June 16th, 2011 | Sports

BOOLA BOOLA | Higgins ’05 falls just short of Stanley Cup.

Chris Higgins '05, left, maneuvers the puck past a St. Lawrence defenderat Ingalls Rink.
Chris Higgins '05, left, maneuvers the puck past a St. Lawrence defenderat Ingalls Rink. Photo by Emmanuelle Massicot.

Former Yale hockey star Chris Higgins ’05 has finished one win short of lifting the Stanley Cup.

Higgins and the Vancouver Canucks lost to the Boston Bruins, 4–0, in the deciding Game 7 of the NHL finals in Vancouver Wednesday night. The forward, who starred at Yale for two years before turning professional, registered a single point in the finals as his whole team struggled offensively, managing just three goals in its four losses to Boston.

The Stanley Cup was little more than a pipe dream for Higgins as recently as four months ago. He skated with the Florida Panthers for most of the year as they struggled to a last-place finish in the NHL’s Eastern Conference. But the league’s trade deadline changed all that in an instant, as Florida sent Higgins to surging Vancouver.

“The way things were going in Florida, it didn’t look like I was going to even make the playoffs before the trade deadline,” Higgins told U.S. College Hockey Online two weeks ago. “Then I come to the first-place team. You don’t get that opportunity often so you try to make the most of it.”

Higgins could not take advantage of the opportunity right away. He had broken his thumb blocking a shot for the Panthers on Feb. 25, and when he arrived in Vancouver his recovery timeline was uncertain. But he returned to action within two weeks and played in all 25 of the team’s playoff games, mostly on the team’s second line.

This regular season, he tallied 13 goals and 15 assists in 62 games for Vancouver and Florida.

Higgins, who signed a $1.6 million, one-year contract with Florida in July, will become a free agent this offseason.