Zdeno Chara: Mentally tough B’s had ‘mindset’ to beat Dwayne Roloson
|05.28.11 at 1:14 am ET|
While Dwayne Roloson was putting forth the performance of a lifetime – epic by even Stanley Cup playoff standards – it was fair to wonder if it just wasn’t meant to be for the Bruins in Game 7.
But for these Bruins, thankfully, that question never even entered their mind. That’s essentially why they were finally able to beat the apparently unbeatable 41-year-old goalie for one Nathan Horton tally with 7:33 left and make it stand in a Game 7 1-0 win for the ages that sends them to the Stanley Cup finals.
“We’ve had a few games like that, even in regular season,” Bruins captain Zdeno Chara said. “To have that performance in Game 7, it’s just nice to see. Everybody bought into it. It was really a strong mindset before the game, throughout the whole game. I was very impressed the way we played and never changed anything.”
“We talked about it between periods, just stick with it, stick with it and eventually, it did happen,” Chara said. “It’s something you have to do that to be able to accomplish something. Everybody has to play the same way. It’s a team discipline.”
Chara and the Bruins were being denied time after time by Roloson, a goalie, who entering Game 7, was 7-0 in elimination games in his career, including four wins in these 2011 playoffs, alone.
“He was unbelievable,” Chara said. “He made some huge saves for them. He was obviously keeping them in the game a number of times. What a performance by him throughout the whole playoffs. For somebody who everybody is talking about his age, he played the best hockey of his career.”
Of course, prior to Horton’s goal, there was the chance of the game on a breakaway by Milan Lucic with 4:51 left in the first period. Lucic’s shot hit Roloson right in the crest of his sweater.
“He played great, stopping what he did,” Lucic said. “He stoned us for 50, 55 minutes there. He did a great job for them all season long since they got them. He’s a big reason why he got to the Eastern Conference finals. When we were getting those chances, and we’re talking about that maturity, nobody was getting frustrated, nobody was screaming at themselves or one another.
“We wanted to keep our composure. We wanted to keep doing what we were doing to get those scoring chances and we knew that, we were eventually going to get one.”
For Lucic, who scored twice in Game 7 against the Flyers in 2010, this was a chance to show they had learned their lesson with so much at stake.
“We had opportunities last year and the year before to make the next step. If you look at it, losing those games in the second round in Game 7 has probably made us stronger. Going out there and laying everything on the line and playing with no regrets has helped us with our maturity.”
That was especially evident with the way they played after they finally did score on Roloson.
“Even when we scored that one goal, nobody was celebrating too much,” Lucic said. “We still knew there was still [7 1/2] minutes left and there was still a job that needed to be done. We did that. I don’t think we gave them a good quality scoring chance after we scored that goal and we stayed tight as a team. We made sure we were blocking shots, getting pucks out, and getting pucks in their zone and making them go all the way back and come back into our zone. That’s where you talk about that maturity and what we’ve learned over the last couple of years, and it feels good right now.”