TAMPA The four-game road trip is still a work in progress for the Bruins, but their strong suits are abandoning them in moments of hockey duress.
Dominic Moore beat Tim Thomas glove side with a wrister from the edge of the left face-off circle, and once again the Bruins lost a third period battle in a 5-3 loss to the Bolts at Tampa Bay Times Forum.
A third period score by Tampa Bay Lightning wide body Ryan Malone off a redirect in front of the Boston net with Bruins killer Moore buzzing on that one as well -- gave the Bolts a lead, but a Daniel Paille shorthanded breakaway backhander evened things up temporarily in the final minutes.
The Bruins had entered the final 20 minutes tied at 2-2, and for the second game in a row couldnt outscore their opponent in a third period theyve dominated all season.
The Lightning had taken an early lead on a Vinny Lecavalier garbage man goal cleaning up a loose puck in front of the net, but that set up Nathan Horton heroics in the second period. Less than 24 hours after getting called out by his coach for failing to play with enough oomph, Horton potted a pair of goals while attacking the net with the kind of aggression that makes him a special player.
The second goal arrived via a wrist shot from the high slot after Horton collected a loose puck from an Andrew Ference shot, and set up Malones heroics in the final stanza. The goals also gives Horton 16 tallies this year, and leaves him in a tie with Milan Lucic and Brad Marchand for second place on Bostons goal-scoring list this season.
The Bruins were excellent in the second period, but far too inconsistent in the opening and closing periods of another erratic effort on the road in Florida.
Neither set-up man the Red Sox traded for under president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, Tyler Thornburg and Carson Smith, is throwing off a mound presently.
Smith, on his way back from Tommy John surgery, felt soreness after throwing a bullpen session and is back to doing long toss.
"He’s had to slow down," Sox manager John Farrell said Thursday. "Once he got on the mound with some aggression and good intensity, was throwing the ball well. And as a result there’s been some soreness that has kind of reared its head. So have had to back him off, back into long toss, he’s thrown out to about 110 feet here today. We’re hopeful that in the very near future that mound progression resumes.
"The unique thing about Tommy John recovery is that every situation is going to be different. In this case, we’ve had to take a step back a little bit and get back to flat ground."
Smith is in Boston as part of a previously scheduled meet-up with the team, Farrell said. When the season began, Smith was rehabbing in Florida. He was put on the 60-day disabled list on Thursday, a formality that opened up a 40-man roster spot for new acquisition Chase d'Arnaud.
Smith was put on the disabled list on April 3, so he can return June 2 at the earliest, but may now need more time.
Thornburg (right shoulder impingement) is building up his long-toss distance.
In other injury news, Brock Holt (vertigo) may begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Pawtucket on Friday or Saturday, Farrell said.
BOSTON – There are many factors you can point to in the regular season as indicators of what may happen when two NBA teams meet in the playoffs.
You don't have to be inside the Chicago Bulls' locker room to know that when it comes to the Celtics, they were fully prepared to face a team that took a lot of 3's but wasn’t necessarily shooting them at a high percentage.
That reality has certainly come into focus in Boston’s first-round series against the Chicago, one the C’s lead 3-2 as they continue to try and 3-point shoot their way on to the next round – without giving a damn how many long-range shots it takes to get the job done.
In five playoff games, Boston is shooting 45.3 percent from the field, which puts them in the middle of the pack (eighth overall) among the 16 teams that qualified for the postseason.
But when it comes to the long ball, they are on the back-nine of playoff teams, ranking 10th while shooting 32.4 percent from 3-point range while leading all postseason clubs with 38.7 3-point attempts per game.
In the regular season, the Celtics ranked 16th in field-goal percentage (.454) and 14th in 3-point shooting (35.9 percent) while attempting 33.4 3's per game, which trailed only Houston (40.3) and Cleveland (33.9) this season.
Boston's shooting from the field mirrors what it did in the regular season, but they know all too well that their shooting percentage in this series should be much higher due to the high number of open shots they have missed.
Take a look at Game 5.
In the 108-97 win, the Celtics shot an impressive 53.1 percent when their shots were contested.
But let the Bulls have a defensive breakdown like a failed switch, or a guy gets beat for what turns into a great opportunity for Boston to score with no resistance, and instead of burying the open shot, the Celtics have consistently blown those opportunities. That’s evident by the C’s connecting on just 30.8 percent (12-for-39) of their uncontested field-goal attempts in Game 5.
Even the usually reliable Isaiah Thomas had issues making uncontested shots in Game 5 and this series as a whole.
He had 24 points and shared game-high scoring honors with Avery Bradley on Wednesday night, but Thomas probably should have led everyone outright in scoring when you consider he had five open shots and wound up missing four of them.
That’s why when it comes to Boston’s offense, the last thing Thomas or any of his teammates complains about is getting the shots they want.
“I’ve been getting good open looks,” he said. “My teammates have been getting me open. We just got to knock down the shots. Coach [Stevens] keeps saying one day soon we’re going to knock down the open shots that we are missing and it might be [Game 6].”