Tim Thomas didn't mince words when asked about the importance of defensemen Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg.

"They're awesome," the Bruins goalie said. "That's part of the reason we're in the finals. I don't know what else to say except that they're getting the job done and then some."

There's nothing unusual about such praise for Chara. The 6-foot-9 defenseman is hard to miss, due to his size and his prodigious impact on the game. Seidenberg may not stand out as much as his giant counterpart, but the eighth-year veteran has played an equally important role in the team's run to the Stanley Cup finals, which begin with tomorrow night's Game 1 in Vancouver.

"He's playing really solid hockey," Chara said. "He's been elevating his game from the regular-season games. He really stepped it up. He's playing all situations. He's just really solid."

Seidenberg has made a habit of raising his game in the postseason, as he did when he was on the Carolina Hurricanes team that eliminated the Bruins in the Eastern Conference semifinals in 2009. He joined the Bruins in a trade in March 2010, but missed the postseason with an arm injury.

"Seids is a playoff performer," Thomas said. "We saw that when we played against him when he was on Carolina. He's just done it again this year even more. He just finds a way to have his best games at the biggest times, like Game 7 (of the conference finals against Tampa Bay). He'll find some way to find that energy. He's playing a lot of minutes, and the type of game he plays is very physical."

Seidenberg is averaging 28:23 of ice time per game in the postseason, third highest in the league. Chara is next with a 28:18 average. The change in the playoffs is most of that time has come side-by-side.