Five thoughts: Bruins get best of Rangers, 3-1

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Five thoughts: Bruins get best of Rangers, 3-1

Here are five thoughts from the first period with the Bruins leading the Rangers by a 1-0 score after the first 20 minutes of the season-opener at TD Garden.
 
1)    So much for Milan Lucic having a tough time catching up to everybody else. Lucic missed on a golden rebound chance when Henrik Lundqvist left a juicy rebound of a Nathan Horton shot earlier in the period, but he didnt miss the second time around. David Krejci fired a puck that Lundqvist kicked to his right, and Lucic drove to the post instead of right down the middle and was waiting for the rebound to come right at him. Its only fitting that No. 17 scored the goal after he was the subject of much scrutiny for staying away from the ice for much of November and December.

2)    Henrik Lundqvist looking very rusty in his first game back with the Rangers, and has left some rebounds directly in front of the net for Bruins players in the right spot. The Bruins have also put the New York goalie under some heavy pressure by outshooting the Rangers by a 14-7 total in the first 20 minutes, but the reigning Vezina Trophy winner looks a little rusty.
 
3)    It appears the refs are going to be calling the obstruction interference call much more closely this year. All four penalty calls in the first period were interference calls with one of the called against Brian Boyle for goalie interference and the last call against Andrew Ference was clearly something that wouldnt have been called in the past. He was discussing it with the ref as he skated toward the penalty box, but it looks like theyre no longer tolerate any tying up the skaters on soft dumps into the corner.
 
4)    Nothing from Rick Nash in his Bruins debut during the first period. One shot and one hit in 6:08 of ice time, but no discernible impact on the game aside from looking kind of funny skating around in a No. 61 Rangers sweater.
 
5)    A couple of close calls in the first period but the Bruins walked away okay: Patrice Bergeron took a puck off the chin that forced him off the ice during the Bs first power play, and it looked like Johnny Boychuk wrenched his right leg in a collision with Brian Boyle in front of the Boston net. But both players returned to the ice and looked no worse for the wear.

SECOND PERIOD

Here are five thoughts from the second period with the Bruins leading the Rangers by a 2-1 score after the first 40 minutes of the season-opener at a sold out, jubilant TD Garden.
 
1)    Plenty of talk over the last few days about the importance of the fourth line really bouncing back from a down year, and they did just that in the second period. First they kicked in a goal when Daniel Paille tipped a long range shot from Gregory Campbell that bounced off the post and then ricocheted off Henrik Lundqvists back into the back of the net. Then when New York halved the lead with a Brad Richards goal, Shawn Thornton dropped the gloves with Mike Rupp and ended the fight with an overhand right to the Rangers tough guys face that drew blood. Then Campbell followed immediately with a bout against the bigger Stu Bickel and he managed to get off a few shots before both skaters tumbled to the ice. In the middle 20 minutes they provided opportunistic and plenty of emotion at the right time, and thats the energy line at its level-best.
 
2)    A few promising looks for the Bruins power play tonight, but nothing from a production standpoint quite yet while going 0-for-4 on the PP. At one point Tyler Seguin found Zdeno Chara crashing backdoor for a one-timer chance that Henrik Lundqvist was able to smother, but thats the kind of movement and creativity the Bruins have lacked on the man advantage. Later Seguin got the puck back for a one-timer and he went way wide right, but those are the kind of chances No. 19 is going to get from the right face-off circle. They need to battle harder to keep the puck in the offensive zone during the PP and get bodies to the net, but the early signs are there for marked improvement.
 
3)    The Bruins seemed to calm down quite a bit in the second period. There was more flow to the breakout and plenty of emotion, and it seemed like their familiar systems are beginning to kick in as the game goes along. Surprising as I expected things would deteriorate the longer the game went along given the quick camp, but that hasnt happened quite yet.
 
4)    Brad Richards is one of the few Rangers players that has fully showed up for work tonight, and was rewarded with a goal from the high slot with Carl Hagelin screening in front of the net. The Bruins are outshooting the Rangers by a 25-15 margin otherwise, and have really controlled the game throughout the first 40 minutes.
 
5)    Rangers really taking the body to Tyler Seguin tonight as a point of emphasis and have managed to neutralize him aside from his chances on the power play. Everybody expected that BergeronSeguin combo to do the damage for the Bruins in the early going after their European exploits, but credit the Blueshirts for holding them down.
 
6)    Chris Kelly and Patrice Bergeron are a combined 14-for-20 in face-offs in the first two periods. Some things never change.

THIRD PERIOD

Here are five thoughts from the third period with the Bruins taking down the Rangers by a 3-1 score after the 60 minutes season-opening hockey at a sold out, jubilant TD Garden.
 
