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Cullen: Bruins and Bolts slip through to second round

Scott Cullen
4/28/2011 12:09:25 AM
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Boston needed overtime in Game Seven and the Lightning got a 36-save shutout from Dwayne Roloson to move on to the second round.

BOSTON-MONTREAL
Pushed to the limit by their arch-rivals, the Boston Bruins escaped the first round with another winning goal in overtime from right winger Nathan Horton.  Horton had a modest three points in the series, but he made his presence felt with overtime winners in Games Five and Seven.

Even though he got nabbed for a late high-sticking call that paved the way for the Canadiens' tying goal (on a ridiculously skilled one-time blast by P.K. Subban), Patrice Bergeron was a standout performer for the Bruins in the series, scoring seven points and going plus-5 in seven games.  Bergeron played 21:07 in Game Seven, a healthy increase on his Game One ice time of 15:47.

Boston's second-leading scorer in the series?  Chris Kelly, who had six points, including a go-ahead goal in the third period of Game Seven.  By way of comparison, he had five points in 24 regular season games after coming over in a trade from Ottawa.

Rich Peverley and Brad Marchand were next in line, with five points each, so it's clear that the Bruins got it done with role players in Round One.  Good thing, too, because first-line winger Milan Lucic had no goals and two assists in the series and his centre, David Krejci, had just one goal.

Montreal owned special teams on the night, scoring two power play goals and a shorthanded goal, making the Bruins a net minus-1 on 21 power plays in the series.

Canadiens LW Mike Cammalleri finished with ten points in the series, but was minus-3 in the deciding game.  Scott Gomez and Brian Gionta were also minus-3 on the night, leaving them both at a team-low minus-6 for the series.

Gionta and Tomas Plekanec were Montreal's second and third-highest scorers against Boston, with five points.

James Wisniewski, who couldn't play in Game Six due to injury, played a team-high 26:29 and was minus-2 in Game Seven.

Oddly, Subban played "only" 25:04 in Game Seven, his fewest minutes in a game in the playoffs.

The series was expected to be a battle of two elite level goaltenders and it didn't disappoint.  Carey Price stopped 30 of 34 for Montreal in the deciding game, but Tim Thomas turned away 34 of 37 Canadiens shots. 

In the series, Price stopped 226 of 242 shots (.933 save percentage), while Thomas saved 212 of 229 shots on goal (.926 save percentage).

That Boston could get through the first round despite the lack of production from their supposed number one line, offers some reason for hope in Round Two, assuming that Krejci and Lucic will be better (they have to be, don't they?), but the Bruins will have their hands full with the Flyers, perhaps leaning on an expected advantage in goal with Thomas matched against Brian Boucher.

PITTSBURGH-TAMPA BAY
In the last four games of the series, including a double-overtime loss in Game Four and then three straight wins to complete the comeback, Lightning goaltender Dwayne Roloson stopped 144 of 151 shots against, good for a .954 save percentage.

True, this version of the Penguins isn't blessed with the most skilled group of forwards, but that's still impressive work from the 41-year-old 'tender.

The lone goal-scorer in Game Seven of this series was Lightning winger Sean Bergenheim, who had three goals and four points in the last four games of the series.

Martin St. Louis paced the Lightning with eight points in the series, while Simon Gagne and Steve Downie chipped in seven apiece.  Downie was a factor offensively, despite averaging just 10:31 per game.

Some other unheralded heroes for the Lightning?  Defenceman Eric Brewer, a deadline pickup from St. Louis, who had five points and played more than 25 minutes per game. 

Dominic Moore was held off the scoresheet in the first four games of the series, but picked up four points in the last three games.  Scouting tip for the Capitals: he likes to send the pass behind him as he goes behind the net and it worked a couple of times for goals against the Penguins, including Bergenheim's marker in Game Seven.

Pittsburgh's Marc-Andre Fleury had 22 saves on 23 Lightning shots in Game Seven, but it wasn't enough because the Penguins didn't have the firepower to keep up. 

Three Penguins tied for the team lead with four points in the series: Arron Asham, Maxime Talbot and Kris Letang

Letang is one of the better puck-moving defencemen in the game, and has been a productive playoff performer in the past, so he's not a surprise, but Asham and Talbot combined for a grand total of 32 points between them in the regular season.

Fairly or not, the Penguins players that had to be counted on to score simply couldn't.  Chris Kunitz, James Neal, Alex Kovalev and Jordan Staal each scored one goal, while Tyler Kennedy managed two, one of which was the Penguins' lone power play goal in 35 chances against the Lightning.

Into Round Two, the Lightning will face a familiar foe, the Southeast's own Washington Capitals, a team that outscored the Lightning 18-10 in six meetings this season.

Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.




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