straight Stanley Cup finals since winning its last championship. The Bruins hadn't even reached the finals since 1990.

Star goalie Roberto Luongo again failed to match Thomas' brilliance, giving up 18 goals in the last five games of the finals.

Mark Messier and the New York Rangers won Game 7 in Vancouver's last finals appearance in 1994. This time, Thomas silenced the NHL's highest-scoring team, erased nearly four decades of Bruins playoff blunders.

Thomas limited the Canucks to eight goals in seven spectacular games in the finals, blanking Vancouver in two of the last four. Boston dropped the first two games in Vancouver but became just the third team since 1966 to overcome that deficit.

Canadian Bergeron added a Stanley Cup ring to his gold medals from the Olympics and the world championships with his biggest game of a quiet series. He scored his first goal of the finals late in the first period on a shot Luongo saw too late, and Marchand added his 10th goal of the postseason in the second before Bergeron's short-handed goal, which inexplicably slid under Luongo.

The Bruins are the first team in NHL history to win a Game 7 three times in the same postseason, and they drew another dose of inspiration from forward Nathan Horton, whose concussion in Game 3 irrevocably changed the series' momentum.

Horton attended Game 7, and he apparently poured a bottle of Boston water onto the ice in front of the Bruins' bench 90 minutes before warmups.

Horton was lost for the series with a concussion on a big hit from Vancouver's Aaron Rome. The Bruins rallied for four wins in five games after Horton's injury.

During a two-week Stanley Cup finals that ranks among the NHL's weirdest in recent years, the only predictable aspect had been the home teams' dominance. Vancouver eked out three one-goal victories at home, while the Bruins won three blowouts in Boston.

- AP

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