Beantown champions!

Bruins captain Zdeno Chara hoists the Stanley Cup at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, B.C., June 15,...

Bruins captain Zdeno Chara hoists the Stanley Cup at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, B.C., June 15, 2011. (ERIC BOLTE/QMI Agency)

CHRIS STEVENSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:37 AM ET

VANCOUVER - They came at this from opposite ends of their careers.

The Boston Bruins rookie with the ugly, patchy beard.

The grey-bearded veteran.

Brad Marchand.

Mark Recchi.

Twenty years between them; one silver, glittering moment to share.

They came from opposite ends, but met with their teammates where it mattered after Game 7, beneath the Stanley Cup.

With Marchand, 23, scoring two goals and adding an assist and the 43-year-old Recchi helping set up Marchand -- all of it backed up by the unflinching goaltending of Conn Smythe winner Tim Thomas -- the Boston Bruins smashed the home-ice dominance of the Vancouver Canucks and won the franchise’s first Stanley Cup in 39 years with a 4-0 win at Rogers Arena.

Boston’s Patrice Bergeron, the third member of the B’s second line with Marchand and Recchi, benefited from Marchand’s set up and added a short-handed goal to send stunned Canucks fans -- what were left of them in the stands as time wound down -- out into the dark streets, where there was tension even before the game.

As time wound down, the three of them stood on the Bruins bench and hugged.

“We went back to the bench and we knew we had it in the bag. We knew we had them,” said Marchand. “We were just thanking (Recchi) for everything and congratulating him on his career. He was thanking us for being part of it. We all took it in as a line together. It meant a lot.

“It is so surreal right now. You lift that Cup up and you can’t even believe it. You work your whole life for it,” said Marchand. “We wanted to be difference makers. We knew we had to step up in this building. We got a couple of lucky goals early and we were able to push forward and prevail.”

When NHL commissioner Gary Bettman handed the Stanley Cup to Bruins captain Zdeno Chara -- just the second European captain to take that handoff -- it completed the crushing defeat for the Canucks and their fans after winning the President’s Trophy as the regular season’s top team and having won all three of the previous games in the final on home ice.

Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo will take his share of blame for the loss -- along with the Sedin twins and forward Ryan Kesler, who were all quiet in the final -- and many will point to Luongo’s unflattering comments about Thomas after Game 5 here for creating bad karma, if nothing else.

Luongo gave up the three goals on just 13 shots after giving up just two goals in the previous three games of the final at Rogers Arena.

Marchand was a revelation in this playoff, one of those players despised by the opposition for his yapping and sometimes questionable antics on the ice, but he scored five goals in the final and 11 in the playoffs. Marchand tied Jeremy Roenick for second spot on the all-time rookie list. Roenick had 11 for the Chicago Blackhawks in 1990. Dino Ciccarelli has the record with 14 for the Minnesota North Stars in 1981.

Recchi, who had said he would retire if the Bruins won the Cup, had three goals and four assists in the final and lifted the third Stanley Cup of his career. He had gone eight playoff games without a point -- telling critics they could “kiss his ass,” -- but had his seven points over the last six games of the final.

“That’s it for me. I’m done,” said Recchi on the ice after the game, going out on top in his home province. “I couldn’t ask for anything more. This is going to be a fun few days here. You want to end it the right way. This has been a great ride.”

A great ride that ended at the top.

chris.stevenson@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/CJ_Stevenson


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