Bruins

Haggerty: 10 thoughts from Bruins-Capitals

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Haggerty: 10 thoughts from Bruins-Capitals

BOSTON -- Here are ten thoughts from the second period with the Bruins and Capitals off to a scoreless start after the first 40 minutes of action at TD Garden.

FIRST PERIOD

1) Vicious hit by Jason Chimera on Adam McQuaid that immediately set the big defenseman down to the ice covering his head and face. McQuaid actually turned his back toward Chimera at the last instant and didnt seem to see him coming with his head down, but Chimera took upwards of 10 strides and high speed before leveling the defenseman once his back was to him. Coming in way too fast with recklessness on a textbook charging call, and Chimera gets bounced from the game. Would expect hes going to hear from Brendan Shanahan after that hit for same reasons Andrew Ference got banged with a suspension. McQuaid left with an apparent cut on his head after he was down on the ice for a while. Would be stunned if hes not concussed.

2) Tomas Vokoun sees a handful of shots and then is gone with what might have been an aggravation of his groin injury. Michael Neuvirth back into the mix for the Capitals between the pipes, but it isnt going to make much difference if theres almost no offense being generated.

3) Alex Ovechkin has one shot and less than four minutes of ice time in the first period. Didnt even notice him out therethats how invisible hes been tonight.

4) Good chances for Brad Marchand and Milan Lucic among their seven shots on net, but not enough dirty work being done around the net right now.

5) So far, so good with Joe Corvo.

SECOND PERIOD

1) Adam McQuaid wont return to the game after taking a hit from behind by Jason Chimera in the first period, and the Bruins are already without Dennis Seidenberg heading into tonight. All of a sudden their depth is being tested and they might actually need Torey Krug to play. Clearly Mike Mottau should be getting call this weekend if McQuaid is hurt, but wouldnt that make things interesting?

2) Nine shots on net for the Capitals and their player skating with the most desperation (Jason Chimera) was tossed after a dangerous charge into Adam McQuaid. Amazing to watch how Washington looks like theyve basically packed it in this weekend.

3) Seven hits combined for Johnny Boychuk and Greg Zanon. Both players throwing the body around, and Milan Lucic rocked Troy Brouwer with a hit against the side boards midway through the period. It looks like the Bs are starting to crank up the physicality and hate a little bit. Good defense by the Bruins holding the Capitals to nine shots on net in another impressive job choking the offense out of the opposition.

4) Great stat by WEEI.coms Michael Berger, Bruins are 1-14-1 when held scoreless through two periods this season. That doesnt exactly bode well tonight for their chances to clinch a playoff spot.

5) One shot on net and no hits for Alex Ovechkin in 13 plus minutes of ice time through the first two periods. Not much of a visible factor at all. That seems to be the story for his entire season, doesnt it?

Bruins demoralize Habs in three game set

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Bruins demoralize Habs in three game set

MONTREAL – The Boston Bruins weren’t about to dance on any Montreal Canadiens’ graves after it was over and done with, but they effectively closed the door on any flickering playoff hopes for the Habs this week. It all ended with Saturday night’s 4-1 win over the Canadiens at the Bell Centre that finished off the sweep of all three meetings between the two arch-rivals over an eight day span, and with the reeling Montreal a stunning 13 points out of a playoff spot in the Atlantic Division.

It was a close game nearly all the way through in Montreal until David Pastrnak and Riley Nash scored in the final few minutes of the third period, but the Bruins outscored the Habs by an 11-5 margin while clearly establishing they were the better team in all three contests. It all makes sense given the opposite directions that the two hockey clubs are headed at this point in the season, and because of that the Bruins were playing it pretty cool after burying the Habs.

“It was kind of a crazy week because we were playing them three times, so we obviously wanted to play good hockey,” said Tuukka Rask, who won all three games vs. the Habs while improving his lifetime record vs. the Habs to 10-15-3 in the process. “[We wanted to] get as many points as possible, and won all of those games along with the one on Long Island. So it was a great week for us.”

Certainly it seemed like there was more genuine emotion from the Bruins in Claude Julien’s return to Boston midweek, and perhaps a little more adrenaline in last weekend’s first game at the Bell Centre where rookies like Jake DeBrusk, Charlie McAvoy and Danton Heinen were dipping their toes into the storied rivalry for the first time.

