Bruins-Jets: Five thoughts from the third

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Bruins-Jets: Five thoughts from the third

Here are five thoughts from the first period with the Bruins and Jets locked in a 1-1 tie after the first 20 minutes of a Monday afternoon matinee at TD Garden.

1) A much better game for Tyler Seguin this afternoon after he was just okay against the Rangers on opening night. Two shots on net to lead the Bruins in the first period and he used aggressive speed to intercept a puck near the Winnipeg blue line on a clear attempt and turned it into offense. Seguin bombed down the right wing to draw the Winnipeg defense toward him, and then found Brad Marchand open in front of the net for the deflection past Ondrej Pavelec. Very good jump from Marchand, Seguin and Patrice Bergeron this afternoon as theyve been Bostons best line early.

2) A much more determined opponent in Winnipeg than the New York Rangers proved to be Saturday night. The Chris Thorburn goal for Winnipeg was pure effort as the forward chased after a long rebound and fired a rebound past Tuukka Rask. The Jets are bringing their physicality and effort today, even if their leaky defense is giving the Bruins some pretty tasty offensive chances.

3) Strong period for Tuukka Rask as he was tested much more by the Winnipeg attackers today. His glove save on a partial Kyle Wellwood breakaway was better than any of the 20 stops he made against the Rangers, and should be a nice little confidence booster for the Finnish goalie as he builds things up early in the season. Ten saves for Rask in the first period.

4) Bryan Little, Andrew Ladd and Blake Wheeler are minus-3 through four periods of hockey on the NHL season. Looks like Winnipeg might want to revisit that combination of players, especially if Dustin Byfuglien and his roving style of defense is combined with them.

5) So far, so good for Dougie Hamilton with 7:33 of ice time skating in a pairing with Zdeno Chara. Hes had a couple of hiccups that Chara has quickly covered for, but he also helped sustain possession in the offensive zone when he used good aggressiveness to pinch into a play. David Krejci alertly covered his position and should encourage the 19-year-old to continue to exploring how far he can push things offensively.

FIVE THOUGHTS FOR THE SECOND PERIOD: SCORE TIED, 1-1

1) A very good afternoon for Ondrej Pavelec, who has been the difference for Winnipeg through two periods in this one. Hes stoned Nathan Horton twice on point blank shots and was able to smother a Tyler Seguin ripped slap shot from the slot in the first 40 minutes among his 17 saves. Nice bounce back effort from the home opener for the Jets, and they needed it given the way their defense has performed in front of Pavelec.

2) The Bruins are all around the net, but are having finishing problems that weve seen in the past. Brad Marchand caught the post on a backhand with Pavelec sprawled out on the ice, and Aaron Johnson ripped one off the left post that Shawn Thornton couldn't finish. Bruins are all around it, but are getting too many offensive chances to not capitalize on something if it continues in the third.

3) Seven hits for Milan Lucic in 11:21 of ice time through two periods and one monstrous hit on Winnipeg captain Andrew Ladd in the neutral zone toward the end of the period. Looch continues to play with the snarl that makes him one of the best when hes on his game. The LucicKrejciHorton line has been excellent in the first two games.

4) Nathan Horton tied with Patrice Bergeron for team lead with three shots on net, and has been doing all the right things out on the ice. Dont be shocked if he gets rewarded for that in the third period after Pavelec stoned him a few times in the first 40 minutes. Hockey seems to have a way of rewarding those that truly deserve it.

5) The Bruins have killed off the first six penalties against them for the 2013 season. Looks like that unit is in midseason form while the Bs PP is 20 seconds away from starting out the year 0-for-8. The more things change, the more they . . . well you know how the saying goes.

FIVE THOUGHTS FOR THE THIRD PERIOD: SCORE TIED, 1-1

1) Bruins are now 0-for-9 on the power play this season and couldnt cash in on a PP in the third period when they really needed it. Rich Peverley hit a post, and Ondrej Pavelec was able to make the stop on one-timers from Chris Bourque and Tyler Seguin. Same old story, same old song and dance.

2) Things got much more physical in the third period. Zdeno Chara dropped Blake Wheeler to the ice with a neutral zone hit, Evander Kane crushed Brad Marchand on the side boards before talking smack to him after the whistle and Mark Stuart leveled Tyler Seguin with a hit that knocked his helmet off after taking a shot at the net. Things definitely dialed up a notch. Things seemed to kick up after Lucic slammed Andrew Ladd toward the end of the second period.

3) Five posts hit by the Bruins this afternoon. Ondrej Pavelec has been good, but its tough to win when a team is catching that kind of pipe.

4) Three hits and three shots on net in over 22 minutes of ice time for Dougie Hamilton while paired with Zdeno Chara. He still isnt creating much offensively as he finds his range, but hes looked very steady in all other areas for a 19-year-old kid. He could be a very big addition for the Bruins this year if he can give them a steady 20 plus minutes of ice time each night with few mistakes and a little production.

5) PK getting it done for the Bruins when Johnny Boychuk picks up a high-sticking penalty at the end of the third period.

