Brady expects Finnegan-Welker battle

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Brady expects Finnegan-Welker battle

FOXBORO - Annoying as a gnat, nasty as a hornet, Cortland Finnegan is the kind of opponent every wide receiver detests.
An agitator without peer, the Rams cornerback is one of the NFL's most effective players when it comes to burrowing under a wideout's skin.
Despite the reputation which precedes Finnegan, Tom Brady -- who plays with a bit of an edge himself -- appreciates Finnegan's game.
"He competes his butt off and he's smart, catches the ball well," said Brady. "He's a seventh-round pick, so you just are always fighting for your life out there. Even though he's had a lot of success, you see he wants to continue to get better and improve and he's still a young player."
The 28-year-old Finnegan was a career-long Tennessee Titan before signing with the Rams to rejoin his old Titans coach Jeff Fisher. Finnegan has already helped the Rams by injecting his personality into their defense.
In Week 2 against Washington, Finnegan goaded Redskins receiver Josh Morgan into a personal foul penalty at the end of the game when Morgan whipped a ball at Finnegan. The penalty turned a 47-yard field goal attempt to tie into a 62-yarder. It missed and the Titans won.
The Rams use Finnegan in a variety of spots, said Brady.
"I think wherever they want him to assert himself in the coverage in order to have the most opportunities to make plays, thats where he's going to be," said Brady. "In regular defense, their base defense, he's outside. They dont match a ton (meaning Finnegan on a specific receiver), although they do flip sides on occasion, but for the most part against us hell probably be inside all day."
Which means Finnegan will be lined up against an equally hard-nosed (though less vilified) player in Wes Welker.
"I have a lot of respect for (Finnegan)," said Brady. "He plays really hard. Wes Welker is very much the same way. Wes plays his butt off too, so its kind of our strength against one of their strengths."

Bruins know they 'have to go all in' vs. Islanders to control playoff fate

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Bruins know they 'have to go all in' vs. Islanders to control playoff fate

BROOKLYN, NY – The Bruins woke up on Saturday morning and found themselves out of the playoff picture for the first time in months by virtue of the one game in hand the New York Islanders have over the Black and Gold.

That makes Saturday night’s tilt against the Isles at the Barclays Center all the more important. A win will put the Bruins back into the lead for the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, and a loss would further drop them out of the playoff picture. It’s the biggest game of the season for the Bruins made that much grander in scale because Tuukka Rask is suddenly out with a lower body injury, and the Bruins will need a superior effort to snap a four game losing streak that has them teetering on the brink of playoff oblivion.

With all this swirling around, the Bruins know they can seize control of their playoff destiny with a win that will send them spinning off in the right direction. A loss will…well, that’s something the B’s don’t even want to entertain at this point after collapsing down the stretch in each of the last two seasons.

“With where we’re at right now, we can’t have any moral victories. Now it’s about doing the job and bearing down. We have to go all in tonight and have a big game. Hopefully the guys understand how important of a game it is and we have a big night,” said Brad Marchand. “I think we’re all excited. This is when we love to play when the game means so much, and it has a playoff feel. We’re fighting for our lives right now. It’s a great mood in the room, so hopefully we have a big bounce back.”

While the big picture can’t possibly be ignored given what’s happened with the Bruins this week, Bruce Cassidy also cautioned that simply viewing Saturday night as a two-point game was the best technique for success. Otherwise things could become overwhelming and packed with too much pressure when it should be something the Bruins are embracing rather than dreading.

“I hope our guys are creating some positive energy out there. This time of year you just need to have that mindset that it’s one game at a time,” said Cassidy. “You don’t look back, and you stay in the moment. That’s the message that gets conveyed to the group and for the most part they’ve done a good job with that. We just need to play our game and play it well.

“I truly believe they’ll bounce back. They didn’t have their best on Thursday and I think we’ve addressed that game. I believe they’ll take a lot of pride in their game tonight. Your leaders need to lead and your followers need to follow, and that’s a recipe for success for most teams. We’re no different and I expect that to be the case [against the Islanders].”

On the other side of the coin, it will be look out below if the Bruins drop a fifth straight game and continue a downward spiral as the Leafs, Lightning and Islanders are seem to be hitting their late season stride at the same time. 

Agudelo's two goals lead Revs past Minnesota 5-2 in home opener

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Agudelo's two goals lead Revs past Minnesota 5-2 in home opener

Juan Agudelo scored two goals to lead the Revolution to a 5-2 victory over Minnesota United in New England's home opener before 11,571 Saturday at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro.

Agudelo scored in the fourth and 41st minutes as the Revs - held to one goal in their first two games - picked up their first points of the season after opening with losses in Colorado and Dallas.

New England's original home opener, two weeks ago against Orlando, was postponed by cold weather. 

After Collen Warner's goal in the 15th minute tied it for expansion Minnesota, Kei Kamara (21st minute) and Lee Nguyen (penalty kick in the 32nd) made it 3-1 before Agudelo completed a four-goal outburst in the first half with his second goal of the game.

Nguyen's tally moved him into a tie with Steve Ralston for second place on the Revs career goals list with his 42nd. They trail Taylor Twellman (101).

Chris Tierney, playing in his 200th MLS game, all with the Revs, capped the scoring with a penalty-kick goal in the 52nd minute.

The Revs next play Sunday, April 2 on the road against the Portland Timbers.