|Tim Thomas and the Bruins have waited a long time for this||05.28.11 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%, 131 Votes)
- Bruins rout Lightning (16%, 43 Votes)
- Lightning win close game in regulation (14%, 36 Votes)
- Bruins win in overtime (10%, 27 Votes)
- Lightning rout Bruins (6%, 15 Votes)
- Lightning win in overtime (3%, 7 Votes)
- I'm from Tampa; is there a hockey game tonight? (3%, 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.
|Will it be a special night for the Bruins?||05.25.11 at 5:54 pm ET|
TAMPA — Perhaps fittingly, the reason the Bruins are on the brink of their first Stanley Cup finals appearance in 21 years is due to their special teams.
Obviously, we’re not talking about a power play that’s produced just four goals in 16 games.
Much was made of the red-hot Tampa Bay Lightning and their power play unit coming into the Eastern Conference finals with a playoff-best 12 goals in 54 chances. How would the Bruins respond?
The B’s have allowed just two power play goals in 18 chances. The penalty kill unit’s success was never more evident than when it killed off consecutive Nathan Horton penalties to end the first and open the second on Monday night in Game 5 with the Bruins already down, 1-0.
“I think it kind of actually did the same thing in our favor that it did in their favor last game,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “You know, we had those two early power plays in the second period and we didn’t do much and they built momentum off that. I know that when Horts [Nathan Horton] came out of that second one there, he scored a big goal for us and got us back in the game.
“So it did build some momentum. I think our penalty kill did a great job tonight for us. Right now, before the series started, special teams were the big concern, and right now I think in both areas, we’re pretty even.”
And the leader of that unit has been Daniel Paille. Not only has he helped killed off the penalties, he nearly scored twice on back to back chances in Game 5.
“Looking back on that game, we want to try to keep the same system going,” Paille said. “What was working for us is we just did the little things, stayed patient and did everything right. Obvously, we want to continue that throughout this game.”
The Lightning haven’t scored on the power play since Game 2 and the Bruins desperately would like to see that continue. If it does, they may be booking a trip for Vancouver this weekend.
TAMPA — On Tuesday, Lightning coach Guy Boucher justified his benching of Dwayne Roloson for Mike Smith in Game 5 as a chance to give the 41-year-old goalie a rest in the middle of the playoffs, adding that he’ll be the ‘most-rested’ player on the ice for tonight’s Game 6.
After some research, the real reason becomes fairly apparent, Roloson is 6-0 in his career in playoff elimination games, including 3-0 this season when his team erased a 3-1 deficit against Pittsburgh in the first round.
On Wednesday, Roloson said everybody gets rest on the day off but he’ll take it nonetheless and be ready when the puck drops for Game 6 at St. Pete Times Forum.
“I don’t think any goalie has played 82 games in a row now that they’ve changed the amount of the games we played,” Roloson said. “So, you do it during it during the regular season and there’s no difference in the playoffs. I think everyone gets rest when you get a day off so you take it when you can get it.”
The Bruins might be expecting the Lightning to play with desperation but don’t use that word around Roloson.
“For me personally, I don’t like using the word ‘desperate’. It’s one of the those words I don’t really use much in my vocabulary,” he said. “As a team, we have to just go play our system and our structure for 60, 65 or 120 or however many minutes it takes to win a hockey game.
“To me, it’s just another game. You can’t really put more emphasis on a game. You have to focus on your job, your individual job that allows your team to win. It doesn’t matter if it’s a goalie, a forward or a defenseman. Focus on the things you have to do, things you can control that gives your team a better chance to win.”
A local TV reporter followed up that answer by asking if that’s what has helped him post a 6-0 in playoff elimination games.
“I can’t answer that question,” Roloson said with a smirk. “There’s no response to that.”
OK, then. Guess we’ll have to wait until 8 p.m. to get a better one.
|Brad Marchand: We better show up in the first period||at 1:05 pm ET|
TAMPA — Bruins rookie standout Brad Marchand admitted Wednesday morning, just hours before Game 6, that the pressure is on the Bruins to close out the Lightning tonight and avoid sending the Eastern Conference finals back to Boston for a Game 7 Friday night at TD Garden.
“Yeah, we want to,” Marchand said. “There’s definitely a lot of pressure. If it goes to a Game 7, anything can happen and it’s a situation we don’t really want to be in. We have to make sure we put our best game forward tonight and give ourselves the best opportunity.
“We do have to keep our emotions in check. The Stanley Cup finals, that’s obviously the end goal but there’s still a long ways to go to get there. They’re going to have to play an amazing game tonight, there’s no question about that. We have to make sure we’re really ready to counter these guys and put on a good game here.”
The veteran he is, Daniel Paille had a slightly different take. He was more concerned with the end result than how they got there.
“I don’t think we feel any more pressure tonight than we did the last game,” Paille said. “Even though we started out slow, we responded well and came out with a big win. It shouldn’t be any more or less than the last game.”
Paille and Marchand would probably agree on one thing for sure – don’t expect the Bruins to get outshot 14-4 in the opening 20 minutes like they were on Monday, only to recover and score twice in the second and stabilize the game.
“We want to carry the momentum from the last game into our first period and make sure we have a big start,” Marchand said. “They’re going to come out flying tonight and try to build off that. We have to make sure we have a lot better first period than we did last game. We were nowhere to be seen in that first period [Game 5] and we have to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”
If the Bruins beat the Lightning tonight, they will face the Vancouver Canucks in the Stanley Cup finals after Vancouver advanced with a 3-2 win over San Jose in double overtime Tuesday night. Face-off tonight at St. Pete Times Forum is 8 p.m. ET.