Haggerty's Bruins-Lightning preview


Haggerty's Bruins-Lightning preview

TAMPA BAY The Bruins limped into Tampa Bay wondering how many healthy bodies theyd be able to dress on Tuesday night against the Lightning, but it appears that they will have more than expected.

The Bruins will have 22 players on the ice for pregame skate including 13 forwards and seven defensemen, and theyll certainly have more than the battered and beaten skeleton crew of 15 skaters left on the bench for the end of their loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins Sunday.

Both Patrice Bergeron and Adam McQuaid took part in the Tuesday morning skate at the Tampa Times Forum and will be game-time decisions for a Bruins team that feared they had lost both just 48 hours ago.

Marty Turco will lead the Bruins onto the ice for the first time since arriving in Boston and the Bruins have another chance to utilize one of their games in hand tonight with the Ottawa Senators again idle on the schedule.

Its up to Boston to take out a Tampa Bay team thats seven points out of the playoffs and fading out of the picture, so a strong opening salvo from the Bruins could effectively silence the Bolts.

Thats the plan for a Bruins team thats found themselves down by 2-0 deficits in the first period in three of their last five games, and has been doing far too much chasing of the puck rather than seizing possession of it.

"We need a little urgency here. Not panic, but urgency," Claude Julien said. "Weve got to try to get some wins here. Thats what you have to do through some injuries and some guys are banged up and still playing right now. Every team is going through the same thing, so we need to make sure were ready to play hard and win some games. We want to be able to stay where we are in the Eastern Conference standings right now.

Once we got over this hump and were finishing a little better and get back to a healthier squad you hope it will pay off at that point.

Through all of the bad times over the last two months the Bruins have been able to avoid stringing together a three-game losing streak. Itll be a challenge to keep that from happening against a Lightning team with nothing to lose on Tuesday night against a Boston team that ousted them from the playoffs last year.

That seems like an awful long time ago at this point.

PLAYER NEEDING HIS TIRED PUMPED: Tim Thomas needs to get air put into his tires and gas put into the tank after nine straight appearances that simply got worse as the 37-year-old went on. Thomas was pulled from Sundays loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins after allowing three goals on 10 shots, and is 3-4 with a 3.60 goals against average and an .860 save percentage during seven appearances in the month of March. Hell get his pit stop this week as Marty Turco gets the start tonight.

DRESSING ROOM MANTRA HEADED INTO THE GAME: We need a little urgency here. Not panic, but urgency. Weve got to try to get some wins here. Thats what you have to do through some injuries and some guys are banged up and still playing right now. Claude Julien on the need for the Bruins to still salvage points while going through the NHL gauntlet over the last month.

KEY MATCHUP: Marty Turco will have his hands full with Steve Stamkos, Marty St. Louis, Teddy Purcell and Ryan Malone attacking the Boston net with their typical flair and skill. For a goaltender that was out of the league for nearly a year, its a bit of a rude awakening to get tossed back into the mix against the Penguins and Lightning back-to-back. But thats the life of an NHL goaltender and hell have to show the same kind of life and energy he had in Pittsburgh while double-stacking into spectacular saves against Jordan Staal and Arron Asham.

STAT TO WATCH: 2 That's the number of goals for Daniel Paille in two games against the Tampa Bay Lightning, who tend to give up some short-handed goals while on the man advantage.

INJURIES: Rich Peverley (right knee sprain), Tuukka Rask (groin strainabdomen strain) and Nathan Horton (mild concussion) are long term injuries for the Bruins, and Benoit Pouliot is out with a lower body injury thats caused him to miss the last two games. Max Sauve was sent back to Boston with a hip injury suffered Sunday and hes expected to be shelved for a lengthy period of time. Both Patrice Bergeron (lower body) and Adam McQuaid (upper body) skated on Tuesday morning and are game-time decisions for the Bruins. For the Tampa Bay Lightning Vinny Lecavalier (hand), Mathieu Garon (groin), Mattias Ohlund (knees) and Marc-Andre Bergeron (back) are all out of the lineup.

