Big Night For Boston: Sox, Bruins Win On Big Stage

Boston sports fans needed 2 TVs on Thursday night as the Red Sox battled the Yankees in the series rubber match and the Bruins kicked off their 2018 playoff hockey against a tough Toronto squad.  Most fans likely flipped back and forth and if they were lucky didn’t miss a run or goal and both teams dominated.  The Sox have now won three in a row after more dominance today and the Bruins are on tonight so no flipping is needed.

The Red Sox topped the Yankees 6-3, winning their first series of 2018 against New York.  The Sox looked very good throughout the series.  Although both teams are suffering numerous injuries, I think this is a good sign that the Red Sox may be ready to contend for a World Series title.  Some people believed the opposite before this series, as the Red Sox had faced only rebuilding teams before their series against the Yanks.  If they can do well against the 12-3 Los Angeles Angels and start next week’s west coast road trip off right, that will continue to solidify the Red Sox position as a true contender to win the AL East again and maybe go further.

While the Bruins limped into the playoffs losing 4 of their last 5 to miss a chance to lock down the #1 seed, they returned to midseason form Thursday and dominated in Game 1.  They blew out Toronto 5-1.  The Bruins refused to let injuries hold them back, and the depth of their roster helped them.  If the Bruins can bring the same intensity for the rest of the series, the Maple Leafs may struggle to win a game, let alone the series.  The top line of Marchand, Bergeron, and Pastrnak played extremely well and their play really shined on the power play as the Bruins were 3 for 6, scoring one PP goal in each period.

Please read on for a few more details on the big night for the Sox and B’s.

Porcello Dominant, Red Sox Cruise to Victory 

Image result for rick porcello

The Red Sox came out aggressive fearing a rain-shortened game and put up 6 runs over the first 3 innings on their way to victory over the Yankees, 6-3.  Rick Porcello was dominant on the mound and had a no-hitter through six and finished with seven scoreless innings, giving up just two hits.  Porcello stayed warm waiting out a rain delay after five innings but Rick came back into the game showing no ill effects from the delay.  His no-hitter came to an end in the 7th inning when Yankees star hitter Aaron Judge doubled to break it up.

Image result for eduardo nunez red sox

The Red Sox grabbed hold of a lead early in the game.  Hanley Ramirez, who has been on fire of late, left the game in the 1st after being hit in the hand by Sonny Gray but that did not stop the Red Sox.  Eduardo Nunez led off in the next inning with a base hit.  The cold was giving him knee discomfort as he raced down the first base line but he decided to keep on playing.  JBJ walked to make it 1st and 2nd, and Sandy Leon drove in the run with a single.  Brock Holt got on base with another walk to load the bases, and all three runners advanced one base when Mookie Betts hit a deep sac fly, making it 2-0 Red Sox with men on 2nd and 3rd.  Andrew Benintendi then grounded to second base with the infield in.  The Yankees chose to throw home but the throw bounced in by Sanchez and allowed Leon to score.  Holt advanced to 3rd and Benny had time to advance to 2nd. Mitch Moreland, in off the bench for Hanley, drove in the fourth run with a single despite limited playing time this year.

The Sox scored again the 3rd.  Eduardo Nunez doubled to right, and JBJ hit a ground rule double to knock him in.  Sandy Leon struck out on a pitch in the dirt that got away.  Another bad defensive choice by the Yankees allowed Leon to reach as Gary Sanchez fired to 3rd but JBJ slid in safely.  Mookie Betts knocked him in with a ground ball to the right side, 6-0 Boston.  Betts ended up going 0 for 4 but he had 2 RBI on the night.

The Yankees did not score until the top of the 9th when reliever Marcus Walden gave up a bases-clearing double to Gary Sanchez with the bases loaded.  Craig Kimbrel came in to finish the job, and the Red Sox won 6-3.

Injury Update: Hanley Ramirez did suffer a wrist contusion but avoided a more serious injury.  He was out of the lineup Friday against Baltimore but returned today with a Home Run.

What’s Next: The Red Sox have taken the first 2 games against the Orioles in a 4-game Fenway series as Eduardo Rodriguez dominated again against his former team as he has struck out more batters against the Orioles than any other opponent in his career.  The Sox won easily 7-3.  Velazquez gave up just 2 runs in 5 strong innings as the Sox cruised to a 10-3 victory and weather permitting hope Sale can keep the strong pitching streak for Sox starters going.

