Tag: Lightning-Bruins

Ryan Malone, Zdeno Chara

Your Tampa Bay Lightning-Boston Bruins Game 7 primer

With the NBA finals matchup determined last night, much of the sports world will get the chance to witness some of the finest competition possible in sports in tonight’s hockey game. The Tampa Bay Lightning and Boston Bruins traveled bumpy roads to get to this point, but whoever wins tonight’s Game 7 gets to face the Vancouver Canucks juggernaut in the 2011 Stanley Cup finals.

Tampa Bay @ Boston (Versus) – 8 p.m. ET; Series tied at 3-3

The Lightning carried the play for much of this series and would not be denied during Game 6 at home. The Bruins have been surprisingly lax defensively during much of this series, often appearing flat-footed against a faster Tampa Bay team. The often superlative play of goalie Tim Thomas has been the ace up their sleeve during their three wins (and occasionally in defeat), though. He gives the Bruins an advantage over a suddenly shaky Dwayne Roloson, although Roloson’s 7-0 record in elimination games cannot be denied.

We’re hard-pressed to pick a favorite going into this one and so were PHT readers, as you can see from the Game 7 poll results.

The Bruins go into Game 7 as light favorites among readers, but they obviously didn’t run away with the poll results.

Do you want more material as you wait to find out which team will represent the Eastern Conference in the Stanley Cup finals? Here are all the game recaps:

Game 1
Game 2
Game 3
Game 4
Game 5
Game 6

If you want a little more depth, though, here are some of PHT’s best stories going into Game 7.

2011 Stanley Cup finals schedule


The hockey world won’t know if the Boston Bruins or Tampa Bay Lightning will take on the Vancouver Canucks in the Stanley Cup finals until Friday night. Fans who want to set their schedules around the Cup finals won’t have to do any guesswork about which nights they can watch the games either way, though.

Here’s the schedule for the 2011 Stanley Cup finals, including where you can watch each game.

Wednesday, June 1
Game 1: Boston or Tampa Bay at Vancouver, 8 p.m. ETNBC

Saturday, June 4
Game 2: Boston or Tampa Bay at Vancouver, 8 p.m. ETNBC

Monday, June 6
Game 3: Vancouver at Boston or Tampa Bay, 8 p.m. ETVersus

Wednesday, June 8
Game 4: Vancouver at Boston or Tampa Bay, 8 p.m. ET -Versus

Friday, June 10
Game 5 (if necessary): Boston or Tampa Bay at Vancouver, 8 p.m. ET -NBC

Monday, June 13
Game 6 (if necessary): Vancouver at Boston or Tampa Bay, 8 p.m. ET -NBC

Wednesday, June 15
Game 7 (if necessary): Boston or Tampa Bay at Vancouver, 8 p.m. ET -NBC

Poll: Who will win Game 7 between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Boston Bruins?

Boston Bruins v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game Six

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.

Game 1
Game 2
Game 3
Game 4
Game 5
Game 6

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.

Tampa Bay holds on to win wild Game 6, pushes series with Boston to Game 7

Boston Bruins v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game Six

In a game that straddled the line between “wildly entertaining” and “disturbingly sloppy,” the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Boston Bruins 5-4 in Game 6. This exciting win pushes the Eastern Conference finals to a Game 7 in Boston on Friday.

Each teams’ top line came up big in this contest, but Dwayne Roloson pushed his record in elimination games to 7-0 because his team was just a little bit better.

Tampa Bay 5, Boston 4; Series tied 3-3

It seemed like special teams would be the story of this game going into a wacky third period. The Lightning scored on their first three power play opportunities while the Bruins carried an 0-for-25 road PP mark into the final frame before David Krejci finally broke that slump with his second goal of the game.

Ultimately, the Lightning survived a poor performance by Roloson (four goals allowed on 20 shots), a hat trick by Krejci* and various plot twists to win Game 6.

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Big games from big names and unsung heroes

Tampa Bay’s biggest names combined for eight points: Martin St. Louis produced two goals and one assist, Steven Stamkos scored a goal and added two helpers and Vincent Lecavalier had two assists of his own. Yet the Bolts were also powered by great performances by lesser known threats.

Steve Downie continues to be Tampa Bay’s version of Alex Burrows, providing a great mix of power and skill that compliments his talented linemates nicely. He finished with two assists, including a great pass that foiled an overly aggressive Tim Thomas and allowed St. Louis to score what would be the game-winning 2-on-1 goal.

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Teddy Purcell showed that he might be an even bigger unsung hero than Sean Bergenheim, who missed tonight’s game with an undisclosed injury. Purcell scored two goals tonight, including a nice shot from a Lecavalier faceoff win that gave Tampa Bay a 1-0 lead just 36 seconds into the game. Purcell now has 17 points, matching Joe Thornton for fifth place in the 2011 playoffs.

This time around, the Lightning were able to protect an early lead against Boston. They rebounded from allowing the Bruins to take a 2-1 lead into the second period by out-playing them for the rest of the contest. Tampa Bay scored the game’s next three goals to take a 4-2 lead, but the Bruins were pesky in the closing minutes. Krejci scored that PP goal to make it 4-3 and then St. Louis fired back about 30 seconds later to make it 5-3. Krejci capped off his great performance by scoring a hat trick goal 13:28 into the third, but the Lightning managed to hang on anyway.

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Not a banner night for defense or goaltending

Every time this series seems like it will sink back to the tight-checking, defense-first style most were expecting, the two teams put together the type of contest that would fit in well in the wide-open 1980’s. The Bruins won a wacky 6-5 Game 2 by winning the second period and doing just enough to hang on in the final frame; the Lightning flipped that script tonight.

Even though both defenses hung their goalies out to dry, Roloson and Thomas cannot be happy with their performances.

It seems unfair for the Bruins to place so much of a burden on their Vezina Trophy candidate, but it almost feels like they need Thomas to stand on his head to win most of these games. He’s done that quite often, but the Bolts have too many talented forwards to bottle them up every night.

Roloson won yet another elimination game, but he struggled against the Bruins yet again. It’s unlikely that the Lightning would turn to Mike Smith in Game 7, but they need steadier play from their 41-year-old netminder on Friday. We’ll cover all the angles for that contest, which will air on Versus at 8 p.m. ET.

* Krejci scored the Bruins’ first playoff hat trick since Cam Neely accomplished that feat in 1991.

Video: Zdeno Chara reflects on his time with the Boston Bruins

Zdeno Chara

Zdeno Chara traveled an interesting path to becoming a Norris Trophy-caliber defenseman with the Boston Bruins.

It was reasonable to wonder if Chara would find a way to grow into his body when he was a struggling young defenseman with the New York Islanders. After two straight -27 seasons in 1999-2000 and 00-01, he was shipped to the Ottawa Senators in a trade that would be retrospectively criticized. It didn’t take him long to become an impact player on a talented (but ultimately disappointing?) Senators team, but the front office faced what seemed like a tough decision at the time. They had two expensive defensemen to choose from and opted for Wade Redden instead of Chara, possibly due to the perception that Chara didn’t come through in the playoffs. Obviously, this was another case in which hindsight wouldn’t be friendly to the team that passed on “Big Z.”

The Bruins were looking for an identity after trading Joe Thornton and found it thanks to a big free agent deal to acquire Chara in 2006. The team has blossomed since, although they’ve fallen victim to some tough losses along the way. The video below spotlights Chara’s highest and lowest points with Boston, although that story will continue in the 2011 playoffs and beyond considering the seven-year contract extension he signed during this season.

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