BOSTON BRUINS- It was a busy Saturday for Boston sports- besides the Red Sox heading north of the border to take on the Blue Jays for the first time this season, the Bruins had an opportunity to close out the Red Wings in Game 5 at TD Garden on Saturday afternoon.
Boston got on the board first thanks to a power play goal from Loui Eriksson just 3 and a half minutes into the first to make it a 1-0 game. Of course, no lead is as hard to maintain as a one goal lead and at the 14:41 mark of the second period, Pavel Datsyuk notched a power play goal to tie the contest up at 1-1. But with less than 5 seconds remaining in the second and the Bruins on a 4 on 3 power play, Zdeno Chara blasted one past Gustavsson to give Boston the lead back heading into the second intermission.
Just four and a half minutes into the 3rd, the Bruins added to their lead with a goal from Milan Lucic to make it 3-1- but the Red Wings weren't done yet. As the crowd at TD Garden started reserving seats for the Boston/Montreal series, Detroit pulled to within one after Henrik Zetterberg got one past Tukka Rask with 3:52 to go in regulation. Inside of two minutes, the Red Wings pulled Gustavsson for an extra attacker, but with less than a minute to go Jarome Iginla made it a 2-goal game once again when he tallied an empty-netter to make it a 4-2 game. Boston would go on to win by a 4-2 final and take the series 4 games to one. Tukka Rask turned away 31 of 33 shots he faced while the Bruins went 2 for 6 on the power play. For his part, Gutavsson stopped 29 of 32 shots faced while Detroit went one for seven with the man advantage.
This sets up another all Original-6 matchup as the B's will take on the Montreal Canadiens on May 1st. Puck is scheduled to drop at 7:30 ET and the game will be televised on NBC Sports and CBC.
ELSEWHERE IN THE NHL- While the Canadiens made quick work of the Lightning, the same can't be said for three other playoff series.
Wednesday night will feature no less than three game 7s to close out the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. At 7:00 ET, the Flyers and Rangers will face off in Madison Square Garden for their decisive Game 7- that game will be televised on NBC Sports while Game 7 of the Minnesota Wild and Colorado Avalanche series gets underway at 9:30 ET from Denver- that game will be broadcast on CNBC. Things will wrap up on the West Coast when the Los Angeles Kings- who fell into an early 0-3 hole against the Sharks- will play a decisive Game 7 in San Jose starting at 10:00 ET (7:00 PT)- that game will be televised on the NBC Sports network and the CBC.
No matter who wins that Game 7, the next round in the Western Conference Semifinals will feature an all-California matchup. On Sunday night in Dallas, the Anaheim Ducks came from 2 goals down in the 3rd to tie the game with 24 seconds left in regulation to force OT, where Anaheim's Nick Bonino scored less than 3 minutes into sudden death overtime to give Anaheim the series win.
BOSTON RED SOX- After taking two out of three from the Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre [I'm not sure what the bigger surprise was- Clay Buchholz settling down after giving up an early 3-0 lead and getting the win on Saturday or Lester and the bullpen getting lit up on Sunday- NANESB!] the Red Sox returned home to take on yet another AL East opponent in Fenway on Tuesday night.
Amid chilly temperatures and strong winds at Fenway on Tuesday night, the Red Sox faced off against the Tampa Bay Rays for the first time this season. With Lackey facing off against former Red Sox and Oriole starter Eric Bedard, the early innings had the makings of a pitcher's duel with batters struggling to reach base- or score on the few times they did get on base.
However, the Red Sox worked Bedard's pitch count up to over 100 in just five innings, forcing Rays manager Joe Maddon to go to the bullpen early. In the bottom of the 5th, Middlebrooks led off with a walk, followed by a Jackie Bradley Jr double. Pedroia lined out to 3rd thanks to a great play made by Rays 3B Evan Longoria, nearly catching Middlebrooks off-base as well. However, Shane Victorino hit a fly ball deep enough to center for Middlebrooks to come home on for the second out of the inning.
