Tag: Lightning-Bruins


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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Your Tampa Bay Lightning-Boston Bruins Game 7 primer

Ryan Malone, Zdeno Chara

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.