Bruins

Haggerty: 15 thoughts from Bruins-Sabres

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Haggerty: 15 thoughts from Bruins-Sabres

Here are 15 thoughts from the game with the Bruins edging the Sabres by a 3-1 score after 60 minutes at TD Garden, and winning their first set of back-to-back games in nearly two months.

FIRST PERIOD

1) Slow-motion glove hand from Tim Thomas on a Jason Pominville bomb from the right face-off circle that admittedly had some steam on it. But thats a goal Thomas needs to find some way to stop when the Bruins have dominated the period and outshot the Sabres by a 13-6 margin. It appears that playing seven games in a row on top of last years workload and short offseason has started to really slow Thomas down.

2) Bruins dominated face-off circle by a 13-6 margin and fired off 13 shots on net, but couldnt get anything Jhonas Enroth. Not enough traffic in front of the diminutive goaltender as the Bruins dont have their blue collars on tonight.

3) The Sabres have blocked seven shots as opposed to three from the Bruins. Time for the Bs to start playing with a little more desperation.

4) Good scrappy efforts from the Sabres, who are pushing back with the Bruins and fighting a bigger, stronger team. Mike Weber didnt back down from an encounter with Milan Lucic in front of the net and Nate Gerbe taking puck hard to the net despite getting leveled by Johnny Boychuk.

5) Six giveaways by the Bruins in the first period including a pair by Tyler Seguin. The Bs need to take much better care of the puck.

SECOND PERIOD

1) Some much-needed offensive contributions from the fourth line there. Shawn Thornton hops all over a bad Christian Ehrhoff pass and tees up a slapshot that Gregory Campbell tips past Jhonas Enroth for Bostons first goal of the game. It looked like more offensive constipation for the Bs when Dennis Seidenbergs shot slammed a right post earlier, but they were finally able to break through.

2) Claude Julien makes a move that seemed to employ a lot of logic: he slid Jordan Caron up on the second line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand and moved Brian Rolston with Chris Kelly and Benoit Pouliot. Makes sense given Carons elevated play as of late.

3) A great stretch pass from Joe Corvo to Tyler Seguin for a breakaway that Enroth was able to turn away with a glove hand. It was a good example of Corvos offensive skills and further proof that the Bs defenseman has turned it around in the last few days. With defensemen depth finally a reality it appears that Corvo has stepped up his game.

4) The Bruins have won 28 out of 40 face-off attempts today and are working the Sabres in the draw. Patrice Bergeron is leading the way by winning 15 of his 19 face-off attempts.

5) Solid 8:52 of ice time for Mike Mottau so far with no real defensive breakdowns or issues around the net.

THIRD PERIOD

1) Special couple of shifts by Johnny Boychuk showing exactly why he earned that three year contract extension with the Bruins. He punished Thomas Vanek with a hit when the Buffalo forwards head was down and then scored the game-winning goal when he fired a searing slapshot through three Sabres defenders and into the top corner of the net.

2) When the Bruins have good energy in their legs they score in bunches and demoralize teams with the quick strike attack, and they did that in the third period to the Sabres. They followed up Boychuks goal with a Milan Lucic-to-David Krejci goal on a 2-on-1 immediately afterward to step down on the stunned Sabres. Krejci, Seguin and Lucic have combined for 20 points in their five games together.

3) Brad Marchand took a shot from Tyler Myers and skated off the ice in serious pain midway through the third period. He left the stick out on the ice as he skated hunched over toward the bench. Didnt see him back on the ice afterward.

4) Good job by Tim Thomas locking things down after giving up a tough goal at the end of the first period.

5) Jordan Caron notched an assist on Johnny Boychuks goal and now has six points in his last three games.

Morning Skate: Cheers for Boyle as he returns to practice with Devils

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Morning Skate: Cheers for Boyle as he returns to practice with Devils

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while determined to go see Foo Fighters at Fenway Park this time around. 
 
-- In the great news department, Hingham native Brian Boyle hears cheers at practice as he returns to work for the New Jersey Devils after his cancer diagnosis. Boyle might be wearing a Devils uniform, but he knows he has all of Boston in his corner along with many, many other corners of the hockey world. 

-- There is no panic with the Maple Leafs over the slow start for Mitch Marner, who has been dropped to the fourth line in the early going.
 
-- Wellesley native Chris Wagner is beginning to get recognized for his big hits and physical play with the Anaheim Ducks

-- Senators prospect and Massachusetts native Joey Daccord makes an unbelievable game-saving stop for his college team. 

-- For something completely different: Greg Nicotero talks about the Walking Dead premiere, and a character thought dead that might actually still be alive.
 

'Forgotten man' David Harris plays key role in win over Falcons

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'Forgotten man' David Harris plays key role in win over Falcons

For the first six weeks of the season, Patriots veteran linebacker David Harris was little more than an insurance policy.

At $1.25 million guaranteed this season, he was one of the pricer policies on the team, but his playing time told the story of where he stood on Bill Belichick and Matt Patricia's depth chart. His seven total defensive snaps slotted him in behind Kyle Van Noy, Elandon Roberts and Dont'a Hightower among off-the-ball 'backers. 

So when Harris saw 19 snaps -- making three tackles in the process -- against the Falcons and their speedy offensive weapons on Sunday night, it caught our attention. Here are a few of the elements that came into play, leading to Harris' increase in playing time. 

1) Injuries to other Patriots linebackers created an opening for Harris. Roberts was announced as inactive prior to kickoff due to an ankle injury. Later in the night, Hightower suffered a shoulder injury that knocked him from action. That left Van Noy, Harris and Marquis Flowers as the team's linebackers in uniform. Harris got the nod over Flowers, who's primarily a special-teamer.

2) Falcons personnel called for the Patriots to use their base defense at times. The game opened with the Falcons going with a two-back set, encouraging Belichick to go with bigger personnel. The Patriots didn't have to stick with their regular group because the Falcons used primarily one-back sets over the course of the night, But even with Hightower healthy and available, what happened early in the game proved that there were certain packages that called for Harris to be on the field. He saw one early, picking up his first start as a member of the Patriots. 

3) The work Harris has put in during practices and off the field allowed the Patriots coaching staff to trust him when he was called upon. Belichick has lauded Harris all season for his professionalism, and on Monday morning he continued to heap praise on the 33-year-old. "As always, I think David works hard and is very well prepared and did all of the right things that we would want him to do from an assignment standpoint," Belichick said. "He gave us some good plays, was in on a few plays. Again, handled the communication in the front well. We’ll see if we can build on it. We’ve got a lot of good play from a number of guys and he’s certainly part of that group."