It's been 19 long years since the Boston Bruins hosted an Eastern Conference Finals hockey game, but that streak ends on Saturday night. Boston hosts the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 1 of the conference finals at 8:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday night at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.
Boston and Tampa Bay are both coming off of sweeps in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, with the Bruins sweeping the Philadelphia Flyers and the Lightning sweeping the Washington Capitals.
The B's have been led by strong netminding from 37-year-old Vezina Trophy winner Tim Thomas, who has 354 saves and has allowed 24 goals in 11 games this postseason.
Nathan Horton and David Krejci have provided the offensive firepower for Boston, with each scoring five goals to date in the postseason. Chris Kelly has four goals for the Bruins, who have seven players with two goals in the playoffs.
On the other side of the ice, 41-year-old goaltender Dwayne Roloson has been equally effective in net for the Lightning, turning away 366 shots while allowing 23 goals in 11 games.
Martin St. Louis has provided the lightning for the Lightning on offense, totaling six goals and seven assists for a team-high 13 points. Vincent Lecavalier has five goals and seven assists (12 points) and Steve Downie has two goals and ten assists (12 points). Sean Bergenheim leads Tampa Bay in postseason goals with seven.
Both teams finished the regular season with records of 46-25-11, and the Bruins won the season series with the Lightning, 3-1. After losing the first game against Tampa Bay, 3-1, on November 22, Boston emerged the victors in the final three meetings, winning 8-1 on December 2, 4-3 on December 28 and 2-1 on March 3.