It only seems fair that this series went to seven games. Going into this series, the Tampa Bay Lightning seemed like an incomplete (but talented) team carried by timely scoring and great goaltending. Yet more often than not through the first six games, the Boston Bruins have played that role instead.
Both teams are familiar with this situation. The Bruins hosted the Montreal Canadiens in Game 7 after fighting back into that first round series before dropping Game 6. The Lightning played their other Game 7 on the road thanks to their moxie in elimination games.
Boston should feel pretty good about their offense, with David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron trading off strong performances. Zdeno Chara has been a difference maker as usual, but aside from his sturdy but unheralded partner Dennis Seidenberg, the Bruins’ defense has been surprisingly error-prone. Tim Thomas is the main reason those problems haven’t been fatal … yet. If the Bruins make their first Stanley Cup finals appearance since 1990, it will probably be on the back of another elite performance from Thomas.
Tampa Bay should go into Game 7 with even more confidence in their offense. They’re getting great production from expected sources such as Martin St. Louis, Steven Stamkos, Vincent Lecavalier and Simon Gagne, but lesser-known standouts such as Teddy Purcell, Steve Downie and (when healthy) Sean Bergenheim are making a big difference too. Much like the Bruins, Tampa must worry about their defense and goaltending. Dwayne Roloson pushed his elimination record to 7-0, but he’ll need to play much better to make it 8-0.
Want a rundown of this series? Here are links to each recap.
Hockey fans can delight in at least one more beloved Game 7, which you can watch on Versus at 8 p.m. ET on Friday. As you dream of all the possibilities, we must know: who do you think will come out on top in Game 7? Let us know in the poll below.
Per CSN, Chara says he’s improving but he won’t return to the lineup until he’s as close to 100 percent as possible.
“Every area of the injury is improving,” said Chara. “Hopefully it’s not long before I’m free of any kind of discomfort. That’s what we’re doing right now…we’re being patient. For sure you don’t want to come back, and be half of what you are…and basically hurting yourself and the team. And you’re putting yourself in a position where you could be missing more time. At this time of the season, I think it’s important to be as close as you can be to 100 percent.”
Based on the number of defensive mistakes they committed on Thursday, the Bruins need Chara back as soon as possible: