Haggerty: 15 thoughts from Bruins-Maple Leafs

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Haggerty: 15 thoughts from Bruins-Maple Leafs

TORONTO Here are five thoughts from the first period with the Bruins and Maple Leafs tied at 1-1 after the first 20 minutes of play at the Air Canada Centre.

1)Great period from Jordan Caron following up on a good game against the New York Rangers last weekend. Caron had a strong shift midway through the first period when he found a cutting Johnny Boychuk on the backdoor for a scoring chance turned away by Jonas Gustavsson, and then cut through the middle of the slot for his own shot on the same shift. Caron followed that up by potting a goal on his next shift when he crashed the net looking for a Joe Corvo shot that took a wild bounce off the end boards, and pushed the puck past the Toronto goalie for the game-tying goal after Benoit Pouliot attempt at the rebound. Bruins could use more of that from their former first round pick.

2) Greg Zanon is now a minus-4 with the Bruins and has had some issues right in front of the Boston net after a promising first game. He unwittingly screened Tim Thomas on a Carl Gunnarsson shot that beat him to the glove-hand side for Torontos goal that period. Thomas needs to do a better job of fighting through those screens, and Zanon needs to get on the same page with his goaltender.

3)Bruins outshot the Maple Leafs by a 12-7 margin and had themselves a pretty solid period aside from the Gunnarsson goal. They talked about searching for that consistency prior to this one and now they need two periods as good or better than the first one.

4) Sounds like Mathieu Garon went down with injury for the Tampa Bay Lightning. If youre looking for a team that would put a claim in on 36-year-old Marty Turco and block the Bruins, its Steve Yzerman and the goaltending-starved Bolts still harboring playoff delusions.

5)Great work at the end of the first period with both David Krejci and Tyler Seguin outworking Dion Phaneuf for loose pucks that allowed Seguin to get one last shot off that hit the right post. The Bruins brought their hard hats tonight.

TORONTO Here are five thoughts from the second period with the Bruins leading the Maple Leafs by a 5-3 score after the first 40 minutes of play at the Air Canada Centre.

1)Dennis Seidenberg is quite possibly the nicest guy in the world. But hes also a beast. Colby Armstrong is bloody aware of that now after messing with him in the second period. Seidenberg finally lost it and started pounding on Armstrong before leaving the Leafs agitator dripping blood before the fight was all over. It did lead to a Leafs power play when Adam McQuaid was also called for roughing, but the point stands.

2)Two goals each for Tyler Seguin and Jordan Caron. The Bruins need the energy, pop and enthusiasm from their younger players while battling through this .500 mess that theyre in and both players have showed up in a big way today. Seguins numbers at the Air Canada Centre are getting scary when hes playing in front of his friends and family.

3)Three goals in two games for Jordan Caron and four shots on net in 9:10 of ice time along with a plus-3. Confidence is the key to any hockey player and hes feeling it right now.

4)Six hits for Lane MacDermid in 6:31 of ice time. Hes actually looked very good playing in that fourth line role on the wing. He doesnt bring the speed of Daniel Paille, obviously, but hes throwing his weight around.

5)Benoit Pouliot with two shifts and 1:43 of ice time in the second period. It looked like he has hit the pine as Lane MacDermid, Shawn Thornton and Gregory Campbell all taking turns skating in his place on the third line.

TORONTO Here are five thoughts from the third period with the Bruins burning the Maple Leafs by a 5-4 score after 60 minutes of play at the Air Canada Centre.

1)No Benoit Pouliot on the bench in the third period. Perhaps he was hurt rather than disciplinary action. Didnt see what happened to him if hes indeed injured. Last thing the Bruins need is another injury to a winger.

2) No easy games for the Bruins for the rest of the season. Toronto showing some lift in the first period with a Mikhail Grabovski goal that beat Tim Thomas cleanly after a long stretch pass from Toronto end.

3) Tim Thomas glove hand and angles look pretty far off to the goaltending layman. Perhaps hes already showing signs of fatigue before they even really have to ride him hard this season.

4) Five blocked shots, four hits and four shots on net for Johnny Boychuk in a mans effort against the Maple Leafs. People that complain about his contract extension should watch Tuesdays game tape.

5)Tough game for Milan Lucic. A few too many giveaways, no shots on net and little involvement in the offensive zone. They cant all be gems, but Lucic just didnt have it going against the Leafs

Carson Smith 'had to take a step back' in recovery from Tommy John

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Carson Smith 'had to take a step back' in recovery from Tommy John

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.

Despite series lead, Celtics lament their inability to hit open shots

Despite series lead, Celtics lament their inability to hit open shots

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].”