Friday, May 27, 2011
© Copyright 2013
Gwinnett Daily Post
BOSTON -- Nathan Horton scored with 7:33 left in Game 7, sending the Boston Bruins to the Stanley Cup finals for the first time in more than two decades with a 1-0 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference finals on Friday night.
The right wing on Boston's top line cleanly beat goalie Dwayne Roloson by deflecting a pass across the slot from David Krejci. That set off a loud celebration among Bruins fans, who have waited a long time for a trip to the finals.
Tim Thomas made 24 saves in his third career playoff shutout and second this season.
Boston will open the Stanley Cup finals in Vancouver against the Western Conference champion Canucks on Wednesday.
The Bruins won their most recent championship in 1972 and hadn't reached the finals since 1990, when they lost to the Edmonton Oilers.
Both goalies were outstanding behind teammates playing energetic, impressive defense in a hard-hitting game without a single penalty.
With 3 seconds left and the puck in the Lightning zone, Bruins center Patrice Bergeron raised his stick while standing in the ''B'' symbolizing the Bruins at center ice. And when the game ended, Thomas raised both arms and arched his back against the net that the Lightning never reached in the decisive game.
''I think a lot of people thought I was over the hill,''' said the 37-year-old Thomas, a Vezina Trophy finalist who was sidelined throughout last year's playoffs. ''I knew it wasn't true. I put in a lot of work over the summer and I've had an unbelievable year. I've been blessed.''