Game info: Patriots vs. Ravens


Game info: Patriots vs. Ravens

GAME TIME: 6:30 p.m. EST


TV ANNOUNCERS: Jim Nantz, Phil Simms, Steve Tasker and Solomon Wilcots.

RADIO NETWORK: Anchored by WBZ-FM (98.5 The Sports Hub)

RADIO ANNOUNCERS: Gil Santos and Scott Zolak


LAST MEETING: Ravens 31, Patriots 30 on Sept. 23, 2012 at M&T Bank Stadium.

The Patriots are 7-1 in AFC Championship Games, including a 4-0 record at home overall and a 3-0 record at Gillette Stadium. Their only AFC Championship Game loss was in 2006 at Indianapolis.

With a victory, the Patriots will advance to their eighth Super Bowl, matching Dallas and Pittsburgh for the most Super Bowl appearances.

The Patriots and Ravens will face off in the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium for the second consecutive season. It is the fourth time since the AFL-NFL merger that two teams have met in the AFC Championship Game in consecutive seasons. (The others: The Broncos and Browns -- the Ravens' predecessors - in 1986-87, the Steelers and Oilers in 1978-79, and the Raiders and Steelers from 1974-76.) Oakland and Pittsburgh are the only teams to meet in three consecutive AFC Championship Games. It will be just the second time that the same two teams have met in the same city for the AFC Championship Game and the first since the Pittsburgh Steelers hosted the Houston Oilers in 1978 and 1979.

The Patriots have compiled a 24-16 record in their 40 playoff games and their .600 playoff winning percentage is tied for fourth-best in NFL history among teams that have played at least 15 playoff games. New England has qualified for seven Super Bowls (XX, XXXI, XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX, XLII and XLVI) and one AFL Championship Game (1963).

Bill Belichick (18) needs one more postseason victory to move into a second-place tie with Don Shula (19) for most playoff coaching wins, behind Tom Landry (20).

Belichick needs to earn one more Super Bowl berth to match Don Shula with six.

Tom Brady (23) needs to start in one more postseason game to match Brett Favre (24) for the most postseason starts by an NFL quarterback. He is tied with Joe Montana with 23 postseason starts.

Brady (41) needs four more postseason touchdowns passes to move past Montana (45) and Brett Favre (44) for the all-time lead.

Brady (5,629) needs 227 postseason yards to set the all-time NFL record for most postseason yards. Brett Favre (5,855), Joe Montana (5,772) and Peyton Manning (5,679) are currently ahead of Brady.

Brady (5) needs to play in one more Super Bowl to match DL Mike Lodish, who played in six (4 with Buffalo and two with Denver).

Brady (5) needs one more 300-yard game in the postseason to tie Kurt Warner (6) and Joe Montana (6) for second, behind Peyton Manning (8).

Welker (569) needs 128 postseason receiving yards to move past Troy Brown (694) into second place all-time on the franchise list of postseason receiving yards, behind Deion Branch (836).

Bruins need to 'find a way to start playing with a lead'

Bruins need to 'find a way to start playing with a lead'

BOSTON -- There’s only so long that a team can hope to thrive, or even survive, in the NHL if they’re constantly chasing the game on the scoreboard, and chasing the puck after digging themselves a hole. The Bruins have been that team in the first couple of weeks during the regular season, and made it five times in five games that they’ve given up the game’s first goal in an eventual 4-2 loss to the Montreal Canadiens at TD Garden.

It’s a pattern that is long past getting old to Bruins head coach Claude Julien, who can’t seem to play the front-runner this season despite three comebacks that have allowed for a 3-2-0 record overall this season.

“I hope it’s not a habit. It’s certainly not what we’re looking for, but there’s no doubt. I think it’s pretty obvious that with the amount of games we’ve played, five games, we haven’t scored first,” said Julien. “We talked about that this morning, trying to get that first goal, and it hasn’t happened yet.”

The start to the game wasn’t really the problem on Saturday night as it’s been a couple of times this season. Instead the Bruins enjoyed a handful of quality scoring chances in the opening 20 minutes against the Habs, but couldn’t come through and finish off those plays when it might have meant an early lead.

Instead it lead to what Julien termed a “terrible” second period that was flat, full of mistakes and ended with the B’s trailing Montreal by a couple of goals. The Bruins scratched and clawed their way to making it a one-goal game in the third period, but that was as close as the Black and Gold would get in losing their ninth straight home game to the arch-rival Canadiens.

“It’s kind of been a story about how things are going for us this far, we’ve got to find a way to start playing with a lead. If you don’t capitalize on your chances, you see what happens when you come out [flat] in the second period,” said Torey Krug, who finished a game-worst minus-3 in the loss for the Bruins. “We had another poor second period and you know it’s kind of… you got to make sure that we put our hand on that and it doesn’t become a thing for the team this year. You see that when you don’t capitalize on chances early, that’s what’s going to happen.”

It’s been a positive development that the Bruins have shown the willingness and backbone to fight back into games after early deficits, and they showed that quality once again on Saturday night by scoring a couple of goals in the third period to keep things close. But the Bruins would be best served if they can start lighting the lamp a little earlier in these games, and see how the other half lives by playing with a comfortable lead every once in a while.