Tag: Lightning-Bruins

Tim Thomas, Nathan Horton

How the Bruins, Canucks performed in previous Game 7’s in the 2011 playoffs

Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals is uncharted territory for these editions of the Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks. It’s actually the first time the Bruins franchise has ever been in a Game 7 in the championship round while the Canucks hope to be more successful than the 1994 edition was against the New York Rangers.

That being said, both teams have already experienced Game 7 matches in earlier rounds of the 2011 playoffs, so it’s not like they’ll feel totally out of place on Wednesday night. Let’s take a look at how each team played in their Game 7 contests.

April 26, 2011 – Canucks beat Blackhawks 2-1 (OT)

Goal scorers: Jonathan Toews scored for Chicago; Alex Burrows scored both of Vancouver’s tallies.

Roberto Luongo’s performance: 31 out of 32 saves made.

Summary: Luongo came into this Game 7 with about as much pressure as a goalie could endure in a first round series. He responded brilliantly, making huge stop after huge stop although Toews beat him on what could have been a heart-breaking shorthanded goal in the waning moments of regulation. Burrows scored the early goal and then nearly became the goat by taking a penalty in overtime. He redeemed himself by scoring the game-winning goal by exploiting a Chris Campoli turnover.

Defining video

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April 27, 2011 – Boston beats Montreal 4-3 (OT)

Goal scorers: Yannick Weber, Tomas Plekanec and P.K. Subban for Montreal; Johnny Boychuk, Mark Recchi, Chris Kelly and Nathan Horton for Boston.

Tim Thomas’ performance: Thomas stopped 34 out of 37 shots against the Habs.

Summary: The Bruins’ special teams flopped almost comically in this game, allowing two Montreal power play goals and a disturbing shorthanded tally by Plekanec. Boston made their bones through most of this year’s playoffs by playing great in 5-on-5 situations and this Game 7 was no exception. They stormed off to an early 2-0 lead before stumbling a bit, but didn’t allow stomach punching moments to derail their hard work. Thomas made 31 out of 31 saves and Boston out-scored Montreal 4-0 in even strength situations, including Horton’s bombastic overtime game-winner.

Defining video

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May 27, 2011 – Bruins beat Lightning 1-0

Goal scorer: Nathan Horton for Boston

Tim Thomas’ performance: Thomas made 24 out of 24 saves for a shutout.

Summary: As phenomenal as Dwayne Roloson was (making 37 out of 38 saves), the Bruins finally played the suffocating defensive style that they rarely maintained against Tampa Bay for most of the series. Thomas earned his shutout while Horton scored the game’s only goal on a tip-in after being exonerated of water bottle-throwing charges (although he did face a $2,500 slap on the wrist fine for the infraction).

Defining video

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As you can see, both goalies have had a great Game 7 performance already in these playoffs. There’s evidence that Luongo can bounce back from embarrassing moments but there is also proof that Thomas can close out an opponent even amid in-game setbacks. Each team won those games at home, though, so the Bruins will have to break that trend by winning Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals on the road (and become one of the few in NHL history to do so in the process).

Video: Highlights from Dwayne Roloson’s 37-save performance in Game 7 defeat

Dwayne Roloson, Mark Recchi

Before narrowly losing Friday’s Game 7 against the Boston Bruins, Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Dwayne Roloson produced a stunning 7-0 record in elimination games in his career. Let’s face it, though; Roloson wasn’t particularly great in his most recent win, allowing four goals on 20 shots in the a 5-4 Lightning win. He really wasn’t fantastic in the first five game he started in this series, either, allowing 15 goals in five starts while being pulled from two of those contests.

As shaky as Roloson was in those first five games, he made up for it in Game 7, even though Tampa Bay fell 1-0. He kept the score at 0-0 after facing 29 shots through the first two periods and stopped eight more in the final frame, but he did allow the game-winning goal by Nathan Horton. Then again, that goal took place on a 2-on-1 in which David Krejci sent a nice one-timer pass to Horton for the tap-in. Roloson was left on an island on that play – and unlike the other times he bailed out his team – he finally succumbed to the Bruins pressure.

