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Tampa Bay vs. Boston Game 7 live blog

by Shawn P. Roarke
20:00 Internet issues severely plagued the in-game blog tonight. For that, I apologize peeps. It was a historic game and a historeic city. Suffice it to say that the city of Boston is going bizonkers right about now as the Bruins make their first Stanley Cup Final appearance since 1990. I thank you all for join me on this epic journey and hope to see you back here on Wednesday for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final fromn Vancouver.

So loud in here, can't hear whistles. Tampa bay pushing hard, but Boston standing ground. Seeing a lot of Andrew Ference In this run and he has been a beast.

And Boston has the breakthrough it wanted on a nice transition play. Andrew Ference started it with a nice pass to David Krejci at the attacking blue line. With Nathan Ho0rton going hard to the net, Krejci put a pass right on his tape and Horton just deflected it into the net. Roloson had no chance after stopping the first 34 shots he faced. Goal, BOS 1-0

I'll tell you one thing. Both coaches have done an excellent job. claude Julien just showed some good awareness by calling timeout after a Boston icing. Guy Boucher had thrown the Big 3 over the boards to go against a tired Chris Kelly line. A recipe for disaster if left unaddressed.

Tampa Bay just used its timeout after an icing to get a breather for line on the ice. Especially important because B's are dominating faceoff circle. Feels like we are already entering OT here. Next goal likely wins it.

Sorry for paucity of updates. Pace of game plus internet problems at Garden have slowed things down. Still 0-0 and still brilliance of Roloson carrying day.

Bruins have owned first six minutes of this period, but it has been the ssame old story -- too much Dwayne Roloson. Early in the period RoLoson made a huge save on David Krejci and then watched as nathan Horton's follow up skittered through crease and away. Two minutes later he robbed Brad Marchand, despite being handcuffed by the tricky shot. Thirty-two saves and RoLoson has yet to blink.

End of second period

Last six minutes were filled with excitement after a more conservative first half of the period. Boston owned the play for the most part, but Thomas made some key saves in the final minutes. None, however, were as good as the back-to-back saves Dwayne Roloson made on Mark Recchi, including one off the crown of his mask. Roloson made two more in period's last minute and has 29 for the game afetr allowing 4 goals on 20 shots in the last game. What a bounce-back effort. Now, that7-0 record in elimination games makes a lot more sense.

This Tampa Bay team is certainly all-in in Game 7. First, Steve Stamkos blocks a shot with his face, only to return three or four shifts later with a full shield and a nasty cut on the bridge of his nose. Then, he blocks another shot on his first shift back. A few shifts later, Adam Hall saved a potential goal with a block in the slot that had to be painful, yet he was the first one on the forecheck when the puck cleared the zone.

By the way, Steven Stamkos is back on the ice, missing just 6 minutes of game play, after being blasted in the face with a slapper. Man, what a display of courage.

Tim Thomas just robbed Simon Gagne in slot. It was a huge save in so many ways, especially considering it was Gagne, a Bruins killer in his career and because of the fact that Boston has carried play this period without reward.

Not nearly the up-and-down of the first period and Boston is owning territorial play so far this period. Scary moment just a few minutes ago as Steven Stamkos was felled by a slapper from Johnny Boychuk. It appeared the puck was deflected and struck Stamkos in the forehead, but with enough force that shield slid down and cut him in face. he threw of helmet and skated to the room, bleeding pretty good. No idea if he will be back.

Boston dominated the first two shifts of this period. Mark Recchi just missed getting a one-timer off after great pass from Patrice Bergeron, who won a board battle. Then, on next shift, Nathan horton had a tricky tip of a Zdeno Chara point shot. Horton is back after missing second half of first period with unspecified injury.