Bruins Dominate vs. Leafs, Led By Power Play success

  

The Bruins dominated in Game 1 of the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.  They topped a strong Toronto Maple Leafs squad, 5-1, with David Backes scoring one goal and being robbed of a second.  Rick Nash also made an impact returning after a long absence.  The Bruins dominated in their power plays, scoring a power-play goal in every period.  One PP goal was during a 5-minute major power play due to a gruesome hit Nazem Kadri put on Tommy Wingels, knocking him out of the game.  Kadri is suspended for the next 3 games of the series, and if the Bruins continue to dominate, he may not play another game this season.

Zach Hyman scored the only goal for Toronto when the Leafs tied it up in the 1st period. After that, the Leafs fell out of it due to 4 unanswered Bruins goals.

Injury Update: Wingels is out for Game 2 after being hit by Kadri. Riley Nash is doubtful with an ear laceration.  Donato is playing for Wingels.

What’s Next: The Bruins take on the Leafs at the TD Garden again tonight.  It is being aired on prime time on NBC.  The Bruins have jumped out to a 5-2 lead early in the 2nd period, going 2 for 2 on the power play and scoring another 4 unanswered goals to begin the game.

Stay tuned for more Red Sox and Bruins coverage soon, including my latest Red Sox Report.

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Red Wings Catch Bruins In Extremely High Scoring Showdown

The Detroit Red Wings defeated the Boston Bruins this afternoon, 6-5.  Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and Darren Helm each had 2 goals, Zetterberg and Datsyuk got assists.  But the Bruins started the game really well.

Right off the face off, Brett Connolly passed it to Brad Marchand who shot it right in for a goal!!!!  Fastest goal in Bruins history!!!  8 seconds after the opening face off, the Bruins led 1-0.  A couple minutes later, Henrik Zetterberg of the Red Wings answered with a Detroit goal, but they were questioning whether it should have been called offsides.  Claude Julien challenged, but the call stood.  I personally agree with the call despite being a Bruins fan.

The Bruins quickly retrieved it, and seconds later, it was Zach Trotman for the unassisted goal.  2-1 Boston.  About 30 seconds later, Zdeno Chara was called for interference, so the Red Wings were on power play.  But it soon became 4 on 4.  Petr Mrazek, the Detroit goalie was called for a penalty.  Brad Richards served the penalty, and it was 4 on 4.  A couple minutes later, Torey Krug left the game after getting hurt on a body shot.  They already had Adam McQuaid and Patrice Bergeron out, they can’t lose another guy.

Soon though, Loui Eriksson got a pass from David Krejci, and he shot it into the net for a give and go goal.  A couple minutes later, Brad Marchand was called for interference, the Wings had another power play.  This time, it ended fast for a different reason.  Pavel Datsyuk scored a power play goal assisted by Justin Abdelkader and Brad Richards.  It was 3-2 Bruins at the end of the period.

In the 2nd period, Darren Helm scored a quick goal, assisted by Alexei Marchenko and Xavier Oullet.  A minute later, Colin Miller got in a little skirmish with Justin Abdelkader.  He was called for hi-sticking, while Abdelkader called for slashing.  Another couple minutes later, Loui Eriksson was called for tripping, and it was 4 on 3.  On the power play, Pavel Datsyuk scored the goal, and it was the first time the Red Wings had the lead, 4-3.  After a quiet 5 minutes, Darren Helm scored his second goal of the period, and it was 5-3 Detroit.  Right off the face off, Spooner went to Seidenberg, and he scored!!!  Another quick Bruins goal, and it cut the Red Wings’ lead to 1 goal.  Personally my dad and I thought it was bad goal-tending on Petr Mrazek’s end.

Right at the start of the 3rd, rookie Joonas Kemppainen got a quick Boston goal!  The score was tied, 5-5.  But Henrik Zetterberg finished the job with his second goal of the game, Detroit’s 6th.  The Red Wings topped the Bruins 6-5.  However, they dominated all other stats, Brad Marchand has 13 goals in the last 13 games, and Claude Julien has 500 career wins as a coach.

