Lucic, Bruins find success with 'quick strike' play

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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.

Quotes, notes and stars: Buchholz's first inning 'part of the game'

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Quotes, notes and stars: Buchholz's first inning 'part of the game'

Quotes, notes and stars from the Boston Red Sox’ 6-2 loss to the Texas Rangers:

 

QUOTES

 

“In the first inning there really weren’t a whole lot of balls that were really hit hard. They were just hit where we weren’t . . . Regardless of it being a mistake, its balls that just seemed to find some holes. They put some good at-bats together, and, yeah, that’s part of the game.”Clay Buchholz on what happened in his 3-run first inning.

“Yeah, he’s tired. He needs a day. There’s no other way to put it.”John Farrell on Xander Bogaerts’ struggling in the series.

“We get a little momentum after the [Bryce] Brentz homerun and then unfortunately give it right back.”Farrell said about Boston losing momentum in the sixth inning with Prince Fielder’s two-run homerun off of Buchholz.

“It’s a matter of settling in and commanding the baseball to quality locations.”Farrell said on Buchholz have immense trouble in the first inning through his last two starts.

“Based on this series it’s a struggle. We get 12+ innings out of a rotation . . . we’re finding ourselves in some holes. That’s not the script you’re trying to draw up.”Farrell on the state of the Red Sox rotation following the series in Texas.

“It’s always special. One thing you’ll never forget.” - Bryce Brentz on his first Major League homerun.

 

NOTES

* Xander Bogaerts finished the series 1-12, and has seen his average drop to .344, falling behind Houston’s José Altuve.

* The Red Sox are now four games behind the Orioles in second place and only lead the Blue Jays by one game. That’s the farthest back the Red Sox have been since the seventh game of the season.

* Clay Buchholz’s less than spectacular outing was his longest since May 26th – his last start before being pulled from the starting rotation. 

* Prince Fielder hit two homeruns off Boston pitching in the series for his sixth and seventh of the year. Those are his first home runs since 6/11. The series against the Red Sox was his first in which he launched more than one homerun in the series.

 

 

STARS

1) Martin Perez

Perez kept Boston off balance all day, scattering six hits and two walks in his six-inning start. The lefty only had two punch-outs, but he kept the ball on the ground -- which is what he does best.

2) Prince Fielder

With Texas talking about sitting him in the series Fielder launched his second homerun of the series in his 2-3 performance. The two-run long ball was the different in the game being a close contest down the stretch.

3) Adrian Beltre

The ex-Red Sox third baseman had another strong game, lacing two RBI singles in the game. His first RBI base hit came in Texas’ three-run onslaught in the first frame.

First impressions: Red Sox happy to get out of Texas

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First impressions: Red Sox happy to get out of Texas

First impressions of the Red Sox 6-2 loss to Texas

 

Clay Buchholz needs to figure out his first inning struggles.

He put together another decent outing -- but they’ve both been all for not thanks to terrible first innings.

Buchholz had the same issue prior to his sentence to the bullpen. But he needs to make an adjustment. David Price, Steven Wright and Rick Porcello have all had to deal with some level of adversity and handled it in some capacity -- so it’s time for Buchholz to do the same.

If he minimizes the damage to one run -- never mind a scoreless first frame -- Boston has a decent chance to win his starts once in a while.

No matter what, Buchholz needs to put out max effort in the first inning of his next start -- no excuses.

 

Don’t look now, but Buchholz was the best Boston starting pitcher of the Texas series.

That’s not saying much with the way Wright and Price’s nights wound up, but he was the best starter.

Obviously five runs (four earned) in 5.1 innings isn’t a good outing, but the bullpen at least had a chance to catch its breath -- compared to Friday and Saturday’s games.

Buchholz still has to do much better for Boston if he wants to remain the fifth starter.

 

Xander Bogaerts’ defense is slipping a bit.

The shortstop has had errors in consecutive games for the first time in 2016 -- both leading to Texas runs.

The 23-year-old shortstop has only sat out one game this year, so it’s fair to assume fatigue is setting in.

Even if that’s not the case, John Farrell should consider giving Bogaerts a day off soon to move past his fielding problems.

 

Buchholz took away the little momentum Boston found in the fourth.

Although Bogaerts didn’t help with the error, Buchholz almost instantly gave back the run Boston scored in the top of the sixth. Which is something Rick Porcello, Steven Wright and David Price have all dealt with -- and overcome.

Just another reason Dave Dombrowski needs to keep working for a fifth starter.

Because there’s no way coming out of any series Boston should have its best effort from a starting pitcher be a five-inning five-run (one unearned) outing.

Other starters have to pick up the slack when Wright has an occasional subpar outing. While Price has been on late and Porcello is reliable, Boston hasn’t had that from anyone else.