Start of second period

End of first period

That brings the end to a frantic first period. Plenty of up-and-down action, but no goals. Despite being out-shot 15-9, Tampa Bay has to be happy with first period. Boston came out flying and the visitors took all the shots that the Bruins could deliver. Dwayne Roloson looks far different than the somewhat shaky goaloie that has been pulled twice in this series and gave up four goals in Game 6. It was a perfect road period for Lightning. Plus, it appears that natahan Horton is laboring. He missed last 12 minutes or so of first after collision with Blair Jones. He was on bench at end of period, but did not play.

Boston is a bit shortanded at the moment. Nathan Horton is off for repairs after a big collision with Blair Jones. He tried to take another shift, but has an issue with his arm/shoulder it seems. Boston has also moved Rich peverley into Mark Recchi's spot at certian times this period, as I mentioned. Dwayne Rolson has 12 saves already, including one on Milan Lucic, whO broke in all alone a few minutes ago.

Rich Peverley is absolutely flying in this game. Claude Julien just rewarded him by giving him some second-line duty in place of Mark Recchi, who does not have a point in this series. the reconfigured line looks good. We have 16 shots through first 11:39 of game, 9 for Bruins.

The speed on display in this game is dizzying. It looks like either of these teams can skate with Vancouver. It is hard to believe we don't have a goal yet. Series has been so much about the quick strike.

Tough to catch breath watching this game. Action is almost non-stop. Tim Thomas just made another two-save flurry. He seems to be feeling it today. Will say he is leaving a few juicy rebounds right now. At first TV timeout, each team has six shots. Seen  very little of tampa bay's 1-3-1. They are forechecking aggressively.

What a start to this game. This is first whistle. Both teams have had great chances. Tim Thomas has already had to make two huge saves, including one on Blair Jones. Dennis Seidenberg also leveled marty St. Louis at center ice. These teams are ready to play. No nerves here.

Start of first period

7:57 p.m.
Tampa Bay's Guy Boucher has been coy at times with the media to say the least -- remember Smith/Roloson dance around before Game 5? Well, he was more up front today. This morning, he said forwarfd Sean bergenheim (upper-body injury) was doubtful for tonight. There were thoughts he was playing at semantics when BergenheIm, who has nine goals this postseason, took a brisk pre-game warmup session, but he has been officially ruled out.

7:37 p.m.
Sean Bergenheim is taking warmups for Tampa Bay. It's amazing what players will do to play in a Game 7. He could put no weight on his leg just a couple of days ago and could barely do circles during the morning skate on Wednesday. Yet, here he is, fully dressed and looking ready to go. Will he be in? Who knows, but I would put my money on seeing him in the lineup. We'll find out in 20 minutes or so. It appears there will be no changes for the Bruins by the line rushes during warmups.

As I mentioned earlier on Twitter (@sroarke_nhl), I'm Listening to Live For This by Hatebreed to get into the proper frame of mind for tonight's game. It has been my theme song for the 2011 Stanley cup Playoffs and I have listened to it virtually every day for the past 45 days or so. It is as inspiring today as it was the day I decided it would be my song fot the postseason journey. I know not everybody likes music as heavy as I do, so I thought I would just share some of the lyrics to this song for those of you that won't get around to checking it out.

If you don't live for something, You'll die for nothing.
Through the best and the worst
The struggle and sacrifice.
For the true who've remained and the new blood.
Motivation, undying allegiance
Striving through the hardships and affliction.
Every drop of blood
Every bitter tear
Every bead of sweat
I live for this
Live for this, Live, Live
Live for this
Live for this, Live, Live
If you don't live for something you'll die for nothing.

Pretty appropriate stuff for tonight, wouldn't you say?

7:19 p.m.
It's here. Game 7 for the right to make it to the Stanley Cup Finals. What more could the hockey world ask for? This is what the two week journey we have all undertaken is about; it's about pushing yourself to the limits and reaching places you never knew were possible. The players will do that tonight for sure, but so have we all. Tonight, win or loss, is a celebration of the game we all love. It is a celebration of all the things that make our game so perfect. It's hard to explain how pumped I am to cover this game, I hope you all are as excited to join me for the journey across the next three hours. It'll be one that won't soon be forgotten. Welcome to the ride!
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