Freeze frame: Boston's first goal

While there were certainly flashier goals, including a shorthanded tally of his own while being dragged down in the second period, Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron noted after Wednesday's Game 7 triumph over the Canucks that the game's first goal was 'huge,' because it took some pressure off of Boston and put the Bruins in the driver's seat early on. Here's a quick freeze-frame breakdown of what proved to be the winning goal (screenshots from NHL.com):

First goal - Capture 1

The key to the play happens almost immediately. Coming out of a TV timeout, the teams engage in a face-off to the left of Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo. The puck trickles back towards Vancouver, but rookie Brad Marchand hustles to win possession. While Patrice Bergeron and Mark Recchi head to the net to set up in front, Marchand uses his speed to loop back up towards the blue line, then back down low as the Canucks do little to try to poke the puck away.

First goal - Capture 2

While practically hugging the side boards, Marchand slips a pass towards the slot, where Recchi is curling back in front of the net. Forward Henrik Sedin is watching by the near post, but defenseman Christian Ehrhoff comes over to prevent Recchi from getting a stick on the puck. It seems like the right idea.

First goal - Capture 3

But Ehrhoff had been shadowing Bergeron and, when he left to help on Recchi, that left Bergeron all alone behind them (aided by the fact that Vancouver's Alexandre Burrows doesn't bother to come pick him up). Bergeron watched the puck slip through to him and tucked it inside the left pole. Luongo never even sees it (just look at his body language, he didn't even attempt to make a save, likely figuring that once the puck got past Recchi it was safe and partially screened by Sedin).

The goal put Boston up 1-0 with 5:23 to play in the first period. It would be all Bruins netminder Tim Thomas needed as he stopped all 37 shots he faced, but Marchand added a pretty second-period goal from behind the net (another hustle play off a careless rebound) and Bergeron added the breakaway shorthanded tally soon after (somehow slipping the puck through Luongo while crashing to the ice and sliding into the end boards) as Boston raced away with the Cup.