Lucic, Bruins find success with 'quick strike' play


Lucic, Bruins find success with 'quick strike' play

The Bruins have become masters of the quick strike attack over the last several seasons, and it helped them again in their time of need against the Ottawa Senators.

The Bruins were down by a pair of goals late in the second period and were getting outshot by a 13-4 margin in a middle block of time they were badly losing to a hungry, young Sens bunch.

But that all changed with Milan Lucic potting his 17th goal of the season with 46 seconds left before the second intermission, and pulling the Bruins to within a single goal of a 3-3 score. Claude Julien was quick to say afterward that Lucics goal didnt swing any momentum, but instead merely let the Bs know they had a chance to come back if their director really killed it.

Brad Marchand and Dennis Seidenberg cooperated with a pair of third period goals to pull the rug out from under the Senators, and the Bs improved to 10-1-1 while scoring a goal within the last two minutes of any period this season. Thats the quick strike cause and effect, and the demoralized look from Ottawa in the third period spoke volumes about the goals effect.

Its huge. Obviously its a great way to finish off a period, feeling good about yourself heading into the dressing room," said Lucic, who holds five points in the last four games. "It still wasnt that great of a feeling because we felt like we got outworked and lost a lot of battles in the second period.

"But in the end we still had some confidence knowing that we were just one goal down . . . instead of two goals down heading into the third. And obviously our power play came up big and we were able to pull one through.

The Marchand goal was a thing of beauty as he muscled Chris Phillips off the puck in front of the Ottawa net, and Dennis Seidenbergs game-winner should have plenty of people talking given that the shot was fired from center-ice at TD Garden.

But it was Lucic, who took a Rich Peverley feed off the side wall, that went bombing down the lane and fired away with a blistering wrist shot that completely hand-cuffed Anderson. That goal wasnt the moment that turned the tide for the Black and Gold, but it did give them a pathway to success where there hasnt always been one over the last month of hockey. Instead Lucics goal was a stark reminder that their power forward fills a huge role on a Bruins team that badly needs him.

We didnt see the Lucic goal as a momentum shift. We kind of looked at it as, were fortunate now that were only one goal behind after two periods," said Julien. "It just put us in a better position. I think what we did is we recognized that we werent playing very well. We had to be a lot better in the third period, and that goal just kind of game us some hope that the next goal hopefully would be ours. Wed be in a tie game and then scrape away from there.

I really thought our guys focused; their intent is there. Were just fighting it right now, and every game seems to be a battle for us to win. Hopefully that third period is something we can start off with next game, with Carolina coming in, a team that we havent beaten yet this year. So Im hoping that we can kind of get some confidence from that third period and go from there. Were a little out of sync. We look rusty, especially offensively. We dont look like a very confident team right now."

So while all of the fanfare will be all about Bostons third period revival thats been going for the better of the season, it should be about the quick strike offensive philosophy that once again paid dividends for the Bs.

Butler imitates Brown with post-interception dance: 'Nothing personal'


Butler imitates Brown with post-interception dance: 'Nothing personal'

Malcolm Butler didn't mean any disrespect. After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. 


When the Patriots corner picked off a Landry Jones pass in the first quarter -- one that was intended for receiver Antonio Brown -- Butler stood up in the end zone, faced the Heinz Field crowd, stuck one arm in the air a and gyrated like someone had attached jumper cables to his facemask. 

He was doing his best to mimick one of Brown's well-known touchdown dances.

"Me and Brown had conversation before," Butler said, "and it was a joke to him once I showed him how I do it. Much love for that guy. Nothing personal."

For Butler, it was the highlight of what was a productive afternoon. The third-year corner was asked to shadow Brown for much of the day, and he allowed Brown to catch five of nine targets for 94 yards. He also broke up a pair of passes intended for Brown's teammates.

“Stopping Antonio Brown, that’s impossible," Butler said. "You can’t stop him. You can only slow him down. I just went out there and tried to compete today . . . Great players are going to make plays but you have to match their intensity.”
Even on the longest throw from backup quarterback Landry Jones to Brown, a 51-yarder, it appeared as though Butler played the coverage called correctly. 

Butler lined up across from Brown and trailed him underneath as Brown worked his jway from the left side of the field to the right. Butler was looking for some help over the top in that scenario, seemingly, but because Brown ran across the formation, it was hard for the back end of the defense to figure out who would be helping Butler. 

Belichick admitted as much after the game. 

"He was on [Brown] a lot the way we set it up," Belichick said. "Look, they've got great players. They're tough to cover. They hit us on a couple over routes, in cut where they kind of ran away from the coverage that we had. 

"The plays were well designed. Good scheme, good thorws and obviously good routes by Brown. They got us on a couple, but I thought we competed hard. We battled all the way. We battled on third down. We battled in the red area. They made some. We made some, but they're good. They have a lot of good players."

And Brown, in particular, is about as close as it gets to unstoppable in the NFL. Butler found that out in Week 1 of last year when he matched up with Brown in his first game as a starter, giving up nine catches for 133 yards to the All-Pro wideout. 

Though Sunday might not have been perfect for Butler, it was better than that day about 14 months ago. And at times, it was worth dancing about. 

SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Seahawks, Cardinals miss OT FGs, tie 6-6


SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Seahawks, Cardinals miss OT FGs, tie 6-6

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) Seattle's Stephen Hauschka and Arizona's Chandler Catanzaro missed short field goals that would have won the game in overtime and the Seahawks and Cardinals settled for a 6-6 tie Sunday night.

Hauschka's 27-yard field goal was wide left with seven seconds left after Catanzaro's 24-yarder bounced off the left upright.

The tie was the Cardinals' first since Dec. 7, 1986, a 10-10 draw at Philadelphia when the franchise was based in St. Louis. It was the first for the Seattle since entering the NFL in 1976.

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