VANCOUVER, British Columbia --- The Boston Bruins had waited 39 long years for another drink from the Stanley Cup, and Tim Thomas was awfully thirsty.
When the Bruins and their brilliant goalie barged into a hostile Canadian rink surrounded by another 100,000 screaming fans outside for Game 7, they emerged with the championship they wanted.
Thomas made 37 saves in the second shutout of his landmark finals performance, Patrice Bergeron and rookie Brad Marchand scored two goals apiece, and the Bruins beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-0 on Wednesday night for their first championship since 1972.
"I think I went even further than I thought," Thomas said. "I never envisioned three Game 7s in one playoff series and still being able to come out on top."
Bergeron scored the eventual game-winner in the first period and added a short-handed score in the second to keep the Cup away from the Canucks. Star goalie Roberto Luongo again failed to match Thomas' brilliance, giving up 18 goals in the last five games of the finals.
Thomas outplayed and outclassed his Vancouver counterpart while limiting the Canucks to eight goals in seven games.
The Bruins leaped over the boards and headed straight for Thomas at the final buzzer, mobbing the goalie who carried them through long stretches of this postseason. The Bruins are the first team in NHL history to win a Game 7 three times in the same postseason, with Thomas posting shutouts in the decisive game of the Eastern Conference finals and the Stanley Cup Finals.
Zdeno Chara nearly slipped when he skated away from Commissioner Gary Bettman with the Stanley Cup. And the oversized trophy eventually got a lift from Nathan Horton, the injured Boston forward whose Game 3 concussion on a late hit irrevocably swung the series' momentum to Boston.
"All the physical work we'd done throughout the whole series added up," Thomas said. "Being the last series, we didn't save anything, and we used that physicality again and that was the difference."