Haggerty: Bruins get back on the beam in St. Louis


Haggerty: Bruins get back on the beam in St. Louis

ST. LOUIS There were plenty of things to be enthused about after the Bruins went into one of the most inhospitable places in the NHL and came away with two points . . . and some regained bravado.

The Blues had gone an amazing 21 straight games without losing in regulation at the Scottrade Center, but the Bruins handed them their first home defeat since Dec. 3 with a 4-2 victory Wednesday night.

It was a great team effort, said Chris Kelly. The goals we scored werent about forcing anything. It was about being in the right spots and capitalizing on our chance. We just kept plugging away and going at them. We stuck with the game plan and didnt get into a situation where we were on the defense all night.

It was a simple return to the Bruins way of doing things.

There were heavy, punishing hits all over the ice, like the thumping David Krejci put on Kris Russell behind the St. Louis net to set up the Bs second goal. There was a goaltending clinic put on by Tim Thomas in the second period, when he stopped everything as the Blues outshot the Bruins 14-4. There was an undeniable emotional spark from Brad Marchand early in the game, when he turned a splendidly clean steal from Kevin Shattenkirk into instant offense.

There werent any passengers on the bus this evening (including the struggling Krejci, who, in his new right-wing role, helped set up goals for linemates Kelly and Milan Lucic). That roster-wide participation made all the difference for a team that came into Wednesday with three regulation wins in its last 18 games.

There was no doubt we played to win and we did the right things, said coach Claude Julien. I dont think one guy was a bigger hero than the other tonight. I thought this was really a good team win.

It goes to show that when our guys really put their minds to it and are determined to be the hardest-working team out there, then they give you a really good chance to win. Tonight as a coach I was really happy with everybodys game. We worked really hard.

It was the first time the Bs scored more than three goals in a game in nearly three weeks, and it helped that they got away from an offensive formula that had failed them during their recent skid. The Bruins didnt pile up an obscene numbers of futile shot attempts from the perimeter, like they did against Minnesota or the Carolina Hurricanes earlier this month. Instead they reverted to form and chose quality scoring chances over shot quantity. Alert, aggressive defensive plays and punishing forechecking created scoring chances that they capitalized on.

A big thing today was getting that first goal. It helped lighten the mood and gave us that confidence, said Lucic. Even though they tied it up later, the first goal gave us that weight off our shoulders that we could go out and get the next one.

Best of all, the Bruins finally returned to form in the third period. After getting outscored by a 5-1 margin in the third period over the previous four games, the Bruins outshot the Blues, prevented them from scoring, and put the finishing touches on sweet victory with a Marchand breakaway goal.

It was a focused 60-minute effort, and it couldnt have looked more different than many of Bostons recent sleepy performances.

Thursday's lineups: Red Sox vs. Braves


Thursday's lineups: Red Sox vs. Braves

BOSTON -- The Red Sox and Braves play the finale of their home-and-home, four-game series tonight . . . to the Sox' dismay, no doubt.

Boston has won the first three games by a combined score of 21-8, extending its overall winning streak to four. The Sox have also won five of their last six, and six of their last eight, as they've closed to within a half-game of the first-place Orioles in the A.L. East. In addition, they now hold one of the two A.L. wild-card positions.

The lineups:

Nick Markakis RF
Daniel Castro 3B
Adonis Garcia DH
Freddie Freeman 1B
A.J. Pierzynski C
Jeff Francoeur LF
Jace Peterson 2B
Erick Aybar SS
Mallex Smith CF
Jhoulys Chacin P

Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Travis Shaw 3B
Chris Young LF
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Christian Vazquez C
Clay Buchholz P

Wyc Grousbeck: Celtics season ticket renewals at 98% for next season


Wyc Grousbeck: Celtics season ticket renewals at 98% for next season

Celtics Managing Partner and CEO Wyc Grousbeck talks with Toucher & Rich about the 98% renewals on season tickets for next year, and how that is unheard of.

Thursday, April 28: Who are the lottery picks?


Thursday, April 28: Who are the lottery picks?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while giving a thumbs up to “The Good Dinosaur” as quality family viewing.

*TSN Hockey Buddha Bob McKenzie breaks down the players available in the NHL draft lottery and what kind of names teams like the Boston Bruins should expect to be available with the first 14 picks.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Greg Wyshynski talks about the World of Cup ads with the ESPN creative people that made them happen. They used the word jarring in something of a positive fashion to describe them. I would use the word “not funny” for Reg Carling, the fictional character created for the ads. If they were trying to feature the personality of NHL players in those ads, I think they missed the mark. It’s not really a big deal in the final scheme of things, but it doesn’t make for a good first step in drawing hockey fans back to the four letter network.  

*Good luck to Cam Tucker, a hockey writer based out of Vancouver that appears to have been one of the latest to be downsized in our industry.

*Dennis Bernstein has some thoughts, facts, analysis and theories surrounding the Los Angeles Kings, who have a long time to think about their first-round exit from the playoffs.

*Bruce Garrioch has some info on Ottawa’s long range plan to move to a needed downtown arena and that being the blueprint for most other Canadian cities.

*Tracey Myers has a dilemma for the Blackhawks: Andrew Shaw wants to stay, but the question is whether the Blackhawks can afford him?

*PHT writer James O’Brien has Bruce Boudreau lamenting the tough Game 7 loss for the Anaheim Ducks to the Nashville Predators. The loss may cost Boudreau his job, and will see a lot of new blood in the West with Chicago, Los Angeles and Anaheim now all out of the postseason.

*For something completely different: how can you say “no” to a tour of the world’s most magnificent treehouses.