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Tim Thomas earns Conn Smythe with historic playoff performance 06.15.11 at 11:02 pm ET
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In delivering one of the most dominating goaltending performances in postseason history and leading the Bruins to their first Stanley Cup in 39 years, Tim Thomas was awarded the Conn Smythe trophy as the most outstanding player of 2011 playoffs.

He earned the honor with staggering and historic numbers. He established new all-time records by making 798 saves on 849 shots in 25 games, both new standards. Thomas appropriately ended his epic season with his fourth shutout of the playoffs.

Thomas made several spectacular saves in the third period, including a pair on Jannik Hansen, finishing with a 37-save performance in the first Game 7 of a Stanley Cup finals series in Bruins history.

The Flint, Michigan native is the second U.S.-born player to take the Conn Smythe, joining New York Rangers defenseman Brian Leetch in 1994, and, at 37, is the oldest Conn Smythe recipient.

Thomas was the Bruins’ only goaltender during their Stanley Cup-winning run, finishing the playoffs with a 16-9 record, 1.98 goals-against average, .940 save percentage and four shutouts.

Thomas Playoff Highlights
* set NHL record for most saves in one playoff year (798)
* set NHL record for most shots faced in one playoff year (849)
* set NHL record for most saves in the Stanley Cup Final (238)
* fourth all-time for most shots faced in the Stanley Cup Final (246)
* finished with an 11-1 record when facing 35 or more shots
* led all NHL goaltenders in goals-against average (1.98) and save percentage (.940) and shared lead in shutouts (four) in the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs
* became the first goaltender in NHL history to post a shutout on the road in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final
* posted a 1.15 goals-against average in the Stanley Cup Final, the lowest in the modern era among goaltenders with at least five appearances
* posted a .967 save percentage in the Stanley Cup Final, third all-time and tops among goaltenders with at least five appearances
* became the 13th goaltender since 1927 to post multiple shutouts in the Stanley Cup Final (two)
* made 52 saves on 54 shots in the Bruins 3-2 win at Philadelphia in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals
* stopped all 24 shots in posting a 1-0 shutout victory over Tampa Bay in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals
* posted the first shutout by a Bruins goaltender in the Stanley Cup Final since May 18, 1978, when Gerry Cheevers made 16 saves to blank Montreal 4-0 in Game 3 at Boston Garden (Game 3)

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs Jannik Hansen, Boston Bruins, Brian Leetch, Conn Smythe
Plain and simple: Bruins win the Stanley Cup 06.15.11 at 10:45 pm ET
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VANCOUVER — The Stanley Cup never entered TD Garden when the Canucks had a chance to win it on Monday. Now, it’s safe to say it will be in plain sight in Boston for quite some time.

The Bruins knocked off the Canucks, 4-0, in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals Wednesday night to win the Cup for the first time since 1972 and take the trophy for the sixth time in franchise history.

It was only fitting that the longest tenured Bruin, Patrice Bergeron, sure-fire Conn Smythe winner Tim Thomas and top rookie Brad Marchand stole the show in Vancouver in providing Boston with the most coveted trophy in all of sports.

Both Bergeron and Marchand had a pair of goals on the night, factoring for all of the Bruins’ tallies. Marchand’s second was an empty-netter with just over two minutes remaining.

Bergeron opened the scoring for the Bruins at 14:37 of first period, taking a pass from Marchand in the slot and sending the puck past a pair of Canucks skaters and just past Roberto Luongo‘s right leg.

The goal marked one bookend of a telling issue for the Bruins, as they did not record another shot on Luongo until 7:40 into the second period. Marchand had another superb opportunity in that span, though he saw his backhanded bid in front of Luongo go off the crossbar.

Despite the lack of work provided for Luongo, Marchand made his presence felt by beating the Vancouver netminder on a wraparound at 12:13. The rookie finished the postseason with 11 goals, and the B’s won all nine games in which he scored.

If it’s possible for a dagger to come in the second period, Bergeron provided it with a shorthanded goal on a breakaway late in the period. The play was reviewed to determine whether Bergeron punched the puck into the net, though the goal stood, and so too did the Bruins’ lead.

Thomas’ performance capped a remarkable series for the anticipated Vezina winner, as he allowed just eight goals over the entire series and set the record for most games in a Stanley Cup finals series. His shutout was his fourth of the postseason and second of the finals.

Though first period yielded the Bruins’ first goal, though it was not the most encouraging 20 minutes. The B’s managed only five shots on goal, with the fourth line of Gregory Campbell between Shawn Thornton and Daniel Paille. The line’s tireless work and aggression stood out for the Bruins, with each member getting a shot on Luongo. By the end of the period, the line had contributed 60 percent of the team’s shots on goal.

An injury scare occurred for the Bruins early on as well, as a hit from Chris Higgins at the blue line in the first period left captain Zdeno Chara down on the ice for a few moments. Chara got up and returned to the bench without any further issues.

The Canucks came out of the gate much stronger than the Bruins, and had quality opportunities throughout the night despite the Bruins’ attempts to push the play to the side. Vancouver’s best opportunity came a little over nine minutes into the second, when Chara was attempting to send the puck up the boards in his own zone, only to see the puck deflect off of Henrik Sedin and in front of the net to Alexandre Burrows. The controversial Vancouver winger had an empty net to work with, but Chara made up for his own miscue by getting in position to save the puck for Thomas.

A few odds and ends from the game:

Mark Recchi will now retire having won three Stanley Cup championships with three different teams, as he won it all with the Penguins in 1992 and Hurricanes in 2006.

Dennis Seidenberg is now the second German to win the Stanley Cup, joining Uwe Krupp (1996).

– Both Henrik and Daniel Sedin were on the ice for the first three Bruins’ goals. Henrik was one of the players in front when Bergeron’s shot went past him on its way to Luongo on the first goal.

– The Canucks’ power play finished the Stanley Cup finals just 2-for-31.

Tyler Seguin has gone from No. 2 overall pick to Stanley Cup champion in less than a year.

– Of the four major sports, the Patriots now have the longest Boston championship drought, as they las won the Super Bowl in February of 2005.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Brad Marchand, Chris Higgins, Daniel Paille
Bruins-Canucks Game 7 Live Blog: B’s win the Stanley Cup … talk about it 06.15.11 at 7:52 pm ET
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VANCOUVER — Join DJ Bean, Joey The Fish and many others from Rogers Arena for Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals. If the B’s win, they will hoist the Stanley Cup for the first time since 1972.

Bruins-Canucks Game 7 Live Blog

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Stanley Cup Finals,
Video: Nathan Horton pours Boston water onto Vancouver ice 06.15.11 at 7:13 pm ET
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VANCOUVER — Check out the below video of Bruins winger Nathan Horton, who has been out with a severe concussion, pouring Boston water onto the ice prior to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals at Rogers Arena in Vancouver. The Bruins have gone 3-0 in Boston in the finals but have dropped all three games in Vancouver.

The video is not ours, as it is property of the NHL Network posted to YouTube by our friend Jeff Schools of the Maine Sports Network.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Nathan Horton, Stanley Cup Finals,
Video: Canucks fans welcome Bruins to the Rogers Arena 06.15.11 at 6:43 pm ET
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VANCOUVER– The Bruins bus arrived just a short while ago at Rogers Arena and the Canucks fans made sure they gave them a warm welcome.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Boston Bruins, Claude Julien,
Game 7 countdown, 6 p.m.: Wednesday’s game-winner could come from unlikely hero 06.15.11 at 5:47 pm ET
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With a series-high six points apiece, Michael Ryder, Mark Recchi and David Krejci have lead the way offensively for Boston, and the Bruins will certainly be counting on their big guns with the title on the line. However, Stanley Cup Game 7 history has shown that big plays often come from unexpected places. Here’s just a pair of examples.

The last time the Stanley Cup finals saw a Game 7 was in 2009, when the Penguins shocked the Red Wings in Detroit for their first title in 17 years. Marc-Andre Fleury stole the show in net, but it wasn’t Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin providing the offense. Instead, Maxime Talbot, a grinder who never had more than 13 goals in a season, scored twice for the Penguins in the 2-1 victory.

Back in 2003, the Devils relied on former benchwarmer Michael Rupp for all three points in their 3-0 title-clinching win over the Ducks. The forward had been a healthy scratch since March, and didn’t hit the ice until Game 4 of the finals when Joe Nieuwendyk went down with an injury. Rupp had one assist through his first three games, but erupted for a goal and two assists in the decisive Game 7.

So who might play that role for the Bruins? Rookie Tyler Seguin has been relatively quiet with just one assist after breaking out in the Eastern Conference finals against the Lightning, while Adam McQuaid, Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton have stayed off the score sheet through the last six games.

A goal from Patrice Bergeron or Zdeno Chara wouldn’t qualify as unlikely, although neither player has lit the lamp this series.

You can check out a full list of unlikely Game 7 heroes here.

Read More: Bruins, Canucks, Stanley Cup Finals,
Game 7 countdown, 5 p.m.: Compilation of Game 7 predictions 06.15.11 at 5:15 pm ET
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Vancouver left winger Daniel Sedin already gave his Stanley Cup finals Game 7 prediction, in the form of a guaranteed victory in an interview with the Vancouver Sun. He has since said he wasn’t guaranteeing anything. Now, with the decisive contest just a few hours away, predictions are popping up across the web left and right.

Despite numerous statistics that appear to give Vancouver the edge at home, the picks are split fairly evenly. Below is a list of various predictions for Wednesday’s Stanley Cup finals Game 7.

WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan (audio):

Gerry Callahan: Bruins 3-2 in overtime

John Dennis: Bruins 2-1

Jon Meterparel: Bruins 4-1

Yahoo! Sports’ PuckDaddy blog (audio):

Greg Wyshynski: Canucks

Wyshynski initially had Vancouver winning the series in six games, and he’s still leaning toward the Canucks. “I’m sticking with Vancouver,” he said during an appearance on Mut & Merloni Wednesday morning. “I think this is one of those series where the home team holds serve throughout the entire thing. They’re a different team when they play out there.”

SI.com (audio):

Daren Eliot: Canucks

Sportsnet Radio The Fan 590 (audio):

Damian Cox: Bruins

ESPN.com

Scott Burnside: Bruins 5-2

ESPN Radio (audio):

Barry Melrose: Vancouver in a low scoring contest

NHL.com staff

Bob Condor: Canucks 2-0

Dave Lozo: Canucks 3-2

Corey Masisak: Canucks 3-2

Shawn Roarke: Bruins 3-1

Dan Rosen: Bruins 2-1

Rosen: “The prevailing opinion is that Tim Thomas has already won the Conn Smythe Trophy. He’ll lock it up with another stellar performance in Game 7. The Canucks strike first, but Boston answers quickly and hometown boy Milan Lucic wins it with a goal in the third period. Thomas shuts the door on the Canucks’ hopes for their first Stanley Cup by making another 30-plus saves to set the record for most saves in a Stanley Cup Final. He will finish the Final allowing only 9 goals in seven games. All that gets left to the imagination is what Lucic will do with the Cup when he brings it back to Vancouver for his day of glory this summer?”

And finally, the younger vote:

Read More: Stanley Cup Finals,
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