Haggerty: 15 thoughts from Bruins-Senators

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Haggerty: 15 thoughts from Bruins-Senators

Here are five thoughts from the first period with the Bruins and Senators tied up at 1-1 after the first 20 minutes of play at TD Garden.

1)Plenty of offensive energy that period for the Bruins with some very good saves by Ottawa goaltender Craig Anderson. Twelve shots on net, and many of them from Bruins players in exactly the spots they wanted to take them. Benoit Pouliot also rang a shot off the right post after an arms-and-legs move to dangle through a Senators defender.

2)Shawn Thornton with one of his best fights of the year pounding Chris Neil with a barrage of right-handed bombs, but it appears that it came at a price. Thornton with some serious bags of ice on his right hand before exiting midway through his five minutes into the penalty box with a trip straight to the dressing room. It looks like his right hand might be getting treated.

3)Bruins power play looked very good in the first period. Both units playing with energy and quick passing that helped set up Zdeno Charas power play strike through a Milan Lucic screen. The score pulls Chara into a tie with Nathan Horton for the team lead with six power play strikes this year.

4)Three shots on net in 7:14 for Brad Marchand, who also drew the penalty that led to Charas power play goal by taking it hard to the net. A beauty of a saucer pass from Tyler Seguin set the whole thing up for Marchand.

5) Colin Greening is turning into one heck of a player for the Ottawa Senators. It was his second effort that allowed him to pop the rebound of his own shot past Tim Thomas. Greening and Daniel Alfredsson both lead the Senators with three shots on net apiece.

Here are five thoughts from the second period with the Bruins trailing the Senators by a 3-2 score after the first 40 minutes of play at TD Garden.

1)Five shots in the second for the Bruins as they were badly outplayed by Ottawa in all phases of the game. Its funny. The second period has actually been Bostons weakest period all season long and that was the case again tonight.

2)Despite their weak second period, Milan Lucic was able to bury a sizzling wrist shot from the slot with 46 seconds left in the period to make it a 3-2 game headed into the third period. Thats a gigantic goal for the Bruins after getting outplayed for most of the 20 minutes and it really shows some of Ottawas immaturity still shining through.

3)Despite the big bag of ice and repairs in the first period after his fight with Chris Neil, Shawn Thornton was out there taking regular shifts with his fourth line in the second. That NHL enforcer thing is a tough gig, man.

4)A big mistake by Zdeno Chara trying to step up into a play that led to a 2-on-1 and Erik Karlssons goal in the second period to give Ottawa their current lead. Of all the players on the ice for the Bruins, Chara and Tim Thomas have looked the weakest after their weekend All-Star appearances.

5)Soft goals from Tim Thomas in his first game back from the break. Strange to see given his normal domination of Ottawa, but perhaps Thomas was a little distracted prior to the game tonight wondering what kind of reception hed receive.

Here are five thoughts from the third period with the Bruins taking down the Senators by a 4-3 score after 60 minutes of intense Northeast Division play at TD Garden.

1)Dennis Seidenberg with the rare 90-foot goal when he fired a puck from the center ice face-off dot that skimmed off the ice and beat Craig Anderson for the game-winner. Third period win for Bruins shows their poiseexperience and make it clear Ottawa still has some growing up to do before theyre for real.

2)Six points and a pair of goals from the Bs defensemen crew tonight. The goal from Seidenberg was a big one.

3)Nine shots on goal for the Seguin, Marchand and Bergeron line, though they were on the ice for a pair of goals against as well. A very mixed bag night for them.

4)Four hits from Jared Cowen, who literally tossed Dennis Seidenberg off his skates during a battle in the corner. Hes another impressive young player for the Senators along with Colin Greening.

5)Two power play goals for the Bruins including 5-foot-8, 180-pound Brad Marchand beating out 6-foot-3, 220-pound Chris Phillips for a rebound in front of the net that ended up being the game-tying goal. Thats simple Little Ball of Hate desire winning out in a one-on-one battle.

Celtics miss an opportunity in first half with LeBron in foul trouble

Celtics miss an opportunity in first half with LeBron in foul trouble

CLEVELAND – There are 240 minutes of play in an NBA game, but Boston’s 112-99 Game 4 loss to Cleveland came down to seven (six minutes and 46 seconds to be precise).

That would be the amount of time left in the second quarter that LeBron James spent on the bench with four personal fouls (a first for him in the first half of an NBA playoff game ever) and Boston ahead by 10 points.

Boston could not have asked for a better scenario than that, especially considering how well they had played up to that point in the game and again, knowing that James wasn’t about to set foot back on the court until the third quarter.

But here’s the problem.

Boston’s 10-point lead when James left with four fouls.

Halftime rolled around and Boston’s lead was still at just 10 points.

Celtics players agreed that not finding a way to increase their lead with James out was among the more pivotal stretches of play in Game 4.

“They did a really good job of not letting it (the 10-point lead) get out of control while he was on the bench,” Boston’s Marcus Smart told CSNNE.com. “Every time we scored, they came back and scored.  They answered back with everything we answered.”

While many will point to that stretch as a time when the Celtics failed to make the necessary adjustments to increase their chances of winning, it wasn’t as if the Cavs are a one-man team.

“They still have two All-Stars out on the court,” said Boston’s head coach Brad Stevens, referring to Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. “With the best player in the world they go to unreal, but they’re still a pretty darned good team when those guys are out there.”

Irving had a playoff career-high 42 points which included him scoring 12 of Cleveland’s 14 points in the final 6:46 of the second with James on the bench.

“He’s one of the best point guards in the NBA, and you know, you can tell he puts in a lot of work in his game, a lot of respect from myself, my teammates,” said Avery Bradley. “We have to do a better job at defending him as a unit, trying to make everything hard on him. He definitely got a great rhythm going tonight, and I felt like we had a chance to make it harder on him.”

James still finished with a strong stat line for the night – 34 points, six assists, five rebounds and a blocked shot.

As good as he was on the court, the Celtics have to be kicking themselves for not doing more with the time James on the bench in the second quarter which in hindsight, was among the bigger factors in them now returning home facing elimination as opposed to being tied at two games apiece in this series.

“What are you going to do?” said Cleveland’s Kevin Love. “You have to continue to fight through it. At halftime, we were down 10. We made some adjustments on the defensive end and we just fought; we needed to. They got everything out of us tonight in that second half, but we played more inspired basketball as well.”