By Bill Burt
The Boston Bruins have captured their sixth Stanley Cup since joining the NHL in 1924-25 and their first championship since 1972.
They had lost each of their past five Final series, in 1974 (to Philadelphia), 1977 and 1978 (to Montreal) and 1988 and 1990 (to Edmonton). They rank fourth in NHL history. Montreal (23), Toronto (13), Detroit (11), Boston (6) and Edmonton (5).
Thomas second US-born MVP
Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas has won the Conn Smythe Trophy, awarded to "the most valuable player to his team in the playoffs." The winner is selected in a vote by a panel of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association at the conclusion of the Stanley Cup Final. The Flint, Michigan native is the second U.S.-born player to take the Conn Smythe, joining New York Rangers defenseman Brian Leetch in 1994, and, at 37 years of age, is the oldest Conn Smythe recipient. Thomas was the Bruins' only goaltender during their Stanley Cup-winning run, finishing the playoffs with a 16-9 record, 1.98 goals-against average, .940 save percentage and four shutouts.
Marchand climbs rookie list
Bruins forward Brad Marchand tallied a pair of goals in Game 7, bringing his playoff total to 11. Marchand finished the post-season tied for second place on the all-time list for rookie goals in one playoff year. He ranked fourth on the single-playoff rookie points list (11-8—19). Marchand tallied five goals in the Stanley Cup Final, tied for the most by a rookie since NHL teams exclusively began competing for the Stanley Cup in 1927. Marchand matched the total of another Bruin, Roy Conacher, who scored five times in Boston's five-game triumph over Toronto in the 1939 Stanley Cup Final.
Home ice streak
The Bruins are the third road team to win the Stanley Cup after the home team had won the first six games of the Final, joining the 2009 Pittsburgh Penguins, who defeated the Detroit Red Wings, and the 1971 Montreal Canadiens, who defeated the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Bruins are the third consecutive Stanley Cup champion that opened the regular season in Europe. The 2008-09 Pittsburgh Penguins played a pair of games against the Ottawa Senators in Stockholm, Sweden, the 2009-10 Chicago Blackhawks met the Florida Panthers twice in Helsinki, Finland, while the Bruins faced the Phoenix Coyotes for two games in Prague, Czech Republic last October.
Recchi wins Cup with third team
Playing in the 1,842nd game of his 22-year-old NHL career (1,652 regular-season and 190 playoff) and his 11th career Game 7, 43-year-old Bruins right wing Mark Recchi has captured the Stanley Cup with his third team. He previously earned a Cup ring with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1991 and the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006. Recchi is the 10th player to skate for three different Stanley Cup-winning franchises.
Recchi also became the ninth player in League history to play in at least 11 Game 7s.
Dirk has some German company
Days after countryman and NBA star Dirk Nowitzki captured his first championship with the Dallas Mavericks, Bruins defenseman and Schwenningen, Germany native Dennis Seidenberg has won his first Stanley Cup. Seidenberg becomes the first German player to win the Stanley Cup since Colorado's Uwe Krupp in 1996. Seidenberg, a veteran of eight NHL seasons, appeared in all 25 playoff games for the Bruins and ranked second on the club in average ice time per game (27:37), a shade less than leader and defense partner Zdeno Chara (27:39).
First goal wins again
The team that scored the first goal won each of the seven Stanley Cup Final games and finished 68-21 in the 2011 playoffs overall (.764). The Bruins improved to 12-1 when they scored first.
Two weeks to remember
If it wasn't evident from watching the games, the stats bear out what a great playoff run goalie Tim Thomas had.
Consider these highlights:
Set NHL record for most saves in one playoff year (798)
Set NHL record for most shots faced in one playoff year (849)
Set NHL record for most saves in the Stanley Cup Final (238)
Fourth all-time for most shots faced in the Stanley Cup Final (246)
Finished with an 11-1 record when facing 35 or more shots
Led all NHL goaltenders in goals-against average (1.98) and save percentage (.940) and shared lead in shutouts (four) in the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs
Became the first goaltender in NHL history to post a shutout on the road in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final
Posted a 1.15 goals-against average in the Stanley Cup Final, the lowest in the modern era among goaltenders with at least five appearances
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