Haggerty's thoughts from P-Bruins vs. IceCaps

924289.jpg

Haggerty's thoughts from P-Bruins vs. IceCaps

PROVIDENCE, RI -- Here are five thoughts from the first period with the Providence Bruins leading the St. John's IceCaps by a 1-0 lead after the first 20 minutes at the Dunkin' Donuts Center.

1) A goal 22 seconds in for P-Bruins emotional catalyst Bobby Robbins, who has been bringing it to Providence this season. Fitting he now has a score to go with the 33 penalty minutes he's amassed in six games.

2) Providence Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy looks like he's paired Ryan Spooner and Chris Bourque back together after leaving them on separate lines to start the season. Bourque is off to a good start and nearly tipped Garnet Exelby's shot past the IceCaps goalie in the first period.

3) Niklas Svedberg was a last-minute insert into the lineup at goaltender for the P-Bruins as Michael Hutchinson continues to look like he's fighting the puck. Svedberg only faced five shots in the first, but he stopped them all.

4) The P-Bruins continue to control puck possession and dominate the shot charts. Fourteen shots in the first period for Providence compared to five for St. John's. That should be a formula to win, but Providence hasn't been stopping enough pucks early in the year.

5) Five points in seven games along with 11 PIMs for Jamie Tardif and an even plusminus rating. He's been a real bright spot for Providence this season as a veteran presence.

Five thoughts from the second period with Providence leading the St. John's IceCaps by a 2-0 score:

1) Save of the game by Niklas Svedberg on Maxime Macenauer in the middle of the second period on a short-handed bid. He kicked out a quick leg to make the stop, one of his 10 saves through two periods. Svedberg is putting a vice grip on the starting job with the P-Bruins through the first month.

2) Good power play puck movement leads to Providence's second goal. Ryan Spooner moved in toward the net and drew the defense's attention before sliding a cross-ice pass to a wide open Carter Camper. The pass was so good that Camper had all day to load up the gun and fire the puck in for a PP score.

3) Four shots on net for Chris Bourque through two periods to lead Providence. The P-Bruins are leaving him out for the entire two-minute run on PP's with both units and it's paying dividends on a man advantage that's had its good moments.

4) The Providence defense has been lacking at times, but they've been a lockdown unit today while the Bruins dominate puck possession.

5) Alex Burmistrov has been very, very quiet for St. John's today for a guy with an NHL resume. No shots and no impact.

Five thoughts from the third period with the Providence Bruins taking a 3-0 win over the St. John's IceCaps:

1) Good day for the Providence energy line as Lane MacDermid notched his first goal of the season after following on the rebound of a Bobby Robins shot. Robins finished with two points along with his customarily exuberant play.

2) Haven't seen much out of Justin Florek early in this season for the P-Bruins. He took a delay of game penalty in the first period, but was held without a shot otherwise. Florek is scoreless with a minus-2 rating in five games.

3) IceCaps started to pour it on a little bit in the third period, but Niklas Svedberg turned everything away he saw for his first career shutout in North American pro hockey.

4) Not a lot of offensive involvement for the Providence defensemen today. Perhaps that's an adjustment after some porous play last weekend, but it's led to a much more air-tight effort.

5) So which song becomes a staple in the TD Garden rotation when the NHL finally goes get going: "Gangnam Style" or "Call Me Maybe?" Credit to the Patriot Ledger's Mike Loftus for asking that burning question in the P-Bruins press box.

Freeman, Coleman lift Falcons past Saints, 45-32

falcons_devonta_freeman_092616.jpg

Freeman, Coleman lift Falcons past Saints, 45-32

NEW ORLEANS - Devonta Freeman practically wore out the Superdome turf with one long gain after another, Tevin Coleman wouldn't be denied near the goal line and the New Orleans Saints hardly looked like the team that made an emotional homecoming nearly 10 years ago to the day.

Cheers turned to boos, and many fans filed out early.