But on this Saturday night it was more about a complete dismantling of the Bleu, Blanc and Rouge even as the Bruins initially fell down by a goal after a bad McAvoy turnover. Instead it was Boston’s Perfection Line that went to work with an efficient, dominant performance as David Pastrnak scored the game’s first goal and insurance third goal in the third period. They also accounted for the game-winner when Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak hemmed Montreal’s fourth line in the defensive zone, and Torey Krug eventually stepped up and rifled one short side on Carey Price.

Marchand, Bergeron and Pastrnak combined for two goals, six assists and a plus-8 in the resounding victory over the Habs, and had a dominant 12 of Boston’s 31 shots on net when the final horn had sounded. They simply overwhelmed Montreal with their depth, the high end quality of their lineup and the fact that Boston was rested while the Habs had to play in Washington DC on Friday night in a three games in four days stretch.

All of that allowed the Bruins to drive the final nail into Montreal’s coffin when the game was over, and it furthermore allowed Boston to keep worrying about the teams they’re trying to catch (ahem…Tampa Bay Lightning) rather than Eastern Conference bottom-feeders like the Canadiens.

“We talked about doing the job against them and finding a ways to push teams down while gaining ground on the teams above us,” said Patrice Bergeron. “I thought it was a great effort again. We knew that they would be ready for us, but we also knew that they had played last night. So maybe if we had a good start we could jump on them. I thought we had a good game.”

Clearly there have been ebbs and flows to the Bruins/Habs rivalry over their long history together, and both Boston and Montreal have been in the catbird at different times even in the recent editions of their history. But right now Boston is beating the Canadiens badly at their own skill and speed game and dominating thing with pure hockey rather than bullying, and that’s got to sting for a Habs group that simply couldn’t compete with the Bruins in three different chances to do so this week. 

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Celtics-Magic Preview: Boston looks to improve shooting down the stretch

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Celtics-Magic Preview: Boston looks to improve shooting down the stretch

BOSTON – When Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens was asked about what he saw in the team’s newest (10-day) addition Jarell Eddie, his response was, “shooting … shooting.”

Indeed, shot-making has been the one area of play that has been problematic for the Celtics most of this season.

Boston comes into today’s game against Orlando (13-32) shooting just 44.8 percent from the field which ranks 25th in the NBA.

In the month of January, Boston has been even worse, connecting on just 41.8 percent of their shots which ranks 29th in the league this month.

While the addition of Eddie had more to do with the recent flu bug that has made the rounds throughout the Celtics lineup and the uncertainty a couple days ago surrounding Kyrie Irving’s sore left shoulder (it has improved and he’s expected to play today), adding Eddie speaks to a greater problem – guys making shots – that has to be addressed in some capacity sooner or later.

Boston always has the option to pursue a trade. They also have an $8.4 million disabled player exception they can use on free agent players, with the most likely pool of talent that they will choose from consisting of players who would have been bought out by their current teams.

Or there’s raiding the G-League for talent, which is what they did in signing Eddie to a 10-day contract.

Regardless, there’s a growing sense that this team has to add more scoring punch to the mix or at a minimum, improve the overall offensive execution of the roster as it stands now.

“We have to do our stuff better,” Stevens said. “The start of the season it was predictable, losing Gordon (Hayward who suffered a dislocated left ankle injury in the season-opener) and having to adjust. The middle portion of games we were pretty darn good. And then I thought we were reasonable in London, reasonable against New Orleans. But the other three of the last five games, we weren’t very good.”

Boston’s offense should get a boost from Irving’s return to the lineup after missing Boston’s 89-80 loss to Philadelphia with a sore left shoulder.

And while it was just one game, Irving understands the challenge that lies ahead in getting Boston’s offense to play better and more consistently.

“We have very unique talents on this team,” Irving said. “When you’re trying to put that together and guys are coming back into the lineup and getting their rhythm still and guys are in and out sometimes … big picture, down the stretch, we’re going to need everyone to be on the same page.”

Marcus Morris has been one of the players who has been in and out of the Celtics lineup because of a sore left knee.

However, the schedule has eased up to where he’ll be able to play more games, for longer stretches.

He comes into today’s game having scored in double figures each of the last three games.

“I’m just trying to get healthy. I know what I can do,” Morris told NBC Sports Boston. “My confidence is always going to stay high, no matter if I miss or make shots.”

In the last three games, he has averaged 15.0 points while shooting 45.7 percent from the field.

While Morris’ play of late is promising, it doesn’t diminish the concern Boston should have for an offense that for the most part, has been sputtering this season.

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