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Stanley Cup Final Game 7 live blog

by Shawn P. Roarke
Thank you all so much for joining me on this two-month journey. It has been an amzing ride to ecperience. Congrats to the Boston Bruins, the 2011 Stanley Cup champions. And, congrats to the Vancouver canucks for a great season. See you in the fall.

That's it. Bruins win 4-0. Thirty-nine years of frustration ends as Boston's second line does the heavy lifting. Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron each had two goals and Tim Thomas pitches another shutout, only the fourth ever in the history of Stanley Cup Final Game 7s.

Brad Marchand caps a night he will never forget with a empty-net goal. Goal, BOS 4-0

Frustration really starting to show on Canucks now. They have just been stifled at every turn by one of the great goaltending performances in Stanley Cup history. Boston is now less than five minutes away from ending 39 years of frustration and changing imnage of thye franchise.

Boston killed the penalty and got the best chance of the kill. What a transformation by the penalty kill unit, which struggled at times this postseason. They have allowed just two PP goals in the seven games. Game is also getting chippy now as Alex Burrows hit Rich Peverley up high behind play and jannik Hansen got a little spear on Johnny Boychuk during a scrum.

That is not what Bruins wanted to see. Milan Lucic just took a neutral-zone penalty on the backcheck. Vancouver will take any opening at this point. Can PP respond. It has been biggest downfall this postseason. Even bigger than Roberto Luongo.

Vancouver has just five shots in the first 10 minutes withy their season on the line. Boston plays good D, but not that good. More desperation needed in offensive zone for Canucks.

Again, Tim Thomas makes the saves when he needs them, denying vancouver's top line on bang-bang shots just now. He has 26 saves tonight.

There will be 12:36 remaining at the end of the Jannik Hansen penalty and the canucks will need to put three past Tim Thomas, who has allowed just one goal in his last 5-plus periods here. That is a tough mountain to climb.

Frustration starting to show now. Vancouver's Jannik Hansen just drilled Anjdrew ference well behind the play, leaving Ference dazed on ice. Hansen got two minutes for interference.

Vancouver has not gotten much traction here to start the third. clearly boston is sitting back a bit and trying to bleed the clock. Does Vancouver hyave anythiung left in the gas tank?

Start of third period

End of second period

That's the end of two periods here and things look bleak for the Canucks. The crowd has lost much of its steam, but will likely rally in third.; Can Canucks do the same? We'll find out soon. Roberto Luongo has allowed 3 goals on 13 shots tonight and has allowed 6 goals in his last 21 shots.

Vancouver still has to have faith here. Tim Thomas was joking yesterday, but he did reference Boston's penchant to blow 3-0 leads in the playoffs. They did it last round against Tampa Bay in Game 4 and last year In Game 4 against Philadelphia, a stunning meltdown that led to four-straight losses an a historic outser in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. It won't be easy, though, as Thomas has allowed 5 goals in this building in the first three games here.

Total shocker here. It appears to be 3-0 as Patrice Bergeron just scored on a shorthannded breakaway. Puck went in after he crashed into Roberto Luongo after he was tripped up by the chasing defenseman. Play is being reviewed. It's a good goal after review. What an effort by Bergeron, who settled a bouncing puck as it exited the Boston zone. Goal, BOS 3-0

That was just Vancouver's best surge of the game. Tim Thomas was under seige, but found the answers he needed. It was good enough a seige, hopwver, to result in the first penalty. Zdeno Chara is off for interference. Huge moment for Vancouver's PP here. Ryan Kesler was dominant on that last shift and has been good this whole game.

Out of nowhere, Boston has a 2-0 lead. Vancouver has carried the play all period, but Brad Marchand just had the shift of the Final for him. He cycled the puck down low for several seconds and then claimed a rebound of a Mark Recchi shot before putting the npuck through the skates of a Vancouver defender and going behind the net with the puck to beat Roberto Luongo on a wrap-around. Luongo was hampered slightly in getting to far post when Daniel Sedin crashed into him chasing the play.  Boston has 2 goals on just 10 shots. Goal, BOS 2-0

Zdeno Chara just showed some fantastic goalie chops a few minutes ago. After turning the puck over in his own end and giving it to Alex Burrows untatended in the slot, Chara made a beeline for the crease and performed a textbook kick save afetr Burrows had waited out the sprawling Tim Thomas.

Bruins finally get a shot in this period and it comes from fourth line. In fact, Greg Campbell took two shots on a relatively short shift for that line. Boston has 8 shots in game and fourth line has 5 of them.

