Fifteen thoughts from Bruins-Sabres


Fifteen thoughts from Bruins-Sabres

BUFFALO Here are five thoughts from the first period of the Bruins and Sabres with both teams locked in a scoreless tie after the first 20 minutes of action at the First Niagara Center.

1) A couple of good stops by Tuukka Rask in the first period particularly on a Derek Roy tipped puck right in front of the net in the first minute of action. You had to expect that Rask would be motivated after getting humbled here his last time in Buff, and hes been good. A much tighter hockey game as well with both teams doing a good job clogging up the neutral zone, but it appears that whatever work Rask has been doing with goalie coach Bob Essensa is helping.

2) A shot on net and a perfect five-for-five in the face-off circle while David Krejci is playing right wing for the Bruins. Hes put together another solid period after an encouraging performance against the Blues, but a little actual offensive production looks like something the Bs will need tonight.

3) Bruins defensemen looking a little slow on their skates tonight. Thomas Vanek blew right on by Adam McQuaid but missed the net with a shot, and Tyler Ennis looked like he went through Zdeno Charas legs while attacking the left post. But Tuukka Rask was able to hold the post and keep it scoreless.

4) Corey Tropp with three shots on goal playing in place of Brad Boyes. I think hes already matched Boyes production over the last two weeks.

5) Mike Knuble a health scratch again against the Montreal Canadiens and apparently not too happy about it. Its time for the Washington Capitals to do the right thing and trade the classy veteran. No way to treat a guy like Knuble unless theyre planning to deal him.


BUFFALO Here are five thoughts from the second period of the Bruins and Sabres with the Bs trailing Buffalo by a 1-0 score after the first 40 minutes of action at the First Niagara Center.

1) Another tired-looking performance by the Bruins following an encouraging one. No emotion, small pockets of physicality around large pockets of labored skating and little sustained traffic around Ryan Miller. There is still 20 minutes to go, but weve seen this Bruins team quite a bit lately.

2) Joe Corvo was decent two nights ago in St. Louis, but hes been bad tonight against the Sabres. Incredibly passive and afraid to shoot from the point on the power play and way off with his transition passing while breaking out of the defensive zone. There have been way too many of these games from Corvo this season. The defensive shortcomings are forgivable, but the offensive deficiencies are mystifying.

3) Ryan Miller brought the good stuff again tonight. Eighteen saves including a shoulder shrug stop when Tyler Seguin had a chance all alone after stealing the puck inside the blue line. Hes flowing with confidence when hes making stops like that on shots roofed to his glove side.

4) Huge swing in momentum when the Bruins fanned on their first power play attempt without a single shot, and the Sabres stormed right back down with an Andrej Sekera goal at the other end. Two power plays with nothing to show for it really isnt a good look for the Black and Gold.

5) Chris Kelly leads Bruins with four shots on net and has been active tonight. One of the most energetic players for the Bruins. They need more playing like him the final 20 minutes.


BUFFALO Here are five thoughts from the third period of the Bruins and Sabres with the Bs and Buffalo tied at a 1-1 score and headed to overtime after the first 60 minutes of action at the First Niagara Center.

1) Great energy from the fourth line in the third period. They earned the power play that helped set up Zdeno Charas game-tying goal. Did their jobs in the energy department at most important juncture of game. Six shots on net for them as a unit.

2) Johnny Boychuk covering for Zdeno Chara when hes caught up ice and diving face-first to block a Jordan Leopold shot from the slot to open the third period. The people criticizing his new contract extension should watch plays like that. Boychuk is fearless and wants to win. The Bruins need players like that.

3) Tuukka Rask with encouraging signs throughout the game. Twenty-two saves and many of them in high-traffic situations with plenty of bodies around the net. It was his best game in over a month and finally gets the Finn back on the right track.

4) Six shots on net for Chris Kelly and plenty of blue collar scoring chances around the net. The Bruins are beginning to rouse up those competitive juices and its obvious in some of the individual performances.

5) Give the Sabres credit, they started playing the proper way in the second half of the season. But it was way, way too late to try to get back into the hunt for a playoff spot.

Paxton, Seager pace Mariners past Red Sox, 4-0


Paxton, Seager pace Mariners past Red Sox, 4-0

SEATTLE -- James Paxton added a dominant night to what has become a dominant month.

