Marchand shines as Bruins defeat Blues, 4-2

560060.jpg

Marchand shines as Bruins defeat Blues, 4-2

ST. LOUIS, MO The Bruins had to battle, grind and scrape their way through against a Blues team thats been dominant at home all season, but they managed to get a hard-fought, badly-needed victory.

The stagnant Bs offense exploded for three goals in the first period, withstood everything the competitive Blues could throw at them in the second frame and survived for a 4-2 win over the Blues at Scottrade Center.

The victory snapped Bostons two-game losing streak and handed St. Louis their first home loss since a Dec. 3 defeat at the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks.

It wasnt easy, but nothing has been for the Black and Gold lately.

Brad Marchand opened things up with an early going after picking the pockets of former BU defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk and roofing a shot over Blues goaltender Brian Elliott. Milan Lucic tipped home a Joe Corvo point shot to give the Bs a two-goal lead early, but then St. Louis punched back with everything they had.

Chris Stewart beat Tim Thomas with a whirling blast of a loose puck in front of the net, and Ryan Reaves tipped home a TJ Crombeen shot to tie things up in the opening 20 minutes.

But the Bruins answered before the first 20 minutes of scoring was up, and Chris Kelly snapped home a shot from the slot area after a smart centering pass from Lucic set everything into motion. From there it was up to Thomas to dominate with 14 saves in the second period after looking slightly shaky in the opening minutes of the contest.

Marchand added his second goal of the night after a long lead pass from Tyler Seguin freed him for a breakaway, and he tucked the puck between Elliotts pads for the backbreaking insurance goal.

GOLD STAR

Brad Marchand created the bookend scores by manufacturing a goal early when he picked Kevin Shattenkirks pocket in the first period by the blue line before firing a shot past Brian Elliott. The Nose Face Killah also ended things with a five-hole score off a breakaway set up by a sweet Tyler Seguin stretch pass in the third period to create some breathing room for the Black and Gold. The two goals snapped a six-game goal-scoring drought for Marchand and put him over 20 goals again for the second time in two NHL seasons. Marchand hadnt brought much energy lately in a performance that was symbolic of the entire team, but he brought the goods against St. Louis on Wednesday night.

BLACK EYE

Jordan Caron was relegated to the bench in the third period when it was pretty clear that the 20-year-old winger was a tad overwhelmed on the ice. Both Caron and Carter Camper didnt get a shift in the final 20 minutes when Claude Julien shortened his bench, and with Camper it was understandable in his first career NHL game. But Caron needs to start being more of a consistent factor when his line was a liability getting hemmed into the zone throughout the game. No shots, no hits and no presence in 5:14 of ice time on nine shifts.

TURNING POINT

Tim Thomas wasnt able to track the pucks in the first period when screens and bouncing pucks added up to a pair of goals allowed, but Thomas locked it down in the second period. The Bruins were out-shot by a 14-4 margin in the middle 20 minutes, but Thomas locked things down and finished things off with a flourishing glove save on Kris Russell from the high slot area. Thomas finished with 30 saves and the kind of bounce-back performance enjoyed by the entire team, but his ability to hold it together in the second was a big key.

HONORABLE MENTION

Zdeno Chara was second on the Bs in ice time with 23:27, finished with a plus-3, doled out five hits and was the kind of menacing defensive presence hes always been known for. Big Zee led the way with some stalwart defensive work and enjoyed his best game in about two weeks while rising to the occasion when the team needed it. His play and the teams result are inexorably linked and Wednesday nights win over the Blues just hammered that fact home.

BY THE NUMBERS

13-0-0 the record this season for the Bruins when Chris Kelly notches at least one goal. His strike at the end of the first ended up being the game-winner and tied his single-season career-high with 15 goals on the year.

QUOTE TO NOTE

What does Cam always say? The flu is just a really good sweat. Shawn Thornton when asked if the flu would ever keep him out of an NHL game after playing 11:09 of ice time while fighting through a flu bug that kept him out of the morning skate.

Bryan Holaday: David Price 'takes a lot of pride in what he does'

red_sox_david_price_071716.jpg

Bryan Holaday: David Price 'takes a lot of pride in what he does'

BOSTON -- There have been a significant amount of question marks surrounding David Price throughout his inaugural season with the Boston Red Sox.

Is he an ace? Is he mentally tough enough? Can he handle Boston?

Just to name a few.

Much like any player imported to Boston, the claim “He can’t handle the pressure in Boston” arises every so often.

And Price hasn’t always been his own best friend, frequently relying on the line “It’s me going out there and making pitches,” in addition to the claim that he’s never satisfied.

Price’s mellow demeanor isn’t something Boston fans are accustomed to -- they prefer Rick Porcello snarling at opponents.

