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Four potential surprise heroes for Game 7 between Boston and Tampa Bay

May 27, 2011, 9:00 AM EST

Dominic Moore, Michael Ryder Getty Images

It’s the day of Game 7 between Boston and Tampa Bay with a date in the Stanley Cup finals on the line. There’s been plenty of build up to this one already and while everyone will be busy zeroing in on guys like Tim Thomas, Dwayne Roloson, Zdeno Chara, and Martin St. Louis there’s a host of other players that will suit up for Game 7 that could cement their legacies as heroes if they can help their teams win.

It’s more than easy to break down how the big guns for each team match up against each other and why not it’s where both teams have made a killing in this series. Guys like St. Louis, Steve Stamkos, and Vincent Lecavalier have been the best players for Tampa Bay while David Krejci and Nathan Horton have been the top performers for Boston. Picking names off the top line makes picking heroes out a little easier. So who out there for each team could jump out as a potential unsung hero tonight? We’ve got a pair of guys from each team that could catch you off guard and lead their teams to victory.

Michael Ryder – Boston Bruins

Michael Ryder has gone from being the guy Bruins fans wanted benched all season long to being a relatively useful offensive threat in the playoffs and proving why Claude Julien enjoys keeping him in the lineup every game. Ryder has 11 points in the playoffs and six of them have come in this series. While forwards like David Krejci, Nathan Horton, and Tyler Seguin are stealing the headlines in this series, Ryder’s been consistently hanging around and producing getting three goals and three assists against the Lightning. While the Bruins top line of Krejci, Horton, and Milan Lucic will get all the attention if Ryder and the rest of the third line can get things going against a Lightning team likely still going without Sean Bergenheim it can be Ryder’s time to shine once again and help his coach look like the smart guy all along.

Dominic Moore – Tampa Bay Lightning

Dominic Moore is one of those guys on the third line that’s found ways to be a killer in these playoffs. Against Pittsburgh he twice made unbelievable passes to Bergenheim for killer goals that changed the momentum of the game. Now without him to share the puck with, he’s having to play things a bit tougher. One thing he is doing is helping to win faceoffs to get the attack going and while he’s just a third

line guy, for the Lightning that doesn’t necessarily mean living life as a grinder. With a goal and two assists already against Boston, Moore is doing well enough on his own, but if the Bruins succeed in keeping Tampa Bay’s first two lines quiet look for Moore to be the guy to light the spark and raise his game.

Tomas Kaberle – Boston Bruins

No, we’re not joking here. While Kaberle still isn’t the defensive maven his position demands, he’s been contributing little by little offensively of late. He had two assists in both Games 2 and 6 and had an assist in Game 4. While he hasn’t gotten a lot of ice time throughout this series, in Game 6 he had over 19 minutes of time on the ice and it paid off. With that sort of confidence in his game back for at least one game and playing relatively well offensively, he could be the key point man to running the Bruins attack tonight. There’s sure to be more than enough attention paid to him regardless in Game 7 and it couldn’t hurt him to have a big game.

Ryan Malone – Tampa Bay Lightning

What’s remarkable about Malone’s series so far with Boston is that he’s played outstanding. He’s been physical, he hasn’t shied away from confrontations, and he’s helped spark the play of his line. When looking at his stats in this series you’d think he was a total dud as he’s got just one assist and is a -1 with 10 penalty minutes. The key stat for him that makes us think he’s due for a breakout? 12 shots on goal in the series. Malone was a major force with Pittsburgh during their 2008 Stanley Cup finals run and scored numerous clutch goals. He hasn’t yet punched one in in this series but with the way he’s played, he’s overdue to get one.

  1. jpelle82 - May 27, 2011 at 10:02 AM

    at least we wont have to hear the Ole’ Ole’ Ole’ Montreal chant all game like they do in tampa for game 7….can anyone explain that one? pretty annoying and i dont get why anyone would want to mimic anything montreal does.

    • nhlbruins90 - May 27, 2011 at 10:36 AM

      I suspect there are a lot of folks from Quebec who winter in Florida and are Bolts fans. Hence, they bring along some of their habits from home, which catch on over time with the other fans. Yes, it’s annoying.

    • govtminion - May 27, 2011 at 10:38 AM

      My bet? Because they know it annoys Bruins fans. No other reason than that.

      For the record, that horrible “Chelsea Dagger” song probably should get played more often when the Canucks come to town, by that same measure.

      • jpelle82 - May 27, 2011 at 12:23 PM

        now that you mention it, that would make sense. i catch a lot of capitals games on tv here in northern va and i’ve never heard them chant ole ole ole at the caps.

  2. demons87 - May 27, 2011 at 11:12 AM

    Give them a break, they just learned they can chant “Let’s go Bolts” before they have a lead in the third. I mean they’ve only been around for 20 years, these things take time.

    • MinnesnowtaJagsFan - May 27, 2011 at 11:52 AM

      HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!! Priceless.

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