Red Sox

B's score impressive rebound win over Preds

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B's score impressive rebound win over Preds

Every hockey team has a handful of gut-check games throughout the season when their mettle is tested.

For the Bruins Saturday afternoons showdown with the Nashville Predators was one of those kinds of games. Two teams playing a heavy brand of hockey with playoff quality rosters went head-to-head.

The Bs were coming off their most humbling hockey game in nearly four years so to say they were motivated would have been fair, and to say that the Bs were a little pissed off would have been deadly accurate. So they charged into Saturdays challenge against Pekka Rinne and the Predators with vigor and came away with an impressive rebound 4-3 shootout win over Nashville at TD Garden.

It wasnt easy as Rinne dominated much of the game with 38 saves and the Bruins found themselves losing with only a few minutes on the clock in the third period. But the Bruins stayed within their game plan, refused to lose their composure and relied on each player to do his job on the 20-man game roster.

We thought we deserved better: we played well, we had a lot of chances, and we had to find a way. I think thats what we talked about before the game, it was to play for 60 minutes and to not let up. We did that, said Patrice Bergeron, who scored the teams first goal and capped off the shootout scoring to clinch the game. They scored on their chances, their opportunities, but we came back and we found the big goals.

It was Bergeron and Brad Marchand that set the tone early for the Bs when it appeared things were about to go off the tracks with a too many men on the ice penalty in the first period. Marchand hunted down the puck like a hound until he was attacking the heart of the Preds defense shorthanded.

He beat both Shea Weber and Ryan Suter to the puck in the corner of the offensive zone, curled back toward the middle of the ice and dropped a perfect pass for Bergeron. The center stepped into the puck and fired off an overpowering one-timer that got the Bruins on the board first, and served notice that the Bs meant business.

While Bergeron finished the play, it was Marchands energy and refusal to be denied that set the dogged tone for Bostons afternoon.

That was a prime example of what we were looking for in Saturdays game. We talked about after the first that we needed to put the puck behind their Ds, said Claude Julien. Working through, getting it back, and dropping it off to Bergie, it was the kind of effort that our team looks for and needs if it wants to be one of the better teams in the league.

The game ended Bostons two-game losing streak on home, erased the bitter taste of the blowout loss to the Sabres and saw nearly every single key player for the Black and Gold come through with a big performance. Bergeron, Marchand, Johnny Boychuk, Rich Peverley and Tyler Seguin were again outstanding, Milan Lucic was the best player on the ice for either team and Zdeno Chara was solid despite suffering a right hand injury during the third period that caused him some discomfort.

As a team, the Bruins saw a 60-minute effort finally materialize, and Julien could only pick apart a short five minute lull at the end of the second period. Other than that the Bruins dominated a game where they out-shot the Predators by a 41-22 margin through sixty minutes of regulation, overtime and the shootout.

It appears the back to basics message in hard-working practices over the previous two days did the trick for a scuffling Bruins bunch.

What we told our players before the game, that it would be a shame if we wasted all that good effort in the last two days and not come out with the same thing this afternoon. I liked our game, said Julien. Not what the score was, the game was a good one from our end. I thought our work ethic, our commitment, maybe for, Id say, maybe for four or five minutes in the second period, near the end, they kind of seemed to pick up the momentum . . . but other than that, I thought we played a real solid 60-minute game.

Now the challenge for the Bruins is to build on that effort and recreate it at least a few more times to get another winning streak going.

It was the same challenge that faced the Bs after their solid win in Washington last week, and will remain until they can break out of their win one, lose one mediocre run of the last six weeks.

Brad Ausmus interviews with Red Sox, but Alex Cora appears frontrunner

Brad Ausmus interviews with Red Sox, but Alex Cora appears frontrunner

BOSTON — Brad Ausmus was the second person to interview to replace John Farrell as Red Sox manager, baseball sources confirmed Monday afternoon. The Sox are expected to interview Ron Gardenhire, the Diamondbacks' bench coach, as well.

But the net might not be cast too wide. More and more, it sounds like the Sox already know whom they want.

Astros bench coach Alex Cora, who met with Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski in New York on Sunday, appears the frontrunner to take the reins next year. The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal has reported that to be the case multiple times, and for some inside the Sox organization, that's a growing feeling as well.

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The criteria the Sox value most isn't hard to guess: a strong connection with players, an ability to incorporate data and analytics; and someone who can handle the market.

"I knew Alex for a couple of years before getting a chance to work with him and had tried to recruit him to work a few years ago and he had other options," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said Monday in New York, before Game 3 of the American League Championship Series against the Yankees. "To watch him develop relationships with the players, he's all about baseball. He's all about the competition and small advantages within the game, one of the brightest baseball intellects that I've been around. And to see him pass some of that on and transition from player to TV personality to coach, he's had a ton of impact.

"He challenges people. He challenges me. He's someone who's all about winning. And I think to watch our players respond to him, he's got a lot of respect in that clubhouse because of the work he puts in and the attention to detail that he brings. That's why he's the hottest managerial candidate on the planet and deservedly so."

Cora joined the Astros before this season.

Ausmus, whom Dombrowski hired in Detroit ahead of the 2014 season, grew up in Connecticut and went to Dartmouth. The 48-year-old spent 18 seasons as a big-league catcher, the last in 2010. He was working for the Padres before Dombrowski gave him his first shot at managing the Tigers. 

Ausmus went 314-332 in four years managing the Tigers, a more veteran team than might have been ideal for him as a first-time manager.

Ausmus pulled out of the running to interview with the Mets, per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag while Cora was expected to interview with the Mets on Monday or Tuesday, per the New York Post's Mike Puma.

What could change from here? One baseball source indicated a second interview with Cora was expected. Asked if he plans a second round of interviews generally, Dombrowski did not say.

"We have started the interview process," Dombrowski wrote via email. "I do not have any specific time frames at this point. Will wait and evaluate as we go through the process."

The Boston Herald's Chad Jennings first reported Ausmus' interview.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Smart 'not worried' about lack of contract extension with Celtics

Smart 'not worried' about lack of contract extension with Celtics

CLEVELAND – For the third year in a row, a first-round pick of the Boston Celtics is unable to come to terms on a contract extension prior to the deadline.

That means Marcus Smart will become a restricted free agent this summer. Last year it was Kelly Olynyk (now with the Miami Heat) and in 2015 it was Jared Sullinger (now with Shenzhen Leopards of the Chinese Basketball Association).

Both the Celtics and Smart's camp intensified their discussions in recent days as the October 16th 6 p.m. EST deadline drew near.

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While there was progress made, there wasn’t enough to get a deal done.

Smart has repeatedly indicated that he wants to re-sign a long-term deal to stay in Boston.

And the market for the 6-foot-4 guard became clearer based on the contracts that some of his fellow rookie class of 2014, were receiving.

Denver’s Gary Harris agreed to a four-year, $84 million contract after establishing himself as one of the better young two-way talents in the NBA last season. And at the other end of the financial spectrum, you would have to look at Phoenix’s T.J. Warren who signed a four-year, $50 million contract.

More than likely, Smart’s deal next summer will fall somewhere between the deals those two players received.

As much as Smart would have preferred to get a deal done heading into the season, it’s not something that he’s going to cause him to lose any sleep.

“Get it done now, or get it done in six months, I’m OK either way,” he told NBC Sports Boston. “I’m not worried about it.”

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE