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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
Video: Canucks fans welcome Bruins to the Rogers Arena 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,
Brad Marchand is a rat’s rat 06.14.11 at 7:50 am ET
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If the Canucks were hoping that Brad Marchand would wilt as a rookie under the pressure of his first playoff experience, they obviously did not judge or scout him nearly close enough.

And there’s no reason to think Marchand is about to crumble under the pressure of the first Stanley Cup finals Game 7 in Bruins history.

“We have to make sure that we have a good start. And they just seem to get so much momentum and energy off their crowd and we just have to find a way to counter that and come out strong,” said Marchand sounding every bit the veteran of 24 playoff games.

When he scored in the Game 3 blowout of the Canucks, he referred to the fact that he is considered the modern-day “rat” of the Bruins, a nickname lovingly bestowed on Ken Linseman for being the bur in the side of every opponent. It’s a nickname that he continues to wear with pride as he proved again to the Canucks on Monday.

When he wheeled in and took a puck off the boards from Mark Recchi he showed no hesitation snapping off a wrister that beat Roberto Luongo over the goalie’s left shoulder just 5:31 into Game 6.

“I was there, it was a good shot but I have to make that save,” Luongo said. “He put it where he wanted but I have to make a save there.”

“We weren’€™t too worried about that in here,” Marchand said of Luongo’s talk after Game 5. “He can say what he wants to say. We were just trying to focus on playing this game so we got a couple early, and you know, obviously they switched the goaltenders up. Obviously he’€™s bounced back every game and I expect the same thing back in Vancouver.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Bobby Joyce, Boston Bruins, Brad Marchand, Daniel Sedin
Michael Ryder: We will do ‘everything’ to win it for Nathan Horton at 1:24 am ET
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The singular turning point of the series has also turned into a rally cry for the Bruins, as Michael Ryder acknowledged after scoring a goal in Boston’s 5-2 win over Vancouver in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals Monday night at TD Garden.

With the crowd already in a frenzy following two quick goals to start the game, the video board at the Garden showed Nathan Horton in the zamboni area waving a Bruins black and gold hanky. Horton was shown live for the first time since being knocked to the ice with a severe concussion exactly one week ago on hit by Canucks defenseman Aaron Rome in Game 3. He has been ruled out of the playoffs.

“Horty’s a big part of this team and he’s one of the reasons we’re where we are,” Ryder said. “He’s a great guy and it’s good to see him a lot better and we know he’s excited and he wants us to win. We have to make sure we do everything we can to pull it off for him.”

“We didn’€™t know that they were going to be doing that and showing him up there,” added Bruins forward Brad Marchand. “You know for him to come in and give us that boost of energy is unbelievable. And obviously the crowd loves it and loves him and are supporting him every minute of the day. It was great to see him out there. He gave us a big energy boost.

Two and a half minutes later, Andrew Ference fired a slap shot past Roberto Luongo on the power play for Boston’s third goal and pandemonium ensued with the Bruins up, 3-0, and Luongo chased to the bench.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Aaron Rome, Andrew Ference, Boston Bruins
Game 6 countdown, 2 p.m.: Other cities have issues with Vancouver 06.13.11 at 2:02 pm ET
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Boston is not the only city that has an issue with the way the Canucks play the game.

Chicago Tribune writer Steve Rosenbloom wrote an article about the Blackhawks being familiar with the Canucks style of play because they acted the same way when they faced the Canucks in Round 1 of this year’s Stanley Cup playoffs. He notes a few dirty hits that the Canucks laid on the Blackhawks and the league did nothing in response to them.

The Province, a newspaper in British Columbia, recently ran a story about how most of Canada is pulling for the Bruins to win the Stanley Cup because most of Canada hates Vancouver. It says the hate comes from Canadians being jealous of Vancouver because it is a beautiful city and it hosted the Winter Olympics.

