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On This Date in Sports June 15, 2011: Bruins Leave Vancouver in Ruins

In collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com

The Boston Bruins win their first Stanley Cup in 39 years, beating the Vancouver Canucks 4-0. The Canucks are frustrated by goalie Tim Thomas who wins the Conn Smythe as playoff MVP, making 37 saves. The home team had won the previous six games, as the Canucks hopes of ending Canada's Stanley Cup drought came up short. The fans at Rogers Arena riot following the game, creating a black eye for the city of Vancouver. While a couple kissing created an iconic internet image. 

The Boston Bruins were as low as a team could be in 2010. Up 3-0 in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, they lost the next four games and lost to the Philadelphia Flyers. It was the third time in NHL history that a team had blown a 3-0 series lead and the first since 1975. The Bruins, led by Claude Julien, finished third in the East with a record of 46-25-11. After their collapse in 2010, the Bruins got off to a rough start in the playoffs, losing the first two games to the Montreal Canadiens. The Bruins needed overtime in Game 7, winning 4-3 on a goal by Nathan Horton. The Bruins would go on to avenge their collapse by sweeping the Flyers in the second round. In the Eastern Conference Finals, the Bruins needed seven games to beat the Tampa Bay Lightning, winning 1-0 as Horton scored the game's only goal with 7:33 left in regulation. 

The 2010/11 season appeared to be ready-made for the Vancouver Canucks. The Canucks won the President's Trophy as the best team in the regular season, posting a record of 54-19-9 for Alain Vigneault. The Sedin Twins (Daniel and Henrik) were among the top scorers in the NHL, as the Cauncks sought their first Stanley Cup, while they sought to be the first team from Canada since 1993 to win the cup. The Canucks survived a major scare in the first round, as they took a 3-0 series lead against the Chicago Blackhawks before the reigning champions rallied to force a seventh game. In Game 7, Chicago tied the game late on a shorthanded goal by Jonathan Toews. In overtime, Alex Burrows saved the day for Vancouver with a goal at 5:22. The Canucks would beat the Nashville Predators in six games and dominated the San Jose Sharks in five games to reach the Stanley Cup Final for the third time. 

Unlike their 1982 Stanley Cup Final appearance against the New York Islanders and 1994 against the New York Rangers, the Vancouver Canucks were a heavy favorite in 2011. Game 1 at Rogers Arena was a battle of the goalies as both Tim Thomas and Roberto Luongo looked like brick walls. However, with overtime approaching, the Canucks finally beat Thomas on a goal by Raffi Torres with 18.5 seconds left to win the game 1-0. Overtime would be needed in Game 2, as the Canucks won 3-2 with Alex Burrows, whom the Bruins wanted to be suspended for biting Patrice Bergeron, scoring 11 seconds into sudden death. 

The series shifted in Boston's favor at TD Garden, as the Bruins romped in Game 3, winning 8-1, with seven different goal scorers, with four goals in the second and four goals in the third after a scoreless first period. The Bruins continued to dominate in Game 4, winning 4-0 as Tim Thomas continued to frustrate Vancouver. Game 5 back in Vancouver was a repeat of the opener as both goalies were at the top of their games. Roberto Luongo earned his second shutout as the Canucks won 1-0 on a third-period goal by Maxim Lapierre. Looking to close the series in Boston, the Canucks came out flat, as the Bruins chased Luongo early, winning 5-2 to force a seventh game. 

The Stanley Cup Finals came down to Game 7 in Vancouver; fans of the Canucks had waited 41 years for their first Stanley Cup, while the Bruins sought to win for the first time since 1972. The Canucks controlled the puck and dominated in the offensive zone, outshooting Boston 37-21. However, with a goal by Patrice Bergeron, the Bruins led 1-0 after the first period. The Bruins added to their lead with a goal by Brad Marchand in the second. Late in the period, the Bruins took command as Bergeron scored shorthanded to make it 3-0. Marchand added an empty netter in the third, as Vancouver left empty-handed, with the Bruins winning 4-0 to win the Stanley Cup.