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Bruins v Lightning - 2011 Stanley Cup Conference Finals

Bruins hope top line can build off latest effort

Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor

BOSTON -- Facing a do-or-die Game 7 on Friday night, the Bruins find some solace in the fact that their top line showed up in a big way in Game 6, scoring all the Boston goals in a 5-4 loss to Tampa Bay.

Milan Lucic scored the first goal for Boston on Wednesday night, erasing another first-minute goal by the Lightning. Then David Krejci recorded a hat trick, the first Bruin to score three goals in a playoff game since Cam Neely did it in 1991.

Those are positive signs for a No. 1 line that has been an enigma throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs; especially for Lucic, who had just 2 goals in 16 playoff contests before Wednesday night.

"It's probably our best game as a line and we need to build off it," Lucic said. "We have to play the same way, but it wasn't enough (Wednesday night), so hopefully we can bring even more. Obviously, that is a positive we can take. You are never happy out there with what you did in a loss, but there are some things we can build off."

Roloson still perfect when facing elimination

Adam Kimelman - Deputy Managing Editor

After beating the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 6 to extend his team's season, Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Dwayne Roloson was asked if he knew his record in games when his team is facing game.

He quickly answered in the negative and said he didn't want to know.

Well, no one show this to Roloson, but he's never lost when his team has faced a win-or-go-home situation.

His 16-save effort in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Bruins Wednesday ran his record to 7-0 in such games, with a 1.82 goals-against average and .936 save percentage. This postseason alone, he's 4-0 in such games.

Eastern Conference Finals defined by unpredictability

Emily Kaplan - Staff Writer

Will Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning be a stingy, defensive contest or a wide open, high-scoring affair?

If the rest of the series is any indication -- well, then there is no indication.

The first six games have been anything but consistent. The series, tied 3-3, has included one shutout, four games where the teams have combined for at least seven goals and a heck of a lot of early goals and comebacks.

It seems impossible to try to predict the tempo of Game 7, as the style not only has changed game-to-game, but period-by-period as well.

Here's a look at some of the stats that define this wacky, unpredictable series:

Bruins and Lightning have been striking early

Emily Kaplan - Staff Writer

Don't even think about getting up from your couch directly after puck drop -- these teams have been scoring early and often.

Through the first six games of the Eastern Conference Finals, the Bruins and Lightning have combined for six goals in the first 1:09 of a period. Four of those goals have come within the first 1:09 of the game.

However it doesn't exactly pay to score early -- at least as far as the Lightning are concerned.

Lightning, Bruins play sixth Game 7

NEW YORK -- The Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning will vie for Eastern Conference playoff supremacy Friday night when they meet in Game 7 of their hotly-contested series at TD Garden in Boston (8 p.m., ET, VERSUS, CBC, RDS). The winner advances to face the Western Conference champion Vancouver Canucks in the Stanley Cup Final next week in Vancouver.

The Lightning forced Game 7 by defeating the Bruins 5-4 Wednesday after yet another frantic post-season finish -- the 53rd one-goal game (excluding empty-net goals) of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Friday's showdown will mark the sixth Game 7 of the postseason, tied for the most in one year since seven were contested in 1994.

Bruins already regrouping after Game 6 loss

Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor

TAMPA, Fla. – Boston had to work hard to take positives out of Wednesday's 5-4 loss to Tampa Bay in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals, a loss that sets up a winner-take-all Game 7 that Boston wanted to avoid at all costs.

But, as the Bruins players filed out of a silent visitors dressing room at the St. Pete Times Forum, the process of mentally preparing for Game 7 was already in motion.  

"It's going to be a tough night, maybe," said Bruins forward David Krejci, who had a natural hat trick in the loss. "But, once you wake up tomorrow, you have to forget about it. I think we have done a pretty good job of that after a win or a loss -- to forget about it and regroup no matter what. Hopefully, we can do it again."

Special teams torpedo Bruins’ hopes in Game 6

Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor

TAMPA, Fla. – There was nothing special about Boston's special-teams play Wednesday night in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals. As a result, the Bruins could see their chance at hockey's ultimate trophy dies the cruelest of deaths.

With a chance to book passage to the team's first Stanley Cup Final appearance in 21 years on the line in Wednesday's game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Bruins were completely outplayed on both the power play and penalty kill. The result was an excruciating 5-4 loss that sets up a winner-take-all Game 7 on Wednesday at TD Garden.

The Lightning scored three straight power-play goals in less than 13 minutes to erase a 2-1 deficit, then held Boston to just a late power-play goal, in five attempts, to turn the game on its ear. Even the power-play goal the Lightning allowed was negated when Boston had a defensive breakdown and allowed Martin St. Louis to score on a 2-on-1 just 29 seconds after David Krejci struck with the man-advantage to end a run of 15 straight unsuccessful power plays stretching all the way back to Game 2 of this series.

Power play helps Lightning force Game 7

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

TAMPA, Fla. -- Through the first two rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Tampa Bay Lightning thrived in part because of their work on the power play, converting more than 27 percent of their opportunities.

Through the first five games of the Eastern Conference Finals, an outage on the power play was one of the biggest reasons the Lightning were facing elimination in Game 6. Tampa Bay found its magic with the extra man Wednesday night and will play for a spot in the Stanley Cup Final because of it.

"To be honest, our last couple games, we just haven't been there, not many scoring chances," Martin St. Louis said. "Sometimes it's not about scoring but it's about gaining momentum. Our second unit has done that the last few games. They played really well in the power play. It's kept us in some games momentum-wise. Last couple of games, I feel we squeezed our sticks a little bit [on the first unit]. Not enough poise -- I think tonight we just let go. We said just let's go play, nothing to lose here. Our backs are against the wall. Let's go play, and we got rewarded by putting the puck on net."

Bolts' Lecavalier: 'We never quit'

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

TAMPA, Fla. -- Vincent Lecavalier had a pair of assists Wednesday night to help the Tampa Bay Lightning defeat the Boston Bruins 5-4 and force a Game 7 in the Eastern Conference Finals.

The Tampa Bay captain got the Lightning started just 36 seconds into the first period by winning a faceoff in the Boston zone back to Teddy Purcell for a goal and added primary assist on the first of three power-play tallies for the team on the night.

Lecavalier now has 19 points in this postseason -- third in the League behind Vancouver's Henrik Sedin (21) and his teammate Martin St. Louis, who has 20. Here's what Lecavalier had to say after the game.

Despite PK issues, Seidenberg confident for Game 7

Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor

TAMPA, Fla. -- Boston defenseman Dennis Seidenberg played almost half of Wednesday's Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals at St. Pete Times Forum.

The veteran defenseman, who finished with 28 minutes and 17 seconds of ice time, is consequently uniquely qualified to break down a heartbreaking 5-4 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, a defeat that will extend this series to a winner-take-all Game 7 at TD Garden on Friday night.

Seidenberg played even strength, was on the penalty-killing unit that allowed three straight goals to Tampa Bay's suddenly resurgent power play, and also played on the power play, which struck for the first time since Game 2 – and for just the fifth time in 17 postseason games. He was also in the box when Marty St. Louis tied the game 2-2 almost midway through the second period.
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