|Tuukka Rask, Bruins blank Lightning to lock up home ice in first round||04.25.13 at 10:05 pm ET|
Tuukka Rask made all the timely saves a coach could ask for as the Bruins clinched home ice in the first round of the playoffs with a 2-0 win over the Lightning at home on Thursday.
Rask earned his fifth shutout of the season, tying a career high set in the 2009-10 season. Dennis Seidenberg chipped in with his third goal of the year, a slap shot through traffic from the point, and while the Bruins didn’t have a particularly inspiring start to the game, they finished strong, holding off a late Lightning onslaught for the win.
Here’s a look at what went right and wrong for the Bruins on Thursday.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
- Rask was sharp from the start and ultimately made 30 saves. Perhaps his most memorable stop came in the second, when he robbed Steven Stamkos on an odd-man rush for the Lightning, sliding across the crease to snatch Stamkos’ wrister out of the air. Shortly afterward, he drew chants of his name from the Garden crowd when he made two impressive kick saves in rapid succession.
Late in the third, with the Bruins maintaining a 2-0 lead, Rask shut down another Lightning rush, stopping Tampa leading scorer Martin St. Louis.
Rask also kept the Bruins in the game when they were being outshot and outworked early in the first period, stopping a number of quality chances from close range. He effectively put his brief but unspectacular outing in Philadelphia, in which he allowed three goals on 13 shots in relief of Anton Khudobin, behind him.
|Tim Thomas gets ‘first win out of the way’ and looks great doing it||10.08.11 at 11:23 pm ET|
No it wasn’t a shutout for Tim Thomas on Saturday night but in stopping 25 of 26 shots from the Lightning, he certainly showed he has the capability of replicating his historic year of a season ago.
Thomas made all the big saves, especially when the game was in doubt helping the Bruins to a 4-1 win over the Lightning team they edged in seven hard-fought games in last spring’s Eastern finals. And it served as a nice bounce back after dropping the season-opener on Thursday to the Flyers.
“You get the first win out of the way so kind of get the monkey off of our backs to get the season back in the direction we wanted to be going,” Thomas said.
“I felt just as comfortable the first night. Both teams we played during the playoffs so semi-familiar, even though there’s some new faces on both teams. Both general systems are the same and I felt comfortable right off the bat the other night and I felt good tonight. But the team had a good game in front of me tonight. We put a lot of shots on goal, found ways to get pucks in the net with a great penalty kill. A lot of good efforts out there all over the place.”
To Claude Julien, the performance of his goalie was solid when the game called for it and spectacular when needed.
“To me, Timmy looked more like the Timmy we know,” Julien said. “He looked calm, and he looked comfortable in net, and he made things look pretty easy. Even on the big saves, he was challenging well. To me, that’s as close to last year as I’ve seen Timmy. He certainly played a solid game for us.”
But, without question, the save he made on Teddy Purcell from the low slot on a one-timer was the save of the game. The Bruins were leading 2-1 early in the third when Purcell had a clean look and appeared to have an open side to Thomas’ right. Thomas slid over before falling to the ice and making the big save just 1:44 into the third.
“The [puck] was passed through the slot and whoever it was did a good job of tipping it over to Purcell,” Thomas said. “So, I was actually originally just on the first pass and I had to scramble to get over to the second pass, which is why I sort of made the save while I was falling down.”
Just over a minute later, David Krejci scored at the other end. Bruins up, 3-1. Game, set, match.
“I think any goaltender, in those key situations, that makes those kinds of saves is certainly going to give your team a boost, and Tim has done that for us on numerous occasions throughout his time here,” Julien said. “I’m not saying we’re used to it but we like it.”
“I’m not thinking of one big save,” Thomas said. “I’m thinking I have to make some saves, basically, [because] you never want to give the other team a sniff. We’ve learned our lessons over the years. I remember a game where we were up three goals with three minutes left against St. Louis and they tied it up and won in overtime. So, that was quite a few years ago now but that happened to us last year a few times where teams came back on us late. You’ve got to play the full 60 minutes That’s what we learned last year.”
And last year turned out pretty well thanks, in large part to Thomas and the lessons learned.
|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.”
Even when David Krejci pulled out all the tricks with point-blank shots and spin-o-ramas and Brad Marchand was firing shots on from great passes from Patrice Bergeron in the second period.
