Defensive mishaps prove costly against Canes


Defensive mishaps prove costly against Canes

BOSTON -- It was just Tuesday night that everyone on the Bruins praised their defensemen for skating with the puck and creating clean breakouts, which led to several odd-man rushes and a 4-3 win over the Ottawa Senators.

Two nights later, the Bruins weren't necessarily blaming their defense after a 3-0 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes at the TD Garden. After all, the B's did put 47 shots on goal, which is usually enough to get something going offensively.

But on a night in which Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward seemed to be on his game, Boston needed their defensemen and goaltender to be on their game once again.

Instead, all three Carolina goals came on defensive mishaps, and it cost them on a night in which no pucks got past Ward.

The first defensive mishap came with 8:09 remaining in the first period, as Jiri Tlusty put a body-check on Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk in the corner. Boychuk went down with an injury on the hit, and Tlusty threw it out front through a flat-footed Bruins team and Eric Staal one-timed it home for the 1-0 lead.

"We just didnt play well. Just a really bad night for us," said Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara after the loss. "You know, I thought we had actually the start of the game and Johnny Boychuk seemed liked he got hurt and we all kind of stopped playing, including myself, and boom they zipped it past us and its past Tuukka Rask. Then we just, again, we didnt have a good second and, yeah, we couldnt get anything going tonight."

Even Bruins coach Claude Julien put some blame on the offense for not getting back hard enough and for not coming deep enough into their own zone for cleaner breakouts. But the second Carolina goal was simply the result of a defensive turnover on an aggressive Hurricanes forecheck.

That forecheck came from Brandon Sutter, as a Carolina dump off the glass in their own zone ended up bouncing over the head of Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference in the final minutes of the second period.

Ference was able to track it down and tried to backhand it over to defensive partner Adam McQuaid through his own high slot.

Turns out that was a bad decision, as Sutter was right on Ference's tail and intercepted the sloppy pass, where he then put a shot on net. Both McQuaid and Ference never re-gained their position after Sutter's shot, and Tuomo Ruutu swooped in for the rebound, made a nice move on Rask, and put it into the open net.

"They just chipped it in, and I think our D didn't know where it was landing," said Rask after the loss. "And then, I was yelling at them, and they caught it. And then the guy just squeezed through and got a shot and then a rebound.

"I was laying there, and McQuaid was laying there, and then he had pretty much the empty net."

Ference and McQuaid were on the ice for the last two Hurricane goals. But the first one was more their fault than the second.

"The result was frustrating," said Ference. "McQuaid and I just talked about it. I think the first goal we were on for was a little goofy play. The second one, we wouldn't change much. But I think our game, other than that, was fairly solid, just from a partner's point of view. But the result was pretty frustrating."

Ference called Carolina's second goal -- the first goal he was on the ice for -- a "loopy" one. But even though the puck was on edge by the time Ference tracked it down, it looked like nothing more than a defensive turnover in their own zone. Something that had to be limited on a night in which the offense couldn't finish.

"I literally couldn't even see it until it landed between us, and then I tried to whack it over to McQuaid's side," said Ference.. "I'm pretty sure it hit Sutter's stick and then hit his chest, and then he whacked at it. After that, I'm not sure what happened after it hit Tuukka. But, you know, it was kind of a crazy play."

Carolina's third and final goal -- the second goal that Ference and McQuaid were on the ice for -- wasn't exactly Ference and McQuaid's fault, but it was due to a defensive mishap.

Rask came behind the net and attempted to dump the puck up the left boards, but Andreas Nodl stopped the puck before it could even get to the half-wall and put it out to the top of the circle, where Sutter wristed it top-right for the 3-0 lead.

Take your pick. Blame the offense for not scoring. Blame the defensive mishaps for all three goals on a night in which the Bruins could not afford defensive mishaps.

Either way, the B's didn't do themselves any favors.

"I'm not trying to take anything away from them," said Bruins assistant captain Patrice Bergeron. "They're playing well, they're playing hard, they're a good team. But that being said, I think the goals they got, it's our own fault."

THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Rams hold off 49ers for wild 41-39 win


THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Rams hold off 49ers for wild 41-39 win

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Coach Sean McVay walked into the postgame news conference and immediately asked, "Anyone have a beer?"

He probably wasn't the only person who wanted a drink after watching a surprisingly thrilling Thursday night shootout between his Rams and the San Francisco 49ers that wasn't decided until Los Angeles prevented a potential game-tying 2-point try and then delivered a rare defensive stop after blowing the onside kick in a 41-39 victory.

