Bruins

Curran: 46 lines on 23 issues

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Curran: 46 lines on 23 issues

FOXBORO Postgame leftovers and pregame tidbits to gnaw on as weget our bags packed for Super Bowl 46.

1. I was on the field for the final two minutes of the AFC Championship and under the goalpost when Billy Cundiff lined up his kick. My thought as he took the field was that I was now going to be stuck on the field away from my computer for who knew how long as overtime slogged forward.

2. The kick that will live in Baltimore infamy sailed directly over my head and totally missed the net. My reaction was, Holy fudge!

3. Then I was looking at exultant minutemen and stunned staties as the crowd exploded behind me. And I was glad I was on the field for that.

4. Cundiff was ghost white leaving the field and heading into the tunnel with a Baltimore assistant coach by his side. As he went up the tunnel, Patriots fans hung over the rail, screaming Thank you!

5. With the Patriots on the field for their extended postgame celebration, I went to the Ravens locker room to mine for nuggets. Terrell Suggs and Ray Lewis spent an extended period talking to each other and when they were done, Suggs was near tears.

6. Ravens corner Chris Carr sat at the end of the locker room with some other defensive backs and said to his teammates, Can you believe that arrogant bleep tried to throw a deep ball on us to No. 18? I was like, Who is No. 18? "

7. The play Carr referred to was the fourth-quarter pick Tom Brady intended for Matthew Slater. It was a deep ball that worked from the other side in the season opener against Miami.

8. I asked Brady why he threw it. I just made up my mind to do it, he said regretfully.

9. It was interesting to see that, when Brady got to the podium in his postgame press conference, he immediately took the two Gatorade bottles perched in front of him and tucked them behind the podium. No free endorsements for his press conferences.

10. Brandon Spikes played well against the Ravens. He also did stupid things like throwing a punch during one post-play scuffle and shoving Marshal Yanda from behind after another.

11. Either play could have cost the Patriots defense 15 yards especially the latter. I asked him about it and he said he was playing mind games with the Ravens.

12. And that encapsulates why even though hes an entertaining guy and pretty talented hes an enigma.

13. Sterling Moore is going to be a good player for this team. Hes got excellent ball skills and quickness and his two plays at the tail end of the AFC Championship game were both proof of that.

14. O.J. Brigance played one game for the Patriots in 2002. He was with the team from September 10 to the 17th, made two special teams tackles and was released, ending a 12-year professional career that he spent in Canada and in the NFL with the Dolphins, Ravens, Rams and briefly the Patriots.

15. Confined to a wheelchair because of his battle with Lou Gehrigs disease, Brigance is now the Ravens Director of Player Development and was at the AFC Championship on Sunday, in the press box during the game and in the locker room afterwards. The 42-year-old has been a source of inspiration for the Ravens for several seasons.

16. I couldnt help but observe the unbridled excitement and joy in the Patriots locker room Sunday night and not contrast it to one of the oddest locker room scenes I remember from a victorious team. That was in January 2008 when the Patriots finished off their 16-0 regular season in New York and after a season under siege and ruined by the videotaping controversy the vibe was of a team extending a middle finger to a media horde that had ripped it mercilessly and questioned its legitimacy all season.

17. The 2007 team was better. This team and this season have been far more enjoyable.

18. When Robert Kraft mentioned Monday the interception that slipped through the hands of Asante Samuel on the final Giants drive in Super Bowl 42, it was clear he remains unforgiven. On the Saturday before that game when all the position groups were having their pictures taken, Samuel hollered for the 2008 free agent class to gather round for a shot and that did not go unnoticed.

19. It surprised me that the Giants opened up as three-point underdogs to the Patriots in SB46. They beat the Patriots in October, beat the top two seeds in the NFC on the road and played in a better conference.

20. Not surprisingly, the early money has poured in on the Giants. I say, take the over.

21. Oh, and the Ravens mismanaged the final play of their most important game in 11 seasons. A professional kicker should be able to make a 32-yarder in a scuba suit so this whining about the sinister and diabolical Patriots maybe just maybe screwing with the downs on the scoreboard and confusing the Ravens is a juvenile and embarrassing way of dodging responsibility for being unable to execute a job.

22. Seemed like the Patriots' field-goal block team was ready to go on the field. They musta gone over the If the Ravens are lining up a game-winning 32-yarder with 15 seconds left at the end of a chaotic drive, well be a down behind on the scoreboard so make sure you dont go by that strategy.

23. So Tim Thomas didnt go to the White House. Nothing wrong with a little conscientious objection as long as the guy is objecting conscientiously.

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.