Haggerty: 15 thoughts from Bruins-Sabres

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Haggerty: 15 thoughts from Bruins-Sabres

BUFFALO Here are fifteen thoughts from the third period with the Bruins falling to the Buffalo Sabres by a 6-0 score after 60 minutes of action at the First Niagara Center.

First period:

1) Tough first 20 minutes for Johnny Boychuk and Zdeno Chara, who were on ice for both of Buffalos goals in the first. The first goal allowed was a tough bounce off Gregory Campbells raised stick after a Christian Ehrhoff point shot, but the second score was Boychuk and Chara getting turned around in their own zone by Ville Leino and Jason Pominville. Tough night so far.

2) Congrats to Shawn Thornton for his 100th career NHL fight with Cody McCormick just minutes into the first period. It appeared that McCormick asked to dance and both players got a couple of strong shots before the fight quickly ended.

3) Tuukka Rask fighting the puck a bit. Some odd-looking save attempts and several tough rebounds right around the net aside from the two goals allowed on nine shots. Looks like the three-game losing streak could become a four-game losing streak if hes not careful.

4) Lousy non-goal call on the Bruins early in the game. It appeared that Milan Lucic had redirected a puck over the goal line, but it was waved off due to Rich Peverley's goalie interference on Ryan Miller. Miller was outside the crease and there was little contact between Peverley and the Buffalo goaltender on the play. Clearly there is some sensitivity to Miller against this Bruins team after the Lucic incident earlier this year, but that was a blown call that cost Boston a needed goal in the early going.

5) Patrick Kaleta started a fight with Milan Lucic at the face-off circle, got a couple of Lucic right-handed bombs to his face before he crumpled to the ice and then raised his hands as if victorious while skating the penalty box. Perhaps Kaleta was celebrating A) the fact he didnt get killed by Lucic or B) that he baited Lucic into leaving the ice for five minutes in a trade-off won by Buffalo. Either way Kaleta still looked dumb wearing that visor and starting a fight.

Second period:

1) Tuukka Rask appeared to be fighting the puck in the first on a series of bad rebounds, and he was yanked by Claude Julien after giving up Ville Leino backhander to start the second. Just not a sharp night for Rask in first game hes been pulled from by the Bruins this year. Some may remember Rask was also pulled in Buffalo last year.

2) Disinterested defense on a couple of Buffalo goals, 0-for-6 on face-offs and no presence on either side of the puck for David Krejci tonight. He certainly looks like hes taking some seriously passive disinterest in this game.

3) Shawn Thornton with two fights in this game and he looks genuinely angry at any number of things. He gets 17 PIMs for roughing, fighting and instigating while pounding Mike Weber with a series of left-handed punches after Weber went after Benoit Pouliot at the end of his shift.

4) Patrick Kaleta scored a goal for Buffalo to make it 4-0. A Kaleta goal can only be described as the greatest hockey insult that Buffalo can throw at an opponent. But all that being said, give Kaleta credit for being a factor tonight and for doing an adequate job antagonizing the Bruins while also producing.

5) Of Bostons 16 losses this season, ten of them have been against teams that are out of the playoffs. It certainly looks like it will be 11-out-of-17 for the Bruins after tonight. Theres a clear loss of focus against lackluster teams the Bruins cant get motivated to play against.

Third period:

1) Claude Julien placed David Krejci with Milan Lucic and Benoit Pouliot by the end of the third period. It appears Krejcis time on the third line might be ending after a non-existent performance tonight vs. the Sabres.

2) Zdeno Chara and Johnny Boychuk were minus-3 tonight and pretty clear that Chara was cajoled into a frustration penalty by Patrick Kaleta after a particularly abrasive forecheck against the Bs defenseman. Perhaps the worst game of the season for the Bs captain after a day off on Tuesday.

3) When Ville Leino has been one of the best players on the ice after a tough year in Buffalo, you know that its been a bad night for the Black and Gold. Not sure I can say a single player showed up aside from Shawn Thornton.

