Patriots

Haggerty: 15 thoughts from Bruins-Lightning

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Haggerty: 15 thoughts from Bruins-Lightning

TAMPA Here are five thoughts from the first period with the Bruins trailing the Tampa Bay Lightning by a 1-0 score after the first 20 minutes of play at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

1)Another disinterested first period for the Bruins against the Lightning. Sloppy on defense, little emotion and no real push offensively coupled with pedestrian opponents are bringing the worst out of the Bs. Very flat, very passive and no physical engagement whatsoever for the Bs, but Id call it a malaise more than slump.

2)Second game in a row that the Bruins had only six shots at the end of the first period. Thats simply not enough offense for the Bruins and not enough sustained possession in the offensive zone.

3)Three Bs bodies (Zdeno Chara, Johnny Boychuk and David Krejci) all around Vinny Lecavalier in front of the Boston net, but My Center Vinny beat them all to a loose with Tim Thomas way out of the net after challenging Marty St. Louis. Too easy for Lecavalier and not enough push-back from the Bruins.

4) Patrice Bergeron had to retreat to the Bs dressing room twice during the first period for what looked like equipment issues. He missed one of the Bs power plays because of it. No. 37 needs to lock down the equipment problems because the Bs can afford to miss him in big moments.

5)Brett Clark blocked four shots in the first period for Tampa and literally walked right in front of the Joe Corvo slap shot. The guy seems to have no fear. Impressive.

TAMPA Here are five thoughts from the second period with the Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning tied at a 2-2- score after the first 40 minutes of play at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

1)Claude Julien calls out Nathan Horton after last nights game, and the right wing responds by scoring a pair of goals and helping keep his hockey club in the game. Horton leads the Bruins with four shots on net and had another three shots blocked in the most active offensive night hes had in quite some time. When is Claude Julien going to go on his motivational speaking tour?

2)Another group of defensive breakdowns for the Bruins leading to a Tom Pyatt goal. Milan Lucic made an ill-advised cross-ice pass that was intercepted, Joe Corvo vacated his defensive post in front of the net and Tim Thomas ventured way out of his crease with no defensive support. That amount to an easy tap in for Pyatt that has the game tied after two periods.

3)Joe Corvo is in a pretty deep funk right now. Hes not making enough happen offensively and has been a leaking oil liability in his own end.

4)Pierre-Cedric Labrie running around with five hits in 2:43 of ice time through two periods, and hasnt been challenged to back away by any of the Bruins as of yet. Stay tuned in the third period.

5) Have to share the Jack Edwards tweet after Nathan Hortons second goal: Horton hears a hoo. Two. Has a clue. Would like to make it a few. Please do. You cant make that stuff up. By the way, love the 40 million renovations at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. The pipe organ theyve added really makes it feel like a hockey barn rather than a rink stuck in Florida.

TAMPA Here are five thoughts from the third period with the Bruins falling to the Tampa Bay Lightning by a 5-3 score after 60 minutes of play at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

1)Tyler Seguin called for diving in the third period on a matching call with Steve Stamkos. Thats not the Bruins way, Tyler. You cant be diving. Not on this team.

2)Tim Thomas was flat beaten by the Dominic Moore shot in the third period for the game-winner. Not a great game for the Bs goalie with the Bruins defense very shaky in front of him.

3) Bruins definitely look like they could use the energy of Brad Marchand, dont they?

4)Daniel Paille doesnt cash in close to all of the breakaways hes given because of his speed, instincts and tenacity, but given enough chances hell figure it out as he did in the third period on a filthy roofed backhander.

5)How is this Lightning team as bad they are this season? Looks to me like they have everything they need to win hockey games based on one nights effort against the Bruins.

Ryan's 2 TD passes enough as Falcons hold off Seahawks 34-31

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Ryan's 2 TD passes enough as Falcons hold off Seahawks 34-31

SEATTLE - Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons did enough through 3 1/2 quarters that even the best comeback attempt by Russell Wilson fell short this time.

A couple of yards short to be exact.

Ryan threw a pair of touchdown passes, Adrian Clayborn returned a fumble 10 yards for a score and the Falcons watched Blair Walsh's 52-yard field goal attempt in the final seconds fall short, holding off the Seattle Seahawks for a 34-31 win on Monday night.

Atlanta won its second straight to stay on the heels of New Orleans and Carolina in the NFC South, and handed Seattle a second consecutive home loss.

"What an absolute team win from the guys tonight," Atlanta coach Dan Quinn said. "Coming here, in this environment, with the crowd, we thought it would be two competitive, tough teams that were going to battle for it in the biggest way."

Ryan threw TDs to Mohamed Sanu and Levine Toilolo, while Tevin Coleman added a 1-yard TD run on Atlanta's opening possession.

But it was Clayborn's fumble return that helped break the game open early in the second quarter and gave Atlanta a 21-7 lead. He scooped up a loose ball after Wilson was crunched by Takk McKinley and Courtney Upshaw.

"I think we're moving in the right direction. We keep proving we can finish games and beat guys. We have to take the momentum and keep rolling with it," Clayborn said.

With Seattle down 11 points, Wilson hit Doug Baldwin on a 29-yard TD with 3 minutes left and then threw to Jimmy Graham for the two-point conversion. Seattle got the ball back and moved in range for Walsh, whose attempt was on line but landed short of the crossbar.