Coleman rushed for three touchdowns, Matt Ryan passed for two TDs and Deion Jones returned an interception 90 yards for a score to help the Atlanta Falcons beat the winless New Orleans Saints 45-32 on Monday night.

"It was real fun. Everybody was doing their job and everybody was playing for each other," Coleman said. "Everything clicked, and we got it done. It's a real big win for us to beat this team here."

The game coincided with New Orleans' celebration of the 10-year anniversary of the Saints' memorable return to the Superdome on Sept. 25, 2006, 13 months after Hurricane Katrina. But there would be no reprise of New Orleans' dominant and emotional 23-3 triumph over Atlanta a decade ago.

The Saints' depleted defense struggled to slow Freeman, who rushed for 152 yards and caught five passes for 55 yards. Coleman also was effective in the passing game out of the backfield, with three receptions for 47 yards to go with his 42 yards rushing.

"We have to stop the run better," Saints coach Sean Payton said. "They were over 200 yards in situations where you knew the run was coming, even at the end of the game."

Ryan finished with 240 yards passing for Atlanta (2-1), which did not turn the ball over and moved into sole possession of first place in the NFC South.

Drew Brees put up his usual big numbers - 376 yards and three TDs passing - and hit tight end Coby Fleener seven times for 109 yards and a TD. But Brees' tipped pass that resulted in Jones' TD return early in the fourth quarter gave the Falcons a 45-25 lead that proved too much for New Orleans to overcome.

Hayes knows he's a good player, wants to silence the critics

bruins_blue_jackets_jimmy_hayes_092616.jpg

Hayes knows he's a good player, wants to silence the critics

BOSTON, Mass. – There’s a long way to go toward a complete resurrection from last season’s misdeeds, but Jimmy Hayes made a nice little statement that he’s learned some lessons in Boston’s preseason debut. The Bruins lost the game, 3-2, in the shootout to the Columbus Blue Jackets, but Hayes scored one of the two goals for the Black and Gold as one of the few veterans in a very youthful lineup for Boston.

The Hayes goal was a nice give-and-go with Jake DeBrusk at the end of a nice transition play in the second period, and was the highlight of a night playing on the right wing with DeBrusk and center Austin Czarnik. The score and a team-high four shots on net for Hayes represent a good start for what he hopes is a gigantic rebound season after last year’s disappointment.

Clearly Hayes heard some of the unflattering chatter about him on sports talk radio and otherwise last season, and may even understand how his difficult season in his home city of Boston -- whether he actively expressed it to him or not -- might have been a factor in his buddy Jimmy Vesey ultimately choosing New York over Boston.

It appears the former Boston College standout is looking to change the conversation in Boston. 

“Yeah, sure am. I’ve got a lot to come out here and…[there were] a lot of comments about myself, but I know I’m a good player. I got to this level for a reason,” said Hayes, who dropped from 19 goals and 35 points with the Panthers to 13 goals, 29 points and a career-worst minus-12 for the Bruins last season.

“To be able to play at the NHL level and continue to play at that level on a consistent basis is what I expect out of myself. I do it for myself and our teammates, and to help our team win. I’ll continue moving forward.

“It’s funny being the old guy on the line. It’s nice to see those young guys and see how excited they are, and how excited I am to get back out there. That’s what I said to the guys, they still have the jitters and they still have them for the first preseason game. It shows that these guys want it and it’s been a lot of fun skating with those guys. They’ve got a lot of speed and to keep pushing the pace. Trying to keep up with them has been a lot of fun.”

There is still a long way to go for the 26-year-old winger, and his willingness to stick around the danger areas on Monday night was a welcomed one for a Bruins team that needs his 6-foot-6 body in front of the net. Hayes paid the price with stitches and a fat lip after taking a Dalton Prout high-stick to the mouth in front of the Columbus net that went uncalled on a Bruins PP at the end of the second period.

That’s all part of the big man’s game on the ice, however. It’s also the kind of battle and determined fight that Hayes will need to show much more consistently in his second season with the hometown Bruins if he’s truly looking to bounce-back from last year’s mediocre performance.