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.

Quotes, notes and stars: Donaldson dominates Kelly

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Quotes, notes and stars: Donaldson dominates Kelly

Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox’ 7-5 loss to the Blue Jays:

 

QUOTES

 

* “He had quality stuff, but the story of this one is not being able to contain (Josh) Donaldson. Big night for him . . . I though Joe had quality stuff . . . [He] wasn’t as sharp with the overall location as he was the first time out for us.” John Farrell on Joe Kelly’s second start since his return from the disabled list.

 

* “He’s such a good player and does it in critical moments.” Farrell on Josh Donaldson after his two-homerun, 4-5 performance for Toronto.

 

* “He throws hard and has a lot of sink on his ball. Not much you can do with it. Just try to put it in play and see what happens.” Xander Bogaerts on facing Toronto’s start Aaron Sanchez.

 

* “Bottom line is the results. I think there’s been a strong precedent set with that,” Farrell before the game on moving Clay Buchholz to the bullpen to make room for Eduardo Rodriguez.

 

 

NOTES

 

* Following Friday night’s performance, Josh Donaldson is now 12-20 in his career against Joe Kelly with a double, two home runs and nine RBIs.

 

* The Red Sox’ five runs brings their season total to 38 on the road, averaging 3.8 per game through ten road games. At home, Boston has averaged 7.8 runs through 18 games.

 

* Despite a rough start, Joe Kelly still didn’t record a loss. He hasn’t been on the wrong side of a decision since 7/22/15.

 

* Xander Bogaerts extended his streak to 20 games in his second at-bat against Aaron Sanchez. Boston’s shortstop now has the longest active streak in the league.

 

 

STARS

 

1) Josh Donaldson

Toronto’s third baseman dominated not only Joe Kelly, but Koji Uehara, launching two balls over the fence in a 4-5 day.

 

2) Aaron Sanchez

Although he got tired late, Toronto’s starter only had three earned runs through 6.2 innings against one of the most potent offenses in the league.

 

3) Xander Bogaerts

After teammate Jackie Bradley, Jr. saw his streak die Thursday night, Bogaerts squeaked one up the middle, bringing his streak to 20 games, against a starter who’s caused problems for him before.

Marchand: Selection to Canada World Cup 'on a different level'

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Marchand: Selection to Canada World Cup 'on a different level'

Bruins left wing Brad Marchand definitely altered a lot of people’s perceptions about him as a hockey player when he scored 37 goals this season, and embraced more of a leadership role on a B’s team getting younger by the year. The B’s agitator started to reap the rewards of those changed opinions with a gold medal at the IIHF World Championships in Russia earlier this month, and on Friday with his inclusion on a ridiculously talented Team Canada roster set for the NHL and NHLPA-organized World Cup of Hockey in the fall.

Marchand will join linemate Patrice Bergeron and head coach Claude Julien as part of the Team Canada contingent, and could even be part of a reunited Marchand-Bergeron-Tyler Seguin line if Mike Babcock and Co. are looking for instant chemistry.

Either way Marchand was excited about suiting up for his country, and being part of a World Cup tournament that will include Bruins players Tuukka Rask, Zdeno Chara, David Pastrnak, David Krejci (who may not be available to play due to his hip surgery), Loui Eriksson and Dennis Seidenberg along with the Team Canada contingent.

“It’s an incredible honor to play for Team Canada. It’s something that I think we all take a lot of pride in, and something that is…it’s not an easy accomplishment,” said Marchand. “It’s not something you get to do very often, and to have that opportunity twice this year is very special and it’s not something I take for granted

“I think being part of a team like this is on a different level, and people may give a little more respect to that fact and may look at more of the kind of player I am, other than just the stuff they’ve seen in the past, with the hits and being a pest and stuff like that. Maybe those people will realize that I’m an OK hockey player, and I do play the game as well. But regardless, that’s not why I play the game. I play it to help our team win and just because I love the game, so however they feel, then that’s their opinion. But [earning more respect league-wide] is a possibility.”

This is the fifth time Marchand has been selected to compete for his home country of Canada in international play. The 5-foot-9, 181-pound forward tallied four goals and three assists in 10 games while helping Canada earn a gold medal at the aforementioned 2016 IIHF Men’s World Championships, held earlier this month in Russia. Marchand previously won gold with Team Canada at the U-20 World Championships in 2007 and 2008. He also earned a bronze medal with Team Canada Atlantic at the 2005 World U-17 Hockey Challenge.

The 2016 World Cup of Hockey will take place from Sept. 17 to Oct. 1, 2016 at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, home of the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs. The two-week tournament, featuring eight teams comprised of more than 150 of the best players in the NHL, will progress from the Preliminary Round to the Semifinals and ultimately the Final. 

The involvement of so many Bruins players along with Julien will make for a spare NHL camp in Boston come September with so many important pieces out for what is traditionally the first two weeks of camp. 

First Impressions: Kelly’s setback unsettling

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First Impressions: Kelly’s setback unsettling

First impressions of Red Sox 7-5 loss to Toronto:

 

Joe Kelly still has to prove he can be trusted to start for the Red Sox.

With the demotion of Clay Buchholz to the bullpen after Kelly’s lockdown start in his return from the DL, Kelly went back to his old ways.

After mixing pitches well in his first outing, Kelly threw 94 pitches -- 70 fastballs -- in 4.2 innings. In his previous start, he threw 66 fastballs over 104 pitches.

That approach won’t fly, especially if his fastball command is as subpar as it was against Toronto.

The Blue Jays’ batters seemed very comfortable in the box, despite Kelly throwing as hard as he does with so much movement. That can’t become the norm for opposing hitters.

 

The Red Sox offense can handle any starting pitcher -- but they can’t do it alone.

After Jon Gray shut down Boston in the final game of the Colorado series, Red Sox hitters faced a familiar foe that had already had success against them earlier in the year in Aaron Sanchez.

Despite using his curveball much more than his start earlier in the season, Boston’s hitters made adjustments. He did hold them down for much of the early going, but Red Sox hitters still scraped out four runs in his seven innings.

But the pitching staff didn’t hold up it’s end, essentially letting Josh Donaldson beat Boston by himself.

 

Xander Bogaerts made sure Sanchez didn’t ruin the streak.

Now hitting safely through 20 games, Bogaerts extended his streak against the starter who had him baffled when they faced off earlier in the year. The biggest difference from their last matchups was Bogaerts put good swings in against Sanchez mistakes -- and he didn’t appear off-balance after every swing.

 

Matt Barnes will not be Carson Smith’s replacement in 2016.

Despite his upper 90s fastball and 12-6 curveball, Barnes still can’t put together dominant appearances. His lack of command -- with a straight fastball -- is the big reason. Boston will have to look elsewhere -- internally or from another organization -- to give the bullpen another reliable set-up man given Koji Uehara’s age and durability.

 

The baseball gods are on Boston’s side -- for now.

As if Jose Bautista sitting out after appealing an earlier suspension wasn’t enough, the Red Sox scored their first run without a hit. Then the red Sox tied the game in the eighth on an error, after Dustin Pedroia had reach on a double that landed because Michael Saunders and Kevin Pillar had a communication breakdown.