"That was in our range, and in hindsight I would have just driven it more," Walsh said. "I would have driven it more and not left it short. I was too accurate and didn't have enough on it."

Wilson again was the entirety of Seattle's offense, throwing for 258 yards and two touchdowns, and running for another 86 yards and a TD.

But it was an awful night for the Seahawks, filled with more injuries and questionable decisions by coach Pete Carroll. He called for a fake field goal late in the first half rather than attempting a 35-yard kick. He also made a questionable challenge in the fourth quarter that didn't go his way and left Seattle with just one timeout.

That lack of timeouts came back to haunt Seattle on the final drive when seconds ticked away and rather than running one more play, Walsh was sent out to attempt the 52-yard kick. His long for the season is 49 yards.

The conclusion only amplified Carroll's baffling decision at the end of the first half, when Seattle ran a fake field goal rather than having Walsh attempt a 35-yarder that would have pulled Seattle within 24-20. Holder Jon Ryan completed his shovel pass to Luke Willson, but Grady Jarrett read the play and tackled Willson for a 4-yard loss.

Willson said Atlanta's defense on the play was different than what Seattle had seen on film.

"It would have been a really good call if we had made it," Carroll said. "Terrific opportunity right where we wanted it and the defensive tackle made a better play."

Seattle played a game for the first time since the end of the 2010 season without Richard Sherman. His streak of 99 consecutive starts in the regular season was snapped because of a torn Achilles tendon suffered against Arizona. The Seahawks were also without safety Kam Chancellor because of a neck injury, leaving their vaunted secondary with several new faces.

"Those two are phenomenal players. ... It was a lot different," Sanu said. "They did a lot of different things but we just had to take advantage of our routes."

MATTY ICE

Ryan was more than happy to pick on a defense without Sherman and Chancellor. He was 19 of 27 passing for 195 yards and rarely faced pressure. Seattle had one sack, and the Falcons went 9 of 14 on third-down conversions.

Sanu made a great one-handed grab for a 2-yard touchdown in the first quarter. Ryan found Toilolo on a 25-yard TD in the third quarter to give Atlanta a 31-20 lead. Matt Bryant added a 19-yard field goal with 3:49 left to put the Falcons ahead by 11, and Wilson's late heroics weren't enough.

Ryan's streak of 64 straight games passing for at least 200 yards was snapped.

INJURIES

Seattle's injury woes continued. The Seahawks lost rookie cornerback Shaquill Griffin to a concussion on the second play of the game, forcing newly signed veteran Byron Maxwell into a more prominent role than expected.

Early in the second half, promising running back Mike Davis was lost to a groin injury after taking a screen pass 21 yards. Davis had two receptions and had carried six times for 18 yards before getting hurt. Seattle also lost starting guard Oday Aboushi in the fourth quarter with a shoulder injury.

Atlanta got a scare when safety Keanu Neal was checked for a concussion in the first half. He was cleared to return.

UP NEXT

Falcons: Host Tampa Bay on Sunday to open a three-game homestand.

Seahawks: Travel to division foe San Francisco on Sunday.

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'Resilient' Celtics continue to find ways to win

'Resilient' Celtics continue to find ways to win

We have seen the Boston Celtics play less-than-stellar basketball for long stretches, only to turn it on in the second half and escape with a win.

But Monday night’s game at Dallas was different.

Usually it has been Boston’s offense that has kept the game closer than expected, but on Monday it was the team’s defense that struggled more than usual.

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But this team continues to show an ability to withstand all in-game struggles to eventually emerge victorious which was exactly what happened as the Celtics rallied from a double-digit fourth-quarter deficit to knock off the Mavericks 110-102 in overtime.

The Celtics (16-2) have now won 16 in a row which ties the fourth-longest winning streak in franchise history.

But this win, like so many of its predecessors during this historic run, was not one to celebrate afterwards.

“Quite a resilient comeback in the fourth,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. “Not our best foot forward before that. Of all the comebacks, that did not look good for a long time. We found a way to win it.”

Kyrie Irving scored a game-high 47 points, 10 of which came in the overtime period.

But his performance was just one of many Boston needed to extend its winning streak.

“In a game like this, you have to do whatever it takes, both ends of the floor,” Boston’s Jayson Tatum told reporters afterwards.

And he did just that.

In the final seconds of the fourth quarter, Tatum’s defense forced a Harrison Barnes miss that would have won the game for Dallas.

And in the fourth quarter, Tatum’s rebounding was critical to Boston (16-2) extending its stay atop the NBA standings.

The 6-foot-8 rookie had a near double-double with 15 points and nine rebounds, with four of his boards coming in overtime.

Boston also got another strong game from Jaylen Brown (22 points, nine rebounds) and Marcus Smart, whose shooting was well off the mark most of the night (3-for-15) but like he has done too many times to count, Smart managed to make a positive impact on the game.

He led the Celtics with eight assists off the bench, in addition to a slew of hustle plays that included a desperation save of a ball going out of bounds that managed to find its way into the hands of Kyrie Irving, who drained a much-needed 3-pointer late in the game.

“Those are worth more than whatever the shot goes in,” Stevens said. “That’s why it’s hard to quantify Marcus Smart.”

The same can be said about Boston’s winning streak, which has come about despite several stretches, every game seemingly, where the Celtics struggle.

But to their credit, they don’t allow the in-game setbacks take away from their focus night-in and night-out and that’s to find a way, any way possible, to emerge with a victory.

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