Every now and then, goalies receive acclaim for superlative performances even if they fall short of a win. Ron Hextall and Jean-Sebastien Giguere won the Conn Smythe trophy after falling short of Stanley Cup victories. Ron Tugnutt was serenaded by Boston Bruins fans after he made 70 saves to secure a tie for the Quebec Nordiques. Roloson’s effort in defeat probably won’t be remembered on the same level as those historic examples, but his great saves deserve at least some attention. Hopefully this post can serve as a decent tribute to his outstanding performance. (Especially since it could be his last, considering he’s 41 years old.)

Let’s take a look at some of his best moments from that game.

Roloson stops Milan Lucic’s breakaway attempt, which ranked as the first great chance of the game.

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Horton scored the game-winning goal, but Roloson stopped him on five other shots.

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Call it old-on-old crime if you’d like: 41-year-old Roloson shuts down 43-year-old Mark Recchi twice.

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Want to see more from Friday’s game? Check out the top highlights from Game 7 in the video below.

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Video: Zdeno Chara puts his own spin on accepting the Prince of Wales Trophy

Tampa Bay Lightning v Boston Bruins - Game Seven

When the Boston Bruins managed to protect their 1-0 lead and win Game 7 against the Tampa Bay Lightning, many shifted their thoughts to their matchup against the Vancouver Canucks. Yet after they finished the time-honored tradition of the post-series handshakes,* a subset of the hockey public wondered: would Bruins captain Zdeno Chara touch the Prince of Wales Trophy?

In case you aren’t aware, many players are superstitious when it comes to touching the conference championship trophies. The gesture is obviously made to signify the belief that the ultimate goal is still four wins away.

Still, many captains decide to touch the trophies anyway. This post points out the fact that captains who touched one of the conference trophies are 4-5 since 2001, then polled PHT readers to see if they believe captains should touch the trophies. (A little under 52 percent said “No.”)

At first, it seemed like Chara would go the predictable route and not touch the Prince of Wales trophy. Chara did refrain from touching it, but he put his own spin on the ceremony by inviting his teammates over to pose around it. One might say that Chara channeled his inner Mike Eruzione in that moment, albeit on a much smaller scale.

(Eruzione – captain of the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” U.S. Olympic team – invited his teammates to cram on a podium intended for one person during the gold medal ceremony.)

It’s probably a stretch to say that Chara made an homage to that moment, but either way, it was an interesting twist on a rather silly tradition. Both Chara and Vancouver Canucks captain Henrik Sedin refrained from touching the respective trophies this year, so the record will stay at 4-5 for another year.

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* The most emotional moment there likely belonged to Tim Thomas and Martin St. Louis, who were college teammates at the University of Vermont.

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Bruins overcome Dwayne Roloson’s brilliance, advance to Stanley Cup finals with 1-0 win


Exactly a month ago, the Tampa Bay Lightning managed a 1-0 Game 7 shutout against the Penguins in Pittsburgh to continue Dwayne Roloson’s undefeated streak in elimination games. The Boston Bruins flipped the script on the Lightning this time around to make it to the Stanley Cup finals for the first time since 1990.

Tim Thomas made 24 saves for the third shutout of his playoff career (and second of this series), but Roloson often stole the show with his 37-save performance. Roloson’s undefeated streak in elimination games ended tonight, but he was the No. 1 reason this game was a nail-biter in the first place.

Boston 1, Tampa Bay 0; Bruins win series 4-3

A lot of hockey fans (especially from Tampa Bay) will cringe at the fact that water bottle thrower Nathan Horton was the only player to score in this tight-checking Game 7. There weren’t many odd man rushes in this defensive-minded deciding game, but Horton connected on a nice 2-on-1 one-timer pass from David Krejci to earn his second series-winning goal of the 2011 playoffs.

