WASHINGTON, DC Here are five thoughts from the first period with the Bruins and Capitals tied at a 1-1 score after the first 20 minutes of Game 4 at the Verizon Center.1) Dennis Wideman has now been on ice for every 5-on-5 goal that the Bruins have scored this season. It looks like the Bruins were fully aware of the dead spots in his game, and capitalized when he pinched into the offensive zone as Alex Ovechkin was turning over a puck.2) Not a lot of penalties called for either team in this one. Figured the Capitals might get the benefit of the doubt after crying over the lack of calls going their way in Game 3, and they did get the only power play of the period on a Rich Peverley slashing call. But the refs also missed an obvious high-sticking call on Benoit Pouliot when he smashed Mike Green in the face.3) The bloom is coming off Braden Holtby a little bit. He let up a five-hole goal to Rich Peverley that was on a 3-on-1 after the shifty forward faked pass to set up the shot. Holtby did stop the other 13 shots he faced and a couple of them were good chances, but the Washington goalie doesnt seem quite so impenetrable.4) Interesting non-interference call on Alex Ovechkin when he tackled Andrew Ference at open ice during a loose puck situation, and set up the Marcus Johansson goal for the Capitals less than two minutes into the game. Zdeno Chara overplayed the situation as well, and left Brian Rolston all alone trying to defend the odd-man rush. Nothing Rolston or Tim Thomas could do.5) Thus far the Bruins are doing what they need to do to earn a playoff win on the road. They owned possession in the first period, managed to end it with a tie score and made Dale Hunter pay for having John Erskine in his lineup. It was the lumbering defenseman that was stuck trying to contain a breakaway when Dennis Wideman was caught up ice. Not a great coaching move, Dale.
LANDOVER, Md. - Kirk Cousins threw two touchdown passes to compensate for a pick-6, and the Washington Redskins beat the New York Giants 20-10 on Thursday night on a drab field in a drab game between two injury-depleted teams that did not look ready for prime time. Click here to read more.
That Celtics win streak was dope. Let’s map out an even longer one that probably won’t happen.
Nobody’s actually expecting them to keep the pace they’ve established with their recently concluded run. Still, with 63 games remaining, there’s still time for the Celtics to have up to three win streaks of even longer than 16 games. So, because it’s the holidays and the holidays are all about positivity (fun move you’ve probably picked up from movies: You can say “the holidays are all about _____” and just put in whatever you want and it will work), let’s map out the next win streak.
- What the C's are thankful for
- BLAKELY'S takeaways: Moving on after the streak
- Little things prove costly in first loss in a month
A big part of the Celtics’ 16-gamer (and get ready to say “duh”) is that they were better than a lot of the teams they beat. But they also beat one team that was without question better than them and beat a few teams that could certainly beat them on any given night.
Here’s a rough breakdown of the 16 games:
- Even if they didn’t go as smoothly as anticipated, nine games were against what could be classified as easy prey based on their rosters and how those teams were playing: The 76ers, the Knicks, the Kings, the Hawks twice, the Lakers, the Hornets, the Nets and the Mavericks.
- Let’s say that the Heat (whom they played and beat during the streak before Miami snapped the streak Wednesday) and Magic weren’t perceived pushovers, but rather unremarkable opponents.
- Four games were against what one could call worthy opponents for the Celtics: the Bucks, the Spurs (though they were missing Kawhi Leonard), the Thunder and the Raptors.
- Nobody was ever pretending the Celtics were actually better than the Warriors.
So that breaks the 16 games into one game against an unequivocally superior opponent, four against worthy opponents, two against unremarkable teams, and nine joke books.
Of course, there are several variables that can be thrown into that, such as the fact that the C’s beat one of the aforementioned good teams (Toronto) without Kyrie Irving and nearly lost to two of those trash teams (Charlotte and Dallas). You can’t predict injuries just like you shouldn’t predict win streaks, but let’s take all the information we have and try to find the next one:
Friday vs. Magic (trash; probable win)
Saturday at Pacers (unremarkable; potential loss)
A back-to-back after a holiday with the second game on the road against a team that’s been way better than expected? I don’t like the sound of it.
Nov. 27 vs. Pistons (worthy opponent; potential loss)
Are they overrated? Maybe, but Pistons currently hold the second spot in the Eastern Conference. Whether it’s the Pacers or the Pistons, I think this short stretch prevents a speed bump. The streak might have to wait.
STARTING NOV. 30
Nov. 30 against Sixers (upgraded to unremarkable based on recent play; still win)
Remember: The last streak started against the Sixers. Hopefully, Kyrie pays that fans’ way to Boston for a halftime reunion.
Dec. 2 vs. Suns (trash; win)
Dec. 4 vs. Bucks (worthy opponent; win)
Celtics aren’t losing to those sons of guns twice at home.
Dec. 6 vs. Dallas (trash; win)
Can you get revenge on a team for almost beating you? Yes. The Celtics will.
Dec. 8 at Spurs (worthy opponent; win)
Until I see Kawhi on the court, this one is a win.
Dec. 10 at Detroit (worthy opponent; win)
The Pistons play the Spurs, Bucks and Warriors the three previous games. They’ll be all tuckered out.
Dec. 11 through Dec. 23 (mix of unremarkable and trash opponents; seven wins)
Dec. 25 vs. Wizards (worthy opponent; win)
Terry Rozier becomes a household name with a Christmas performance for the ages.
Dec. 27 at Charlotte (trash; win)
Dec. 28 vs. Houston (worthy opponent; win)
Dec. 31 vs. Brooklyn (trash; loss)
The Celtics are 0-1 the days prior to holidays this season. The streak ends at 18.
THE REST OF THE SEASON
We'll assess it then, but for now, let's say undefeated (including playoffs).