 

 

Bruins Very Active at Trade Deadline, Acquiring Four Forwards In Three Trades

The Bruins were very active at the trade deadline.  They made three transactions.  They traded a second round draft pick for 2015 and 2016 away for forward Brett Connolly in return.  Personally, I think this was a fair trade that will help the Bruins in the NHL, but minor league could be a new concern after losing those draft picks.  They will get a first look at Connolly’s skills at TD Garden with the Calgary Flames coming to visit this Thursday.  I think Connolly will boost the Bruins offense.  That was the Bruins main need according to NESN’s fan poll at this past Saturday’s game.   Next, they traded Jordan Caron and a 2016 sixth round draft pick to the Colorado Avalanche for Maxime Talbot and Paul Carey, both forwards.  That brings more offensive depth to the team.  Finally, they traded Jared Knight to the Minnesota Wild for Zack Phillips, yet another forward, although they gave up one.  Talbot played 63 games with Colorado this season scoring 5 goals and 10 assists.  In past seasons he scored an additional 78 goals since 2006.  The trades made will bring a huge impact on the offensive side of things.

Bruins Treat Me to Greatest Sports Experience of my Life

Last night was a very special night for me. I got to sit in the press box because of getting noticed for my blog.  First, I’d like to thank all the Bruins press and TD Garden staff for getting this together for me. This was the greatest sports experience of my life. That says a lot when I’ve said play ball at Fenway Park and presented the Red Sox line-up on NESN.
To start my experience, I bought a new Bruins cap at the Pro Shop. I came back down to where I had entered to wait for Bruins Communications Specialist Erika Wentzell. Erika gave me a tour of the media areas of the TD Garden. Once I introduced myself and received my very own press pass, we got right in on the tour.

The press passes my Dad and I wore to have access to the press area
The press passes my Dad and I wore to have access to the press area

I first got to go in a huge elevator with supply carts for the game. I got off right in front of a goal waiting to be placed on the ice.

In the net before Tuukka was
In the net before Tuukka was

I then saw the ice and took a picture right in front of it.

In front of the ice before the game
In front of the ice before the game

I then saw the Zambonis waiting outside the area where you could see the ice.

In front of the Zambonis before the game
In front of the Zambonis before the game

We moved on to where the media was. I saw the room where the post-game press conference takes place. While I was there I met Jack Edwards, the Bruins TV announcer. Next, I saw a room where the press worked. I saw the locker room doors while the players were inside.

In front of the locker room before the game
In front of the locker room before the game

Across from the lockers I saw the room where I would meet and interview a player after the game. Then we went on up to the 9th floor press box. I got a tour of the press box including TV and radio announcer rooms. I got to sit in Andy Brickley’s chair while wearing his headphones.

Sitting in Andy Brickley’s NESN seat
Sitting in Andy Brickley’s NESN seat

Before we got to our seats, I got a look at the free food I would have access to including unlimited popcorn and soda. Then Erika walked us to our seats with a great view.

The view from our seats
The view from our seats

Before the game, I met many famous people. First, I met Caryn Switaj, the Bruins Digital Content Specialist. I met Dave Goucher, who remembered me from Play By Play Camps (http://playbyplaycamps.com/). I also met Comcast SportsNet’s Joe Haggerty during warm-ups. Shortly after he introduced me to Dave Goucher’s radio partner Bob Beers, former Bruins star, while getting popcorn and soda. Minutes before the game, I met Joe McDonald.

With ESPN’s Joe McDonald before the game
With ESPN’s Joe McDonald before the game

He tweeted my blog out which was very nice of him and I promised to do the same (https://twitter.com/espnjoeymac). They all told me to keep reading and writing and I plan to. I asked them to read my Boston SportsMania blog and gave them samples and the link (andrewr1008.wordpress.com).
Also before the game, I got game notes that only the press gets and saw my name on the media seating chart and a place card saving my seat at the left end of the press box. I also got lineups minutes before game time and stats before the game and at the end of each period.

Media Seating Chart
Media Seating Chart
Seating Assignments
Seating Assignments

The game started and I enjoyed great seats and free food that was delicious. I kept my own stats on the paper with the lineups. I also had the stats I got at the start of the game. After each period, they handed out updated stats which were very cool.
In the second period, I watched with Caryn Switaj, while watching her tweet out quick game updates to 700,000 followers of http://bruins.nhl.com/.

