Bruins

Bruins vs. Capitals: Ten thoughts through two

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Bruins vs. Capitals: Ten thoughts through two

Here are five thoughts with the Bruins trailing the Washington Capitals by a 2-1 score after the first 20 minutes at TD Garden.

1) Gigantic goal for Milan Lucic at the end of the first period with five seconds to go until the intermission. Patrice Bergeron worked like a dog against Jay Beagle to make sure the Bruins won the face-off and then Lucic managed to snap a wobbly wrist shot through Tomas Vokouns legs after hed put together a very good first period. The Bruins are starting to show the ability to quick strike opponents with rapid goals in succession again, and score goals right before the conclusion of periods. Thats the sign of a team finding their legs again. Lucic with points in six straight games, and a huge goal after Vokoun looked well on his way to a big afternoon against Boston.

2) Patrice Bergeron is in beast mode today. He was fighting off Washington attackers to hold the puck behind the Caps net while setting up Brad Marchand for a one-timer earlier in the period and he wouldnt accept defeat on that key offensive face-off at the end of the first period. Hes unstoppable when hes playing heavy on the puck like he is today.

3) Joe Corvo once again having issues clearing pucks from the front of the net. He couldnt get the puck away from the net before Matt Hendricks pounced on it to score Washingtons second goal of the first period. Corvo had a couple of good games, but today is a regression to bad Corvo.

4) Ten hits for the Bruins this afternoon including Zdeno Chara rattling Mathieu Perreault with a glass-shattering hit over by the penalty boxes. It smashed the glass between the penalty box and the fan seating immediately behind it. Bruins outhitting the Caps by a 10-5 margin in the first period.

5) Interesting to see the Bruins going with seven defensemen to start this afternoons game as Benoit Pouliot battles with an injury suffered in Toronto. Looks like this is the team that Boston wants to go with from here on in and wanted to see if Mike Mottau could play a little forward along with his defensemen role. Good versatility by Mottau.

Here are five thoughts from the second with the Bruins trailing the Washington Capitals by a 4-2 score after the first 20 minutes at TD Garden.

1) Bruins looked sloppy and selfish in the second period after battling themselves back into it with a short burst. Nothing more selfish than David Krejci flinging the puck at linesman Jean Morin in a fit of pique after an off-sides call. Morin skated by Krejci, barked at him and then whistled him for an unsportsmanlike conduct that left Boston shorthanded. Bruins cant take selfish penalties like that when theyre trying to win games and close with some strength down the stretch.

2) Rough times continue for Greg Zanon, who took a pair of penalties in the second period including a holding call when Matt Hendricks got the drop on him from the outside and a roughing call when he dropped Mathieu Perreault with what looked like a good hit. Hes having a tough time getting settled into a role here in Boston. Tim Thomas has played pretty well today to all those wondering about potentially playing Marty Turco today. Not his fault Bs defensemen are playing like the keystone kops.

3) A rough game for Dennis Seidenberg as well. He crashed into Adam McQuaid behind the net and that resulted in chaos in their own end before Jay Beagle fired a laser past Tim Thomas to put Washington ahead. A lot of sloppiness from the Bs defensemen corps today: Zanon, Seidenberg and Corvo all struggling.

4) A minus-2, no shots on net and a bad penalty for David Krejci today. This is the kind of inconsistency that can be maddening when hes played well with Tyler Seguin and Milan Lucic recently. Hes been good in the face-off circle, but hes doing anything else effectively.

5) Johnny Boychuk is tough as hell. He takes a shot off his right foot and needs help walking down the runway. But hes immediately out and on the bench before play begins again, and finishes off the period with a problem.

Pastrnak on B's loss: "We kind of stopped playing"

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Pastrnak on B's loss: "We kind of stopped playing"

BOSTON – At the end of the day, it was simply a game where the Bruins allowed themselves to get outworked in the third period and overtime. 

The B’s held a three-goal lead in the second period and still enjoyed a two-goal lead in the third period, but eventually dropped a frustrating, futile 5-4 overtime loss to the Buffalo Sabres at TD Garden on Saturday night. It was clear to most speaking after the game that the Bruins eased up on the gas pedal once they’d scored their fourth goal of the game in the second period, and simply watched as the Sabres stomped all over them in the game’s second half. 

