Patriots

Haggerty: 15 thoughts from Bruins-Capitals

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Haggerty: 15 thoughts from Bruins-Capitals

WASHINGTON, D.C. Here are five thoughts from the first period with the Bruins leading the Capitals by a 1-0 score after the first 20 minutes at the Verizon Center.

1)David Krejci had a couple of close scoring calls including a Milan Lucic dish that left him all alone in front for a backhanded bid, but had his period end early when he blocked a shot that appeared to cause him some discomfort. Krejci took a couple more shifts, but then eventually disappeared from the bench with Chris Kelly taking his shifts between Lucic and Rich Peverley.

2)Speaking of Rich Peverley, nice job using the wood in bowling parlance in front of the net for Bostons only goal. Peverley got a hold of the puck after a big Milan Lucic fore-check popped it loose, and flipped it toward the front of the net where Lucic was actually headed. Instead the puck bounced off the stick of a seated Karl Azner swinging it toward the net. The puck bounced right off the stick and past Tomas Vokoun for games only score.

3) Sleepy first half of the first period, but a few big hits towards the end with Zdeno Chara lowering the boom on Cody Eakin during one of the last shifts closing out the period.

4)A tip of the cap to Dennis Wideman, who crossed the 500 games played barrier with the Washington Capitals this week and was recognized by the home crowd. Hes one of the top five scoring defensemen in the NHL this season and has really found a home in DC.

5) Jay Beagle and Cody Eakin are undefeated in six face-offs through the first period and it looks like Gregory Campbell, Chris Kelly and David Krejci needed to step up their draw game.

WASHINGTON, D.C. Here are five thoughts from the second period with the Bruins and Capitals tied at a 3-3 score after the first 40 minutes of action at the Verizon Center.

1)Big garbage man rebound goal to tie things up for Brad Marchand jamming in front of the net during a power play at the end of the period. Hes the smallest guy on the ice, but hes never afraid to go to those danger areas, and appears to be enjoying his place back on the power play with Nathan Hortons injury. I wonder if we should start calling Marchand the Little Mound of Rebound? Would Obama approve of that one?

2)In a night of varying compete levels, Daniel Paille, Rich Peverley and Dennis Seidenberg all have four shots on net. Theyve all brought their A game tonight with Peverley and Seidenberg factoring into goals.

3) Some sloppy turnovers by Zdeno Chara and Johnny Boychuk tonight in their own zone, and extending into the neutral zone. Boychuks giveaway at the blue line led to Mathieu Perreaults second goal of the second period on a play Tuukka Rask didnt have a chance at.

4) Highlight play by Tyler Seguin, who snapped a stick and took the hand-off of a new stick from Bruins assistant equipment manager Matt Falconer before jumping into the play to roof a backhander off a Capitals turnover by John Carlson. Just a simple play showing off Seguins game-changing explosiveness.

5)Looks like the Capitals are doing just fine without Alex Ovechkin, arent they?

WASHINGTON, D.C. Here are five thoughts from the third period with the Bruins falling to the Capitals by a 4-3 score after 60 minutes of action at the Verizon Center.

1)Only the second time Tuukka Rask has given up four goals this season. Give the Capitals credit for coming storming back in the final 20 minutes.

2)The Bruins, on the other hand, looked sluggish and tired out of the gate in the final 20 minutes and perhaps had their minds on All-Star break vacations a period too early tonight.

3)Way too difficult to prove the Tim Thomas flap had any effect on the Bruins tonight, so Im not even going there.

4)Mathieu Perreault had 15 career goals headed into tonights game and leaves with a hat trick against the Bruins. Second straight game the Bs have allowed a hat trick to an opponent, but at least all three of Perreaults goals were demonstrably different.

5)Way too many defensemen turnovers and mistakes. That seems to be the surest sign that the Bs arent really invested into a game like they can be.

Gostkowski named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week

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Gostkowski named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week

FOXBORO -- Stephen Gostkowski is almost 34 years old, but in Mexico City he provided a reminder that he's not slowing down in his 12th NFL season. 

After going four-for-four on field goals -- including a team-record 62-yarder, a 51-yarder and a 40-yarder -- and making all three of his extra points, Gostkowski was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week for the sixth time in his career. 

During a press conference on Wednesday, Bill Belichick explained that someone in Gostkowski's situation probably isn't improving at this point in his career. But if he's maintaining a strong level of play, that's OK. 

"I don’t know how much real improvement you’re going to see from a player that’s been in the league 12 or 20 years in a case like Adam [Vinatieri] or somebody like that," Belichick said. "But, if the level they’re performing at is pretty good, if they can maintain that, then that’s certainly enough to help the team.

"Are there things that a player can do better? Yeah, sure, there always are technique things. I think Steve has really improved in some of his alternative kicks on kickoffs, as an example, instead of just kicking every ball as far as he can. He’s done a great job of that. I’d say it’s maintaining the timing and the overall leg speed and technique that makes kickers good at their job."

Bruins hope to keep cooking with a winning recipe

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Bruins hope to keep cooking with a winning recipe

The Bruins seemed to discover a winning formula on the West Coast. Now the challenge is to keep it going.

It took them more than a month of play in the regular season, but they finally won two games in a row. Anton Khudobin and the B's played strong defense and finally built leads against the Kings and Sharks, and they avoided the kind of soft goal or defensive mistake that has been at the heart of so many of their losses.

Clearly that kind of tight, defensive game is how they're going have to play until they get their full lineup back, and they need plenty of wins. They're currently stuck in 13th place in the Eastern Conference, three points out of a playoff spot.

"It's always nice to get a couple of wins, especially against tough teams," said David Krejci, who is scoreless but averaging almost 17 minutes of ice time  in the two games since returning from a back injury. "We knew we had some areas of our game that we had to improve, and we still do after the start to the game we had against San Jose. It's nice to get two in a row, and we're focusing on three in [New Jersey]. We're building toward something, and we're on the right track. It's a big game [against the Devils].

"Playing with a lead, playing good defensively and having a good, structured game with everybody buying in . . . when you have a young team and you're playing strong clubs like LA and San Jose, it really says a lot about what we're trying to do here when you can get the job done."

The good news is the Bruins are going to make it through the Thanksgiving marker within shouting distance of a playoff spot, but they're still just scratching the surface of what they need to do to stay relevant in the East. They're hoping that finally reeling off a couple of consecutive wins can start a run of good hockey at a time when they desperately need it.

"I think we've played as a five-man unit" said Kevan Miller. "Forwards are getting back to help the 'D', and defensemen are stepping up to help the forwards. When you play like that and everybody is on the same page, it makes it that much easier. I think everybody, whether you're coming from Providence or you're up here, has played the same systems, but it can be a little bit of a struggle to get everybody on the same page.

"We've done a pretty good job of that, but doing it for 60 minutes has been a bit of an issue. We're trying to work on that."

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