- James Murphy, Bruins reporter, ESPNBoston.com
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BOSTON -- The Bruins are headed to the Stanley Cup finals for the first time since 1990 after a thrilling 1-0 Game 7 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday night at TD Garden. Nathan Horton scored 12:27 into the final frame to break a 0-all deadlock, and Tim Thomas made 24 saves to lead the Bruins in a classic Game 7.
Dwayne Roloson was spectacular for the Lightning, making 37 saves, but it wasn’t enough, as the Bruins found a way to solve him and win one of the better Game 7s in recent memory.
Goalies duel -- Heading into this series, everyone expected low-scoring games with two hot goalies in Dwayne Roloson and Tim Thomas between the pipes. Instead, there were 41 combined goals between the two teams heading into Game 7. But that goalie duel finally arrived Friday, as the score was tied at 0 heading to the third period with Roloson and Thomas looking like they might get arrested for grand larceny after the game. Roloson looked like he might have a higher charge against him, as he single-handedly kept the Bruins in check with 37 saves. Thomas finished with 24.
Horton once again Mr. Clutch -- In his first Stanley Cup playoffs, Nathan Horton has become the equivalent of Mr. October in baseball. After Friday night, he is officially Mr. Clutch. Horton scored the series winner in overtime in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Montreal Canadiens, and in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals, Horton delivered again by scoring the game winner 12:27 into the third period to break a 0-all deadlock.
Referees put away the whistles -- As is usually the case in Game 7, the referees did a great job of letting the players play, but refs Dan O’Halloran and Stephen Walkom really held true to this tradition Friday. There were no power plays throughout the entire 60 minutes.
Stamkos battles through -- Lightning sniper Steven Stamkos took a Johnny Boychuk shot off his nose early in the second period, and despite suffering a gory wound to his nose, the Tampa Bay superstar showed true grit by returning to the game wearing a mask. His nose kept bleeding throughout the game, and he had it cleaned out every time he went to the bench. That’s hockey!
As even as it gets -- Game 7 was the 100th game for both the Lightning and Bruins, and the teams had identical records heading in: 11-6 in playoffs and 46-25-11 in the regular season.
BOSTON -- The Bruins are headed to the Stanley Cup finals for the first time since 1990 after a thrilling 1-0 Game 7 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday night at TD Garden.