3rd Period, 20:00, Bruins 1-0: The Bruins do a great job of controlling the play through the neutral zone, as the Lightning can’t get anything in on Thomas, and the clock runs out sealing the win for the Bruins.
3rd Period, 19:16, Bruins 1-0: Roloson goes to the bench, and the Lightning get whistled for the offside. Roloson returns to the net for the time being.
3rd Period, 18:40, Bruins 1-0: Time to keep an eye on Roloson after he turns away a Johnny Boychuk blast from the point.
3rd Period, 16:15, Bruins 1-0: Martin St. Louis gets off a wrist shot that whistles wide of the net to the left of Tim Thomas.
Thomas eventually covers up with just over three minutes to play.
3rd Period, 15:14, Bruins 1-0: Roloson turns away Michael Ryder who had a one-timer chance to give the B’s a two-goal lead.
3rd Period, 12:27, Bruins 1-0: David Krejci finds Nathan Horton barreling down the slot, and Horton slams it home to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead.
3rd Period, 12:14, 0-0: Nate Thompson redirects a puck in front of Tim Thomas, but it goes just wide.
3rd Period, 11:00, 0-0: Milan Lucic gets a couple of good looks, but nothing to show for it.
A long pass for the Bruisn misses Tyler Seguin through the neutral zone, and it goes for icing.
Claude Julien takes his timeout.
3rd Period, 9:22, 0-0: Brad Marchand’s drags one into the slot, but it’s broken up by the Tampa d-men.
The Lightning ice it, and Guy Boucher takes his timeout, as the Lightning skaters were in the midst of a long shift.
3rd Period, 8:21, 0-0: Tyler Seguin races down the right side, and fires one on to Roloson who gloves it easily before freezing it for a faceoff.
3rd Period, 6:00, 0-0: Simon Gagne gets Tampa’s best chance of the third, but his backhander is slowed by Johnny Boychuk and then paddled away by Thomas.
3rd Period, 3:00, 0-0: A couple of good chances for the Bruins to open the third, most notably one from Brad Marchand from the right side.
Marchand was stoned cold, however, by Roloson on the one-timer.
Second Intermission Notes: The Bruins continue to press the attack, but still haven’t been able to get anything past Dwayne Roloson despite a 29-17 edge in shots (14-8 in the second). They’ve had plenty of quality chances too, but give credit to Roloson, who has come up with a huge effort in this one after being shaky most of the series.
Tim Thomas has been outstanding as well, bouncing back from his own struggles in Game 6. He hasn’t been tested as much, but he’s made some big stops when he needed to. He’s had help from Dennis Seidenberg (5 blocked shots) and Co., but Thomas has been strong.
The Bruins are controlling the draws, which has helped them create so many chances. Overall, they’re 25-16 (61 percent), with David Krejci (9-2) and Patrice Bergeron (11-5) leading the way. Nathan Horton has five shots and a hit, but does appear to be laboring a bit after being shaken up in the first. Linemate Milan Lucic is having a strong game with three hits and two shots, while Mark Recchi has picked up his play in a big way with three shots, including a couple of quality scoring bids.
Tampa received a scare when Steven Stamkos took a Johnny Boychuk shot to the face, but he returned later in the period, albeit now sporting a full cage.
End Second Period, 0-0: Two periods are now in the books, and there’s still no score despite the Bruins 29-17 edge in shots and plenty of quality chances for both clubs.
Second Period, 17:37, 0-0: Mark Recchi with a golden chance in front off a feed from behind the net by Marchand, but Roloson makes the save, then stops Recchi again on the rebound.
Second Period, 17:19, 0-0: A wild scramble in the Bruins crease after a Dominic Moore shot from the left side, but Thomas is able to tie it up for the faceoff.
Second Period, 15:44, 0-0: Seguin with a chance to put Boston ahead with a bid from the left slot, but he fires it just wide.
Second Period, 14:50, 0-0: The pace has slowed a bit here in the second, though both sides are still generating some chances. The Bruins hold a 23-15 edge in shots to this point.
Second Period, 11:55, 0-0: David Krejci with a nifty move down the left wing for a bid, then Horton is pushed into the net, keeping the faceoff in the Tampa zone despite the protests of the Lightning.