GOALTENDING MATCH-UP: Marty Turco will be making his first NHL start in nearly a year against the Lightning after making 20 saves in the final two periods against the Penguins Sunday afternoon. Rookie Dustin Tokarski will be making his third straight appearance for the Tampa Bay Lightning following the injury to Mathieu Garon, and hes still looking for his first win with an .891 save percentage.

Beyond the numbers: The dual threat of Avery Bradley


Beyond the numbers: The dual threat of Avery Bradley

BOSTON – Another year, another season in which Avery Bradley plans to showcase a new and improved skill that will benefit the Boston Celtics.
But with each improved skill, Bradley moves just that much closer to being an all-around, two-way talent that creates problems for teams at both ends of the floor.
We all know about Bradley’s defense, which was good enough to land him a spot on the NBA’s All-Defensive first team last season. He also gets props for steadily improving his game offensively in some area every summer, but defenses might have their hands full more than ever with Bradley.
According to NBA stats guru Dick Lipe, the 6-foot-2 Bradley was the only guard in the NBA last season to shoot better than 70 percent in the restricted area among players who took a minimum of 200 field goal attempts.
He is among a list that includes Los Angeles Clippers big men DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin; Miami’s Hassan Whiteside; current teammate and former Atlanta Hawk Al Horford; San Antonio’s LaMarcus Aldridge; Golden State’s Kevin Durant and Atlanta big man Dwight Howard.
But if you’re thinking about keeping him away from that part of the floor, Bradley also made the 3-point shot a bigger part of his offensive game last season; as in, 40 percent of his shots came from beyond the 3-point line.

Having that kind of diversity makes him a difficult player to get a clear read on how to defend. And because of that, it may open things up even more so for his teammates.
Bradley can shoot from the perimeter; he can score close to the rim. His ball-handling skills have improved in the offseason to where it no longer looks as though it’s a major weakness.
And he defends at a level few players in the league can match.
Collectively it makes Bradley one of the many challenges awaiting teams whenever they face the Celtics, a player who is poised to showcase his diverse set of skills beginning tonight against the Brooklyn Nets. 

Wednesday's Patriots-Bills practice participation/injury report: Same names for Pats


Wednesday's Patriots-Bills practice participation/injury report: Same names for Pats

FOXBORO -- When Dion Lewis wasn't spotted at Wednesday's practice, we had to make it clear when we mentioned his absence: He had only, as far as we knew, missed the start of practice. Though unlikely, there's always the chance a player emerges from the locker room once practice has started and goes through the remaining periods of the workout. 

Now that we have the injury report for Wednesday, we know that wasn't the case for Lewis. He did not show up on the report as a limited participant, meaning he didn't participate at all. 

There were no surprises on Wednesday's injury report, with nine players listed as limited, including tight end Martellus Bennett (ankle), linebacker Jamie Collins (hip) and receiver Julian Edelman (foot).

For the Bills, running back LeSean McCoy (hamstring) did not participate. Bills coach Rex Ryan explained on Wednesday that McCoy aggravated his hamstring injury against the Dolphins on Sunday, but he did not rule him out for the Patriots game this coming weekend.

Wednesday's practice participation/injury report for Sunday's Patriots-Bills game:


TE Martellus Bennett (ankle)
RB Brandon Bolden (knee)
LB Jamie Collins (hip)
WR Julian Edelman (foot)
DL Woodrow Hamilton (shoulder)
LB Shea McClellin (concussion)
WR Malcolm Mitchell (hamstring)
LB Elandon Roberts (ankle)
DL Vincent Valentine (back)


LB Lorenzo Alexander (non-injury related)
LB Zach Brown (illness)
DT Corbin Bryan (shoulder)
TE Charles Clay (knee)
TE Cordy Glenn (ankle)
WR Marquise Goodwin (concussion)
RB LeSean McCoy (hamstring)
LB Lerentee McCray (knee)
DT Adolphus Washington (illness)
S Aaron Williams (neck)

DT Marcell Dareus (hamstring)
RB Mike Gillislee (foot)
T Seantreal Henderson (back)
LB Jerry Hughes (hand)
G John Miller (shoulder)
WR Robert Woods (foot)