The Globe and Mail, a Toronto newspaper, had a story saying that the Canucks have become the NHL’s most hated team. The story examines the way the Canucks have reached the Stanley Cup finals and the way they have played the series. It also includes a quote from Oilers defenseman Ryan Whitney, who said, “This team is so easy to hate, it is unbelievable. … I’€™d say that 90 percent of the guys in the league want nothing to do with seeing them win.’€

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Boston Bruins, Vancouver Canucks,
Bruins and Canucks: The little things lead to the big prize at 1:50 pm ET
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It was a little thing – a little thing that Claude Julien works on often during practice. But on this Monday morning, the small detail of winning faceoffs could have a huge impact on who wins Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals.

Last Friday, in Game 5 in Vancouver, the Canucks found a way to win 34 of 65 draws while the Bruins only won 29 of those 65 one-on-one battles.

While none of them led directly to a goal, it did skew puck possession in Vancouver’s favor as the game progressed.

It’s actually been an area the Canucks have won in nearly every game of this series, including in both blowout wins by the Bruins in Games 3 and 4. But add the faceoffs in with losing puck battles and not getting enough bodies in front of Roberto Luongo and the small things become huge problems – problems the Bruins cannot afford tonight with no margin of error left.

In a close game, losing those battles can be deadly, especially when you’re the Bruins trying to kill one of best power play units in the game. So far, the Bruins have killed 24 of 25 Vancouver power plays.

The Bruins coach was also asked about the benefit of having Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci – two of the team’s top faceoff men – out on the ice for the team’s top power play unit.

“I don’t think we would be putting them there if it was just a faceoff thing,” Julien said. “But between Bergeron and Krejci are right-handed shots, and whether one of them is on the half fall, doesn’t really matter. The other one can be on the goal line. Krejci can make some plays from down low and Bergeron can take pucks at the net. We just feel that right now that’s a good scenario for that power play.

“We’€™ve got [Rich] Peverley who does move the puck well and [Dennis] Seidenberg who can shoot the puck well, we’ve got a good combination there. It’s shown some flashes of being very good, and when it hasn’t, it’s been not because of who you got out there, but what they’ve done. We’ve lost some battles in the last game. Certainly didn’t make some strong passes that were cut off. Vancouver does a great job. They’ve got good sticks on the penalty kill. If we don’t make crisp passes, you end up turning it over.”

The same goes for Vancouver.

“We have to bring our ‘A’ game and play the right way,” said Daniel Sedin. “When we win faceoffs and we have a lot of puck possession, we’re a good team. They’re obviously a good faceoff team so that’s going to be a big thing tonight. If we play the right way, and we play tight the way we did at home, it’s hard to get good scoring chances against us. When we play like we did in Games 3 and 4, we’re going to get some scoring chances but they are too, and that’s not the way we want to play.”

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Boston Bruins, Claude Julien, Daniel Sedin
Game 6 countdown, 1 p.m.: Haverhill teenager says late grandfather helping Bruins win at 1:15 pm ET
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The Eagle-Tribune reported Monday that a Haverhill teenager’s grandfather becoming a Bruins fan right before his passing has paid dividends for the team in the postseason.

“At my grandpa’s wake I placed a ticket stub from the Dallas Stars game that I attended in February with my dad, my mom and one of my cousins,” 16-year-old Nicky Mangano said. “And since then the Bruins have been doing really well. They came back from 2-0 to win the series in seven games, they swept the Flyers in four, then Tampa in seven, and now they came back to tie Vancouver 2-2.”

Mangano said his grandfather, James Cassidy, started following the Bruins so the two could talk about something to take Mangano’s mind off his grandfather’s failing health. Cassidy, a Red Sox, Patriots and Celtics fan, died on April 14 at age 85.

At Cassidy’s wake, family members placed Red Sox, Celtics and Patriots caps in his casket.

“I was thinking that he didn’t have all the sports, so I added the Bruins ticket stub,” Mangano said.

“On the morning of the funeral, when we were saying our last goodbyes, Nicky tucked in his ticket stub,” said Nicky’s mother, Deborah Mangano. “We all said maybe that will bring the Bruins some good luck.”

Mangano watches the Bruins wearing a Patrice Bergeron jersey. His father Nick wears Bobby Orr‘s.

“Every time the Bruins win I look up and say, ‘Thanks, grandpa,’ ” Nicky said.

Read More: Boston Bruins, Deborah Mangano, James Cassidy, Nicky Mangano
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