“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. Read the rest of this entry »
|Tim Thomas and the Bruins have waited a long time for this||at 12:41 am ET|
Tim Thomas has waited his whole career to get to this point and now the Bruins goalie will have the chance to play on hockey’s biggest stage and play for the most famous trophy in all of North American sports. Thomas stopped all 24 shots Friday night, posting his second shutout of the playoffs and third career in the postseason, in Boston’s 1-0 win that sends them to the Stanley Cup finals starting Wednesday in Vancouver.
“This is a great moment,” the 37-year-old Thomas said. “There’s no doubt about it. When’s the last time Boston’s been to the Stanley Cup finals? Twenty-one years. It’s been a long time for Boston, it’s been a long journey for me to get here. Now, you want to take advantage of this opportunity. There’s more work to be done. Unfortunately, that’s the way it is. You can’t ever be too happy for too long until you’re the last man standing.
“They had to earn. We pressured them, offensively. The only reason it was a 1-0 game was because of Dwayne Roloson. He played an incredible game.”
Roloson stopped the first 34 shots he faced before Nathan Horton put one past him with 7:33 left in the third for the deciding goal in the Eastern Conference finals.
|Poll: Who wins Bruins-Lightning Game 7?||05.27.11 at 8:37 am ET|
The Bruins will play their second Game 7 of the 2011 playoffs (after beating the Canadiens in the opening round) when they host the Lightning on Friday night. How do you see the game playing out?
- Bruins win close game in regulation (49.0%, 131 Votes)
- Bruins rout Lightning (16.0%, 43 Votes)
- Lightning win close game in regulation (14.0%, 36 Votes)
- Bruins win in overtime (10.0%, 27 Votes)
- Lightning rout Bruins (6.0%, 15 Votes)
- Lightning win in overtime (3.0%, 7 Votes)
- I'm from Tampa; is there a hockey game tonight? (3.0%, 7 Votes)
Total Voters: 266
|Patrice Bergeron: It’s not all on the officials||05.26.11 at 1:07 am ET|
TAMPA — Despite the suggestion by Claude Julien that the officials may have been influenced by Lightning coach Guy Boucher, center Patrice Bergeron said the Bruins need to take some responsibility for surrendering three power play goals.
“We have to stay disciplined against a team like them,” Bergeron said. “Tonight, they did a good job on their power play but still, we could’ve been better on the power play.
“Obviously, there were a couple after the whistle and a couple during the play. There were a couple of interference [calls] and we were just trying to make some room for our teammate but they were selling it good. At the same time, we have to make sure to stay out of the penalty box and stay disciplined. That’s a key against them.”
The Bruins had killed off 11 straight Tampa Bay power play chances before allowing three straight in second and third periods. The Bruins went 1-for-5 on the power play, including their first man advantage goal on the road in 26 tries.
|David Krejci: This is why ‘you work all season for home ice’||at 12:23 am ET|
TAMPA — After becoming the first Bruins player since Cam Neely to record a playoff hat trick, David Krejci said the disappointed Bruins can still take solace in the fact they have one game on home ice to win to get to the Stanley Cup finals.
“It’s tough, frustrating obviously, but that’s why you work all season to get home ice advantage, and now we have it,” Krejci said. “Game 7 in our building and in front of our fans, it’s going to be exciting.”
Krejci almost brought the Bruins back single-handedly from a 5-3 deficit late as he scored his third goal with 6:32 remaining in the third. His third goal not only matched Martin St. Louis with his NHL-leading 10th playoff goal, it gave him the first Boston playoff hat trick since Neely against the Canadiens on April 25, 1991. Krejci had several chances in the closing moments as the Bruins swarmed Dwayne Roloson but could not find the equalizer.
“It’s going to be a tough night, maybe, but once you wake up [Thursday], we have to forget about it,” Krejci said. “I think we’ve done a pretty good job at it after a win or loss. We regroup no matter what. We came back strong the next game so hopefully, we can do it again.
“We’re still one win away the Stanley Cup finals so, regroup [Thursday] and get ready for Friday,” Krejci said.
While scoring their first road power play goal in 26 chances, the Bruins were victimized by Lightning power play goals on their first three chances.
“Maybe a couple of calls were questionable but it doesn’t really matter right now,” Krejci said. “What’s done is done. We have to look at their power play, make some adjustments and be better next game.”
The Bruins will be trying to repeat the result of Game 7 in the first round against the Canadiens, when they beat Montreal, 3-2, in overtime on home ice to advance to the second round.
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