In the top of the 6th, the Rays would get on the board thanks to a 1-out Longoria sac fly to center to bring home Desmond Jennings and make it a 1-1 game After Napoli and Gomes walked to lead off the bottom of the 6th, Xander Bogaerts popped out to shallow left for the first out of the bottom half of the inning. With one away, AJ Pierzynski brought Napoli across home plate with an RBI single while Gomes came home on a Middlebrooks double. Jackie Bradley Jr then brought Middlebrooks and Pierzynski home on a 2-RBI double off of Rays reliever Juan Oviedo and advanced to 3rd on a wild pitch. Although Oviedo got Pedroia to ground out to short for out number two, Victorino came to the plate and his a ground-rule double to bring JBJ home and make it a 6-1 Red Sox lead. The Rays got a run back in the top of the 7th to make it 6-2 but Big Papi would hit a 1-out RBI single with runners on 1st and 2nd to make it 7-2 Boston.
However, after Mujica took the mound in the top of the 9th and Tampa got two more runs, John Farrell sent for Koji Uehara to close out the game, striking out Ben Zorbist to end the ballgame and give Boston the 7-4 win.
The two teams will go back at it tomorrow (weather permitting) with Chris Archer [2-1; 4.11 ERA] going up against Felix Doubront [1-3; 6.00 ERA] with first pitch scheduled for 7:00 on ESPN.
ELSEWHERE IN THE AL EAST- Amid completely self-unaware chants of "You sold out!", former Yankees 2B Robinson Cano returned to the Bronx for the first time since leaving for Seattle after signing a 10 year, $240 million deal with the Mariners.
Cano went 1 for 5 with an RBI, two strikeouts and a stolen base in Tuesday night's game as the Seattle Mariners rallied from a 2-0 deficit to go on and win by a 6-3 final.
WASHINGTON NATIONALS- Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper is expected to be out until July after tearing a ligament in his last week. Harper was batting .289 with a homer and 9 RBI so far this season. Harper underwent surgery on Tuesday and even tweeted a picture of himself from the hospital room.
On the road to recovery..Everything went great and I'll be back soon! Thank you to all the fans for the support! pic.twitter.com/66Wn7sxHQ9— Bryce Harper (@Bharper3407) April 29, 2014
Harper made his MLB debut in 2012 at age 19 and has a career .273 batting average with 43 homers and 126 RBI in just under two whole seasons. Last week, manager Matt Williams benched Harper because he didn't run out a groundball to first.
NBA- Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has received a lifetime ban from the NBA and a $2.5 million fine from NBA commissioner Adam Silver on Tuesday. Sterling was recorded by his mistress asking her not to bring black people to Clipper's home games and upset that she posted an instagram photo of herself and NBA hall of famer Magic Johnson. The recordings were made public by gossip website TMZ and have been replayed over multiple networks all weekend, sparking outrage and planned protests.
Former Celtics head coach Doc Rivers had reportedly declined a meeting with Sterling and was reportedly looking for ways out of his contract with the organization before Silver's press conference on Tuesday. Sterling, a California real-estate mogul, reportedly lost a civil rights lawsuit a few years ago in which the plaintiffs allege he discriminated against black and Hispanic tenants. Up until fairly recently, Sterling ran the Clippers on a shoestring budget frequently resulting in last place finishes, but savvy draft picks like Blake Griffin and key free agent signings like Chris Paul had reversed the Clippers fortunes in recent years.
On the hardwood, the Clippers returned to the Staples Center for the first time since the recordings of Sterling was made public, beating the Golden State Warriors by a 113-103 final on Tuesday night. Earlier in the series, Clippers players had worn their practice jerseys inside-out and donned black wristbands a s a means of protests when the recordings first came out.
Currently, the Clippers hold a 3-2 series lead over Golden State in the first round of the NBA playoffs.