Bruins feel lucky to clinch fifth straight playoff berth

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Bruins feel lucky to clinch fifth straight playoff berth

UNIONDALE, NY There was obviously a very happy group of Bruins players at Nassau Coliseum on Saturday morning after learning that they had clinched a postseason berth with Buffalos loss to Pittsburgh on Friday night.

They dont know who theyre playing and they have no idea what their ultimate postseason fate will be, but right now the Bruins know theyll get an opportunity to repeat as Stanley Cup champs.

The Bs stand as the fourth Eastern Conference team to secure a postseason slot with only two weeks remaining in the regular season.

Its definitely been a long, interesting season. We talked about how quick it was and weve had a lot of ups and downs, said Milan Lucic. Its an accomplishment, but obviously we have another goal in mind and thats clinching our division.

As Lucic stated, the Bruins still have something to play for with five games remaining as the Easts No. 2 slot is still completely up for grabs, but theres also some pride among the players at five straight years in the postseason.

Somebody like Milan Lucic doesnt know any different as the Black and Gold have been in the playoffs every year hes been in Boston. The young power forward realizes hes luckier than most in that regard.

Lucics first thoughts were of Marc Savard and his struggles to finally get into the postseason five years ago which he first did in his second season with Boston along with plenty of other worthy NHL names still waiting for their first taste of playoff hockey.

Im lucky. Im fortunate to be a part of some good teams and really coming into Boston at the right time. Ive been part of the postseason for five years and its great, said Lucic. You think about players that its taken so long for them to get there: I think it took Marc Savard seven or eight years before he made the playoffs. It took forever for Olli Jokinen and Jay Bouwmeester still hasnt made the playoffs, but they still have a chance with Calgary.

The playoffs are something you want to be a part of and its what you play for. Now there are five games left that we have to gear up for it.

That gearing up starts on Saturday afternoon with a matinee tilt against the New York Islanders.

Andrelton Simmons slugs Angels to 7-3 win over Red Sox

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Andrelton Simmons slugs Angels to 7-3 win over Red Sox

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- When runs come in bunches, so do the wins for the Los Angeles Angels.

Andrelton Simmons drove in three runs, including a go-ahead two-run homer, Albert Pujols went 3 for 4 with two RBIs and the Angels rallied for a 7-3 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Saturday night.

Simmons hit his 10th homer of the season to left and put the Angels ahead 4-3 in the third inning after falling behind early. Pujols doubled to score Yunel Escobar and Mike Trout to start the four-run outburst.

"When we got a pitch to hit we hit it hard," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Albert got us going, that's a big double. One thing that can get you back into the game, extra-base hits tonight showed up."

The Angels improved to 38-10 when scoring four or more runs, compared to a 10-41 mark when held to three or fewer.

Battering Red Sox ace David Price even after facing a 3-0 deficit after two innings made this particular offensive eruption all the more impressive.

"We started chipping away," said Simmons, who went 2 for 4. "Guys just kept putting up good at-bats. We just didn't make it easy for them."

JC Ramirez (9-8) recorded his second win at home in 11 starts, striking out six while allowing one earned run and five hits in six innings despite struggling early.

The Red Sox got off to another fast start after scoring five runs in the first inning on Friday. Hanley Ramirez had an RBI single to start the scoring, and the Red Sox got two runs in the second after the Angels' franchise-record streak of 14 games without an error ended when Ramirez couldn't make the catch to complete a double play while covering first. Mookie Betts hit his 31st double to knock in a run and then was driven in by Andrew Benintendi for a 3-0 lead.

However, the Angels were able to respond after dropping the series opener. They added two runs in the fifth when Simmons singled, again bringing home Pujols, and he scored on a throwing error by shortstop Xander Bogaerts.

Trout picked up an RBI in the sixth, giving him five in seven games this home stand.

Price (5-3) gave up five earned runs and seven hits in five innings, allowing more than three earned runs for only the second time this year.

"The one thing that they did do well was they forced him to throw a lot of pitches," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "Obviously, the third inning, two big swings were the difference."

ANOTHER PUJOLS MILESTONE

Pujols became the 26th player to score 1,700 runs when he touched home plate after Simmons went deep. Pujols joins Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Alex Rodriguez and Willie Mays in amassing at least 600 home runs and 1,700 runs.

Scioscia called Pujols' continued climb into the history books a moment of "living history."

"He's had an incredible career and he's got more in his tank," Scioscia said. "It's fun to see the guys he is connected with."

FARRELL TOSSED

Farrell got the boot for arguing with umpire Phil Cuzzi in the middle of the fifth, though his original intent was to keep Dustin Pedroia from the same outcome. But by the time Farrell got to home plate, Pedroia had ended his conversation with Cuzzi and Farrell picked up where it left off.

"Anytime you make a comment about balls and strikes, that's probably what it's going to get you," Farrell said.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Red Sox: INF Josh Rutledge (concussion) is likely to come off the disabled list on Monday. ... Mitch Moreland was in the starting lineup at DH for the first time this season.

Angels: LHP Tyler Skaggs (strained oblique) pitched four innings in a rehab start for Triple-A Salt Lake, giving up three earned runs and six hits.

UP NEXT

Red Sox: RHP Rick Porcello (4-12, 4.60 ERA) has just one win in his last 10 starts, but it came against the Angels last month. Porcello has allowed two earned runs in 14 innings over his last two starts, striking out 13 without allowing a walk in that span, and still took the loss in both outings.

Angels: RHP Parker Bridwell (3-1, 3.18 ERA) went a career-high 6 2/3 innings to pick up the win against the Red Sox last month. Bridwell has held opponents to two earned runs or fewer in five of his last six starts.

Lee Nguyen, Teal Bunbury help Revolution beat Galaxy 4-3

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Lee Nguyen, Teal Bunbury help Revolution beat Galaxy 4-3

Teal Bunbury scored twice, Diego Fagundez had three assists and the New England Revolution beat the Los Angeles Galaxy 4-3 on Saturday night to snap a four-game losing streak.

Bunbury gave New England (6-9-5) a 3-2 lead in the 70th. His pass down the right side led Kelyn Rowe, who played a perfect cross to a charging Bunbury for a header from the top of the 6-yard box.

Lee Nguyen opened the scoring for Revolution in the 16th, but Daniel Steres tied it in the 22nd. Kei Kamara put New England back on top going into halftime, and Steres made it 2-2 in the 53rd minute.

Bunbury's second goal put New England up 4-2 in the 73rd and Ariel Lassiter added a goal for the Galaxy in the 79th.

Los Angeles (6-10-4) has lost five in a row and has just one win in its last eight games.