NHL Finals 2011: Tim Thomas and 5 Players Key to a Boston Bruins Win
The Boston Bruins are no strangers to heartbreak. Since they last won the Stanley Cup in 1972, they have experienced several crushing moments. Game 1 of the this year's Stanley Cup Final was just another bad moment for the team, as the Vancouver Canucks broke a scoreless tie with 18.5 seconds to go.
Now, Game 2 is something of a must-win for the B's. Of course, they can win the series even if they head back to Boston 0-2. After all, they have come back from two games down once already this postseason. But they would give anything to earn a split in Vancouver.
Here, we take a look at five players who could be key to tying the series at one game apiece.
The idea of putting Chara in front of the net on the power play was a good one, if only because Claude Julien needed to change something.
The Bruins have been abysmal with the man advantage in the playoffs and while moving the captain from the point has yet to pay dividends, it at least showed Julien was willing to try something. If it finally starts to work, it will be huge for the B’s, who are already the best 5-on-5 team in the NHL.
After losing the first two games to Montreal in the first round, Julien paired up his two best defensemen, Chara and Dennis Seidenberg. It has worked; Boston is 12-5 since. The pair were similarly solid in Game 1 and will need to be again on Saturday night.
When Patrice Bergeron went down with a concussion before the start of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Bruins were concerned about their chances.
And rightfully so.
He has not had the dramatic game-winning goals that Nathan Horton and David Krejci have had, but he is third on the team in playoff points behind them (15 to their 17). With 11 assists, he is the only Bruin in double figures.
Fans and the media had been crying out for more (or, in fact, any) ice ,time for Seguin all postseason. When it finally came, he was great, scoring four points in his second period of playoff action against the Lightning. In Game 7 of that series, Seguin’s ice time was increased again and he responded well.
Against Vancouver in Game 1, Seguin played just 6:21, while Mark Recchi got a largely undeserved 15:18. Seguin is the one player the B’s have who can keep up with the speedy Canucks. If he is played more often, he can have a big night.
Lucic has had a very quiet postseason, with only three goals and six assists. With Krejci and Horton beside him, the Bruins’ top line have combined for 34 points in 19 games, but Lucic has yet to accomplish much. He needs to shoot more, as Luongo can be vulnerable to bad angle shots and is not going to be able to withstand a continuous barrage for long.
Vancouver defenseman Dan Hamhuis injured himself on a bad hit on Lucic. It was symbolic of the physical way Vancouver clearly wants to play this series. The Bruins need to respond to that, and they will need their bigger guys like Milan Lucic to be a more physical presence.
Were it not for the Vezina Trophy-worthy season Tim Thomas had, the Bruins would never have reached the Stanley Cup Final. He had another phenomenal game on Wednesday night, shutting out the Canucks for 59 minutes and 41.5 seconds.
The Canucks gave up the fewest goals in the NHL this season and have a very potent offense to go with it. Boston needs Thomas to match anything Roberto Luongo can do in the Vancouver net and keep the Vancouver offense at bay. In Game 1, he performed well but still took the loss. If Boston struggles to score heavily, they will be leaning on Thomas more than at any point this postseason.