4) Give Shawn Thornton credit for going after Mike Weber while coming to the defense of Benoit Pouliot. Weber hit Pouliot as he was heading toward the bench and Thornton immediately went after Weber while dropping him with a flurry of left-handed punches. That was his second fight of the night and the reason hes the preeminent enforcer in the NHL.

5) Patrick Kaleta causing more troubles at the end of the third period while drawing penalties all over the ice. He managed to induce Milan Lucic into 15 minutes of penalties in the loss by simply being the aggravating rat role he plays for the Sabres. After his second nuisance act the Sabres game ops people played Sweet Caroline in a clear effort to taunt the team from Boston.

Isaiah Thomas continues to claim Celtics' franchise records

Isaiah Thomas continues to claim Celtics' franchise records

BOSTON – This continues to be a historic season for Isaiah Thomas as more records fell in Wednesday’s 103-100 loss to Milwaukee, and the company he’s keeping becomes even more exclusive. 

Thomas had a game-high 32 points on Wednesday which included five made 3’s on nine attempts. That gave him 223 for the season which is a new franchise single-season record for made 3-pointers. The previous record was 222 set by Antoine Walker during the 2001-2002 season.

And his 32 points scored gives him 2,012 this season. 

Only six players in franchise history (Paul Pierce was the last to do it during the 2005-2006 season) have scored 2,000 or more points in a single season. 

Oh, there’s more. 

With Wednesday being the 66th time this season he has had 20 or more points, Thomas has now tied Pierce (2005-2006) and Larry Bird (1985-1986; 1987-1988) for sixth on the Celtics’ single-season franchise list. 

“I didn’t even know that,” a visibly disappointed Thomas said following Wednesday’s loss. “It doesn’t feel that good right now. But when I look back on it, probably in the offseason, I’ll appreciate it a little more. But I’m just staying in the moment and try and play as best I can to lead this team to as many wins as possible.”

Other season milestones Thomas is in the mix for include the following:

  • The 5-foot-9 guard is one of three players this season to have 50 or more games of 25-plus points, joined by Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook (57) and Houston’s James Harden (54).
  • Thomas has made at least one 3-pointer in a franchise-record 50 straight games (Dec. 3 – March 29). That’s also the longest current streak in the NBA. 
  • With 66 games of 20 or more points this season, Thomas is second in the NBA to Westbrook (67).

Marcus Smart at center of yet another controversial call

Marcus Smart at center of yet another controversial call

BOSTON – One of the more bizarre plays in Boston’s 103-100 loss to Milwaukee came in the second quarter, requiring some explanation from the officials afterwards. 

With 3:55 to play in the second quarter, the officials had originally called a foul on Marcus Smart which he verbally protested that eventually led to him being whistled for a technical foul. 

After the officials reviewed the play, they changed the call to a personal foul against Khris Middleton but no change to the called technical foul against Smart who objected to a call that, upon review, they agreed was the wrong call to make. 

Official Sean Corbin, through pool reporter Ken Powtak of the Associated Press, acknowledged that the original call was a loose ball foul against Smart. 

“The (officiating) crew got together, we met prior to video and we decided that we needed to look at video because both players were on the floor bleeding so we went to the video for a hostile act,” Corbin told Powtak. “In the review we noticed that Khris Middleton initially made contact to Marcus Smart’s face. That’s how the original contact to the play occurred.”

Fortunately for the Celtics, Middleton missed his technical free throw while Smart split a pair of free throws which cut Milwaukee’s lead to 49-40.

Still, that’s no consolation for Smart who was whistled for a technical foul on a play that the official acknowledged was the wrong call to make. 

In the fourth quarter, Smart was at the center of yet another controversial call that was also reviewed by the officials. The verdict wasn't nearly as good for Smart who was whistled for a flagrant foul after getting his feet tangled up with Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo who was called for a non-shooting foul in the play with 4:46 to play. 

Antetokounmpo made one of two free throws and on the Bucks' ensuing possession, he was called for traveling.

Smart was unavailable to talk after the game in part because the aforementioned incident left an abrasion to his mouth and, because of the technical foul, a little lighter in the wallet as well.