Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter of Eden Sports Chowdah Update- Bruins Clip Wings to Even Series at 1-1; Red Sox Rally Late Against Baltimore on Sunday Night

BOSTON BRUINS- After stunning the home crowd at TD Garden on Friday night with a late goal in the 3rd period to take a 1-0 win over Boston, the Red Wings were looking to bring the series back to Motown by going up a commanding 2-0 lead over Boston.

Unlike Game 1, the Bruins didn't have to wait long to get on the board- Justin Florek caught Wings netminder Jimmy Howard out of position and he found the back of the net 7 and a half minutes to go in the first period. This had the distinction of not only being Florek's first NHL goal, but the Bruins first tally of the series.

About two minutes later, the Bruins would have a 5 on 3 man advantage for about 20 seconds with Detroit's Jakub Kindl being sent to the bin for interference at the 8:15 mark and Danny DeKeyser getting two for slashing at the 9:54 mark. Although Boston wasn't able to take advantage of the brief 2-man advantage, Reilly Smith put Boston up 2-0 with a power play goal 10:35 into the first period.

However, with 6:40 to go in the second, Detroit cut the lead in half on a goal that ricocheted in and was credited to Luke Glendening, making it a 2-1 game. However, Boston got the two goal cushion back in the final 1:45 of the second period on a Milan Lucic goal. In the opening two and a half minutes of the 3rd, Detroit's Kyle Quincey was given two minutes for roughing and Zdeno Chara would give the Bruins a 4-1 lead thanks to a power play goal 2:27 into the third.

The Bruins go on to win Sunday's Game 2 by a 4-1 final, sending the series over to Detroit knotted up at a game each. Tukka Rask stopped 34 of the 35 shots he faced while Jimmy Howard stopped 25 of 29 shots faced. The Bruins were also 2 for 4 on the power play on Sunday afternoon.

Game 3 is set to take place from Joe Louis Arena on Tuesday night with a scheduled start time of 7:30 ET. The game will be televised on NESN, NBC Sports and TSN.

OTHER STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF NEWS- The defending Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks will have to do without the services of Defenseman Brent Seabrook, who received a suspension from the NHL after a hit on St Louis Blues captain David Backes on Saturday.

Video of the game shows Seabrook targeted Backes' head and at least one skate was off the ice when the Blackhawks defender was setting up for the hit, which came with the Blackhawks leading by a score of 3-2 with less than 5 minutes to go in regulation during Game 2. Seabrook was given a game misconduct and the Hawks were assessed a 5 minute charging penalty. In the dying seconds of regulation, the Blues also pulled Ryan Miller from the net for an additional attacker and that strategy bore fruit when Vladimir Tarasenko beat Corey Crawford with 7 seconds to go in the game, forcing OT in which Barrett Jackman would score the game winner 5:50 into the first OT to give the Blues a 2-0 series lead.

RED SOX- Coming into this weekend's series against Baltimore, the Red Sox were looking to climb out of the AL East basement- even though all of the teams were separated by no more than 2 and a half games on Friday. The series got off to a rough start when the O's manhandled Lackey on Friday night and Baltimore cruised to an 8-4 win over Boston.

On Saturday, Big Papi broke a 1-1 deadlock in the bottom of the 4th with a solo homer. Brock Holt, who was only called up from Pawtucket on Friday, gave the Red Sox some insurance in the bottom of the 7th when he belted a 1-out triple with Mike Carp on first to make it 3-1. Jonathan Herrera then grounded into a fielder's choice, sending Holt home and making it a 4-1 game before Koji Uehara came out of the pen and despite walking Matt Weiters to lead off the 9th, got the next three batters to strike out swinging, ending the ballgame.

Sunday night's nationally televised game on ESPN also marked the 1-year anniversary of the first Red Sox home game after the Boston Marathon bombings, and there was a pregame ceremony to honor the marathon runners, first responders and medical personnel from that fateful day.

