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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Hell yes! WOOOOOOOOOO! Bruins reach their first Stanley Cup finals since 1990

I never played a day of organized hockey in my life so I'm not going to sit here and claim that the Boston Bruins have been my everything since I strapped on a pair of skates.

However, I will say that as I've gotten older and the three other Boston professional sports teams have all won championships in the last decade, the Bruins have become the last place for a real fan existence that you can find in this town. Up until now, the B's haven't been trendy, they always let their fans down and they are one of the most frustrating franchises in sports.

Well no more complaining from me or other true Bruins fans as they won the Eastern Conference finals last night by virtue of a scintillating 1-0 Game 7 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning at TD Garden.

Boston is back in the Stanley Cup finals for the first time since 1990 and they'll get it started on Wednesday in Vancouver against the Canucks.

It's only fitting that their epic series was capped off with one of their greatest wins in franchise history. Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas made 24 saves for his second shutout of the series and Nathan Horton had the game-winner at 12:27 of the third period (his eighth of the playoffs) to send the Garden into delirium.

People hate on soccer when it's 0-0 but it's hard to picture a hockey game being much more exciting even though both teams failed to score a goal for over 52 minutes of regulation. Unlike the NBA where the refs have to be front and center all the time, the NHL refs assigned to the game last night stayed out of the way and didn't call a single penalty (first time that's happened in 20 years)!

When Milan Lucic was stuffed on a breakaway on the first period, it was clear that Lightning goaltender Dwayne Roloson (37 saves) was sharp and it would probably be a very low scoring game.

Kudos to Tampa Bay for playing their asses off. Star Steven Stamkos took a Johnny Boychuk slap shot right off his nose in the second period and he only missed a few minutes of action. His face was disgusting but I have a new found respect for him since he sucked it up and got right back out there.

Andrew Ference started the goal with a long breakout pass to David Krejci. Dangerous David put a perfect backhand pass right between Roloson, a pair of Tampa Bay defensemen and on Horton's stick. All he had to do was redirect it in.

The Bruins will be heavy underdogs against the Canucks, who rolled through the Western Conference, but they wouldn't want it any other way. It's been clear in the postseason that this is a different Bruins team. They're not the choke artists of the past as they proved again and again (beating Montreal in a Game 7 overtime, sweeping the Flyers, beating Tampa Bay in another Game 7).

I'm not making any predictions but I think it's going to be a really good series. You have to remember that Vancouver has never won a Stanley Cup in their 40 years of existence (a longer drought than the B's by a year) so it's not like Boston's facing Detroit or something. The Bruins have Thomas, Zdeno Chara and a team full of guys that know their roles and don't get rattled.

Hockey in June! Pinch me.

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