Sunday, May 29, 2011

Bruins Play Perfect Game 7

As has already been widely reported the Bruins played flawlessly in game 7 of the Conference Final. Their game was perfect in every way. The ice was tilted towards the Tampa end all game long and when the puck came back the other way the Bruins did an amazing job of taking the puck back. And when the Lightening did manage to force their way to the net Tim Thomas and the Bruins defense always came up big. This last part was so very important--because in a game like this where one team dominates but can't score (Roloson was nothing short of amazing) all it takes in one successful rush the other way, maybe with tired forwards caught behind the play, and the game is lost. But the Bruins never allowed that to happen, particularly late in the game.

There were a few players who stood out to me. After a let up in game 6, Patrice Bergeron had a very strong game. Going in I was very concerned that his concussion was coming back to haunt him like we saw with Marc Savard last year. Savvy came back and scored a winning goal only to fade afterwards. Apparently Bergeron's concussion really was very mild, and apparently they were just being very careful when he missed those games earlier in the playoffs. I had feared the opposite.

Two players stood out to me above all the rest. The first was Dwayne Roloson, who was the best player out there. He was the only reason Tampa was still in it late into the 3rd, and had they been able to score a goal at the other end of the ice, Roloson could have been responsible for stealing the game. The other player was Dennis Seidenberg. He seems to get stronger with every playoff game and in this one he was the dominant defensive player. When your defensive partner is up for the Norris trophy and you are the one getting noticed, that's really saying something.

The top line of Horton, Krejci and Lucic was also very solid. But they were solid as a line rather than individually, and this really describes the whole team. Hockey is the ultimate team sport and this was one of the best team efforts I have ever seen from the Bruins. I am sure that there are some Tampa fans who are mad at their team for putting in what probably looked like a poor effort in this game. And sometimes it is difficult to tell if a team is being dominated or simply not trying. To some extent the two go hand in hand because a team that isn't getting any space to play will become disheartened over time. But in this case Tampa fans should not be angry. It was pretty clear that the Bruins took their game up a notch and the Lightening had no immediate response.

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