For the first time since 1990, the Boston Bruins will compete for the Stanley Cup after downing the Tampa Bay Lightning 1-0 in an exciting Game 7 of the NHL Eastern Conference Finals at TD Garden.
After 52:27 of action-packed, back-and-forth, scoreless, 5-on-5 hockey, Nathan Horton finally put the puck in the net to break the 0-0 tie with what turned out to be the game-winner. Andrew Ference moved the puck in the neutral zone to David Krejci, who carried the puck into the attacking zone and into the left wing corner. Horton swapped spots with Krejci and skated into the slot. Krejci found Horton driving hard to the net and Horton was able to get a stick on the puck and quickly shovel it into the net. With the goal, Horton became the first player in NHL history to score two Game 7 game-winners in the same postseason.
The Bruins will now face the Vancouver Canucks in the Stanley Cup Finals beginning Wednesday night in Vancouver.
Notes & Quotes:
- What a great goaltending duel tonight! For a while it didn't seem like either Tim Thomas (24 saves) or Dwayne Roloson (37 saves) was going to let a puck slip past them. Dwayne Roloson played out of his mind tonight and probably deserved a better result.
- Nathan Horton (who was public enemy #1 in Tampa Bay after the water bottle incident) collided with former Bruin Nate Thompson and left the game in the first period to be tended to by the Bruins medical staff. Then, he came back and scored the game-winner in Game 7. Who is writing this script? Disney would pay big money for this.
- Steven Stamkos is one tough son of a bitch. The Lightning's young star was hit in the face with a deflected Johnny Boychuk slap shot. Stamkos was dripping blood from his nose and had to got to the dressing room for repairs. Moments later, he came back out with a full cage and visible damage to his nose and face.
- I'm glad to see that the officials put the whistles away tonight. The last thing anyone wanted to see was this game decided by a ticky-tack penalty.
- This game had everything you want in a Game 7: Players gutting it out and playing through injuries, refs letting the kids play, two goalies standing on their heads, and a big 3rd period game-winner. It was just an exciting hockey game from start to finish.
- Entering tonight, the team that won the battle in the face-off circle won every game in this series. That held true again tonight as the Bruins held a 57-43 edge in draws.
- Dennis "Dikembe" Seidenberg blocked a game-high 8 shots and set the tone for the game with a big open ice hit on Martin St. Louis in the neutral zone early in the first period.
- Claude Julien finally scaled back Mark Recchi's minutes. Recchi logged 12:37 of ice time and was pulled off of his usual line in favor of Rich Peverley at times tonight. This was the least amount of ice time that Recchi has seen in the playoffs.
- David Krejci dominated at the dot tonight. He was 14 of 17 (82%).
- No one the Bruins touched the Prince of Wales Trophy. This is not the "trophy. a big one." that the Bruins have in mind.
- For more on Game 7, check out Raw Charge.
- To get a sneak peak at the Vancouver Canucks, head over to Nucks Misconduct.
"It feels incredible and I can use all the words everyone uses; incredible, unbelievable. We found a way to do it again. I’m sure everybody else’s blood pressure is up, ours was too but we’ve just got such great character on this team. We got it done."
Tim Thomas on what he said to Nathan Horton before the game:
"We had a little talk earlier the other day and I was just saying let’s go. I said something about do it again tonight, I know you’re going to and then I said let’s do it together and sure enough look who came up big. He’s a big money player, there’s no doubt about it. A big time player."
Nathan Horton scoring another game-winner:
"Well it does feel good. It definitely feels good to get the game winner but I mean it feels better to know that we’re going to the Stanley Cup playoffs. And it’s all about team here and it’s a pretty amazing feeling. In the end it doesn’t really matter who scores the goals but it does matter if you’re moving on. And we are, so that’s all that matters."
Nathan Horton on whether or not the playoffs have been everything he has imagined:
"Everything and more. I mean it’s pretty special. This is a great position to be in for a hockey player and it’s definitely, it keeps getting harder and harder to describe into words but so far it’s been amazing and I’m sure it’s just going to keep getting better."
Nathan Horton on the atmosphere at TD Garden tonight:
"I mean that’s what we played for all year, to be here in game seven in front of our own fans and it couldn’t be any better. I mean it’s the best building to play in. And they’re pretty special. They’re so loud and it gives us that, that’s our extra man on the ice."
Shawn Thornton on how many miles he paced on the 9th floor tonight:
"I didn’t need to work out tonight, that’s for sure. My heart was about one hundred sixty-five without doing anything. It was a nerve-wracking game. It’s tough to watch. I’d rather play, it’s tough to watch. A lot tougher to watch, I guess."
Martin St. Louis on what he said to former UVM teammate Tim Thomas in the handshake line
"Obviously, we are good friends and we go way back. I was…just wanted to wish him luck and go win a cup, you know? You deserve to do it. Everything he has gone through in his career, he has earned everything. I hope that he wins a cup."
Mark Recchi on how this team compares to other teams that he has played on that made it to the Finals:
"This is what I’ve played for and to get this opportunity one more time and probably my last time is pretty special. With this group of guys, right from day one of training camp we put a lot of belief in each other, a lot of trust and a lot of work together. And I’m going to end my career at some point and say this is one of the better groups I’ve ever played with and been proud to play with and no matter the outcome."
Vincent Lacavalier on Dwayne Roloson's play:
"Since the first day he came onto our team, he has been a great leader. He has been real steady back there for us and gave us that confidence to be able to play, and knowing that he is going to make the big saves. We are obviously proud of each other for what we have done in the playoffs and all season. It is disappointing."
Guy Boucher on Dwayne Roloson:
"He was outstanding tonight. It was a competitive game, just one goal takes you to the Stanley Cup Finals so, I don’t think he could have stopped that puck. I don’t think he could have done better than what he did tonight. I mean, 41-years-old, you can’t do more than that. It’s impressive, it’s a mental toughness. He had a little lull in similar previous games and to come back that strength in the seventh game, it’s just credit to the man. It’s impressive. That’s really impressive."
David Krejci on if Horton would have enough time to drive to the net if he didn't take the puck wide to the left wing corner:
"I don’t care what wouldn’t happen. I’m happy we score goals, that’s about it. I made a play in front of the net and he scored the goal."
Zdeno Chara on heading to the Stanley Cup Finals:
"Well it’s obviously very exciting. It’s something that this team, this organization, this city has been waiting for a long time. So obviously very excited. We can enjoy the moment today, but we are going to go obviously back to work tomorrow."
Zdeno Chara on not touching the Prince of Wales Trophy:
"Something we talked about, I thought it would be great to have all the guys with it. It’s a team thing. It’s something I decided to do and everybody liked it."
Steven Stamkos on getting hit in the face with a puck:
"I have broken my nose before. It was just a weird play. The guy cut in front of me right before and I didn’t see the puck coming. It just hit me square on. Nothing was going to keep anyone in this dressing room to stay out of this game, that is for sure."