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The Bruins dominated most – if not all – of this contest, but there was almost a sense that Roloson’s amazing goaltending would allow the Lightning to pull off a “rope a dope” in Game 7. That didn’t happen, but Roloson made huge saves, including a breakaway stop against Milan Lucic and a nice 2-on-1 stop against Brad Marchand. Something tells me Roloson will get the chance to continue his NHL career in 2011-12 … if he chooses.

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Horton showed some heart by coming back to create some nice chances (six shots overall) and the game’s only goal after taking a tough hit from Nate Thompson, but he wasn’t the toughest player of the night. That badge of honor goes to Lightning star Steven Stamkos, who barely missed a beat after taking a brutal slap shot to the face.

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Roloson faced a series of shots and dangerous chances in this game to steal the show, but Thomas was never beaten in the biggest game of his quirky (but impressive) career. The Bruins enjoyed great work from players such as Horton, Krejci and Patrice Bergeron in this series, but Thomas was the obvious MVP of the Eastern Conference finals. One could partially attribute his lesser performances to some spotty defense, but he was especially sterling in Boston’s four wins. He bailed the Bruins out many times in their wild 6-5 Game 2 win, but was nearly impenetrable in their other three victories. Here’s a quick at what he did in those four wins:

Game 2: Five Goals Allowed on 41 shots.
Game 3: Shutout with 31 saves.
Game 5 One Goal Allowed on 34 shots.
Game 7: Shutout with 24 saves.
Overall: 124 out of 130 shots stopped in Bruins ECF wins, which would translate to a 95.3 save percentage.

No doubt about it, the Bruins are in the Stanley Cup finals because of Tim Thomas more than anyone else.

Closing thoughts

The Bruins often seemed schizophrenic during this series, rarely playing the sturdy defensive game people expected. Tampa Bay’s speed and skill exposed Boston’s weak defensive depth (and yes, they even made Zdeno Chara look bad from time to time) for much of the series. Still, Claude Julien’s crew got the job done when they needed to in the first playoff game without a single penalty since 1973. It could be a short, one-sided series against the Vancouver Canucks if they don’t bring their “A-Game” consistently, though.

It will be little solace for a Lightning team that finished two goals short of an unexpectedly quick return to the Cup finals, but they took a quantum leap in their first year under GM Steven Yzerman and coach Guy Boucher. Their impressive and opportunistic offense didn’t show up very well in Game 7, but it’s reasonable to say that this franchise has a bright future ahead of it.

Of course, they face some tough questions this summer, but we’ll get to that later on.

In the mean time, the Bruins prepare for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals in Vancouver on Wednesday. Click here for the schedule of games to start planning for what (hopefully) will be a great final round of playoff hockey.

Video: Steven Stamkos takes a puck to his face, barely misses any time


The beauty about hockey – particularly as the stakes rise in the playoffs – is that just about every player is tough. It’s not just enforcers or defensive defensemen who remind us why we watch on TV while they play for puck-related glory. Big-money stars shake off ghastly injuries for two reasons: 1) they’re tough as well and 2) it’s simply expected of them.

Even though we’ve seen moments like these time and time again, they never fail to amaze hockey fans. Tampa Bay Lightning star Steven Stamkos took a Johnny Boychuk slapper to the face, which “shattered his nose” according to the Versus telecast. Cameras caught him making his way to the locker room with serious haste while clutching his nose, leaving some to wonder if the Lightning would play a huge game without a big star.

It seemed like he barely missed more than a shift or two, instead. Stamkos came back into action with a full face shield and a gnarly wound on his nose (which you can see from this post’s main image via a screenshot from Chemmy of Pension Plan Puppets).

You can watch footage of Stamkos taking that shot to face in the video below. As I joked on Twitter, Stamkos went from having a face suited for a villain’s role in ’80s teen comedies to a mug that wouldn’t be out of place in a gangster movie. He might be a little less pretty after tonight’s game, but in return, he gained the respect of almost any reasonable hockey fan.

One final thought: thank goodness that he was wearing a visor.

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