Bruins will host Caps in playoffs

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Bruins will host Caps in playoffs

It seemed that the Boston Bruins and Ottawa Senators were on a collision course to meet in the first round of the playoffs, but that wont be happening.

Instead it will be Alex Ovechkin, Alex Semin and, yes, even Dennis Wideman invading Boston with the Washington Capitals as the Sens dropped three in a row while dropping all the way to the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. The Bruins will host the Caps in Game 1 of the series Thursday night at TD Garden, but the Bs had to wait a solid two plus hours to finally learn their fates.

Either way it didnt matter to the Black and Gold, who said it was more about themselves than whichever team they were playing. One could make the argument that Ottawa turned down the intensity over the last week to step into a better matchup for them against the top-seeded Rangers after it seemed they were on track to play the Bruins since the middle of the season.

But Claude Julien gave that theory a flying elbow off the turnbuckle that Macho Man Randy Savage would have been proud of.

Thats the feel that there should be in the dressing room. Anybody who decides who they want as an opponent, whether its, you know, saying, Oh, Id rather play this team than that team, or plays to pick their own opponentsthey dont deserve to win. Thats the way -- this is a game. This is not wrestling, its not a fake sport, said Claude Julien. You dont go out there and pretend to play and make sure you lose because you want a certain team to play against. Karmas a pretty powerful thing, and I believe in doing the things right.

If were going to win, were going to have to beat every team that comes in our way, and thats the way weve approached it.

The Capitals provide an interesting opponent considering their star power and fully healthy Nicklas Backstroms return to the Washington lineup. Its fair to say Washington is much more talented than your run-of-the-mill No. 7 seed, and theyll provide a worthy first round opponent for the Black and Gold.

They also have their weaknesses. Injuries to Tomas Vokoun and Michael Neuvirth have left them with Braden Holtby as their only healthy goaltender during their 4-1 regular season finale win over the New York Rangers.

The Bruins were 1-2-1 this season against Washington with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand as their leading scorers in the four games with five points apiece.

First Impressions from the Red Sox' 9-8 loss to the Tigers

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First Impressions from the Red Sox' 9-8 loss to the Tigers

First Impressions from the Boston Red Sox' 9-8 loss to the Detroit Tigers:

* Steven Wright continues to have problems with the weather.

Recall earlier this season that Wright's worst start of the season came in an outing against Houston, which was played in a non-stop downpour. Unable to properly grip the ball because of the wet conditions, Wright was pounded.

On Tuesday, there wasn't rain in the forecast, but the extreme heat and humidity -- gametime temperature was a steamy 92 degrees -- appeared to have some issues gripping the baseball because of sweat building up on his hand and arm.

Some of the knuckleballs Wright threw were flat with little movement, likely in part because he couldn't "push'' them out of his grip thanks to the slipperiness of the ball.

It's unclear what the Red Sox can do about this going forward, but if Wright has to be so protected against the elements to be successful, then the Sox have a problem.

* The bullpen remains a nightly adventure.

It's never a good thing when your starter can't through the fifth inning. It's even worse when the relievers who are then called upon can't shut the door, either.

Robbie Ross Jr., who has been up-and-down in his effectiveness for much of the year, retired five of the first six hitters he faced.

So far, so good.

But with two out in the seventh and the bases empty, Ross inexplicably lost command. First, he plunked Justin Upton. Then, he allowed a single. Then he issued consecutive walks to the eighth and ninth hitters in the Tigers' lineup, including a bases-loaded free pass to light-hitting Tyler Collins (.184 coming in).

It's that kind of unpredictability that makes it hard to navigate through the opponents batting order in the late innings

 * The drought with the bases loaded ended, but struggles with RISP continue

The Sox got a run-scoring single with the bases full by Dustin Pedroia in the sixth, producing a run, and ending a drought in which the Sox have, time after time, been unable to capitalize with the bases full.

But the situational hitting continues to dog them.

After going 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position Monday night, the Sox were only marginally better (3-for-10) on Tuesday.

Sean McAdam can be followed on Twitter: @Sean_McAdam

Patriots training camp: Who will be this year's Zach Sudfeld?

Patriots training camp: Who will be this year's Zach Sudfeld?

Mike Giardi and Phil Perry continue their Countdown to Camp as they discuss several story lines that we will hear a lot of.