2011 NHL Playoffs: 5 Reasons the Tampa Bay Lightning Can Beat the Boston Bruins
The Tampa Bay Lightning will face off against the Boston Bruins on May 14, 2011, following their sweep of the Washington Capitals and the Bruins' sweep of the Flyers.
The Lightning have not made it to the Eastern Conference Finals since winning the Stanley Cup in 2003-04, while the Bruins have not made it back since 1991-92.
Both teams will have the hunger and desire to win the series and advance to the Stanley Cup, but here are five reason why I believe the Lightning will edge it.
5. Dwayne Roloson
Finishing the regular season, Dwayne Roloson has been brilliant between the pipes since being traded to the Bolts in January.
Playing through 34 regular season games, the star goalie recorded a 18-12 record, four OT games, a 2.56 goals-against average and a .912 save percentage with four shut-outs.
During the playoffs, Roloson amped his game up even more and helped the team to a shocking Game 7 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round. He then assisted in sweeping the No. 1 seed, the Washington Capitals, to get to the Eastern Conference Finals.
If there was any one reason for Tampa to be hoisting the trophy, Roloson will definitely get his dues.
4. Sean Bergenheim
Through 80 regular season games, Bergenheim recorded 14 goals and 11 assists.
After just two rounds of playoff action, he already has seven goals and one assist, giving him eight points.
With a team boasting players such as Steven Stamkos, Vincent Lecavalier and Marty St. Louis, it's not hard for Bergenheim to get lost in the mix.
However, he's shown his worth through these first two rounds and could very well be a difference maker against the Bruins.
3. Martin St. Louis, Steven Stamkos, Vincent Lecavalier
It's hard to deny the great play of captain Vincent Lecavalier, Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis during the first 11 games of the postseason.
Put together, these three players hold a combined 31 points, with 15 goals and 16 assists.
Although Stamkos was unable to catch Corey Perry and claim top spot for goals this season, there is no question that his play on the ice in the postseason has greatly improved everyone elses.
Vincent Lecavalier has continued to show his leadership on the ice and off, while Martin St. Louis has been brilliant thus far, which comes as no shock as the 35-year old looks to capture yet another Stanley Cup.
2. Guy Boucher
If there was a Rookie Coach of the Year, it would without doubt be awarded to this man.
Signed in the offseason by first-year GM, Steve Yzerman, Boucher has led this team to their first postseason since the 2006-07 season.
Having his players buy into his system has paid dividends, as teams are distracted in the neutral zone.
As if assisting in bringing in veteran goaltender Roloson wasn't enough, his calm, collected self has handled all troubling odds and helped boost team morale.
Leading his team into the Eastern Conference Finals in his first year as head coach, Boucher must continue relaying his message to his team, to not look ahead, but continue to take it one game at a time.
1. Steve Yzerman
Hired by Boston investment banker Jeffrey Vinik, Steve Yzerman came into a newly crafted team, who had just let their previous head coach and general manager go.
Yzerman, fresh off a gold medal victory in the 2010 Olympics, knew how to build a successful team and immediately went to work.
Wasting little time, Yzerman brought in fresh blood in Brett Connolly and signed St. Louis to a long-term deal. He brought in Simon Gagne, Sean Bergenheim, Dominic Moore and Marc-Antoine Pouliot.
Still not satisfied, Yzerman would soon bring along defensemen Brett Clark, Randy Jones and Pavel Kubina, and sign hot goaltender Dan Ellis.
This man knows how to build a winning team and has shown once again that he has the right skill set, giving Vinik all the confidence needed in his hiring.