Thornton snaps goal drought to help kick-start offense

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Thornton snaps goal drought to help kick-start offense

Judging by the exuberant fist pump after he scored Bostons first goal, Shawn Thornton probably knew exactly how many games it had been.

The Bs enforcer snapped a 35-game goal-scoring drought when he shoveled home the rebound of a Zdeno Chara rush to the net, and helped his Bruins to a solid 5-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lighting at TD Garden. The first two periods of play featured some of the best shifts that the Bs fourth line has had in recent memory, and Thorntons strike was the culmination of all that.

Thornton credited much of it to Claude Julien going a little light with the shifts for the Bs energy line during the road games in Los Angeles and Anaheim, and it gave them the extra go while the other Bs lines got their bearings. The fourth line also takes on a different personality with Jordan Caron playing in place of the scratched Daniel Paille: the forward group becomes stronger around the net and on the boards with plenty of battles on tap all over the ice.

We had good legs tonight. We felt good. I think my two linemates played pretty well, strong on pucks, said Thornton. We got some opportunities, probably should have been rewarded a little bit more than that one goal. But were happy to chip in.

Thornton had five shots on net when the game was over, but the Bs tough guy could have easily had his first career hat trick with a little luck and a better breakaway bid. Thornton broke up a defenseman-to-defenseman feed telegraphed near the blue line, and broke in all alone on Tampa goalie Dwayne Roloson.

Instead of going forehand-to-backhand like he memorably did in a win over the Winnipeg Jets earlier this season and what was actually the last goal he scored prior to Tuesday night he attempted to fling a forehand shot high over Rolosons glove hand. Instead the goaltender knocked it away and then gobbled up a Thornton rebound bid off an initial shot from Gregory Campbell.

Ive known Thorty for a while. Hes a great person on and off the ice, said Roloson. I was just trying to take well, he had some pressure from behind so I figured he was going to shoot it so I was just trying to take away his options.

Roloson was victorious on that particular battle, but Thornton and the fourth line won the war on a night when all of Bostons diverse offensive weapons proved ready to strike. In so many ways the Bs fourth line is a barometer for their overall success, and a productive stretch from Thornton and Co. is exactly what is needed with the playoffs around the corner.

Patriots-Bills injury report: Garoppolo, Brissett listed as questionable

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Patriots-Bills injury report: Garoppolo, Brissett listed as questionable

The inury report for Sunday's Patriots-Bills game:

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

QUESTIONABLE
QB Jacoby Brissett (right thumb)
OT Marcus Cannon (calf)
G Jonathan Cooper (foot)
LB Jonathan Freeny (shoulder)
QB Jimmy Garoppolo (shoulder)
TE Rob Gronkowski (hamstring)
LB Dont'a Hightower (knee)
CB Eric Rowe (ankle)

BUFFALO BILLS

OUT
OL Cyrus Kouandjio (ankle)
OL Patrick Lewis (knee)
WR Greg Salas (groin)
WR Sammy Watkins (foot)

QUESTIONABLE
DB Colt Anderson (foot)
TE Charles Clay (knee)
DB Ronald Darby (hamstring)
OL Cordy Glenn (ankle)
QB Cardale Jones (right shoulder)
DB Jonathan Meeks (foot)
DB Aaron Williams (ankle)

Friday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays lineups: Porcello goes for win No. 23

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Friday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays lineups: Porcello goes for win No. 23

The A.L. East-champion Red Sox, still fighting for playoff position, field their usual lineup as they open David Ortiz's final regular-season series tonight (7:10) against the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park.

The Red Sox (92-67) are two games behind the Texas Rangers (94-65) in the race for the best record in the A.L., with the Cleveland Indians (91-67) a half-game behind Boston.

Rick Porcello (22-4, 3.11 ERA), the likely Game 1 starter in the ALDS, will try to add to his Cy Young Award resume tonight. He’ll be opposed by right-hander Marco Estrada (9-9, 3.53).

The Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles (both 87-72) are tied for the A.L. wild-card lead with the Detroit Tigers (85-73) 1 1/2 games back.

It’s the final regular season series for Oritz, with ceremonies planned to honor the retiring Red Sox DH prior to each of the final three game this weekend. 

The lineups:

RED SOX

Dustin Pedroia 2B

Brock Holt 3B

Mookie Betts RF

David Ortiz DH

Hanely Ramirez 1B

Xander Bogaerts SS

Jackie Bradley CF

Sandy Leon C

Andrew Benintendi LF

Rick Porcello P

 

BLUE JAYS

Eziquiel Carrera LF

Josh Donaldson 3B

Edwin Encarnacion DH

Jose Bautista RF

Russell Martin C

Troy Tulowitzki SS

Justin Smoak 1B

Kevin Pillar CF

Devon Travis 2B

Marco Estrada RHP