This was the final I’d been hoping for all season, the Vancouver Canucks vs. The Boston Bruins. And, this was the winner I’d hoped for all season. All season we watched Boston blow through the competition, winning the North East Division. On the other coast, Vancouver did the same and eventually claimed the president’s trophy having the best overall record of the season. Tim Thomas not only won his job back from Tuukka Rask, but received a nod for another Vezina and is the hands down favorite to win. Not to be outdone on the west coast, Luongo put up spectacular numbers and was nominated for the Vezina as well.
In Round 1 Boston met up against their Original 6 and most hated rival, the Montreal Canadiens. Hopes for playoff glory dimmed when the Bruins went down 2-0 on home ice and faced the monumental task of winning 2 games on hostile ice in Montreal. They clawed their way past their rivals in a series where of the 4 wins, 3 came in OT. Round 2 was no easier as the Bruins had to face the adversaries who embarrassed them and put them on the wrong side of the record books last season, the Philadelphia Flyers. Bitter memories were put behind him them when the Bruins swept the team who had caused them to blow a 3 game lead last season. In Round 3 it was battle of the old man goalies! Dwayne Roloson had been on fire since being traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning and with St. Louis, Stampkos and Lecavalier playing in front of him, Boston was in for a battle. Again playing in a game 7, the Bruins shut out the Lightning in a game that had NO penalties called, something that hasn’t happened in the playoffs in 20 years.
Vancouver had its work cut out for them too. Round 1 held challenges for the Canucks. For the 3rd season in a row, Vancouver was set to play against the Chicago Blackhawks. Even after giving up a 3 game lead on the Blackhawks, the Vancouver Canucks slayed their dragons by finally beating the Hawks in over time of Game 7. In Round 2 the Canucks faced the Nashville Predators, a team that had just slain they their own dragons by making it to a Round 2 for the first time in franchise history. In the cage for the opposing Preds was another Vezina nominee, Pekka Rinne. After 6 tight games, the Canucks advanced to the Conference Finals for the first time since 1994. Each game in this series was decided by just a single goal (with the exception of an empty net goal scored by Vancouver in Game 4). In Round 3 the Canucks had to get past the San Jose Sharks if they wanted to get to the finals. They did this pretty easily winning in 5 games.
The 2011 Stanley Cup Final has some interesting numbers and facts. All games leading to Game 7 had been won on home ice. The games played in Vancouver were tight one goal games. In Boston, the Bruins demolished the Canucks, chasing Luongo from the net twice. In the first 2 games of Boston’s home stretch, they had a plus -12 goal differential, a 2 game NHL record. The Bruins had to face THREE game 7s in their quest for the cup. Tim had 2 shutouts in the final.
So let’s get on to some fun pictures!
Being a goalie lover of course the #1 reason I wanted to see Boston win was Tim Thomas. With his amazing story from his youth to his difficult and hard journey to the NHL, it's hard not to want to see him succeed. It was so good to see Tim win his starting job back after a disappointing season last year.
He also just genuinely seems to love the game. Look at that smile!
I also love the way he plays. I love how aggressive he is, challenging skaters and guarding his crease. I love his acrobatic saves and the way he puck handles. Thomas was actually credited with a hit when he body checked one of the Sedins.
My second favorite reason to be happy that Boston won? Rich Peverley! He has a great story of his own! On the way to the AHL's Milwaukee Admirals, the Thrashers snapped him up off the waiver wire. Now two years later, he's hoisting the freaking cup, unbelievable.
Apparently I didn't take a lot of pictures when Recchi came through, this was about the only one I could find. I'm glad the old man won it and can go out in style. Maybe he can shave that horrible hair and go bald now.
I'm happy for Chara, and it was fun to see him lift the cup up into the rafters.
I love Lucic! Any guy that puts someone THROUGH glass is okay in my book. I was glad to see that his hometown of Vancouver gave him quite the ovation when he circled with the cup.
After seeing Nathan Horton get demolished in that hit by Rome, it was special to see him cheer on the team and then hoist the cup, fully dressed and on the ice.
Home Ice advantage thanks to Nathan Horton!
My fiesty little Finn, Tuukka Rask. Hopefully this cup win won't hamper his milk cart throwing abilities.
Shawn Thornton is used to fighting his way to the top, nice to see hard work rewarded.
Krejci had a pretty good playoffs.
Although former Thrasher Marc Savard only played 25 games this season, I'm sure they will have no trouble filing an exception to get him on the cup.
So now let's look at some awesome pictures that I did NOT take. Repeat, I stole these pictures and am not profiting from them, but if they are yours and their presence on this blog pisses you off, let me know and I'll take them down.
Don't throw out your back, old man! Glad Recchi can retire on top!
What's the cup good for? Picking up chicks of course!
One of my favorite pictures, he so deserves it.
Even the Green Men are good sports!
Being a bad ass is hard work, Pevs enjoys some pizza with Chara.
Timmy gets doused.
Tim and his Conn Smythe. My favorite part was when you could hear him say "Do I leave this here?"
Lucic and the cup.
Awesome blossom, so happy for the Bruins.
Nobody gives two shits about your gold medal now, Lu.
Even though Luongo played well at home, he got obliterated on Boston ice and couldn't stop 3 shots in Game 7. Many critics are going to see this as the inability to win the big games and come through for the team. This is going to be a hard reputation to shed. With his enormous contract, it's going to be next to impossible to move him.
Mason Raymond lost a lot more than a cup. In 24 playoff games he scored 8 points, but in game 6 he was checked into the boards by Johnny Boychuck. He hit awkwardly and broke one of his vertebrae. He will be out several months and the Canucks hope to have him back in November.
Who the hell are these guys? I haven't seen them in a few weeks. Oh wait, wasn't one of them the guy who got punched in the face 5 times by Marchand? Daniel lost his cup and his pride. Both these guys and Luongo have to shed the reputation of chokers.
Ryan Kesler was actually having a pretty good serious and was one of the front runners for the MVP if Vancouver won. He didn't have a good final series though, probably due to injury. I like Kesler, he's a good American boy. I didn't like seeing him cry.
Now for some real losers.
Both of these guys played more games as a Bruin that Marc Savard and I'm guessing neither will have their name on the cup.Well that's it. The 2010-11 season is done. It makes me very sad that I won't be able to go to Phillips Arena several times a week for the 2011-12 season and see these great athletes.