1)    Good birthday present for Johnny Boychuk on his 29th birthday on a twisted wrister from the right face-off circle after an  offensive zone faceoff win by Patrice Bergeron. The Bs center then hopped in front to screen on the Boychuk shot that appeared to bounce off Brad Richards on the way to the back of the net.
 
2)    Not a good game at all for Rick Nash in his Rangers debut. Had a couple of shots on net, but no real impact in the game for a New York team that appeared just as offensively feeble as ever. He also took a bad hooking call on Andrew Ference while the Rangers were on the power play in the third period that wiped out their man advantage in a one-goal game. Hell find out quickly how different things are than Columbus after such a lackluster debut.
 
3)    The Bruins poured plenty of offense on in a game they controlled from very early on, but Tuukka Rask was solid in an important game for him and for Boston. Now he just needs to maintain it.
 
4)    For anybody that had questions about Adam McQuaids health, he answered them when he dumped Ryan Callahan in front of the Boston net during the pivotal penalty kill in the third period. The hit immediately preceded the Rick Nash penalty.
 
5)    Good, quiet first game for Dougie Hamilton. He looked a little nervous and tentative offensively, but made a big defensive play in the third period when he knocked away a backdoor pass from Derek Stepan to a wide open Marian Gaborik by the right post. Could have been an easy tap-in for the game-tying goal if Hamilton hadnt been battling with Ryan Callahan in front of the net.

It was still a banner year for Celtics, according to Bleacher Report tweet

It was still a banner year for Celtics, according to Bleacher Report tweet


Minutes after the Celtics were eliminated by the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals, the folks at Bleacher Report tweeted a video that celebrated the C’s one victory in the series. 

Ouch. 

There are 17 Celtics championship banners that actually exist and hang at TD Garden. You won’t be seeing one for being a “finalist” or celebrating an actual sweep, such as Spurs over Cavs in the NBA Finals.

Blakely: This could be the start of something big for Celtics

Blakely: This could be the start of something big for Celtics

BOSTON -- Prior to this year, the Celtics hadn't been to the Eastern Conference finals since 2012. That trip served as a curtain call of sorts for the last great C's dynasty.
 
But this one, which ended with Cleveland's emphatic 135-102 Game 5 victory Thursday at TD Garden, is very different.

MORE CELTICS

 
Rather than closing another chapter in the Celtics' longstanding legacy of greatness, it could serve as the beginning of a new narrative in the franchise's steady growth.
 
"For us to be in the Eastern Conference finals after the first year of this team really being together, adding additions like Al Horford and Gerald Green . . . I can go down the list of guys that we needed to learn to play with, and for us to talk about where we wanted to be and actually make it, it's a big-time accomplishment," said Avery Bradley.
 
Boston has been among the younger teams in the NBA, with the 31-year-old Green being the oldest player on the roster.
 
But what the Celtics lacked in experience, they made up for with great effort.
 
"The great thing about this is the experience," Bradley said. "We were able to go to the Eastern Conference finals, learned a lot about being in this position, and I feel like it's going to help us for next year."
 
But as we all know, the Celtics will look to strengthen themsevles this offseason, which means there's a very good chance they'll have a different look when they gather again in the fall.
 
How different is anyone's guess.
 
"It's difficult every year whenever you don't have guys back," said coach Brad Stevens. "I think you share a bond (over the course of a season)."
 
Stevens and this group have been together for eight months. Eight months of struggles, successes, frustrating defeats and euphoric victories that brought them to the conference finals, which is where their season came to an end.
 
But as disappointed as the players and coaches are inow, there's definite excitement about this franchise in the very near future.
 
Boston has the No. 1 overall pick in next month's draft, with all indications -- for now -- pointing to Washington's Markelle Fultz as their choice.
 
And their top first-round pick from a year ago, Jaylen Brown, seemed to steadily improve as the season progressed. It was one of the few times in his life where minutes weren't just handed to him, which he admits was a learning experience unlike anything he had ever had, yet he adjusted and played better as the year went along.

"I've had ups, I've had downs, I've had opportunities, I've had mistakes," said Brown. "So I've been learning and growing and improving all year and I'm going to continue growing and improving and prove people wrong, prove doubters wrong."
 
Having the season end the way it did has indeed left a bad taste in the mouths of many Celtics.
 
"I can use it as fuel," Brown said, adding: "I want to get back to the same place I'm at now."
 
Bradley, who was on the 2012 team that lost to the Miami Heat in the conference finals, knows the Celtics are going to do whatever they feel is necessary to give them the best chance at competing for a title.
 
"It's out of our control as players," Bradley said. "We had a great year together. If guys are here, if guys aren't, we all wish the best for each other.

"But I do feel this is a special group. We all gave our heart every single night, played as hard as we could. I respect all my teammates, and I really appreciated playing with all the guys I had a chance to play with this year; a special group."