With Caryn Switaj in between periods
With Caryn Switaj in between periods

She was very nice and invited me to write this post. Joe McDonald also came by in between periods which made me feel special. Both Joe and Caryn taught me things about writing and also told me interesting facts like Zdeno Chara’s fastest shot in the game, 108 MPH! He scored to make it 4-0 Bruins.
As the third period went by I began to prepare to ask the first question to Claude Julien for the post-game press conference. The game ended with the Bruins winning 4-1 over the Arizona Coyotes.
After listening to a quick interview Caryn Switaj did, I left for the press conference. There, I asked Claude Julien, “Who do you think had a great performance in this game?” He answered, saying everyone did well, especially the young guys that were new additions to the lineup, like Ryan Spooner. He said that Milan Lucic was like a father figure to those players like Spooner, who scored his first career goal to win the Bruins the game in overtime on Friday night. Two sports writers complimented on how well I asked the first question and gave me high fives. I got to then practice for a question I would soon ask a player in the press dressing room.
Brad Marchand came in, and we introduced ourselves.

With Bruin Brad Marchand after the game with my Dad in the background taking the photo
With Bruin Brad Marchand after the game with my Dad in the background taking the photo

I asked him, “Thinking about how well you’ve done over the last four games, what do you think your playoff chances are right now?” He answered saying, if we keep playing the way we played tonight, I think we have a pretty good chance. After that, we said goodbye to Erika, and we started on our way home. This was the greatest sports experience of my life!

Bruins Have Big Win Over Coyotes In Back To Back Games

The Bruins played the Arizona Coyotes last night and won 4-1. It all started early in the 1st period. Milan Lucic scored, shooting from behind the goalpost letting it get past Mike Smith. Ryan Spooner and David Pastrnak got assists on it. Then, at the halfway mark of the period, Kyle Chipchura was penalized for delay of game, giving the Bruins a power play. It wasn’t a great one, but either way, power plays are good in some ways. Then, late in the period Brad Marchand scored the second Bruins goal assisted by Reilly Smith and Patrice Bergeron. Late in, Shane Doan was penalized for interference, as Boston ended the period ending a power play. In the 2nd period, the B’s didn’t stop. 3 minutes in, Patrice Bergeron scored a goal assited by Zdeno Chara and Reilly Smith. With 9 minutes left, Lauri Korpikoski took a trip to the penalty box for hi-sticking. On the power play, Zdeno Chara scored the fourth Bruins goal. Four goals in two periods after playing a game less than 24 hours ago is impressive. Mike Smith was doing so badly, that the Coyotes brought in Louis Domingue, the backup goalie. Chris Kelly was iin the penalty box as the period came to a close. In the third and final period, it started early on wit a Bruins power play, the penalty being holding on Henrik Samuelsson. Domingue didn’t let any more goals go by though. But Rask blew it for a shutout, just after he had made what might have been the save of the night. Martin Erat scored, assisted by Keith Yandle, former Bostonian and Shane Doan. Tuukka Rask reached 30 saves, finishing with 31. Late in was one final Boston power play. The penalty was unsportmanlike conduct on Kyle Chipchura. Chipchura had two penalties on the night. The game ended with a 4-1 Boston win. The two goal leaders, Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron, both got their 18th goal. Tuukka Rask had 31 saves! Boston had more shots on the goal than Arizona, 34-32 and more saves, which means more goals, a win. The Bruins now have a 6 game winning streak against the Coyotes, and a 31-22-9 record(71 points). The Coyotes have a 9 game losing streak overall, putting their record at 20-36-7(47 points). The Bruins have some rest before and after the trade deadline, on Monday at 3:00 PM ET. Their next game is at home, against the Calgary Flames. The Bruins ended a February offensive struggle as they enter what could be a good March, which hopefully will lead to playoffs. Brad Marchand said, “If we keep playing the way we played in this game, then I think we have a pretty good chance to make the playoffs”. The Bruins could be looking at an improved team in March, with youngsters Ryan Spooner, Brian Ferlin and David Pastrnak.

