VANCOUVER – Tim Thomas was too good, and the Vancouver Canucks’ Swedish twins weren’t good enough.
Henrik and Daniel Sedin could only grasp for answers for their lack of offensive punch Wednesday night after the Boston Bruins bested the Canucks 4-0 in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final.
“We came out extremely hard in the first (period) and had a lot of chances to score goals but again we couldn’t beat Thomas,” Henrik said of the Bruins goaltender who added the Conn Smythe trophy to his Cup victory.
Thomas smothered his good close-in chance early in the first period.
“As a team you get momentum when you see the other team can’t score,” Henrik said.
Both Canucks players entered the playoffs with sterling credentials.
Henrik won the Hart trophy as MVP and the Art Ross trophy for the scoring championship last year and was fourth in scoring this season.
Daniel completed the brother act with the scoring title this season and is a Hart nominee.
They led the Canucks through three rounds of the playoffs but their scoring touch dried up against the Bruins.
Daniel had a goal and three assists in the seven-game series while Henrik had only a goal. They were on the ice for all four Bruins goals in the final game.
They are the first option on the Canucks’power play which went 2-for-33 in the series and gave up three short-handed goals.
“It’s our line’s job to score and we didn’t do that,” said Daniel.
“Thomas obviously played great but we had to find ways to score and we came up short today and in a lot of the games too.
“It’s disappointing obviously. We take a huge part of the blame here. It’s tough.”
It was the second time in franchise history that the Canucks took a Stanley Cup final to the ultimate game and lost.
This was the first Game 7 on home ice and the only time Vancouver trailed in a series this post-season.
Vancouver entered the game with six straight home-ice wins. But they became only the third team in Stanley Cup final history to lose a best-of-seven series after winning the first two games at home.
The Bruins, who won their sixth Cup and first since 1972, played a seventh game in a final for the first time in club history. They also won a record three Game 7s this post-season.
The Canucks, who suffered a bitter end to their promising 40th anniversary season, lost 3-2 to the New York Rangers in a 1994 seventh game and were swept in 1982 by the New York Islanders.
This time they entered the post-season as Cup favourites after leading the NHL in points, goals, preventing goals and power-play percentage.
“I think anybody in our situation right now would feel real disappointed, whether you’re the favourite or not,” said coach Alain Vigneault.
“We battled real hard. I know we gave it our best shot, but in this one game, they were the better team. It’s that simple.”
Ryan Kesler, who matched Daniel Sedin’s 41 regular-season goals but garnered only an assist against the Bruins took the defeat especially hard.
“I really thought we were going to win,” said the red-eyed Kesler, his playoff beard already shaven. “I can’t put it into words right now.”
He was one of the Canuck leaders early in the playoffs, gaining mention in Conn Smythe conversations after practically willing his teammates past Nashville in the Western Conference semi-final.
“It’s Game 7, no excuses, you’ve got to lay it out there,” said Kesler who refused to blame injuries after being staggered by a heavy hit along the boards from Bruin defenceman Johnny Boychuk in Game 3.
“We laid everything we had and a couple of bounces was the difference so it’s tough right now. It’s really tough.
“I’m a leader on this team I did my best today. I can hold my head up high but it definitely hurts right now.”
The unflappable Thomas’s aggressive, unorthodox style limited Vancouver to eight goals in the series.
Has made 798 saves in the playoffs to surpass the record 761 of Kirk McLean in Vancouver’s 1994 run.
The Bruins goalie also turned away 238 of 247 shots fired at him by the Canucks. His save total was a final series record, suprassing the 233 set by Johnny Bower of the 1964 Toronto Maple Leafs.
He was simply in a puck-stopping zone, said Canuck trade deadline pickup Chris Higgins.
“Goalies step up that way and make you hit him. I think he saw a big puck all through the series.
“We didn’t have too many times on the ice where we had odd-man rushes. They seemed to have at least three guys back and it’s difficult to create off the rush.”
The Canucks lost defencemen Dan Hamhuis to an undisclosed injury and Aaron Rome, who was suspended for a concussion-causing hit on Nathan Horton, during the series.
Forward Mason Raymond suffered a fractured vertebrae in Monday’s Game 6 when hit by Boychuk.
The Canucks squeezed out three one-goal wins here to set up the fourth do-or-die game for the hard-working Bruins who won three lopsided games at home, including a 5-2 Game 6 victory.
But Vancouver’s power play proved to be an Achilles heel.
It haunted them Wednesday when Patrice Bergeron made it 3-0 on a short-handed effort, sliding into goalie Roberto Luongo along with Vancouver defenceman Christian Ehrhoff.
“Our power play wasn’t good enough all series long,”said Ehrhoff.
“That goal today, I skated back. I just had one hand on my stick. (Bergeron) fell forward, crashed into Roberto. The puck went in after us.”
NOTES: Both clubs played 106 games this season … Bruin veteran Mark Recchi played in a seventh game for the 11th time in his career … it was the seventh Game 7 of the 2011 playoffs, matching the record set in 1994.