There were plenty of possible heroes going into Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup finals. Some were obvious choices, such as goalies Tim Thomas and Roberto Luongo or the Sedin twins. Others ranked as possible “no-name heroes.”
Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand might rank somewhere in between. Bergeron is far from anonymous among hockey diehards, but his mixture of solid scoring aptitude and heady two-way play probably won’t register as strongly with casual fans. Marchand wasn’t even supposed to be the best Bruins rookie (not when the team kept Tyler Seguin at the NHL level), yet he’s been the best rookie of the 2011 playoffs.
Both players were big reasons why the Bruins made it this far, but a lot of people will just remember them for their efforts tonight. They’re probably fine with that.
Boston 3, Vancouver 0 (end of second period)
Marchand made the first goal happen by sending a great pass Bergeron’s way, then he scored a wraparound goal in the second period. Some might look at that tally as a symbolic moment for embattled goalie Roberto Luongo since the puck went off of him after he seemingly made the save.
The Canucks frequently put Tim Thomas and the Boston Bruins in peril, sending 13 shots and plenty of great chances his way in the second period. That didn’t matter, though, as the Bruins goalies has stopped all 21 shots so far.
Vancouver drew the first penalty of the game when they were down 2-0 and better yet, Zdeno Chara was the man who went to the box. Many people will criticize Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault for opting against a timeout to take advantage of this opportunity, which was already looking bad when Vancouver was failing to keep the puck in the offensive zone.
A situation that was already disappointing turned downright toxic when Bergeron crashed his way to the Canucks net, seemingly creating an opportunity for a penalty shot. That penalty shot proved unnecessary, however, when it was clear that the puck slipped past Luongo in the first place. The NHL reviewed the goal briefly (possibly to see if it went off of Bergeron’s hand in an illegal way) before deciding that it stood as the 3-0 goal.
Bergeron has two goals (one shorthanded) while Marchand scored a goal and assist, ranking them alongside Thomas as the Bruins’ Game 7 heroes through two periods.
It’s hard not to wonder if the Canucks are already done. Thomas only allowed eight goals over the last six games, so why should we expect him to allow three in just 20 minutes? Vancouver needs only to focus on tying the game up – they can deal with tally No. 4 in overtime – but that’s obviously a tall order against a great goalie and some tough defensemen.