STANLEY CUP FINAL- Wow- I'm pretty sure what happened on Monday night was what most people would call a 'statement game'.
Things got pretty quiet not too far into the first Stanley Cup final game to take place in Boston in 21 years after a late, open-ice hit by Vancouver's Aaron Rome on Nathan Horton. With his neck in a brace, the winger was wheeled out on a stretcher and Vancouver was shorthanded for 5 minutes, a penalty on which the Bruins weren't able to capitalize.
As it turns out, it was one of the few power plays on the night that the B's didn't score, including a couple of Canucks power plays.
Andrew Ference would break the scoreless deadlock just 11 seconds into the 2nd period. This would be followed by Mark Recchi's power play goal 4 minutes and 22 seconds in to make it 2-0.
Now- as glad as most Boston fans were that the Bruins got out the the early lead, they were also acutely aware of the Bruins inability to hold onto even bigger leads in significant games, and the last thing they wanted was to fall into an 0-3 series hole at home.
Brad Marchand allayed those fears with a nifty shorthanded goal at the 11:30 mark and just to make things even more interesting, David Krejci tallies and even-strength goal with just over 4 minutes remaining in the second.
And oddly enough- they were just getting started. The onslaught continued into the second half of the 3rd period, with the B's getting on the board thanks to ANOTHER shorthanded goal, this time from Daniel Paille at the 11:38 mark to make it 5-0. The Canucks would get their only goal of the night on a Jannik Hansen tally, but the Bruins would close out the game with three MORE goals (Recchi, Kelly and Ryder) to end Game 3 with an exclamation point and an 8-1 final. Boston takes a bite out of the Canucks series lead and now trails 2 games to 1.
Tim Thomas stopped 40 of 41 shots faced while Roberto Luongo allowed 8 goals on 38 shots on goal- leading some at the sports bar I was nursing a few Sam Adams to wonder if a cardboard cutout of The Most Interesting Man in the World from the Dos Equis advertisements might be able to spell Luongo for a bit.
Although it took a little longer than I had hoped, I'm glad to see such offensive production coming from the Bruins after getting shut out in Game 1 and losing in cringeworthy fashion in Game 2. Hopefully this is something they can sustain and Vancouver will have a difficult time adjusting to.
Alex Burrows seen postgameOTHER STANLEY CUP BITS: Canucks defenseman Aaron Rome has received a 4-game suspension for his late his on Nathan Horton. Horton is expected to miss the rest of the Stanley Cup finals with a severe concussion.
Canucks winger Alex Burrows had managed to avoid suspension earlier in the series after biting the gloved finger of Patrice Bergeron during an altercation in Game 1.
MLB: The Red Sox trip to Yankee stadium got off to a promising start on Tuesday night when Boston got out to an early 3-0 lead thanks to a solo homer by Jacoby Ellsbury to lead off the game, followed by an Adrian Gonzalez RBI triple that plated Dustin Pedroia and a Kevin Youkilis sac-fly.
The Bronx Bombers were able to get a run back in the bottom of the 1st on a Robinson Cano RBI single, but the Sox managed to chase Yankees starter Freddy Garcia from the mound after a 2-out Dustin Pedroia RBI single made it a 4-1 game.
Luis Ayala came on to replace Garcia for an inning and a third (only giving up a walk) before being spelled by Hector Nosei who went 6 inning, giving up 3 hits- although one of them was a David Ortiz 2-run homer to make it a 6-1 game briefly.
Lester, in turn would give up a 2-RBI double to Nick Swisher in the bottom of the 5th and the Yankees would eat into Boston's lead to make it a 6-3 game. New York would get another run back in the bottom of the 9th with a Jorge Posada 2-out RBI single to plate Brett Gardner, but Papelbon would strike out Alex Rodriguez to end the ballgame. Red Sox hang on to win by a 6-4 final with Lester going six innings, giving up 8 hits, 3 earned runs, striking out five and walking one.
Although it wasn't pretty, Papelbon's save was the 12th of the season and career save #200. Papelbon reached that milestone in his 359th career game, becoming the quickest pitcher to reach that mark in the MLB (previously it was longtime Yankees closer Mariano Rivera who reached in 382 games).
Wednesday's game will be televised on ESPN at 7:05 ET and features Tim Wakefield (2-1; 4.40 ERA) going up against AJ Burnett (6-3; 3.86 ERA).
OTHER SOX/YANKEES NOTES: SS Marco Scutaro returned from the DL and a rehab stint in Pawtucket, where he was hitting .455 in 3 games. Scutaro went on the DL May 16th with a strained oblique and went 1 for 4 in his return to Boston.
-Yankees 1B Mark Teixera was struck by a pitch along the knee in the bottom of the first inning Tuesday night. He was helped off the field and Jorge Posada pinch-ran for him. X-Rays came back negative, although he will be re-evaluated on Wednesday.
- Papelbon faces a three game suspension for his conduct during Saturday's game against Oakland at Fenway Park after the closer rushed towards home plate umpire Tony Randazzo and bumped him while arguing balls and strikes. Papelbon is appealing the suspension and can still play until the appeal is dismissed.
-Sox Relief pitcher Bobby Jenks threw just 4 pitches on Tuesday night's game before leaving with back spasms. The pitcher is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Wednesday.