Haggerty: Ten thoughts from Bruins-Capitals

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Haggerty: Ten thoughts from Bruins-Capitals

WASHINGTON DC Here are five thoughts from the first period with the Bruins trailing the Washington Capitals by a 1-0 score after the first 20 minutes of play at the Verizon Center.

1)Once again the Bruins are settling for outside perimeter shots or firing off the first available chance rather than waiting things out and creating plays. Tyler Seguin had a chance to step in and make a move on Braden Holtby earlier in the period, but instead opted for the wrister from the circle. Likewise Milan Lucic had Rich Peverley on a 2-on-1 odd-man rush and floated an easy wrist shot at Holtby rather than making a play. Not a lot of offensive confidence for the Bruins right now.

2) Claude Julien switching things around with the lines: he put David Krejci together with Brad Marchand and Tyler Seguin, and had Patrice Bergeron skating with Milan Lucic and Rich Peverley as the Bs look for a winning combination. Didnt appear to work and I dont love Marchand and Bergeron getting split up. Those two have all kinds of chemistry.

3)Bruins also still playing something between croquet and tiddly winks in the first period. Its been nice, polite, cordial hockey that anybody watching the PanthersDevils series probably recognizes. Nicklas Backstrom got into Milan Lucics kitchen and cross-checked him high at the end of the first period, so perhaps that will stir No. 17 into something closer to nastiness. Lucic hasnt been a presence in this series at all.

4)Capitals only blocked five shots that period, but once again they were able to keep the Bruins well to the perimeter when shooting the puck.

5)One thing Braden Holtby should have been called on: throwing his stick at a puck as Daniel Paille was moving in on a long rebound during a scrambling moment in the first period. It should have been a penalty shot as it appeared Holtby purposely threw his stick out at the puck. Instead there was no call.

WASHINGTON DC Here are five thoughts from the second period with the Bruins and Capitals tied at a 2-2 score after the first 40 minutes of play at the Verizon Center.

1) Finally some offense from the Bruins. Rich Peverley sneaks a wrist shot past Brad Holtby that glances off his glove and Daniel Paille gets to a rebound while camped out in front of the net. Perfect example of how the Bruins need to do their damage: move the puck quickly to get a clean shot for the defenseman, and then get a forward with courage to stand in front of the net. Paille was rewarded with his first goal of the playoffs and the score is tied.

2)Milan Lucic finally getting aggravated. Causes a scrum with Nicklas Backstrom at the end of the first period and then throws Brooks Laich down before a face-off in the second period. Hes making himself a presence without putting his team in the bad spot short-handed. Exactly the way it should be done for a player that sets the emotional tone for his teammates.

3)The Bruins have as many blocked shots as the Capitals tonight (12) that, friends, is progress for Boston and regression for Washington.

4)Have to think Johnny Boychuk is banged up given the way that hes playing out there. Looks labored with his skating and his decision-making is questionable at best, but that all goes back to skating and moving the puck with confidence. Not doing any of these things and perhaps thats because the knee isnt quite right. Im sure well never know until the playoffs are over.

5)No shots on net and no factor from Brad Marchand right now in 11:22 of ice time. Hasnt been a presence at all.

Bradley steps up to lead Celtics to 117-87 blowout win over Magic

Bradley steps up to lead Celtics to 117-87 blowout win over Magic

It was one of Tacoma, Washington’s finest carrying the scoring load most of Wednesday night for the Boston Celtics. 
 
But it wasn’t the Celtics’ leading scorer, Isaiah Thomas. 
 
It was his backcourt mate and fellow Tacoma, Wash. native Avery Bradley picking up the slack in Thomas’ absence as Boston pulled away in the second half for a 117-87 blowout win over the Orlando Magic. 
 
Wednesday’s victory was Boston’s first in Orlando since Nov. 8, 2013. 
 
Bradley led seven double-figure scorers for Boston (13-9), with a team-high 23 points.
 
Thomas missed his first game of the season with a right groin injury that will sideline him for a yet-to-be-determined period of time. 
 
The 5-foot-9 guard ranks among the NBA’s leaders in scoring (26.0) in addition to leading the Celtics in assists (6.2) per game. 
 
But Bradley was up to the challenge of filling the void left by Thomas, which isn’t all that surprising when you consider the game was away from the TD Garden. 
 
Bradley has been good this year, but has really stood out in road games where he has averaged 19.0 points on 51.4 percent shooting from the field compared to 15.8 points on 41.3 percent shooting at the TD Garden. 
 
The first half was a tightly contested game with neither team leading by more than eight points. 
 
After Orlando scored the first basket of the third quarter, the Celtics went on a furious 18-2 run to lead 67-54 which had five different scorers for Boston that spoke volumes about the balanced offensive attack the Celtics came with to make up for Thomas’ absence. 
 
Boston’s defense picked up its intensity in the second half, but just as important was the renewed emphasis on ball movement that was simple, crisp and highly effective. 
 
And it came against an Orlando team that came in having won four of its last five games – all on the road – which included beating the always-challenging San Antonio Spurs on their home floor. 
 
But as important as it was for Bradley to help fill the enormous scoring void that exists without Thomas, Boston also needed a strong game from their bench. 
 
That’s exactly what they got, and it wasn’t just one or two guys, either. 
 
Jaylen Brown had arguably the best game of his still-young NBA career coming off the Celtics bench, finishing with 13 points which included a powerful, rim-rattling dunk over Orlando’s Nikola Vucevic
 
Boston also got great play out of Terry Rozier (career-high 16 points, five rebounds) who saw a few more minutes than usual because of Thomas’ injury. 
 
Not only was the victory important to pad the win total, but it also provides a nice boost of confidence for the Celtics as they hit what will be arguably the most difficult stretch of the season in terms of quality opponents. 
 
The Celtics have 12 games remaining this month, with the teams having a combined record of 152-105, or a winning percentage of .591.

CSN CHICAGO: Yoan Moncada 'thrilled' to reunite with Jose Abreu on White Sox

CSN CHICAGO: Yoan Moncada 'thrilled' to reunite with Jose Abreu on White Sox

Yoan Moncada and Jose Abreu are back together.

The two Cuban natives were teammates in 2012 when they played for Cienfuegos in Cuba, and now they'll be in the same dugout once again — this time in Chicago.

"To get the opportunity to play with him right now in the United States, it's an honor for me," Moncada said through a translator on a conference call Wednesday. "I'm thrilled with that."

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