VANCOUVER, BC - JUNE 15: The Boston Bruins pose with the Stanley Cup after defeating the Vancouver Canucks in Game Seven of the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Final at Rogers Arena on June 15, 2011 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The Boston Bruins defeated the Vancouver Canucks 4 to 0. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

2011 Stanley Cup Finals: Boston Bruins Win First Cup Since 1972

The Boston Bruins ended its decades-long drought with a 4-0 victory over the Vancouver Canucks in Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals.

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2011 Stanley Cup Finals, Series Recap: Bruins Take Down Canucks In Seven Games

The Boston Bruins won their first Stanley Cup Championship in 39 years, as the defeated the Vancouver Canucks in seven games. Let's break down the numbers and find out exactly why Boston was able to defeat Vancouver, despite being a significant underdog heading into the series.


Tim Thomas

#30 / Goalie / Boston Bruins



Apr 15, 1974

Sure, let's start with Tim Thomas. This series featured a matchup of two Vezina Trophy finalists -- with Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne the lone exception.

Thomas had a playoffs for the ages, finishing with a 1.98 GAA and a sparkling .940 SV%. Dig a little deeper, and you'll find the stat line for the Stanley Cup Finals:

1.14 GAA, .966 SV%, all while facing an average of 34 shots per game. Thomas could have had a Junior League hockey team in front of him and still won the series with those numbers.

Contrast that with Roberto Luongo's ugly Finals numbers:

2.86 GAA, .891 SV%, and that includes his two series shutouts.

It'd be fairly easy to end the series recap right there. Tim Thomas was spectacular, Luongo was inconsistent and shaky.


Let's compare the two teams' offensive production.

Vancouver entered the series with the three best offensive players in the series, Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin, and Ryan Kesler. Here are their series totals.


Goals Assists Points Plus/Minus Shots
Ryan Kesler 0 0 0 -7 16
Henrik Sedin 1 0 1 -7 10
Daniel Sedin 1 3 4 -5 19


The three combined for two goals, three assists, and a -19 rating for the series. Dreadful. 42-year-old Bruins forward Mark Recchi scored as many goals in Game Three as the top three Vancouver forwards did in the entire Finals. Canucks fans can blame Luongo all they want, but with their top offensive talent playing this poorly, it's a credit to the goaltending that this series even went seven games.

Special Teams

Boston scored five power play goals in the Finals; they had only scored five power play goals in the three combined series previously.

Vancouver scored a single power play goal in the series, after leading the league in total power play goals and power play percentage during the regular season.

Boston scored an unheard of three shorthanded goals in the series. Vancouver had none. Boston so throughly dominated the special teams phase of the game that they actually outscored Vancouver on the Canucks power play, 3-1.


Boston looked to be in trouble at the start of Game Three, until Aaron Rome's hit on Nathan Horton knocked him out of the playoffs. Suddenly, the Bruins offense could not be stopped. The Canucks tried playing physical; the Bruins showed them what physical hockey actually looks like.

The biggest difference in this series was confidence. Boston knew that Thomas would cover any mistakes, allowing the Bruins forwards to play aggressive and fast and the defensemen to cheat up in the zone.

Vancouver didn't know what they would get in net from Luongo on a nightly basis. His inconsistency forced the forwards to stay back instead of their crisp, free-flowing passing game that they prefer. Simplistic? Sure. But the fact is Boston beat Vancouver at their own game, and they did it handily.

It may not have been the greatest Finals of all time, but it was certainly one of the most intriguing to witness. These two teams entered the series with no history; they leave as rivals. If they play during the upcoming regular season, it becomes must-see television.


2011 NHL Playoffs: Stanley Cup Finals Predictions

The Boston Bruins haven't won the Stanley Cup in 39 years.

The Vancouver Canucks have never won the Stanley Cup in their 40 years as a franchise.

One of these two historic fanbases will finally have something to celebrate after this series. Let's break down the matchup.


The Vancouver Canucks are completely loaded with offensive talent, headed by Ryan Kesler, Henrik Sedin, and Daniel Sedin. These three players tore up the league during the regular season and have been the best players on the ice for the Canucks throughout this playoff run.

Boston depends on young forwards for their scoring. Patrice Bergeron, Nathan Horton, and David Krejci lead the Bruins in playoff scoring; all three are 25 years or younger and just entering their prime. While the young players have stepped up for Boston, they're still outgunned by a Canucks juggernaut.


Boston prides themselves on being a stout defensive team, and the results are sparkling. They've shut down three excellent offensive teams in a row, including a 1-0 shutout over the Tampa Bay Lightning in the clinching game of that series. They slow down the pace and use their size to keep physical players off the puck. Boston has an elite top pairing headed by captain Zdeno Chara and plenty of depth behind him. This is the Bruins advantage in this series: they cannot get into shootouts with Vancouver. Keep the score low by frustrating the Canucks' top line.

The Canucks are very solid defensively as well. Kevin Bieksa is having a playoffs to remember and will earn himself a sizeable contract in free agency this offseason. While defense is not their team identity, they did shut down a fearsome San Jose Sharks attack in the Conference Finals -- no small feat. They're good defensively, and likely good enough to frustrate the young Bruins forwards.


Tim Thomas. Roberto Luongo. Two of the very best veteran goaltenders in the league. Slight edge goes to Thomas for a better overall playoffs, but Luongo is no slouch in net and has become stronger and more confident as the playoffs progressed. Luongo will get better scoring support, but Thomas has the better defense in front of him. Call this an even matchup.

Special Teams

Boston has scored five power play goals in these playoffs. Vancouver has scored 17 power play goals, and against more elite defenders. This is a potential landslide advantage for the Canucks. If Boston wants any chance to win this series, they have to play clean and stay out of the penalty box against a Vancouver team that is one of the best at drawing penalties.


Vancouver wins in six games.

The Canucks have been the best team in the league throughout the regular season and have confirmed their dominance in the playoffs. They thrived in the tougher conference and have more skill players.The Canucks have beat a Chicago team with elite talent, an offensively peerless San Jose team, and a Nashville Predators team that posed more of a defensive challenge than this Bruins team. Boston has a solid defensive identity, but do they have a player that can step up and carry the offensive load? Advantage goes to the elite, veteran Canucks forwards.

Can Boston win? Of course, but they'll need Thomas to steal at least two games and at least two of their young forwards to play out of their mind. The odds are certainly against them, but I've been doubting Boston all postseason. A championship against this Canucks squad would be the biggest surprise of them all.

Conn Smythe Trophy: Daniel Sedin

The talented forward will get plenty of scoring chances, as Canucks forward (and Hart Trophy favorite) Ryan Kesler is likely to see most of the top defensive pressure from Boston. This will open up plenty of chances for the leading goalscorer in the regular season, and he has the talent to take advantage of these opportunities. If Kesler gets his name on the Cup, I don't think he'll mind losing out on this award even though he's been Vancouver's best player through the playoffs.

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