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Bruins v Lightning - 2011 Stanley Cup Conference Finals

Horton fined $2,500 for Game 6 incident

Game 7 hero Nathan Horton paid a price for squirting fans in Tampa and throwing a water bottle into the crowd at the St. Pete Times Forum after Boston's 5-4 loss to the Lightning in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

Boston GM Peter Chiarelli told the media that Horton was fined for the incident. He didn't say how much, but media reports indicate it was $2,500.

"You know that's an unfortunate incident. I didn't really focus on it and I didn't talk to Nathan about it," Chiarelli said Saturday afternoon. "He has been fined, so that issue has been resolved."

Lightning come up short in unexpected playoff run

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

BOSTON -- Martin St. Louis labored while taking off his equipment for the final time in the 2010-11 season.

Part exhaustion, part dejection, part reflection -- St. Louis undressed a bit and then slumped back into a chair next to his stall in the visitors dressing room at TD Garden on Friday night before beginning again to remove tape and gear.

After he was done, St. Louis was on his way out of the room when Dwayne Roloson was coming in to speak with the media. They met near a stack of sweaty white sweaters that would soon be washed for the final time, and stopped for a hearty embrace.

Roloson's brilliance can't carry Lightning

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

BOSTON -- Dwayne Roloson's streak of victories in elimination games came to an end Friday night at TD Garden -- and yet it was one of his best performances of an incredible five months with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Roloson stopped 37 shots, including the first 34 he faced, but the Boston Bruins defeated Tampa Bay 1-0 in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

"He was [great]," Tampa Bay captain Vinny Lecavalier said of the 41-year-old goaltender who came in a deal with the New York Islanders on Jan. 1. "Since the first day he came onto our team, he has been a great leader. He was been real steady back there for us and gave us that confidence to be able to play, knowing that he is going to make the big saves."

Thomas' dream about Game 7 winner became reality

Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor

BOSTON Tim Thomas might want to play the lottery when he wakes up Saturday morning.

Boston's goaltender is on quite the roll. Not only did he pitch a 24-save shutout in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals as Boston beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 1-0 on Friday night, a victory that sends the franchise to its first Stanley Cup Final in 21 years -- it seems he also called the game-winning goal even before it happened – sort of.

Before the game started, he approached Nathan Horton for a pep talk.

"I said something about 'Do it again tonight, I know you're going to,' and then I said 'Let's do it together,'" Thomas said. "Sure enough, look who came up big. He's a big-money player, there's no doubt about it; a big-time player."

Game 7 loss is painful for Stamkos

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

BOSTON -- Steven Stamkos stood in front of a massive collection of media members; the pain he played through was visible for everyone to see.

Stamkos answered questions with a strip of black tape trying to cover whatever measures the Tampa Bay Lightning training staff used to close the wound on the bridge of his nose after he took a puck off his visor in the second period. He returned later in the period and played the rest of Game 7 with a full cage on his helmet.

The Bruins defeated Tampa Bay 1-0 on Friday night to advance to the Stanley Cup Final. Here’s what Stamkos had to say after the game, answering questions while his nose was still bleeding.

Bergenheim playing in Game 7

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

BOSTON -- It turns out that Sean Bergenheim didn't improve enough to play for the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals after all.

Bergenheim skated Friday morning in full gear, and coach Guy Boucher said he had improved but was still doubtful for the deciding contest.

The Finnish forward left Game 5 late in the first period with an undisclosed injury and didn't play in Game 6. Boucher said Thursday if the game had been that day Bergenheim wouldn't have been able to go.

Who will step into hero role for Game 7?

Shawn P. Roarke and Corey Masisak - Staff Writers

BOSTON -- Game 7s are for everybody.

No longer are the stars the only players to watch. When a series arrives at its winner-take-all moment, anyone can step into the skates of the hero. In the first round against Montreal, Boston got an overtime goal from Nathan Horton, just emerging as a go-to guy for the Bruins. In that same round, Tampa Bay got the game-winner against Pittsburgh from the little-known -- at the time -- Sean Bergenheim.

Tampa Bay's only Stanley Cup title came courtesy of a Game 7 victory against Calgary in 2004. Guess who scored the winner? It wasn't Vincent Lecavalier. It wasn't Martin St. Louis. Instead, it was Ruslan Fedotenko, often an afterthought on a team loaded with offensive wizards.

Six questions for Game 7

Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor

BOSTON -- It all comes down to this: Game 7 for the Eastern Conference Finals.

It's only appropriate that this intriguing series end with a winner-take-all affair Friday night at TD Garden (8 p.m. ET, Versus, CBC, RDS).

Through the first six games, the storylines and plot twists have been never-ending. Now, the story comes to its exciting conclusion in 60 minutes -- maybe more -- of nail-biting and nerve-wracking play from two teams hoping to advance to the Stanley Cup Final and face the Vancouver Canucks in a series that will start Wednesday in the Pacific Northwest.

But before we reach the last page of the last chapter of this enchanting story in the Eastern Conference Finals, there are still questions to be answered. Here are six of the biggest questions heading into Friday night's game:

St. Louis, Purcell not defined by undrafted status

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

BOSTON – Four weeks from now, there will be 211 names called out at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.

There will be elation for 211 young players who have their dream of being drafted by an NHL team realized. There will also be despair for the kids who either made the trip to St. Paul, Minn., or sat by the phone for two long days without hearing their names called.

If this run by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs has taught anything to youngsters who harbor hopes of playing in the NHL, it should be that what happens on draft weekend doesn't have to define a player. The Lightning will face the Boston Bruins on Friday night at TD Garden with a berth in the Stanley Cup Final on the line. breaks down Game 7

Shawn P. Roarke and Corey Masisak - Staff Writers

BOSTON -- After six wildly entertaining games in the Eastern Conference Finals, virtually nothing separates the Boston Bruins and the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Tampa Bay has scored 21goals, Boston has 20. Each team has won a game on the road. Each team has overcome in-game deficits. Each team has survived meltdowns by their rock-solid goalies -- Tim Thomas for Boston and Dwayne Roloson for Tampa Bay.

As a result, we have the most magical of moments in Stanley Cup Playoff hockey -- a Game 7.

The teams will meet Friday at TD Garden (8 p.m. ET; Versus, CBC, RDS) to decide which one is better -- even if it will only be by a hair -- in this series.

The winner will advance to play the Canucks in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final, opening that series in Vancouver next Wednesday. The loser gets to spend a too-long summer ruminating on what could have been.
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