Second Period, 10:36, 0-0: Steven Stamkos is back on the ice for the Lightning, now sporting a full cage to protect his face after taking that shot from Boychuk earlier in the period.
Second Period, 9:47, 0-0: More back and forth action, with Tampa threatening in front of Thomas, then the Bruins counterattacking with Seguin getting the chance at the top of the crease on a redirection from Michael Ryder.
Second Period, 7:20, 0-0: Mark Recchi nearly sneaks one in on a shot from the right circle off a faceoff.
Second Period, 4:59, 0-0: Scary sight here as Steven Stamkos catches a Johnny Boychuk slap shot in the face in the Tampa zone. He skated off on his own power, but was in pain and appeared to be bleeding.
Second Period, 1:43, 0-0: The Bruins continue to apply pressure, with Chara sending in a shot from the left point that Horton tips in front, but Roloson makes another save. The Bruins are leading 18-9 in shots, but it remains scoreless.
Second Period, 0:00, 0-0: The middle frame is under way, with both sides still looking for that crucial first goal of the game.
Nathan Horton is back on the Bruins bench to start the period.
First Intermission Notes: After managing just 20 shots in each of their last two games, the Bruins are accomplishing their goal of getting more pucks through to the net against Dwayne Roloson. They have 15 already after one period. They’ve yet to score, but that approach should pay off if they continue that kind of pressure.
The Bruins outshot Tampa 15-9 in the first, but both teams had plenty of chances and Tim Thomas had to come up big as well. He was helped by the defense, led by Dennis Seidenberg, who has four blocks already and also set an early tone with a huge hit on Martin St. Louis. Andrew Ference has been all over the ice as well, with three shots, a hit and a blocked shot so far.
Up front, Patrice Bergeron is 6-3 on draws and Rich Peverley has been getting plenty of work on a variety of lines, filling in on the second line with Bergeron for one shift and on the third line for another, plus his usual fourth-line duties. The one negative was an apparent injury to Nathan Horton, who went to the locker room late in the period. We’ll have to see if he returns in the second.
The first period was played at a more wide-open style than the Bruins would prefer, but they had to like the fact that the refs are letting them play. That period was played entirely at even strength with no penalties called.
End First Period, 0-0: The first 20 minutes are in the books and we’re still awaiting the first goal, but it wasn’t for a lack of chances as the teams combined for 24 shots, including 15 by the Bruins.
First Period, 17:41, 0-0: After Chara makes a nice poke check to break up a Tampa rush, the Bruins counterattack with Marchand getting a good shot off from the slot, but Roloson makes the pad save. Marchand then got into it with Victor Hedman in the corner, but no penalties are called.
First Period, 15:09, 0-0: After Thomas stops a flurry in front of his net, Milan Lucic breaks in alone down the other end, but is denied by Roloson.
First Period, 12:54, 0-0: The Bruins nearly catch a break as a Tampa clear hits a linesman and Seguin fires in a quick shot from the right boards that almost catches Roloson by surprise.
First Period, 10:50, 0-0: Rich Peverley getting a shift up with Bergeron and Marchand on the second line as Claude Julien mixes things up a bit early here in Game 7.
First Period, 7:54, 0-0: Very good defense by Seidenberg on Vincent Lecavalier, blocking his attempt to come down the left side after Chara was caught up ice a bit in a counterattack.
First Period, 6:03, 0-0: Lots of pressure from both teams so far, with both the Bergeron and Krejci lines creating chances for Boston and the Lightning counterattacking and forcing Thomas to make some more key saves. The shots are even at 6-6 so far in a wide-open start to this game.
First Period, 3:45, 0-0: Tim Thomas comes up with some huge early stops, first on Blair Jones from the slot after Adam McQuaid fell down beside the net to cough up the puck, then on Dana Tyrell barrelling down the right side.
First Period, 1:54, 0-0: Dennis Seidenberg sets the tone early with a monster hit on Martin St. Louis at center ice.
First Period, 0:00, 0-0: After Derek Sanderson got the crowd pumped up by starting the Bruins flag on its journey around the Garden and Rene Rancourt kept it going with his rendition of the anthem, we’re ready for hockey here at the Garden, as the Bruins and Lightning will finally settle this Eastern Conference Final in a Game 7 clash.