Bruins Demolish Blackhawks, Snap 6 Game Losing Streak

The Bruins suprisingly beat the Chicago Blackhawks, and by a lot. They also snapped a depressing 6 game losing streak. The Bruins total record is 29-21-9, looking like a record that’ll get them into the playoffs, but not far. The game was full of penalties, including a fight in the 2nd period between Adam McQuaid and Daniel Carcillo. We also saw early boarding and slashing, two players on each other, Brad Marchand and Michal Rozsival.

For scoring, it all started with an early goal by Patrice Bergeron, 3 minutes in. It appeared as if Reilly Smith scored but Bergeron got passed to by him last minute, to knock it in. Reilly Smith still got an assist for it. Besides a holding penalty, the game was quiet for a while. But that changed when Loui Eriksson scored the second Bruins goal. 2-0 Bruins, five minutes to go in the 1st period. Another memorable penalty came next, hooking on Patrick Kane. Brad Marchand roughed him after the power play though.

Late in the first quarter, Tuukka Rask got penalized for delay of game, and Patrick Kane passed to Jonathan Toews who scored on him after. Rask got penalized for slashing as well less than a second after the goal was scored.

The Bruins were very memorable in the 2nd period, like scoring machines. My favorite Bruin, Milan Lucic, scored the first one after David Pastrnak passed to him. He quickly scored when he gained possession of the puck. 3-1 Bruins. Gregory Campbell was next, making it 4-1. Corey Crawford, the Blackhawks goslie, was having such a bad day at this point, they brought the backup goalie in!

Before those two goals, Chicago had too many men on the ice twice! Jordan Caron and Daniel Carcillo got into a mini fight before another goal was scored, penalizing Caron for slashing and Carcillo for roughing. Then Dougie Hamilton scored a surprise power play goal. To end the 2nd period, and give Boston a rare 6 goal game and 5 goal lead, Reilly Smith scored! An assist and a goal! The Blackhawks scored late in the 1st, but the Bruins got back at them by doing the same shortly before 2nd intermission and ending the 2nd period.

In the 3rd period, it was very quiet. The only action was an easy goal for Chicago by Bryan Bickell. It should be 6-1, but 6-2 will do. The Bruins held on to win, snapping their previous losing streak.

This week, the Bruins will face the Canucks at home on Tuesday, the Devils in New Jersey on Friday, and the Coyotes this Saturday. Saturday’s game is special for me, it’s the first Bruins game I will attend TD Garden for. Be on the lookout for a recap post of the game I went to Saturday night or Sunday.

Bruins Defeat Islanders Again To Start Weekend Back To Back Games

The Bruins yet again beat the Islanders, this time at TD Garden.  The Bruins are now 28-17-7, while the Islanders sit at 33-18-1.  It started early with a fight penalty between Ryan Stromer and Torey Krug, making it 4 on 4.  The next penalty was on Brad Marchand for tripping Anders Lee.  John Tavares scored a New York power play goal on the power play for it, Frans Nielsen and Travis Harmonic with assists on it.  Ryan Strome then got a second penalty for hooking against Gregory Campbell.  On that power play, Patrice Bergeron scored a non-assist goal.  It was 1-1, tie game to end the 1st period.  In the 2nd period, it was penalty-mania.  Reilly Smith was called for hooking against Brock Nelson.  Matt Martin was called for holding against Reilly Smith.  Lastly, Adam McQuaid was called for holding against Mikhali Grabovski.  In the 3rd period, more penalties with one goal, which would be the game decider.  It started with Brad Marchand high-sticking against John Tavares, the Islanders only player to score so far, he’s been a scoring star this year, scoring three times against the Bruins in the last 2 weeks.  Calvin De Haan was then called for holding against Brad Marchand.  Then came the game winner, with 8 minutes left on the clock.  Loui Eriksson SCORED!!!!!!   He was sure worth giving up Tyler Seguin for I guess.  Chris Kelly and Carl Soderberg also had assists on that goal.  That was the ned of the game for goals and penalties, as the Bruins walk away with a 2-1 win.  For the second game of the weekend back to back games today at the Garden, the Bruins will face off with the Habs, or Montreal Canadiens.  According to my NHL Hat Trick Challenge Entry today, the B’s will beat the Habs.  Watch tonight at 7:30 PM to find out if I’m right, and read my recap post for that game tomorrow, when it will probably be a snow day for me, with us expecting another 12-18 inches of snow, after a quiet January and February without a break from it!