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Still, Vancouver skated away with optimism. Not only were they confident in Luongo's ability to bounce back, but the Canucks' power play, which had gone 1 for 28 in the finals, struck 22 seconds into the third period, when Henrik Sedin scored his first goal of the finals. Lapierre added a late goal, but the hole proved too deep. "Luckily we don't have to come back here again this season," Bieksa said. "We go back to Vancouver, where we're a different team."
Just a single game remained to decide where Lord Stanley would next make his home.
GAME 7 June 15, Rogers Arena
Bruins 4, Canucks 0
SHORTLY AFTER THE BRUINS ARRIVED AT ROGERS Arena on Wednesday afternoon, Horton walked out of the tunnel with a water bottle in hand. Standing in the bench area, he glanced to his left, to his right and then quietly squeezed the contents of the bottle—water transported from some 2,500 miles away—onto the Vancouver ice. If there was something in the water in Boston, where the Bruins had thumped the Canucks into submission and outscored them 17--3 in three games, then maybe they could use it on the road as well.
When a season comes down to one game, every detail counts, but the Bruins, who thrived on the little things this spring, came up with something big, delivering the first Game 7 shutout in a finals since 2003. It belonged to Thomas, who prevailed in three Game 7s this postseason. He set an NHL record for saves in one playoffs, stopping 798 shots, and became just the second U.S.-born Conn Smythe winner.
"The Stanley Cup is the biggest [prize]. That's the one that you're shooting for," Thomas said. "The Conn Smythe is completely an honor. Reading some of the names on it—Patrick [Roy], Ron Hextall, Ken Dryden ... it's amazing."
At least a portion of the credit for the shutout was due to Chara, who made a save with his knee midway through the second period, denying Burrows with the Bruins clinging to a 1—0 lead. Chara, who along with his defensive partner Seidenberg averaged nearly 30 minutes a game this postseason, was a bruising and intimidating presence, but after the game, as he skated over to the small table where the Cup awaited him, the 34-year-old captain resembled a big kid finally getting the toy he's always wanted.
He handed off the Cup to Recchi, the 22-year NHL veteran, who had just played his final game. With an assist in Game 7, Recchi finished the final series with seven points, tied with a player almost half his age for the lead.