Haggerty: 15 thoughts from Bruins-Devils

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Haggerty: 15 thoughts from Bruins-Devils

NEWARK Here are five thoughts from the first period with the Bruins trailing the New Jersey Devils by a 1-0 score after the first 20 minutes at the Prudential Center.

1)The Petr Sykora score at the end of the first period gives the David KrejciNathan HortonMilan Lucic six goals allowed in their last three games. Thats some serious defensive breakdowns and once again the forwards were running around in the D zone off the face-off rather than covering Sykora. Dennis Seidenberg also lot the battle to Dainius Zubrus behind the net after Krejci won the face-off, so there is plenty of blame to go around. But where theres smoke there is definitely fire.

2) Bruins are averaging just six shots in each of their last three first periods, and thats not enough offensive push or forceful oomph from the Bruins. Those poor starts just arent setting a good tone.

3)Credit Gregory Campbell for trying to spark his team with a bout against young Brad Mills midway through the first while it was still a scoreless game. The fourth liner recognizes that his teammates are emotionally bereft right now, but it looks right now like his efforts were in vain.

4)Two shots on net for Nathan Horton and one good scoring chance turned away by Martin Brodeur. Say this about Horton: hes getting more aggressive in the offensive end and the Bs need that.

5) No response to Cam Janssen when he leveled Andrew Ference in the corner several beats after the puck had left his stick on an outlet pass. Ference got up and barked at the nearest ref when nothing was called, and there was no response from anybody in Black and Gold. Not a good sign when theyre letting their teammates get pushed around.

NEWARK Here are five thoughts from the second period with the Bruins trailing the New Jersey Devils by a 1-0 score after the first 40 minutes at the Prudential Center.

1)Twelve shots through two periods just isnt getting it done offensively. Even if you include Benoit Pouliot ringing a shot off the crossbar the Bruins arent consistently generating enough time of possession or chances in the offensive zone.

2)Tim Thomas is pretty clearly sensing that his defenseman are struggling right now, and is way, way out of the net much more than his normally adventurous self. His glove save of David Clarkson on the rebound of a Kurtis Foster shot was a beauty, but he was once again way, way out of the net. Twenty-two saves for Thomas tonight in a scrambling, stand on his head effort.

3)Three hits and a shot on net in 11:37 of ice time for Milan Lucic and he put together some aggressive, battling shifts in the second period to help lift up his team. But not enough of his teammates can sustain it shift after shift.

4)Two of the three best offensive chances for the Bs generated by the third line tonight: Benoit Pouliot hitting a crossbar and Chris Kelly unable to squeeze off a quality backhander from a nice Rich Peverley pass in the first. But that means there wasnt enough being generated by the top two lines.

5)Four shots on net and a goal for Petr Sykora tonight. One of the best players on the ice. How old is this guy anyway because it appears that he bathes in the Fountain of Youth?

NEWARK Here are five thoughts from the third period with the Bruins upending the Devils by a 3-1 score after 60 minutes of play at the Prudential Center.

1)Three goals in less than five minutes in the third period, and the Bs have once again reclaimed their third period domain. Theyve outshot the Devils 11-5 and outscored them 3-0 after getting outscored 6-2 over the last three games in third periods heading into tonight.

2)Third period tone was set by Zdeno Chara dumping Dainius Zubrus in the opening seconds of the stanza in front of the benches. That move by the Bs captain seemed to indicate to the rest of the players it was time to get back to the Bruins way of doing things, and his teammates followed.

3) Gordie Howe Hat trick for Gregory Campbell capped off by the third period goal. Very deserving after Campbell dropped the gloves trying to spark his flat-lining teammates in the first period.

4)Shawn Thornton with a pair of big assists in a game that was led in many ways by the third and fourth line. The return of Rich Peverley and Brad Marchand almost immediately shows off Bostons depth again.

5) Brad Marchand with a little bit of rust on his game tonight. Hes fumbling with pucks and having a difficult time maintaining possessiontiming with his linemates, but that shouldnt last very long.

Hogan 'feeling good' as he recovers from thigh injury

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Hogan 'feeling good' as he recovers from thigh injury

FOXBORO -- Patriots wideout Chris Hogan indicated after Saturday's divisional round win over the Texans that he'd be OK, and he doubled down on that stance when meeting with reporters Tuesday. 

The veteran receiver, whose first season with the Patriots has brought his first career postseason experience, injured his thigh against Houston. He left in the third quarter and did not return. 

"Feeling good," Hogan said. "Just had a little minor setback in the game. I'm working back every single day and feeling better every day."

Hogan had an awkward collision with Texans defensive lineman Jadeveon Clowney at the end of the first half on a play at the goal line. To that point, he had reeled in four passes for 95 yards as the team's primary deep threat. With Hogan out, Brady relied upon Julian Edelman and Michael Floyd as wideouts.

Hogan explained that he was expecting to practice this week.

"I'm just gonna go day by day," he said. "Come in here tomorrow. Everything's been feeling better day by day. I'm looking forward to getting out there and practicing this week."

Strahan picks Steelers to upset Patriots in AFC Championship

Strahan picks Steelers to upset Patriots in AFC Championship

Michael Strahan saw the Patriots lose a Super Bowl first-hand, but he doesn’t think they’ll lose Super Bowl LI. That’s because he doesn’t think they’ll be participants. 

Appearing on The Tonight Show, the former Giants defensive end and current Person Who is Frequently on Television said that he expects the Steelers to upset the Patriots in Sunday’s AFC Championship.

“I think in the AFC, I think Pittsburgh might pull the upset this year,” Strahan said. 

When Jimmy Fallon objected, Strahan said Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers’ pass rush would be enough to beat the Pats if New England plays the way it did in the divisional round. 
 
“If you watched the Houston Texans, they had a shot; they just turned the ball over,” he said. “And the Houston Texans offense is in no way, shape or form near what Pittsburgh has. They don’t have the quarterback that [Pittsburgh has]. Defensively, Houston had the really good defense, but Pittsburgh [puts] the good pressure on the quarterback. And from my Super Bowl experience, Tom Brady does not like pressure. I’m just saying I feel like if there’s anybody who’s going to pull an upset, it will be them.” 

As for any rooting interest, Strahan said that he hopes the Falcons win the Super Bowl, citing Matt Ryan being overdue for a title and Julio Jones having a Brady-like quality of putting team goals before his own legacy.