Hockey Night In Canada Stanley Cup Playoffs 2011

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Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas acknowledges fans after the Bruins beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-1 in Game 5 in Boston on Monday. (Charles Krupa/Associated Press)
Halfway through the third period, Tim Thomas made one of the best saves of his career. With the Bruins holding a 2-1 lead, Thomas saw Eric Brewer wind up from the point.

"I saw him getting ready to take the shot, but I couldn't see the puck," Thomas said. "That's probably why he had to shoot wide -- our guy taking away the shooting lanes. I picked it up and it was somewhere about halfway to me. I saw it was going wide."

Brewer's shot sailed wide of the net and glanced off the end boards. The rebound came out to Steve Downie at the left post. Downie was looking at a point-blank chance to tie the game. Read more »
Kevin Bieksa (3) of the Vancouver Canucks prepares to throw a punch at Patrick Marleau (12) of the San Jose Sharks in the second period in Game 2. The canucks can finish off the Sharks at home with a win in Game 5. (Harry How/Getty Images)
The Vancouver Canucks would like to avoid the late-series stress that skated their way in the first two rounds.

Up 3-1 in the West final against the San Jose Sharks and a victory away from advancing to their first Stanley Cup final since 1994, they would like to deliver the knockout punch to the Sharks on Tuesday and steer clear of a return trip to Northern California. Read more »
Douglas Murray (3) of the San Jose Sharks checks Ryan Kesler (17) of the Vancouver Canucks in the first period in Game 1 on Sunday in Vancouver. (Rich Lam/Getty Images)
Vancouver Canucks sniper Daniel Sedin tries to avoid Douglas Murray on the ice and off the ice as well.

The Art Ross Trophy winner knows the monstrous San Jose Sharks defencemen from their time together on Swedish national teams as well as being long-time opponents in Sweden and the NHL.

"He has his opinions," Daniel said, "and he doesn't mind sharing his opinion with you, which is very un-Swedish like."
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Sharks coach Todd McLellan was noticeably perturbed at his team's play at a media conference on Monday. (Harry How/Getty Images)

Like clockwork, Sharks head coach Todd McLellan said Monday that Sunday was a team effort of less than full effort, and did not go to the trouble of finding exemptions to his complaints about work ethic.

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Boston's Bergeron skates again

Categories: BOS vs. TAM, Boston Bruins, Conference Finals, Tampa Bay Lightning
Boston Bruins centre Patrice Bergeron, left, is dropped to the ice by Philadelphia Flyers defenceman Matt Carle during the second period in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference semi-final in Boston on May 6. (Charles Krupa/Associated Press)

Patrice Bergeron hit the TD Garden ice this morning for his second straight solo skate. Under the watch of strength and conditioning coach John Whitesides, Bergeron skated for approximately 22 minutes.

Bergeron, sidelined because of a concussion he suffered on May 6, went through several shooting drills. During one drill, Bergeron started at the goal line, skated to the red line, curled into the slot, and pumped home feeds from Whitesides. On another drill, Bergeron skated to the half-wall, turned, took passes from Whitesides, and went to the net.
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Joe Thornton (19) of the San Jose Sharks and Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo (1) are two players eager to prove their playoff stock in the Western Conference final. (Rich Lam/Getty Images)

The theme has been struck for this series - the historically underachieving against the recently underachieving. And predictably, it sat poorly.

"We're sick and tired of talking about this stuff," defenceman Dan Boyle said of the who-chokes-better-or-is-that-worse questioning. "We just have to win. I'm sure the questions are going to be asked of both teams."
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Boston Bruins players, from left, Steven Kampfer, Shane Hnidy, Milan Lucic and Adam McQuaid react as their squad scores during a drill at hockey practice at TD Garden in Boston on Thursday. (Elise Amendola/Associated Press)
Because both the Lightning and the Bruins swept their second-round opponents (Washington and Philadelphia), neither team has played in over a week. Because of the long layoff, both coaches are emphasizing a good start to tonight's game.

"The first period is crucial for both teams," said Claude Julien. "Having that is one thing. Getting into it emotionally is going to be another thing. You certainly don't want to complicate the game in the first period when you've been out for that long."
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Logan Couture of the San Jose Sharks is 8th overall in the Star Selector Pool, and is currently second on his team in scoring. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

The Crown Royal Star Selector Pool is a live, interactive and in-game fantasy hockey pool that lets you manage your own team while watching the game on CBC's Hockey Night in Canada. During every Hockey Night in Canada match, you get to be the coach, pick your players and make changes to your roster every period. The real-time scoring system puts emphasis on every play and not just scoring plays. You can even play on your phone! Select your players and win great HNIC prizes!

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Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas, left, covers the face of Tampa Bay Lightning winger Martin St. Louis, right, after making a save during a regular-season game earlier this year. Thomas and his teammates expect to see a lot of St. Louis and his linemate Steven Stamkos in the Eastern Conference final.  (Charles Krupa/Associated Press)

The Bruins and Lightning will open the Eastern Conference final on Saturday at TD Garden in Boston (CBC,, 8 p.m. ET) and both teams are skating off the rust after long layoffs. 

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Tyler Seguin has yet to appear in an NHL playoff game. (Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
Patrice Bergeron, concussed by Claude Giroux in the third period of Game 4 of Boston's second-round series against Philadelphia, will not be available for the start of the Eastern Conference final.

Tyler Seguin, a healthy scratch for the first two rounds, practiced on the third line and will make his NHL playoff debut in Game 1 of the Eastern final.
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