Sometimes it might have seemed as if he lacked a killer instinct or didn’t have a sense of urgency, but Bryan Holaday, who played with Price in Detroit, has seen that’s not the case.

‘I’m sure he [pressing], it’s the nature of this game,” Holaday said about Price’s struggles earlier in the season. “Everybody wants to be at their best all the time and it’s not easy to do.”

However, he says that knowing full well that Price won’t display those emotions -- to anyone.

“He does such a good job on the mental side of things that even if he was, you wouldn’t be able to tell,” Holaday said before Price’s start Saturday night. “He’s never going to express anything like that. If he was [pressing], it’s nothing that anyone would be able to notice.”

There’s a lot to be said for that, too. Although baseball is driven on analytics, there’s no question that mental game is crucial, especially in the clubhouse. And a fly on the wall can easily see that Price’s presence is not only respected, but enjoyed by his teammates in the clubhouse.

“Everyday he gets up he wants to get better and that’s what makes him so good,” Holaday said. “He has that drive to be better everyday and come out and do his job. He takes a lot of pride in what he does and works his ass off. That’s why he is who he is. Any pitcher at that level, you don’t get that way by luck.”

Price may never be Boston’s favorite pitcher.

He may never be the “ace” in everyone’s eyes.

But based on Holday’s interpretations from his time in Detroit and Boston, Price will work hard to turn his first few months with the Red Sox into a minor footnote of his career.

Belichick says all three QBs could use more game reps

Belichick says all three QBs could use more game reps

Bill Belichick was expansive Saturday when asked on a conference call how he'll split the quarterback reps for the Patriots final preseason game Thursday in New York.

"I think that’s a good question, it’s a fair question, it’s one that we really have to give some good consideration to," Belichick began. "As I said before, I think whatever we do will benefit whoever does it. We want to get Jimmy [Garoppolo] ready for the Arizona game. Tom [Brady] isn’t going to be playing for a while, so it’s kind of his last chance to play until he comes back after a few weeks. Jacoby [Brissett] certainly could use all the playing time that he can get. I think that whichever players we play will benefit from it and it will be valuable to them. We could play all three quarterbacks a lot next week and they’d all benefit from that and it would all be good, but we can’t."

Since they can't, Belichick said there will be situational work done with whoever isn't going to get the game reps.

"We only have one game and so many snaps, so we’ll have to, between practice and the game, put them in some situations that are somewhat controllable like a two-minute situation or things like that that you know are going to kind of come up one way or another," said Belichick. "You can sort of control those in how you want those broken down, what’s best, what does each guy need and how can we get the best we need for each guy. I need to let them get the reps that they need, but it’s how do we get the team ready for what they need to be ready for. They all need to get ready for different things.

What Jimmy’s role is in a couple weeks is going to be a lot different than what Tom’s is, and it’s going to be a lot different than what Jacoby’s is. At some point later on, those roles are going to change again. So again, there’s no perfect solution to it. We’ll just do the best we can to try to have our individual players and our team as well prepared as possible at whatever point that is that we have to deal with, and whenever those situations come up."

As I wrote earlier today, this is the sticky and uncomfortable situation arising from Deflategate. It's not a Tom Brady penalty. It's a team penalty when one considers the ripple effects. And there's no handbook to consult.

 

Saturday's Red Sox-Royals lineups: Young in LF, Hill at 3B vs. KC lefty Duffy

red_sox_chris_young_041116.jpg

Saturday's Red Sox-Royals lineups: Young in LF, Hill at 3B vs. KC lefty Duffy

The Red Sox look to end their three-game losing streak tonight when the play the middle game of their three-game series with the Kansas City Royals at Fenway Park.

Against Royals' left-hander Danny Duffy (11-1, 2.66 ERA), the Red Sox start right-handed hitters Chris Young in left field and Aaron Hill at third base. Duffy has won his past 10 decisions and came into Saturday with the fifth-best ERA in the American League. He joined the rotation from the bullpen on June 1.

Left-hander David Price (12-8, 4.00) gets the start for the Red Sox. Price has won his past three decisions, going eight, six and eight innings and not allowing more than three runs in each start. 

The Royals won the series opener 6-3 Friday night.

The lineups:

ROYALS
Paulo Orlando CF
Cheslor Cuthbert 3B
Lorenzo Cain RF
Eric Hosmer 1B
Kendrys Morales DH
Salvador Perez C
Alex Gordon LF
Alcides Escobar SS
Christian Colon 2B
---
Danny Duffy LHP

RED SOX
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Mookie Betts RF
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Sandy Leon C
Chris Young LF
Aaron Hill 3B
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
---
David Price LHP