May 27, 2011

Bruins have to fire away at Roloson in Game 7

by Jesse Connolly

Zdeno Chara's presence in front of the net has made the Bruins power play look considerably better. (Getty)

BOSTON -- At long last, the moment has arrived. The Boston Bruins will have their second and final opportunity to punch their ticket to the Stanley Cup Finals tonight, as they look to reign victorious tonight in a do-or-die Game 7.

There will be a few keys for the B's to focus on tonight, and one of them will be making things tougher on Lightning goalie Dwayne Roloson. The 41-year-old veteran netminder has struggled throughout most of this series, including in Game 6.

Boston managed to put four pucks past Roloson in that tilt, all on just 20 shots. If they want to boost their chances of taking this series, they have to fire more vulcanized rubber his way this evening.

"Yeah, that’s an area for sure that we want to improve on," coach Claude Julien said. "We need more shots. We scored four goals on them in twenty shots. So if we can up that a little bit and maybe it will certainly give us an opportunity to win the game. But we know we can create a little bit more offensively as far as shots are concerned."

Center Greg Campbell wouldn't go as far to say that the Bruins were finally figuring out the Bolts' netminder, but he recognizes that making things easy on him in the final tilt of this series won't behoove the Black and Gold.

"He’s been playing extremely well for them," said Campbell. "We’ve just been stressing traffic in front of them, creating a lot of guys in front of the net. 'Krech' [David Krejci] got a goal there with kind of a scramble to the net there. And just, we have to be relentless with him.

"He is making the first saves and if he sees the puck he’s going to make the save. So he’s, like any other goaltender, nobody likes traffic, so I think that’s the approach we have to take."

For the most part, Boston was significantly better than the Lightning in Game 6 during 5-on-5 play, but Tampa's 3-1 edge in power-play goals truly made the difference.

The Bruins power play, however, looked leaps and bounds better with Zdeno Chara in front of the net. Boston hopes to build off of the effort they had in Game 6 with a strong performance on the man advantage tonight.

"I think we were kind of struggling a little bit," center David Krejci said. "But we got one goal on the power play so we want to keep the momentum going and hopefully we can get some PP goals."

In a series that has been as back-and-forth as any in these playoffs, tonight's do-or-die tilt could very well be decided by how each squad performs on special teams.

"Special teams have been a big part of this series as they have been all playoffs," said Campbell. "Our power play gave us certain momentum at certain times, obviously we haven’t scored as much as we’ve liked to. But those guys have been working hard creating chances and at the very least, if those guys aren’t scoring they are creating momentum for us on the next shift.

"I think we just have to stick with it and they have a really good penalty kill that brings a lot of energy. And our penalty kill, aside from (Game 6), has been pretty good as well. So it may come down to it, hopefully on our end of it we can win that battle."

It's a fight the Black and Gold are confident they can win.

"Yeah we’ve been here before so it’s nothing new for us," said Krejci, as the B's are about to embark on their fourth Game 7 in the last three years. "It’s going to be a battle but I think we’re ready and I think we can do it."