Roloson redeems himself

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:25 AM ET

The Eastern Conference final was billed as a goaltender’s duel, but it took until the very end for that to happen.

Still, no one could say they were disappointed with the way Friday night’s Game 7 was played at either end of the ice.

Tim Thomas was his usual acrobatic self, sprawling out to make interesting saves.

What was surprising — or maybe it shouldn’t have been with his 7-0 record in career playoff elimination games — was that Dwayne Roloson redeemed himself after a rollercoaster series to play outstandingly for the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The 41-year-old was yanked in a pair of games in this series, but he returned with steadiness. He’s clearly the story as the Lightning were under siege much of Game 7.

When pundits are coming up with the best late-season trade acquisitions of all-time, they can certainly add Roloson’s name to that list.

Even after giving up the game’s only goal, a two-on-one in which he had no chance, Roloson made another beauty on Michael Ryder with five minutes left to keep the deficit at one.

The only thing he couldn’t do was score.

Starts and stops

Although the Vancouver Canucks avoided a 4,185-km trip to Tampa Bay, this Stanley Cup final will still set the record for farthest distance between the teams. Vancouver to Boston is a mere 4,032 km, topping the record set by Los Angeles and Montreal in 1993 (3,962) … For all those Boston fans who just wanted Tim-may to win them a game Friday night, they got their wish just as the second period ended. Of course, it was old knuckleballer Tim Wakefield pitching seven strong innings as the Red Sox beat the Detroit Tigers and not the victory they needed from Tim Thomas at that point. They got

both eventually.

Between periods

It appears Manny Malhotra has his eye on the prize. What a story it would be if the Canucks centre returns for the final just two months after taking a puck in the face and nearly losing his eye. When he does return, as least he will take the appropriate step and wear some facial protection, right? … Steven Stamkos can thank his visor for saving his eyes from some major damage. But he might want to complain to Tampa Bay Lightning linemate Martin St. Louis about deflecting that Johnny Boychuk shot into his grill. Amazingly, Stamkos’ return was delayed mostly because the trainers needed to find a full facemask for his helmet, not because he was going to sit out Game 7 over a puck to the head … This is the way hockey was meant to be played — back-and-forth action without any penalties as both teams refused to make a mistake.

Back to the point

The ageless Mark Recchi played in his 10th career Game 7 Friday night. Obviously, elimination games never get old, which is what you could say about Recchi himself … Not that the Lightning have much heritage, but it felt like Bruins nostalgia night on CBC. Before the game, Derek Sanderson led the crowd in a cheer. At the first intermission, Don Cherry took his usual pulpit, and Mike Milbury was a guest analyst. What, Brian Bradley and Rob Zamuner weren’t available? … Cam Neely and his steely glare are coming home to Vancouver. How about that?

Sweet tweets

"Steven Stamkos reminds the Dos Equis Man of himself."

— Lisa Dillman @reallisa

"Nathan Horton: the only thing the #bruins can put in the net."

— Jamie @ShutOffTheValve

"They just had Curt Schilling on the big screen. Can’t believe he’s still wearing the bloody sock."

— Chris Stevenson @CJ_Stevenson

"If Manny Malhotra’s possible return doesn’t make you root for Vancouver even a bit, tell me how the eventual heart transplant surgery goes."

— Adam Proteau @Proteautype


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