Skip to content

Bruins overcome Dwayne Roloson’s brilliance, advance to Stanley Cup finals with 1-0 win

May 27, 2011, 11:35 PM EDT

thomasandhortonap AP

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.

This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!

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.

This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!

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.

This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!

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.

Latest Posts
  1. McQuaid camp ‘holding out hope’ to re-sign with Bruins

    May 27, 2015, 4:16 PM EDT

    Boston Bruins v Tampa Bay Lightning Getty Images

    One of the many decisions facing new GM Don Sweeney.

  2. As Bolts deal with illness, extra day of rest could prove beneficial

    May 27, 2015, 3:49 PM EDT

    New York Rangers v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game Three Getty Images

    Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final goes Friday at MSG.

  3. Robinson calls DeBoer ‘a good choice’ for Sharks

    May 27, 2015, 3:27 PM EDT

    New Jersey Devils v Philadelphia Flyers - Game One Getty Images

    The two men worked together for a season in New Jersey.

  4. Etem likely to draw back in tonight versus Chicago

    May 27, 2015, 2:40 PM EDT

    Anaheim Ducks v Chicago Blackhawks Getty Images

    Tomas Fleischmann likely on his way out.

  5. Foley moves company to Vegas, hopes NHL sees him as ‘local owner’

    May 27, 2015, 2:21 PM EDT

    Hockey Vision Las Vegas News Conference To Announce NHL Season Ticket Drive Getty Images

    “We’re going to be embedded in this community.”

  6. Hitch thinks ‘goaltending is the least of our problems’

    May 27, 2015, 1:46 PM EDT

    Jake Allen AP

    “I get the fact there were three goals that went in that were ugly. That’s the growth of a young player.”

  7. On Kreider, and trying ‘to turn the other cheek’

    May 27, 2015, 12:39 PM EDT

    Rangers forward has had issues with it thus far.

  8. Report: Sharks to name DeBoer head coach

    May 27, 2015, 12:32 PM EDT

    Peter DeBoer Getty Images

    Former Panthers and Devils coach will take over a team that missed the playoffs for the first time since 2003.

  9. Miller’s ‘attitude has been outstanding,’ says Brassard

    May 27, 2015, 12:13 PM EDT

    J.T. Miller, Derick Brassard AP

    Remember when AV called the youngster out?

  10. Ward’s agent makes it (very) clear that Washington is his first choice

    May 27, 2015, 11:20 AM EDT

    New York Rangers v Washington Capitals - Game Six Getty Images

    “Our door is open for the Capitals, absolutely first and foremost.”

  11. ‘Very quiet’ on Derek Roy-Edmonton front, says agent

    May 27, 2015, 11:19 AM EDT

    Edmonton Oilers v Pittsburgh Penguins Getty Images

    Veteran center enjoyed something of a career revival with the Oilers last season.

  12. Blackhawks’ Teravainen: ‘I’m living my dream’

    May 27, 2015, 10:33 AM EDT

    Chicago Blackhawks v Anaheim Ducks - Game Five Getty Images

    Chicago fans are hoping that dream includes a Game 6 win.

  13. So much for Rick Nash’s slump

    May 27, 2015, 9:35 AM EDT

    150527-Rick-Nash Getty Images

    Give some credit to his linemates, including “energizer bunny” J.T. Miller.

  14. Video: Lundqvist helps lead Rangers back to New York for Game 7

    May 27, 2015, 12:59 AM EDT

    Henrik Lundqvist Getty Images

    Almost completely shut the door through two periods.

Featured video

End of an era coming for Blackhawks?
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. M. Zuccarello (3703)
  2. H. Lundqvist (2429)
  3. S. Stamkos (2128)
  4. B. Bishop (1715)
  5. M. Carle (1583)
  1. R. Nash (1579)
  2. M. Beleskey (1504)
  3. M. Babcock (1491)
  4. N. Horton (1349)
  5. K. Yandle (1328)