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.
The Bruins and Lightning will take to the ice exactly one month after both clubs prevailed in a Game 7 during the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. The Bruins eliminated the Montreal Canadiens
4-3 on an overtime goal by Nathan Horton
, while the Lightning edged the Pittsburgh Penguins
1-0 on a goal by Sean Bergenheim
The TD Garden faithful will be witness to the drama and intensity of a Game 7 for the fourth time in the past three seasons. The Bruins dropped a 3-2 overtime decision to the Carolina Hurricanes
in 2009 and lost 4-3 to the Philadelphia Flyers
in 2010 prior to ousting the Canadiens last month.
The Lightning are 3-0 lifetime in Game 7 and will be attempting to become the first NHL franchise to win each of their first four appearances. The Lightning's win at Pittsburgh last month tied the mark set by the St. Louis Blues
, who won their first three Game 7s from 1968 through 1972.
The Bruins and Lightning will face off Friday with strikingly similar records in 2010-11; both went 46-25-11 during the regular season and are 11-6 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Bruins have scored 57 goals and allowed 45 during the playoffs, while the Lightning have scored 59 and allowed 44. Tampa Bay holds a 21-20 edge in goals during this series.
Four Boston players have appeared in at least six career Game 7s, led by 43-year-old right wing Mark Recchi
, who is set to appear in his 10th career game -- the most among active NHL players. The Lightning's Simon Gagne
and Mattias Ohlund
have played in a team-leading five Game 7s.
Lightning goaltender Dwayne Roloson
enters Game 7 with a 7-0 career record when his team is facing elimination. In registering the victory in Game 6, Roloson became just the second goaltender in NHL history to win each of his first seven 'elimination' games, joining Glenn 'Chico' Resch.
Career Game 7 Player and Goaltender Statistics: Boston and Tampa Bay
BOSTON, TAMPA BAY RECORDS IN GAME 7
Boston Bruins (10-10)
4/27/11, Eastern Conference QF vs. Montreal (MTL 3 at BOS 4, OT)
5/14/10, Eastern Conference SF vs. Philadelphia (PHI 4 at BOS 3)
5/14/09, Eastern Conference SF vs. Carolina (CAR 3 at BOS 2, OT)
4/21/08, Eastern Conference QF vs. Montreal (BOS 0 at MTL 5)
4/19/04, Eastern Conference QF vs. Montreal (MTL 2 at BOS 0)
4/29/94, Eastern Conference QF vs. Montreal (MTL 3 at BOS 5)
5/1/92, Adams Division SF vs. Buffalo (BUF 2 at BOS 3)
4/29/91, Adams Division Final vs. Montreal (MTL 1 at BOS 2)
4/17/90, Adams Division Semifinal vs. Hartford (HFD 1 at BOS 3)
5/14/88, Prince of Wales Conference Final vs. New Jersey (N.J. 2 at BOS 6)
4/24/83, Adams Division Final vs. Buffalo (BUF 2 at BOS 3, OT)
4/25/82, Adams Division Final vs. Quebec (QUE 2 at BOS 1)
5/10/79, Semifinal vs. Montreal (BOS 4 at MTL 5, OT)
4/25/76, Quarterfinal vs. Los Angeles (L.A. 0 at BOS 3)
4/18/71, Quarterfinal vs. Montreal (MTL 4 at BOS 2)
4/7/59, Semifinal vs. Toronto (TOR 3 at BOS 2)
4/8/52, Semifinal vs. Montreal (BOS 1 at MTL 3)
4/3/45, Semifinal vs. Detroit (BOS 3 at DET 5)
4/3/41, Semifinal vs. Toronto (TOR 1 at BOS 2)
4/2/39, Semifinal vs. NY Rangers (NYR 1 at BOS 2, 3OT)
Tampa Bay Lightning (3-0)
4/27/11, Eastern Conference QF vs. Pittsburgh (T.B. 1 at PIT 0)
6/7/04, Stanley Cup Final vs. Calgary (CGY 1 at T.B. 2)
5/22/04, Eastern Conference Final vs. Philadelphia (PHI 1 at T.B. 2)