Marchand shines as Bruins defeat Blues, 4-2

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Marchand shines as Bruins defeat Blues, 4-2

ST. LOUIS, MO The Bruins had to battle, grind and scrape their way through against a Blues team thats been dominant at home all season, but they managed to get a hard-fought, badly-needed victory.

The stagnant Bs offense exploded for three goals in the first period, withstood everything the competitive Blues could throw at them in the second frame and survived for a 4-2 win over the Blues at Scottrade Center.

The victory snapped Bostons two-game losing streak and handed St. Louis their first home loss since a Dec. 3 defeat at the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks.

It wasnt easy, but nothing has been for the Black and Gold lately.

Brad Marchand opened things up with an early going after picking the pockets of former BU defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk and roofing a shot over Blues goaltender Brian Elliott. Milan Lucic tipped home a Joe Corvo point shot to give the Bs a two-goal lead early, but then St. Louis punched back with everything they had.

Chris Stewart beat Tim Thomas with a whirling blast of a loose puck in front of the net, and Ryan Reaves tipped home a TJ Crombeen shot to tie things up in the opening 20 minutes.

But the Bruins answered before the first 20 minutes of scoring was up, and Chris Kelly snapped home a shot from the slot area after a smart centering pass from Lucic set everything into motion. From there it was up to Thomas to dominate with 14 saves in the second period after looking slightly shaky in the opening minutes of the contest.

Marchand added his second goal of the night after a long lead pass from Tyler Seguin freed him for a breakaway, and he tucked the puck between Elliotts pads for the backbreaking insurance goal.

GOLD STAR

Brad Marchand created the bookend scores by manufacturing a goal early when he picked Kevin Shattenkirks pocket in the first period by the blue line before firing a shot past Brian Elliott. The Nose Face Killah also ended things with a five-hole score off a breakaway set up by a sweet Tyler Seguin stretch pass in the third period to create some breathing room for the Black and Gold. The two goals snapped a six-game goal-scoring drought for Marchand and put him over 20 goals again for the second time in two NHL seasons. Marchand hadnt brought much energy lately in a performance that was symbolic of the entire team, but he brought the goods against St. Louis on Wednesday night.

BLACK EYE

Jordan Caron was relegated to the bench in the third period when it was pretty clear that the 20-year-old winger was a tad overwhelmed on the ice. Both Caron and Carter Camper didnt get a shift in the final 20 minutes when Claude Julien shortened his bench, and with Camper it was understandable in his first career NHL game. But Caron needs to start being more of a consistent factor when his line was a liability getting hemmed into the zone throughout the game. No shots, no hits and no presence in 5:14 of ice time on nine shifts.

TURNING POINT

Tim Thomas wasnt able to track the pucks in the first period when screens and bouncing pucks added up to a pair of goals allowed, but Thomas locked it down in the second period. The Bruins were out-shot by a 14-4 margin in the middle 20 minutes, but Thomas locked things down and finished things off with a flourishing glove save on Kris Russell from the high slot area. Thomas finished with 30 saves and the kind of bounce-back performance enjoyed by the entire team, but his ability to hold it together in the second was a big key.

HONORABLE MENTION

Zdeno Chara was second on the Bs in ice time with 23:27, finished with a plus-3, doled out five hits and was the kind of menacing defensive presence hes always been known for. Big Zee led the way with some stalwart defensive work and enjoyed his best game in about two weeks while rising to the occasion when the team needed it. His play and the teams result are inexorably linked and Wednesday nights win over the Blues just hammered that fact home.

BY THE NUMBERS

13-0-0 the record this season for the Bruins when Chris Kelly notches at least one goal. His strike at the end of the first ended up being the game-winner and tied his single-season career-high with 15 goals on the year.

QUOTE TO NOTE

What does Cam always say? The flu is just a really good sweat. Shawn Thornton when asked if the flu would ever keep him out of an NHL game after playing 11:09 of ice time while fighting through a flu bug that kept him out of the morning skate.

Price turns in encouraging effort in first 2017 start

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Price turns in encouraging effort in first 2017 start

CHICAGO — It’s a start, literally and figuratively.

David Price showed some great velocity in his 2017 Red Sox debut Monday afternoon, hitting 97 mph -- heat he didn’t have last year. At times, the pitcher the Sox badly need to return to form flashed high-level effectiveness as well.

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What everyone expected would be off in Price's first start back, his command, was indeed shaky, considering he allowed more runs (three) than hits (two). But he wasn’t expected to be in tip-top form, and he did a decent job overall.

Price's five-inning, three-run performance against the White Sox came almost exactly three months after he first felt elbow soreness during spring training. The lefty exited with the Red Sox ahead 4-3, though he lost the chance at his first 2017 victory when Chicago scored twice off Matt Barnes in the seventh and pulled out a 5-4 victory.

All three runs off Price scored on a Melky Cabrera homer in the third inning, which put the White Sox ahead 3-1 at the time. Price walked only two batters on the day, but they happened to be the two hitters in front of Cabrera.

The walk started with the No. 9 hitter, Adam Engel. Tim Anderson, who had drawn just four walks in 181 plate appearances entering the day, got a free pass as well.

But besides the Cabrera homer on a first-pitch fastball that was middle-in, the only other hit Price allowed was a shallow bloop single to center field.

Price finished with four strikeouts, including the first batter he faced on the day, Anderson.

His command issues were nonetheless clear. Price hit two batters to begin his final frame, setting up a fine play for Deven Marrero to record a force out at second before Xander Bogaerts started a inning-ending double play with a fantastic dive, bailing Price out of the first-and-third jam with one out.

With 88 pitches and 58 strikes, Price was more efficient than he was in two rehab outings at Triple-A Pawtucket, and he didn’t get rocked. But he also wasn’t as efficient as the Red Sox will need him to be.

Price was pitching in a calm, pleasant environment (clear skies, temperatures in the 70s, low humidity) that might actually have been more comfortable than the colder clime Price faced in Pawtucket -- where both the fans and temperatures were chilly.

The Red Sox were aggressive bringing Price back so quickly, and set themselves up for a second guess if something went wrong. But Price preserved the second of two leads his offense gave him and didn’t let the game get out of hand. After the Cabrera homer put the White Sox up two, the Red Sox answered immediately in the top of the fourth to tie at 3-3.

The argument that Price did better than anyone else would have in his place is a fair one, considering John Farrell and Co. slated Price to pitch Monday before they watched Brian Johnson’s complete-game shutout.

The bigger question was always about what was best for Price’s future, and Monday looks like something he can build on. He may have benefited from the adrenaline of being back in the majors.

Pedroia lifted in second inning after hurting wrist in collision

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Pedroia lifted in second inning after hurting wrist in collision

CHICAGO -- Injury scares are finding Dustin Pedroia in all the wrong places.

The Red Sox second baseman was pulled in the second inning Monday afternoon against the White Sox because of a left wrist sprain, an injury he seemed to suffer on a collision running to first base in the top of the first inning.

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He and White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu converged on the bag at the same time on a grounder to Abreu, and Pedroia tumbled over Abreu

Pedroia had season-ending surgery on the wrist in September 2014, addressing a tendon issue. Pedroia had surgery on his left knee this year, and missed time after Manny Machado's slide caught him in that leg in April.

Pedroia during the last homestand was pulled as a precaution because of concern for that leg.

Josh Rutledge took over for Pedroia at second base.