For the first time in 21 years, the Boston Bruins are going to the Stanley Cup Finals.
The Bruins will face off against the Vancouver Canucks in the Stanley Cup. They defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning, 1-0 in game seven. The lone goal came off the stick of Nathan Horton after a tremendous pass from David Krejci. Well, how did they get to this point?
Number Five- Dwayne Roloson
He didn’t win this game, but he came close. Roloson held the Bruins off the board until 12:27 of the third when Horton put the puck in the back of the net. Before the only goal of the game, Roloson had played a terrific game. He stopped Mark Recchi on two point blank shots, Michael Ryder on a shot at the side of the net and Brad Marchand’s bid.
Roloson is now 7-1 in elimination games.
Number Four- Defense
Zdeno Chara played a pretty lousy game. But Dennis Seidenberg and Andrew Ference played the game of their lives, and they are going to the Cup now. If Chara bounces back, like he likely will, this defense can stop the Canucks. The Lightning are a dynamic scoring team, and if they can shut them out, the Canucks can be too.
Number Three- Tim Thomas
The streak continues.
Thomas has been on every single one of these, win or loss. And as he guaranteed a Bruins victory in this series, he led them to it. Thomas will win the NHL’s Vezina award for best goaltender in the league. But what really matters is the trophy. The big one.
Number Two- Nathan Horton
Dennis Wideman was the Bruins’ best player last post season. Now, the hero is Nathan Horton, the player traded for him. Horton brought the Bruins past the Montreal Canadiens and carried the play tonight to lead them past the Lightning.
Horton had left the game midway through the first after a hit from Teddy Purcell. He came back to the bench by the end of the period but the apparent arm injury raised some concern. For the Bruins, thank goodness he came back.
Number One- Five on Five
The Boston Bruins were the best five on five team in the league and had the worst power play of the playoffs. Tonight? No penalty calls, and that is why they won. The Lightning had the best penalty kill and power play in the playoffs up until Game Seven and their power play had scored thrice in the previous game. The Bruins also had the worst power play in the league.
Doesn’t seem to matter, does it? The Bruins are the worst power play team in the league and in Stanley Cup history. And they are the Eastern Conference Champions.
Game One of the Stanley Cup Finals is Wednesday night in Vancouver.