VANCOUVER, British Columbia - (AP) - The Boston Bruins had waited39 long years for another drink from the Stanley Cup, and TimThomas was awfully thirsty.
When the Bruins and their brilliant goalie barged into a hostileCanadian rink surrounded by another 100,000 screaming fans outsidefor Game 7, they emerged with the championship they wanted.
Thomas made 37 saves in the second shutout of his landmarkfinals performance, Patrice Bergeron and rookie Brad Marchandscored two goals apiece, and the Bruins beat the Vancouver Canucks4-0 Wednesday night for their first championship since 1972.
Bergeron scored the eventual game-winner in the first period andadded a short-handed score in the second to keep the Cup away fromthe Canucks, who have never won it in nearly 41 years of existence.Star goalie Roberto Luongo again failed to match Thomas'brilliance, giving up 18 goals in the last five games of thefinals.
Mark Messier and the New York Rangers won Game 7 in Vancouver'slast finals appearance in 1994. This time, Thomas silenced theNHL's highest-scoring team, erased nearly four decades of Bruinsplayoff blunders and crushed an entire Canadian city desperate totake the Stanley Cup to Stanley Park.
Thomas limited the Canucks to eight goals in seven spectaculargames in the finals, blanking Vancouver in two of the last four.Boston dropped the first two games in Vancouver but became just thethird team since 1966 to overcome that deficit.
Bergeron added a Stanley Cup ring to his gold medals from theOlympics and the world championships with his biggest game of aquiet series. He scored his first goal of the finals late in thefirst period on a shot Luongo saw too late, and Marchand added his10th goal of the postseason in the second before Bergeron'sshort-handed goal, which inexplicably slid under Luongo.
The Bruins are the first team in NHL history to win a Game 7three times in the same postseason, and they drew another dose ofinspiration from forward Nathan Horton, whose concussion in Game 3irrevocably changed the series' momentum.
Horton attended Game 7, and he apparently poured a bottle ofBoston water onto the ice in front of the Bruins' bench 90 minutesbefore warmups.
Horton was lost for the series with a concussion on a big hitfrom Vancouver's Aaron Rome. The Bruins rallied for four wins infive games after Horton's injury.
During a two-week Stanley Cup finals that ranks among the NHL'sweirdest in recent years, the only predictable aspect had been thehome teams' dominance. Vancouver eked out three one-goal victoriesat home, while the Bruins won three blowouts in Boston.