Jake Peavy took to the mound on Sunday night and gave up three quick runs to Baltimore in the top of the first- a Nelson Cruz solo homer, a Matt Weiters RBI single and a JJ Hardy RBI sac fly. Meanwhile, Ubaldo Jiminez confounded the Red Sox bats through the first five innings as the O's added to their lead thanks to a 2-out David Lough ground rule double with 2 runners on that made it 4-0 in the 5th while outfielder Adam Jones hit an RBI single with two away in the top of the 6th. That was enough to chase Peavy from the mound and Chris Capuano came in from the bullpen to retire Weiters and prevent any further damage.

However, things were looking promising in the bottom of the 6th after David Ortiz got on board with a 1-out single, followed by Mike Napoli drawing a walk. Johnny Gomes then took a 2-2 Jiminez offering and planted it into the Monster Seats to put the Red Sox on the board and cut the O's lead to 5-3. Zach Britton came out of the Baltimore bullpen to relieve Jiminez and got the next two batters out. Capuano would get the Baltimore batters he faced out in order to give the Red Sox batters another chance in the bottom of the 7th.

After Pierzynski struck out to lead off the inning, Brock Holt singled and then made it to second when O's SS Ryan Flaherty dropped the ball when transferring it from his glove to his hand while attempting the double play on a Grady Sizemore ground ball- something the Red Sox admittedly caught a break on. Dustin Pedroia then singled to load the bases up before Big Papi beat the shift Baltimore had employed against him all night and hit an RBI single to make it a 1-run game. With Evan Meek coming out of the bullpen to relive Britton, Mike Napoli hit a ground ball to 3rd, but instead of trying to get the easy out at first or third, O's 3B Jonathan Schoop attempted to throw home and erase the runner there, but the throw was wide and his error tied the game. Gomes then fouled out and Danielv Nava struck out to end the Boston threat, but the game was tied 5-5.

Baltimore had a credible threat going in the top of the 9th thanks to a leadoff double from Adam Jones, who advanced to 3rd on a Weiters groundout. However, 2B Lombrardozzi would ground out to Andrew Miller and Jones couldn't advance. With two away, Mujica came out of the Boston bullpen in relief of Miller and got outfielder David Lough to strike out on four pitches to end the inning and strand Jones 90 feet away from home.

For the bottom of the 9th, Brian Matusz came out of the pen and got Grady Sizemore to strike out to start off the inning. Dustin Pedroia then belted a fly ball that was just a few inches short of a homer that caromed off the Green Monster in deep left center field [thanks to some fan interference- NANESB!]. After the umpires huddled and the play was reviewed in New York, the call was upheld and instead of a walkoff solo homer, Pedroia was at second with one away. Pedroia then advanced to 3rd on a wild pitch by Matusz with Big Papi in the batter's box. After falling behind 3-0 to Ortiz, O's manager Buck Showalter had Matusz intentionally walk Big Papi before bringing Darren O'Day out of the pen. O'Day struck Mike Napoli in the kneecap with a pitch to load up the bases and John Farrell decided to have Mike Capr pinch-hit for Jonny Gomes.

For a second, it looked as though Carp would end the game with a liner to shallow left field, but O's outfielder David Lough tracked it down for out number two. As Pedroia was returning to 3rd base, Lough made a way offline throw towards home that rattled around the backstop and seizing the opportunity, Pedroia ran home for the game-winning run. The Red Sox come all the way back from being shut out 5-0 to win Sunday night's game with two outs in the bottom of the 9th.

Tomorrow being Patriot's Day, the Red Sox and Baltimore will get underway especially early- 11:05 AM ET- and the game will be televised on NESN. Wei-Yin Chen [2-1; 4.76 ERA] will go up against Clay Buchholz [0-1; 5.51 ERA] to wrap up the 4-game series against the birds. As it turns out, Thursday's contest against Chicago was the last time they'll face an opponent that doesn't call the AL East home until early May. After the Baltimore series, the Yankees will come into town for a 3-game series before Boston head to Toronto for a 3-game series next weekend. On April 29th, the Red Sox will host the Tampa Bay Rays- the first time the two teams have met this season- before hosting Oakland on May 2nd.

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