Horford admits he was 'very emotional' after 'special' win

Horford admits he was 'very emotional' after 'special' win

CLEVELAND – For about 30 or so seconds following Boston’s 111-108 Game 3 win over Cleveland, Al Horford was not Al Horford.

He’s a passionate player, but seldom is it on display in as outwardly a fashion as it was following their Game 3 victory.

In an interview with CSN’s Abby Chin after the game, Horford tried to put into words what the victory meant.

But the aggressive high-fives to teammates passing him by, the intense way he looked into the camera … that spoke volumes about what this game meant to the veteran big man.

“It’s big, it’s big!” Horford said in between high-fives with Jonas Jerebko and other Celtics who came past him.

“A lot of people doubting us out there!” Horford said, staring intently into the camera as if he was saying, ‘yeah, I’m talking about you!’”

Less than 24 hours after the game, Horford’s emotions had cooled down considerably.

“It was an emotional game,” he told CSN following a short practice at the Q Arena on Monday. “Just, having to hear … since the blowout, everybody counting us out. Everybody really believing that it was over.”

The Celtics came into Game 3 having lost both Games 1 and 2 at home by a combined 57 points which includes the worst playoff loss (Game 2, 130-86) in franchise history.

So with that as the backdrop, knowing full well that no one outside of their locker room gave them an ice cube in hell’s chance at winning Game 3, the victory brought about a level of satisfaction that Celtics players had seldom experienced before if at all.

“The emotions at that time were high for our group,” Horford admitted. “And it shows what we’ve been talking about all year, a resilient group that has a lot of fight in them. We were hit with some adversity with Isaiah being down but our group responded.”

Thomas re-aggravated a right hip injury in Game 2, and was later ruled out for the rest of the playoffs. 

After falling behind 77-56 in the third quarter, the Celtics closed out the third with a 26-10 run to come within 87-82 going into the fourth quarter. During the run, Marcus Smart had 11 points which turned out to be equal to LeBron James’ scoring output … for the entire game.

This is Horford's 10th NBA season, all of which have included a trip to the postseason.

That, combined with having won a pair of national championships when he played at the University of Florida, serves as a reminder that the 30-year-old has been on the winning ledger of big games before.

But even he acknowledged Sunday’s Game 3 win was … different.

“I have had plenty of moments like this,” Horford said. “But this was definitely emotional. This was very emotional, exciting, on the road, no one really giving us any chance. To be able to come through like that, it just felt great. I’ve been part of emotional wins, but this one was a special one.”

That was evident in Horford’s energy-charged, post-game comments.

“Heart! Heart! This team got heart!” he yelled. “We got beat bad (in Game 2), but it’s all about how you rebound!”

And we get that message, loud and clear!

'Ecstatic' Thomas was with Celtics teammates via FaceTime after Game 3 win

'Ecstatic' Thomas was with Celtics teammates via FaceTime after Game 3 win

CLEVELAND – Gone but definitely not forgotten.

Isaiah Thomas, out for the rest of the playoffs with a right hip injury, wasn’t in the Q Arena physically, but his presence – and his face via FaceTime – were inside the locker room in the initial moments following their 111-108 Game 3 win over Cleveland.

“We called him right after the game,” said Boston’s Avery Bradley. “He got to celebrate with us a little bit. It’s sad that he’s not here. We wish he was here with us. We just want him to get better.”

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens added, “I didn’t even realize that had happened until later on. one of my first text messages was from Isaiah.  He’s hurting not being out there but he’s completely invested, for sure.”

He initially suffered the injury on March 15 at Minnesota, but re-aggravated it in the first half of Boston’s Game 2 loss to the Cavs. Less than 24 hours later, Thomas was deemed out for the remainder of the playoffs.

Instead of Thomas being the rock of sorts that the Celtics lean on with his play, he has become their rallying cry for the remainder of the playoffs.

“All we can do is play hard for him,” Bradley said. “He was excited with the way we played. We’re a family. Other guys got an opportunity to step up for us. Marcus (Smart) had a big game for us. It could be somebody else next game.”

Smart led the Celtics with a career-high 27 points which included a career-best seven 3’s going down.

And most important, the Celtics avoided going down 3-0 which would have all but sealed their fate in this series considering no team in league history has ever come back for a 3-0 series deficit.

Doing so without Thomas, the Celtics’ leading scorer and the top regular season scorer in the Eastern Conference, made the win all that more impressive for Boston.

“It meant a lot,” Horford said. “We know, Isaiah gives us so much and gave us so much this year. For him, we definitely wanted to come out and fight for him and our season and our team. It felt good to keep believing despite being down big. Just felt good to win the game and bring life back to our locker room. Because going down 3-0, that’s a death sentence pretty much. This was big.”

Not only to the Celtics players but also to Thomas who also texted head coach Brad Stevens full of excitement following Boston’s surprising win.

“He was excited,” Horford recalled. “He was ecstatic. I know he wishes he was here being part of it. We just need to keep doing it for him and our group and doing the best we can.”