8 p.m.: The Bruins will once again start Patrice Bergeron between Brad Marchand and Mark Recchi up front, with Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg on defense and Tim Thomas in goal.
The Lightning counter with Adam Hall, Nate Thompson and Martin St. Louis up front, Eric Brewer and Mattias Ohlund on the blue line and Dwayne Roloson in net.
7:55 p.m.: The Lightning have scratched Sean Bergenheim. He took the warm-up, but apparently was not able to go. Blair Jones remains in up front, Randy Jones remains a scratch on defense.
The Bruins have officially scratched Shawn Thornton, Shane Hnidy and Steven Kampfer, plus the rest of the Black Aces. They’ll have the same lineup they’ve used since Game 3.
7:45 p.m.: Shane Hnidy, who did not skate in warm-ups for the first time this postseason before Game 6, is back on the ice for this game. But Hnidy, Steve Kampfer and Shawn Thornton did not take part in the line drills and appear to be the healthy scratches again.
There were no changes in the line combinations from the last game.
The full line combinations from the warm-up:
7:30 p.m.: The teams have taken the ice for warm-ups. As expected, Tim Thomas and Dwayne Roloson lead the clubs out. That will be the goaltending matchup again for Game 7.
Sean Bergenheim is on the ice for the Lightning, so that “doubtful” for the game may have to be upgraded.
7:20 p.m.: Have a question about the Bruins’ performance in this huge Game 7 showdown with the Lightning?
NESN analyst Andy Brickley will be answering one question from a Bruins fan during the second intermission of the game.
Submit your question here and check back on NESN.com to see if yours was selected.
7:15 p.m.: The Bruins and Lightning will finally decide this series in about an hour, as the Game 7 fcaeoff is getting close at last.
There was plenty of talk throughout the day here at the Garden, with the Bruins taking a relaxed approach and discussing how they need to have fun and relish the “opportunity” they have here, with Andrew Ference in particularfeeling comfortable dealing with the pressure of playing another Game 7.
The Lightning, meanwhile, are taking a more businesslike approach to this Game 7.
8 a.m.: It all comes down to this: One game for a berth in the Stanley Cup Finals.
The Bruins were unable to close out the Eastern Conference final in Game 6 in Tampa on Wednesday, but they’ll get one more chance in a decisive Game 7 on Friday. And this time they will have they their home fans behind them at the Garden as they try to reach the Finals for the first time since 1990.
“I hope it’s really loud and crazy,” Bruins forward Chris Kelly said. “I hope it’s an exciting game for them, and we come out with a win.”
The Bruins couldn’t do that in Tampa, falling 5-4 in Game 6 as it was the Lightning fans who were celebrating at St. Pete Times Forum instead. But the Bruins are not discouraged, and remain confident they can prevail in this series.
“I don’t think we’re deterred,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “We’ve got a Game 7, it’s at home, and we’re one game away from going to the Stanley Cup Finals, and the opportunity’s in front of us. So, why shouldn’t we be excited? This is what playoffs is all about. I guess if you had told us at the beginning of the year that we had to win one game to go to the Stanley Cup Finals, we would be excited about it, and that’s where we’re at right now.”
The Bruins are taking solace in the fact that they came back to win Game 7 at home in the opening round after losing Game 6 in Montreal.
“We’ve been here before so it’s nothing new for us,” Bruins forward David Krejci said. “It’s going to be a battle [Friday] but I think we’re ready and I think we can do it.”
Of course, the Lightning also have some Game 7 experience to draw upon. They won their opening-round series with the Penguins in seven games after trailing 3-1, and won that Game 7 on the road in Pittsburgh.
Tampa has proven all series long how tough an opponent it is, and this final clash won’t be any different. But the Bruins are relishing the opportunity all the same.
“We have to embrace it, be excited, and have fun at the same time,” Bruins captain Zdeno Chara said.
It would certainly be more fun if it led to another round of games next week in Vancouver, but first the Bruins will have to turn in their best performance of the series, and maybe the season, on Friday to make that happen.
The puck drops at 8 p.m., so check back here throughout the day for updates on all the action from the Garden.