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.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) Scott Hartnell scored his second goal of the game midway through the third period to push the Columbus Blue Jackets over the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 on Saturday night.
Hartnell scored in the first period and got the tiebreaker in the third, helping the Blue Jackets overcome a terrible second period to beat the Hurricanes for the second time this week. Carolina has lost three straight.
Sebastian Aho and Justin Faulk scored in the second period for Carolina. Michael Leighton, recalled from Charlotte of the AHL on Thursday, started in place of Cam Ward and stopped 17 shots.
Hannikainen poked in the first goal for Columbus 4:49 into the game off a rebound in front of Carolina’s net. The shot through traffic resulted in the first goal and point of the 23-year-old rookie’s NHL career.
About 10 minutes later, Hartnell got a breakaway and slammed a slap shot past Leighton’s glove from just inside the blue line to put Columbus up 2-0 at the first break.
“I just tried to bury my head and shoot as hard as I could,” Hartnell said.
The second period belonged to the Hurricanes.
Carolina got the first one back on a power play 9:05 in when Aho picked up the loose puck off Jaccob Slavin‘s blocked slap shot and found the net from eight feet out.
Justin Faulk tied it at 2 when he carried the puck through the neutral zone and snapped off a shot from the right circle that rattled off the bar and in with 4:33 left. Carolina outshot Columbus 9-2 in the period, and Blue Jackets players went to the penalty box four times.
Hartnell got the winner when he took a pass from Sam Gagner and knocked it in from 13 feet with 9:35 left.
Carolina pulled the goalie with 2:32 left but couldn’t tie it.
Video: The Sabres weren’t happy with Emelin after dangerous hit on Moulson
Wayne Simmonds is not only a productive power forward, but he’s one tough customer.
He showed that again Saturday, dropping the gloves with Miles Wood of the New Jersey Devils during the first period.
The fight occurred right after Wood drove Radko Gudas hard into the boards on the forecheck. The scrap didn’t last long, however, with Simmonds landing a few shots and then taking the Devils forward to the ice.