Hockey Night In Canada Stanley Cup Playoffs 2011

Recchi leaves on top

Categories: Boston Bruins, Stanley Cup Final, VAN vs. BOS, Vancouver Canucks

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Boston Bruins Mark Recchi hoists the cup following his teams 4-0 win over the Vancouver Canucks in Game 7 in Vancouver, Wednesday. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press) Boston Bruins Mark Recchi hoists the cup following his teams 4-0 win over the Vancouver Canucks in Game 7 in Vancouver, Wednesday. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)
Minutes after Mark Recchi lifted the Stanley Cup over his head for the third time in his career, the 43-year-old made what was expected to be a formality.

"It's the end for me," Recchi said. "This is the last time I get the chance. I'm going out on top. I couldn't be happier with this group of guys. Regardless of what happened tonight, this was going to be one of the best groups I ever played with. We're very fortunate to win. We're going to enjoy this."

Recchi concludes his Hall-of-Fame career with three rings amid 189 playoff matches. Recchi appeared in 1,652 career games, fourth-most in NHL history behind Gordie Howe, Mark Messier, and Ron Francis. Recchi scored 1,533 career points, 12th-most all-time.

In Game 7, Recchi assisted on Brad Marchand's second goal. Recchi was also in front of Roberto Luongo on Boston's first goal. Marchand sent a pass through Recchi into the slot for Patrice Bergeron. The centre tapped home the pass off the left post.

Recchi made the most of his two-plus seasons in Boston. Recchi was acquired at the 2009 trade deadline from Tampa Bay for Matt Lashoff and Martins Karsums. In the second round that year against Carolina, Recchi overcame a kidney stone -- he required surgery to remove it during the series -- to push the matchup to seven games. Last season, Recchi and the Bruins lost to the Flyers in the second round.

Even before Game 7, Recchi helped to calm down his centreman.

"I was feeling nervous and I asked him to give me some advice," Bergeron said. "He told me to relax, go out there, play the game, and do it for him. It could be his last game. I've learned so much from him on and off the ice."

Thomas claims Conn Smythe

Surprise, surprise -- Thomas won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the postseason's MVP. Thomas stopped all 37 shots in Game 7 for his second shutout of the final. Thomas made it look easy. Even though it wasn't.

"Game 6 at home," Thomas said when asked if he ever lost his momentum. "Right off the opening faceoff, there was a guy that whacked it backhand from the outside blue line right off the opening faceoff. I just lost it. It was up in the air and I went into full panic mode in my mind. Then Vancouver put the pressure on and whizzed the puck around the crease four or five different times, shot just wide. I was on my heels there for a second, and that was the first time I'd gotten nervous during the finals. So yeah, I was scared. I won't lie. I had nerves yesterday and today. I faked it as well as I could, and I faked my way all the way to the Stanley Cup."

The 37-year-old Thomas set records for the most saves in the final (238) and in the playoffs (798).

"Every night, with him in nets, we knew we had a chance," Claude Julien said of Thomas. "No matter if we had a slow start, no matter if we didn't play our best game, we always had a chance with Timmy. Because Timmy was great. In the final, seven straight games, there wasn't a bad game from Timmy. Only exceptional ones."

The Canucks pushed their hardest in the first period. But Thomas was there to turn back every opportunity.

"I think you've got to give credit where credit is due," Alain Vigneault said. "Their goaltender was real tough to beat. The way they played in front of him was real tough to beat. We had some Grade-A chances and we weren't able to score."

Horton inspires again

Approximately two hours before Game 7, Nathan Horton made a visit to the Rogers Arena ice. In his hand, Horton held a Gatorade bottle full of melted water from the TD Garden ice. Horton looked around, thought nobody was looking, and poured its contents onto the sheet. An NHL Network camera caught Horton in the act.

Horton and the Bruins were looking for some better road karma. Although they were undefeated at home during the final, they hadn't scored a win on enemy ice. Perhaps the water pour helped the Bruins get the juice they needed.

After the win, Horton went on to celebrate in full gear -- skates, pads, jersey, helmet. Horton, who suffered a severe concussion in Game 3, acknowledged the disappointment of not playing in Game 7. But Horton was very pleased to support his teammates and participate in the celebration.

"This is a chance of a lifetime," Horton said. "This might not ever happen again. For me to get the opportunity to be here with my teammates to celebrate, it's very special."