Paxton allowed four singles over seven innings to win his fifth consecutive start in July and Kyle Seager homered to pace the Seattle Mariners to a 4-0 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Monday night.

"Heck of an effort by Pax tonight," said Mariners manager Scott Servais. "He is on a nice roll right now and we're the beneficiary of it. It's been fun to watch. Getting all of his pitches over. His stuff was electric tonight."

Paxton (10-3) retired the first 13 hitters before Jackie Bradley Jr.'s single to center with one out in the fifth. The left-hander, who worked out of trouble in the sixth and seventh innings, matched his career high with 10 strikeouts and walked none. Paxton has allowed six earned runs in 33 1/3 innings and not given up a home run in five starts this month.

"My arm just felt really good today. Had the big fastball and it was just coming out easy today," said Paxton, who missed almost all of May with a forearm strain. "I wasn't thinking about going out there and throwing 98, 99, that was just what was coming out today."

Eduardo Rodriguez (4-3) allowed four runs on six hits in 5 1/3 innings. He struck out six and walked two in his second start since coming off the disabled list.

"I missed my pitches," Rodriguez said. "Fastball to Seager, he makes good contact and hits a homer. That's how it is when you miss a spot."

Seager started a three-run second with his 14th home run, lining a 2-1 pitch over the wall in straightaway center to open the inning. With one out, Ben Gamel tripled into the right-field corner. Gamel scored on Guillermo Heredia's fielder's choice chopper to first, beating the throw home with a head-first slide. Heredia scored from first on Jean Segura's double into the right-center gap.

"I had a lane to slide in and I felt like I could sneak my hand in there, so I just went for it," said Gamel, who extended his hitting streak to 11 games and raised his average to .323.

Seattle added a run in the fourth when Gamel singled, Segura was hit by a pitch and Danny Valencia doubled.

In the sixth, Brock Holt reached with one out on a throwing error by first baseman Valencia. Mookie Betts singled Holt to second, but Paxton struck out Andrew Benintendi and Dustin Pedroia.

Hanley Ramirez and Bradley opened the seventh with consecutive singles, but Paxton struck out Chris Young and enticed Deven Marrero into a double-play grounder to short.

"On a night where we got to swing our way out of it, we get a couple of opportunities in the sixth and seventh, and the strikeout was a big weapon certainly for Paxton tonight," Boston manager John Farrell said. "First and second one out, couple of key strikeouts to (Benintendi) and (Pedroia). And then we come right back in the seventh inning, we think we are in a pretty good spot first and third nobody out, and unable to string any base hits together."

Paxton is scheduled to get another start before the end of the month.

"I think it's five wins in the month of July. He's got a chance to get one more," Servais said. "It's hard to win six games in a month. I don't know if it's ever been done by a Mariner before, but hopefully we'll see it."


Red Sox: SS Xander Bogaerts was scratched with an illness, although it was not related to the hand injury he suffered last week. Marrero started.

Mariners: CF Jarrod Dyson was out again with a toe injury sustained when he crashed into the wall Sunday. He is day-to-day.


Boston called up top prospect Rafael Devers from Triple-A Pawtucket. The 20-year-old Devers began the season at Double-A Portland, hitting .300 with 18 homers and 56 RBIs in 77 games. He played just nine games at Portland, hitting .400 with two homers. ... RHP Kyle Martin was optioned to Pawtucket. ... LHP Robbie Ross Jr. (left elbow inflammation) was transferred to the 60-day DL.


Seattle signed veteran INF Danny Espinosa, who was released last week by the Los Angeles Angels. Espinosa hit .209 with a career-high 24 homers in 2016 with Washington, but hit just .162 in 77 games with the Angels. He will be used in a utility role. ... RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (right shoulder inflammation) was transferred to the 60-day DL.


Segura was hit in the foot by a pitch with two outs in the fourth. The Red Sox challenged, but the call on the field was upheld after a review of 1 minute, 10 second.


Red Sox: LHP Drew Pomeranz (10-4, 3.51) has won four consecutive decisions over his last five starts, posting a 2.12 ERA over that span. Devers is expected to debut at 3B.

Mariners: RHP Felix Hernandez (5-4, 3.88) is 3-2 with a 3.25 ERA in six starts since coming off the DL (right shoulder inflammation). He is 5-2 in nine starts vs. Boston at Safeco Field.