Celtics

Notre Dame falls in BCS standings

932597.jpg

Notre Dame falls in BCS standings

From Comcast SportsNetOne down, one to go for Oregon.The Ducks moved up a spot and passed Notre Dame in the BCS standings on Sunday, moving into third place behind Alabama and Kansas State.Oregon is coming off its biggest victory of the season, winning 62-51 at Southern California on Saturday night. That result, combined with Notre Dame's overtime victory against a middling Pittsburgh team, helped nudge the Ducks by the Irish this week.Alabama (.9957) is a rock solid No. 1 in both the polls and the BCS computer ratings this week. The Tide needs only to win out to reach the BCS title game for the third time in four seasons.Kansas State (.9318) is third in the polls and in the computers, but second overall.The Ducks (.9166) are a solid No. 2 in both polls, but still fifth in the computers.But the Ducks have a stronger schedule than Kansas State from this point forward, making Oregon a strong bet to pass the Wildcats if it keeps winning and earn a spot in the BCS title game in Miami on Jan. 7.The Ducks play at California on Saturday before finishing their regular season against two teams in the BCS top 15, Stanford and Oregon State. If they get to the Pac-12 title game, UCLA or USC would be the likely opponent. Both are in the BCS top 20.Kansas State is at TCU and Baylor the next two weeks, before finishing with Texas on Dec. 1. The Longhorns are 17th in the BCS standings.Notre Dame (.9050) is in fourth place with only two opponents with a winning record left on its schedule. The Fighting Irish are at Boston College on Saturday, then come home to face Wake Forest before a finale at USC.Behind the Irish in the standings are four Southeastern Conference teams -- Georgia, Florida, LSU, South Carolina.

WATCH: Boston Celtics vs. Orlando Magic

stream-celtics-magic.jpg

WATCH: Boston Celtics vs. Orlando Magic

Tune into NBC Sports Boston to watch the Celtics host the 76ers at TD Garden. You can also click here to watch the Celtics livestream presented by Nissan on the NBC Sports App. Coverage begins at 12:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live Presented by ACE Ticket.

- Game preview:  Celtics need to improve shooting

- Channel Finder: Make sure you know where to watch

[SHOP: Gear up, Celtics fans!]

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Bruins put finishing touches on reeling Canadiens

cp-bruins-canadiens-celebrate-012118.jpg

Bruins put finishing touches on reeling Canadiens

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 seat 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. 

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE