Patrice Bergeron's shorthanded goal made it 3-0 Boston in the waning moments of the second. For all intents and purposes, it was an insurmountable lead and was the moment the Cup engravers could start checking their spelling. But it was also a microcosm of so many things that swung the series for the Bruins.
In an uncharacteristically clean game, the first penalty wasn't called until four minutes remaining in the period, with the Canucks down two. A successful power play would have made it a one-goal game with plenty of time left. But Vancouver was only 2-for-31 on the man advantage all series, (Boston scored 3 SHG to Vancouver's 2 PPG) and this wasn't about to buck the trend. Credit Boston's defense, but 2-for-31 is a great way to get outscored by 15 goals in just seven games. This, of course, after the Canucks had the league's top power play in the regular season.
The faceoff was a clean win in the Canucks zone by Gregory Campbell, no slouch on puck drops, but no Ryan Kesler. But Kesler, with a 57.4% faceoff win percentage in the regular season, shrank in crunch time, like the rest of Vancouver's offensive stars. In game seven, Kesler only won eight of his 21 opportunities. But at least he was relatively visible: the Sedins were nowhere to be found, with just five combined points all series.
When Patrice Bergeron broke behind the defense on the faceoff, he was even with Christian Ehrhoff. But he was able to gain the advantage, perhaps thanks to the work of Campbell and his linemates. Campbell, Paille and Thornton allowed Claude Julien to roll four full lines, keeping legs like Bergeron's fresh. If those extra minutes on the bench, building up over the season and playoffs and series, gave Bergeron even one extra step, that was what made the difference when Dennis Seidenberg fired the puck up to him.
Ehrhoff was forced to take Bergeron down, drawing a delayed penalty. It would have been the 28th whistle of the series on an ostensibly disciplined Vancouver team. But when you're consistently outskated like the Canucks were, you're forced to resort to the ugly hockey that the Canucks showed.
Then, finally, pure luck. It was luck that Seidenberg's clear ricocheted directly to Bergeron. It was luck that a sliding Bergeron nudged the puck in with his glove, though apparently not with a "punching motion." Just the dumb luck of the bounce, and that plays a huge role in any series. In this instance, though, it was karma. Boston didn't win any games that could have gone either way; Vancouver had the three one-goal wins. If any team could blame bad breaks for the series going this far, it was the Bruins. So when everything occurred just so on Bergeron's backbreaker, maybe it was the Hockey Gods making everything right.