Boston's second line had a good cycle, but no shots and Vancouver counter-attacks, forcing Thomas to make a good save on Ryan Kesler.  Looks like Boston is just trying to survive this surge.

It is all Vancouver here in the second. They already have 3 shots and have held Boston without a shot since the Patrice Bergeron goal wIth 5:28 left in the first period.

Another big save for Tim Thomas and its is a record breaker. He stopped Ryan Kesler's rising wrister and has now faced more shots than any other goalie in a single playoff year.

There were plenty of chances in the first period, but the 13 shots (Vancouver 8, Boston 5) is the fewest for any period of this series. The previous low: the 16 in the third period of Game 2 -- Van 11, Bos 5. Five shots is the low for one team in a period this series.

Start of second period

End of first period

That's the end of the first period and Boston has to be happy to have the lead, 1-0. It is the first time in this series that the visiting team has scored first after the home scored first -- and won -- in each of the past six games. The Bruins were much better in the second half of the period, but the Canucks have shown flashes of creating sustained offense. They have to be better on the cycle in the second period.

It looks like Vancouver is trying to wear Zdeno Chara down any way possible. Chris Higgins just hit Chara at the blue line, driving him to the ice. The puck was not anywhere near Chara at the time, but it did have some merits of an unintentional collision. At least, the referees saw it that way as no penalty was called. There has yet to be a penalty whistled in the game.

Mark Recchi may have lost a few strides in his skating, but he can still play the wall as good as a man 20 years his junior. If this does prove to be his last game, he has acquited himself well in this series.

Boston has owned play since the goal, forcing Vancouver into a pair of icings. Bruins haven't done much with territorial advantage, but Vancouver has had to defend for most of past three minutes.

One of the most under-celebrated part of Tim Thomas' game is how he rarely squanders momentum for his team. Bruins are flying high after Patrice Bergeron scores, but Vancouver comes right down and has an excellent chance, yet Thomas makes a great save on Ryan Kesler.

Bruins get that all-important first goal. Patrice Bergeron slammed home a pass from the side wall by Brad Marchand. It appeared the pass was intended for Mark Recchi, but it made it through him and right to Bergeron, who just smacked his quick one-timer just inside the far post before Roberto Luongo could react. Air immediately went out of a wild Rogers Arena crowd, but they are struggling to bring it back now. Goal, BOS 1-0.

This is almost non-stop action here in this game. There have only been a handful of whistles in the first period and both teams are warming to the idea of playing a free-flowing, hard-hitting game. Vancouver has 6 shots and Boston just has 4.

Boston's fourth line just had a dominant shift, cycling for more than a minute. On a night like this, it is often those unlikely heroes that come to the fore. Boston's fourth line has been so much better since Shawn Thornton was re-introduced into the lineup in Game 3 of the Final.

We just almost had our first goal of the night, but Tim Thomas found the puck at last second and closed his legs before it could trickle past. It was Vancouver's first line with the opportunity. At the whistle, the scoreboard showed the injured Mason Raymond, in a corset to protect his broken back, standing in the Olympia entrance cheering the Canucks on. It was eerily soimilar to Nathan Horton's motivational appearance for Boston during Game 6 at TD Garden.

What a frantic six minutes to start this Game 7. There has been no time to breathe and each goalie has been asked to makie huge saves already. Once again, Roberto Luongo looks strong at home, no hint of the jittery player that was torched for 15 goals on 66 shots in parts of three games in Boston. The hitting on both sides is also incredible.

5:02 p.m.
As you probably know, the injured Nathan Horton is here in Vancouver, but he did not take part in warm-ups, as was widely rumored b efore the game. Mason Raymond, who suffered a broken back in Game 6, is also in Vancouver, somehow finding his way across the country today. It appears that Jeff Tambellini will take Raymond's spot on Vancouver's second line. There are no changes for the Bruins.

5:00 p.m.
There is nothing like a Game 7. And, I can safely say now, after having experienced it, that there is nothing like a Game 7 in a Canadian city. Vancouver is absolutely crazy right now, but in a good way. The streets are jammed with young and old alike and it is a festive atmosphere. Of course, there is an undercurrent of tension flowing through the masses because nobody knows what will happen. These last few minutes before the storylines start playing themselves out are always amonjg my favorite moments of any Game 7.

4:58 p.m
. Welcome to Rogers Arena for Game 7. It is a perfect night for the last hockey game of the season. It has been such a crazy day and now it should be the most memorable night of the season.
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