“I think we might have been a little bit too scared to play [in the third period], you know? We tried to just flip the pucks away, and didn’t make any plays trying to get it in the zone. Instead we should have just kept going like we did in the first two periods,” said David Pastrnak, who scored a pair of goals early in the loss to allow the Bruins to build up the three-goal lead. “Obviously we’re disappointed. We got one point. I think we didn’t play our game in the third period. We kind of stopped playing and they were all over us, and you know, it’s on us. We were the ones that gave them their point, but the first two periods were good. It’s just another learning session.”

To Pastrnak’s point, the Bruins were outshot by a 15-6 margin in the final 20 minutes of regulation and 21-6 overall in the third period and overtime prior to Ryan O’Reilly’s game-winner during 3-on-3 play. It was at this point the Bruins certainly missed stalwart stay-at-home defensemen Adam McQuaid and Kevan Miller in the D-zone, and fell short of qualified penalty killers while trying to burn off a Brandon Carlo interference call at the end of the third period. 

All of that caught up to them once the Bruins loosened their grip on the Sabres, but certainly the feeling is that the loss should’ve been avoidable even if some of the circumstances made it difficult for the Black and Gold. It also should have been avoidable against a Sabres hockey club that was dreadful last season, and is again one of the doormats in the Atlantic Division in the early going thus far. 

“Those are the games you can’t lose. We obviously didn’t do the job there in the third and close it out, but we’re going to have to regroup and work on our game and be better for the next one,” said Brad Marchand. “We didn’t play the game we needed to play. We relaxed a bit and we started losing a few battles in the wrong areas, and you know, they just played better than we did.”

It’s mystifying that any team would need a crash-and-born loss like Saturday night in order to learn any lessons moving forward, and it certainly might have been a different story for the Bruins if they weren’t missing a few big defensive pieces. But that’s not how it went down for the Black and Gold as they sagged under rising pressure from the Sabres, and simply stopped working when the chips were on the table late in Saturday night’s game. 

Astros beat Yankees in Game 7 to advance to World Series, 4-0

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Astros beat Yankees in Game 7 to advance to World Series, 4-0

HOUSTON - Charlie Morton and Lance McCullers combined on a three-hitter, Jose Altuve and Evan Gattis homered and the Houston Astros reached the World Series, blanking the New York Yankees 4-0 Saturday night in Game 7 of the AL Championship Series.

Just four years removed from their third straight 100-loss season in 2013, the Astros shut down the Yankees for two straight games after dropping three in a row in the Bronx.

Next up for the Astros: Game 1 of the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night. Houston aces Dallas Keuchel and ALCS MVP Justin Verlander will have plenty of rest, too, before the matchup begins at Dodger Stadium.

Houston has never won even a single World Series game. The only previous time the Astros made it this far, they were a National League team when they were swept by the Chicago White Sox in 2005.

Now, manager A.J. Hinch's club has a chance to win that elusive first title, while trying to boost a region still recovering from Hurricane Harvey.

Houston improved to 6-0 at Minute Maid Park in these playoffs and became the fifth team in major league history to win a seven-game postseason series by winning all four of its home games.

Morton bounced back from a loss in Game 3 to allow two hits over five scoreless innings. Starter-turned-postseason reliever McCullers limited the Yankees to just one hit while fanning six over the next four.

Combined, they throttled the Yankees one last time in Houston. Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and their New York teammates totaled just three runs in the four road games.

CC Sabathia entered the game 10-0 with a 1.69 ERA in 13 starts this season after a Yankees loss. But he struggled with command and was gone with one out in the fourth inning.

Houston was up 2-0 in fifth when former Yankees star Brian McCann came through for the second straight game by hitting a two-run double after snapping an 0-for-20 skid with an ground-rule RBI double to give Houston its first run on Friday night.

The Yankees, trying to reach the World Series for the first time since 2009, lost an elimination game for the first time this season after winning their first four in these playoffs. New York struggled on the road this postseason, with this loss dropping the team to 1-6.