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. Walker, first Australian ever drafted, signs with Capitals

    Jul 26, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT

    Washington-Capitals-logo

    Nathan Walker spent the 2013-14 campaign in the AHL.

  2. Top prospect Virtanen signs with Canucks

    Jul 25, 2014, 10:46 PM EDT

    Jake Virtanen AP

    Vancouver took him with the sixth overall pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.

  3. NHL veteran Jason Williams returning to North America

    Jul 25, 2014, 9:38 PM EDT

    Jason Williams Getty Images

    He signed with the AHL Oklahoma City Barons.

  4. Moser wants pay raise to stick with Preds

    Jul 25, 2014, 7:23 PM EDT

    Simon Moser Getty Images

    He’s a restricted free agent, but might end up returning to Switzerland.

  5. Gillis’ daughter: Criticism was hard to ignore

    Jul 25, 2014, 6:17 PM EDT

    Mike Gillis AP

    In a way, she played a role in him working for the Canucks.

  6. Leafs re-sign Reimer — two years, $4.6 million

    Jul 25, 2014, 5:12 PM EDT

    DETROIT, MI - MARCH 18: James Reimer #34 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates back to the net after a time out during the second period of the game against the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena on March 18, 2014 in Detroit, Michigan. The Red Wings defeated the Maple Leafs 3-2. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) Getty Images

    He lost the starting job to Jonathan Bernier last season.

  7. Fedotenko’s goal ‘is to play in the NHL next year,’ says agent

    Jul 25, 2014, 3:00 PM EDT

    Ruslan Fedotenko #26 of the Philadelphia Flyers clears the puck in the third period against the New York Rangers on March 5, 2013 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.The New York Rangers defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 4-2.
(March 4, 2013 - Source: Elsa/Getty Images North America) Getty Images

    Two-time Stanley Cup winner played last season with KHL club HC Donbass.

  8. Gorges still can’t explain falling out of favor in Montreal

    Jul 25, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT

    joshgorgesgetty Getty Images

    “I wish I had a really good answer — where this came from and why, and how it came about — but I don’t, to be honest.”

  9. Coyotes have high hopes for Gagner after ‘tough couple of years’ in Edmonton

    Jul 25, 2014, 1:01 PM EDT

    Edmonton Oilers v San Jose Sharks Getty Images

    “We’re hoping the change of scenery is going to do him good.”

  10. Habs’ St. Pierre heads back to KHL

    Jul 25, 2014, 12:09 PM EDT

    MartinStPierre Getty Images

    But not before having played his first NHL game since 2009-10.

  11. Methot’s new deal with Sens ‘going to be multi-year’

    Jul 25, 2014, 11:11 AM EDT

    MarcMethot Getty Images

    “It’s a fairly simple one because Marc wants to be here,”

  12. Detroit re-signs Ferraro: one year, $550,000

    Jul 25, 2014, 10:13 AM EDT

    LandonFerraro Getty Images

    The 32nd overall pick at the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.

  13. Deschamps agrees to terms with Finnish squad

    Jul 25, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT

    Nicolas Deschamps Getty Images

    He made his NHL debut with Washington last season.

  14. ‘Hawks 2011 first-round pick Danault told to emulate Kruger

    Jul 24, 2014, 11:08 PM EDT

    Phillip Danault Getty Images

    In other words, they want him to be a shutdown center

  15. Julien points to Eriksson as answer to Iginla departure

    Jul 24, 2014, 10:14 PM EDT

    louierikssongetty Getty Images

    Eriksson’s looking to bounce back after suffering two concussions last season.

  16. Booth eager to prove he ‘can play in this League again’

    Jul 24, 2014, 9:06 PM EDT

    NEWARK, NJ - OCTOBER 24: David Booth #7 of the Vancouver Canucks skates against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on October 24, 2013 in Newark, New Jersey. The Canucks defeated the Devils 3-2 in the shootout. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) Getty Images

    He’ll get a fresh start after struggling with Vancouver.

  17. Jets re-sign Ellerby despite not qualifying him

    Jul 24, 2014, 8:00 PM EDT

    Keaton Ellerby Getty Images

    He’s coming back after testing the free agent waters.

Featured video

Bettman hears the boos in Philly
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. S. Crosby (1754)
  2. L. Stempniak (1620)
  3. R. O'Reilly (1535)
  4. C. Franson (1474)
  5. D. Roy (1422)
  1. D. Booth (1329)
  2. A. Rome (1264)
  3. M. Zuccarello (1142)
  4. C. Kreider (1134)
  5. J. Demers (1068)