"We talk about mentally tough, be your best regardless of the circumstance," McVay said. "I thought the players did that. They found a way in spite of some of the ups and the downs to come away with the win."

While the defense came up big late, it was the offense that carried the day for the Rams (2-1), who have gone from the lowest-scoring team in the NFL a year ago to a dynamic one through three games under McVay.

Jared Goff threw for 292 yards and three touchdowns, Todd Gurley ran for 113 yards and scored three TDs and Robert Woods (108) and Sammy Watkins (106) each topped the 100-yard mark receiving in Los Angeles' second 40-point performance of the season. The Rams have 107 points in all so far, the second-most in franchise history after three games to the 119 by "The Greatest Show on Turf" squad in 2000.

"Since I've been here we haven't been able to do that," Gurley said. "Hopefully we can keep putting points together, keep working together and keep learning from this. I think we left a lot more points off the board."

This win didn't come easy as the Rams nearly blew a 15-point lead, giving up two late touchdowns, fumbling a kickoff return and failing to recover an onside kick. But Los Angeles managed to stop a potential game-tying 2-point conversion on a deflection by Troy Hill and then used an offensive pass interference penalty against Trent Taylor and a fourth-down sack by Aaron Donald to stop the Niners after the onside kick.

The 49ers (0-3) scored five touchdowns after failing to get any the first two weeks but still came up short in part because a missed extra point by Robbie Gould forced them to try for 2 on their late touchdown.

"I just rushed it, I missed it, I made a mistake," Gould said. "Obviously, I wish I didn't do that, or we'd probably be playing in overtime right now.""

This time it was a tired defense that hurt San Francisco. After facing 79 plays in a 12-9 loss at Seattle on Sunday, the 49ers appeared to run out of gas on the short week as Goff frequently had wide-open receivers, especially on third down.

The Rams were 8 for 12 on third down, including all three of Goff's touchdown passes.

The Rams needed all that offense on a night where Brian Hoyer threw for 332 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another score.

QUICK START: The Rams took just 12 seconds to get on the board as Nickell Robey-Coleman intercepted Hoyer on the first play from scrimmage and returned it to the 3-yard line. Gurley ran it in on the next play to give the Rams a 7-0 lead.

"I just told him to start over," 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. "Got to go back to work. We didn't change anything, went right on with the script. But it was a tough way to start out."

DROUGHT BUSTER: The 49ers came into the game without a touchdown on the season but broke through in the first quarter with some help from the Rams. After Blake Countess jumped offside on a punt, the Niners took advantage of the second opportunity and drove to score on Hoyer's 9-yard run 126:43 into the season. That was the longest it took a team to score its first TD since 2006 when both Tampa Bay (143:03) and Oakland (127:10) took more time.

FOURTH DOWN CALLS: Both teams drove to the opposing 1 on their opening drives of the second half with help from a Willie Mays-style basket catch by Watkins and a perfect toe drag on the sideline by San Francisco's Pierre Garcon. But the Rams opted to kick a short field goal, while the 49ers went for it and converted on Carlos Hyde's 1-yard run that cut Los Angeles' lead to 27-20. Hyde added a second 1-yard run on fourth down in the fourth quarter.

INJURIES: Rams S Lamarcus Joyner left the game in the first half with a hamstring injury. ... Los Angeles C John Sullivan injured his groin in the second half and Watkins and Tavon Austin left with concussions. ... 49ers S Jaquiski Tartt (concussion), FB Kyle Juszczyk (neck), DL Tank Carradine (ankle) and LB Brock Coyle (concussion) all left with injuries in the second half.

UP NEXT: The Rams travel to Dallas on Oct. 1. The 49ers visit Arizona.

Boston Sports Tonight Podcast: Is there a blueprint to beat the Patriots?


Boston Sports Tonight Podcast: Is there a blueprint to beat the Patriots?


0:41 - Tom E. Curran breaks down the ‘blueprint’ to beat the Patriots and if the Texans have the talent to do it.

5:27 - Michael Holley and Kayce Smith discuss Kyrie Irving’s comments that he made on Early Edition about going back to Cleveland for the opening game. 

9:52 - We take a listen to what Malcolm Butler had to say about his role on the team and discuss how the cornerback keeps saying all the right things. 

15:18 - Michael McCann, Legal Analyst for Sports Illustrated joins BST to talk about Aaron Hernandez’s brain found to have CTE and his family now suing the NFL and the Patriots.