Boston Wins NHL Championship In Vancouver
STEVE INSKEEP, host:
Last night, the Boston Bruins won their first National Hockey League championship since 1972. They beat the Vancouver Canucks in Vancouver. The Canucks had won every home game in the series until last night, when they couldn't even score. They lost four-nothing.
NPR's Tom Goldman reports.
TOM GOLDMAN: There was no reason to question Vancouver left wing Daniel Sedin when he said, prior to game seven: We're going to win it. The Canucks had made the most of home ice advantage by beating Boston in the three previous finals games at Rogers Arena. But then hours before last night's game, a flicker of doubt from the NHL scoring champion Sedin, who had been largely ineffective against the tough, physical Bruins. Sedin backed away from his guarantee saying, if we put our best game on the ice, I like our chances.
About that best game on the ice: didn't happen.
Unidentified Man: Marchand looking, curls out to the right circle, spins back in deep. He's in the front. Score.
GOLDMAN: With a little over five minutes left in the first period, the first ominous sign for the Canuck fans inside the arena and the estimated 100,000 gathered outside, Boston's Patrice Bergeron flicked in just the third goal that goaltender Roberto Luongo had given up on his home ice during the finals. Luongo had been virtually impenetrable in Vancouver and embarrassingly porous in Boston, giving up 15 goals in three games.
Last night, late in the second period, it looked like Luongo had forgotten where he was.
Unidentified Man: Bergeron to the net, puck down by air (unintelligible), score. It rolled in. Bergeron gets it shorthanded, and the Bruins have a three-nothing lead.
GOLDMAN: Bergeron's second goal of the night came at a critical point. Boston was a man down because of a penalty, but still scored shorthanded. After the game and a wildly inconsistent and ultimately deflating Stanley Cup finals, Luongo was stoic.
Mr. ROBERTO LUONGO (Goaltender, Vancouver Canucks): I learned a lot about myself in these last couple of months, and as a team, I think, you know, obviously, we're devastated right now, but we realize lots of things and we're a good team and we'll be back.
GOLDMAN: Boston can lay claim to being a great and resilient team, the first in NHL history to win three game sevens in the same post-season, and anchored by 37-year-old goaltender Tim Thomas. He had 37 saves Wednesday night and limited Vancouver's highest-scoring offense in the NHL to only eight goals in seven games.
Thomas won the Conn Smythe trophy for MVP of the playoffs, reaching the pinnacle of a career that's included several stops in Finland.
Mr. TIM THOMAS (Goaltender, Vancouver Canucks): I didn't want to think about the NHL, because it just seemed like it was so far away. I'm very happy that I made the decision to come back. It was a tough decision at the time, but it paid off in the long run in this case.
GOLDMAN: Not for the Canucks. Vancouver and all of Canada hoped for a nice bookend to last year's Olympic hockey gold medal win over the U.S. Instead, the U.S., via the Boston Bruins, got a measure of payback, and some angry Canuck fans rampaged in normally sedate Vancouver. Whoa, Canada.
Tom Goldman, NPR News.
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