Bruins offense awakens, beat Leafs, 5-4

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Bruins offense awakens, beat Leafs, 5-4

TORONTO The Bruins needed a team identity-type effort while battling to put the proper spin on the rest of the regular season, and they appeared to have found it against the free-falling Maple Leafs.

The Bruins got two goals apiece from Charlestown roommates Jordan Caron and Tyler Seguin and poured on the offense in a gritty 5-4 victory over Toronto at the Air Canada Centre. The win snaps a two-game losing streak for the Bruins and further pushes down a Toronto team that appears to be fading away from any potential playoff hopes.

The Bruins trailed early in the game when Carl Gunnarson snapped off a one-timer just over three minutes into the first period, but Caron tied it before the first intermission by crashing the net for a loose puck rebound.

Then the Black and Gold poured it on with four goals in the second period after Toronto again opened the scoring with a John Michael-Liles rebound attempt after Tim Thomas fell on his rear end making the original save.

Seguin had a tip on a beautiful Zdeno Chara dangle past a disinterested Phil Kessel that tied things up again. Chris Kelly flipped home a rebound after Caron created a scoring chance by carrying Toronto defenders to the net with him, and Caron and Seguin both closed out the scoring with one more goal apiece.

There was the Big Bad Bruins rough stuff as well as Shawn Thornton and Jay Rosehill had a punishing bout and Dennis Seidenberg hammered Colby Armstrong into a bloody pulp out of frustration in the second period.

Mikhail Grabovski beat Thomas to the glove hand in the third period to make it interesting, but Thomas (25 saves) and the Bs held on for the needed victory.
GOLD STAR: Jordan Caron seems to have tapped into his confidence and play-making abilities all at once for the Bruins in their biggest moment of need. Caron potted a career-high two goals and registered three points in the Bs win to build on what many agreed was his best game as an NHL player Sunday afternoon at Madison Square Garden. On the two-game road trip Caron has five points and a plus-5 with the second-highest ice time total (14:20) of the season for him at the Air Canada Centre. Caron looks like hes tapping into the things that made him a first round pick: taking the puck hard to the net while carrying defenders with him and pouncing on loose biscuits around the net.

BLACK EYE: Greg Zanon is a minus-4 thus far in the Bruins uniform and screened Tim Thomas on Carl Gunnarssons goal that opened things up for Toronto in the first period. He did finish with four hits and a pair of blocked shots, but hes had a high number of incidents around the net after looking solid in his Bs debut. He did finish with his highest ice total (14:59) as a member of the Bruins, but theres been a noticeable drop-off in defense since Zanon took his place.

HONORABLE MENTION: Tyler Seguin has nine points, six goals and a plus-6 in five games against the Maple Leafs this season, and has completely owned them. Its important for the younger guys on the Bruins to rise up and strike when it appears some of the veterans are getting a bit heavy-legged, and both Seguin and Jordan Caron filled that role nicely as twenty-something prodigies playing with a spark. Its got to sting Leafs Nation each time Seguin whisks into Toronto and dances all over their nonexistent defense and goaltending tandem.

TURNING POINT: The Bruins scored a pair of goals just 42 seconds apart in the first three minutes of the second period Tyler Seguin with a tip off a nice play by Zdeno Chara and Chris Kelly attacking a rebound of a Jordan Caron power forward drive to the cage -- and knocked the Maple Leafs on their heels with the quick strike capability theyve shown at times this season. The Leafs did end up tying the game, but the Bruins showed a couple of the unmistakable signs (one-sided fights, quick strike offense) that theyre getting in touch with their team identity and kept pouring it on Toronto.

BY THE NUMBERS: 5-0 the Bruins record against the Maple Leafs this season as theyve outscored them by a 28-10 margin.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "Adam McQuaid fights enough. I've got to stand up for myself." Dennis The German Destroyer Seidenberg after taking umbrage with a Colby Armstrong hit that came up a little too high for his liking, and then busting up Armstrongs nose in a rare, bloody fight for the easygoing Bs defenseman.

Three things we learned from the Red Sox’ 11-9 loss to the Twins

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Three things we learned from the Red Sox’ 11-9 loss to the Twins

Three things we learned from the Boston Red Sox’ 11-9 loss to the Minnesota Twins . . .

1) David Price isn’t having fun

Boston’s $217 million-dollar arm had another rough outing -- this time against a team that already has 60 losses.

Those are the team’s he’s supposed to dominate.

“It’s been terrible,” Price said on how his season has gone following the loss. “Just awful.”

Price’s mistakes have often been credited to mechanical mishaps this year. Farrell mentioned that following his start in New York, Price spent time working on getting more of a downhill trajectory on his pitches.

But Price doesn’t think his issue is physical.

So it must be mental -- but he doesn’t feel that’s the case either.

“Honestly I don’t think it’s either one of those,” Price said when asked which he thought was a factor. “It’s me going out there and making pitches. “

But when it comes down to the barebones, pitching -- much like anything else -- is a physical and mental act.

So when he says it’s neither, that’s almost impossible. It could be both, but it has to be one.

His mind could be racing out on the mound from a manifestation of the issues he’s had throughout the season.

Or it could just be that his fastball isn’t changing planes consistently, like Farrell mentioned.

Both could be possible too, but it takes a certain type of physical approach and mental approach to pitch -- and Price needs to figure out which one is the issue, or how to address both. 

2) Sandy Leon might be coming back to Earth

Over his last five games, Boston’s new leading catcher is hitting .176 (3-for-17), dropping his average to .395.

A couple things have to be understood. His average is still impressive. In the five games prior to this dry spell, Leon went 7-for-19 (.368) But -- much like Jackie Bradley Jr. -- Leon hasn’t been known for his offensive output throughout his career. So dry spells are always tests of how he can respond to adversity and make necessary adjustments quickly.

Furthermore, if he’s not so much falling into a funk as opposed to becoming the real Sandy Leon -- what is Boston getting?

Is his run going to be remembered as an exciting run that lasted much longer than anyone expected? Or if he going to show he’s a legitimate hitter that can hit at least -.260 to .280 with a little pop from the bottom of the line-up?

What’s more, if he turns back into the Sandy Leon he’s been throughout his career, the Red Sox will have an interesting dilemma on how to handle the catching situation once again.

3) Heath Hembree has lost the momentum he gained after being called up.

Following Saturday’s contest, the right-hander was demoted to Triple-A Pawtucket after an outing where he went 1/3 of an inning, giving up a run on three hits -- and allowing some inherited runners to score.

Hembree at one point was the savior of the bullpen, stretching his arm out over three innings at a time to bail out the scuffling Red Sox starting rotation that abused it’s bullpen.

His ERA is still only 2.41 -- and this has been the most he’s ever pitched that big league level -- but the Red Sox have seen a change in him since the All-Star break.

Which makes sense, given that hitters have seven hits and two walks against him in his 1.1 innings of work -- spanning four games since the break.

“He’s not confident pitcher right now,” John Farrell said about Hembree before announcing his demotion. “As good as Heath has been for the vast majority of this year -- and really in the whole first half -- the four times out since the break have been the other side of that.”

Joe Kelly will be the pitcher to replace Hembree and Farrell hopes to be able to stretch him out over multiple innings at a time, as well.