Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Sports Chowdah Update- Boston Ruins, Chicago Clinches Stanley Cup With Pair of Late Goals; Tigers Motor Past Sox in 4-Game Series

AP Photo/Elise Amendola
STANLEY CUP FINALS- A lot can happen in 17 seconds. On Monday night at the TD Garden, a defensive collapse in the span of 17 seconds decided the outcome of the Stanley Cup finals.

The Bruins came into Monday Night's Game 6 losing their last two games and needing a win to force a Game 7 in Chicago on Wednesday night. Game six seemingly got off to a good start with the Bruins pressing the Chicago defense, with Boston outshooting the Blackhawks 12-6 in the first period. Chris Kelly got the Bruins on the board in the first with a goal at the 7:19 mark.

The Blackhawks started out the second period much stronger and Jonathan Toews got Chicago on the board at the 4:24 mark with an unassisted tally.

It wasn't until there was 7:49 remaining in regulation that the Bruins managed to break the deadlock thanks to a Milan Lucic goal, putting Boston up 2-1 with the clock ticking down. With less than two minutes to go, it appeared as though the series was headed to a Game 7 in Chicago's United Center. The Blackhawks pulled the Corey Crawford- a move that seldom pays off- with less than 90 seconds to go. In this case, it didn't pay off because Crawford was barely on the bench when Bryan Bicknell got one past Tukka Rask to tie the game up with 1:16 to go in regulation, deflating the crowd at the TD Garden. All of 17 seconds later, Rask was caught out of position and Dave Bolland managed to find the back of the net, essentially putting the dagger in any hopes for even an OT to force game 7.

So as Chicago celebrates their second Stanley Cup in three seasons, the Bruins are left to contemplate a monumental collapse in the final minute of a do-or-die championship game.

Chicago goes on to win by a final of 3-2 and win the series 4 games to two to hoist the Stanley Cup at the Garden on Monday night. Patrick Kane, who was also on the 2010 Stanley Cup Champion squad, was awarded the Conn Smyth trophy [The NHL's award for playoff MVP- teammate Jonathan Toews received the honor in 2010- NANESB!]. Corey Crawford stopped 23 of the 25 shots he faced in Game 6 while Rask turned aside 28 of the 31 shots he faced, but none so critical as the ones allowed in the final 90 seconds of regulation. Instead of a Game 7 on Wednesday, a parade for the triumphant Blackhawks is scheduled for Chicago's loop on Friday.

Meanwhile, after a lockout-shortened season, its back to the drawing board for the Bruins (and everybody else for that matter) with the start of a much longer 2013-2014 campaign looming around the corner versus a months-long lockout and a season that never happened.

RED SOX- After getting off to a promising start last week by sweeping a day/night doubleheader with the Rays, Boston took to the road for what turned out to be a disappointing road trip against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park.

On Thursday's opener, Lackey gave up all of two runs in his seven innings of work, and altho the Red Sox would take the 3-2 lead on a Big Papi RBI single in the top of the 8th, only to have the Tigers win on a walk-off Jhonny Peralta 2 run homer in the bottom of the 9th.

Boston cruised to a fairly easy 10-6 win on Friday night thanks to Shane Victorino's 5 RBIs. However with Clay Buchholz going onto the DL last week, on Saturday baseball was denied a Buchholz [9-0] vs Max Scherzer [10-0] matchup and instead the Tigers set the tone early as Victor Martinez put Detroit on the board with a grand slam in the 1st inning in what would be a 10-3 rout for Detroit.

On Sunday, the Red Sox had a chance for the series split after taking a 4-3 lead into the 7th, but the Tigers tied it up after Andrew Miller brought home the tying run on a bases loaded hit-by-pitch to Peralta. In the bottom of the 8th, the Tigers would take the lead thanks to a Torii Hunter sac fly and 2-RBI single from Prince Fielder to make it 7-4. Although the Red Sox would get a run back in the 9th thanks to a Gomes RBI double with two away, it was too little too late as Detroit goes on to win by a 7-5 final.

The Red Sox will return to Fenway on Tuesday night for their second interleague series at home, a quick two game homestand against the Colorado Rockies, who are tied with the San Diego Padres for second place in the NL West. Ryan Dempster [4-8; 4.23 ERA] will get the start against Colorado's Juan Nicasio [4-3; 4.78 ERA]. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM and the game will be televised on NESN.

OTHER RED SOX NEWS- The Red Sox have traded infielder Pedro Ciriaco to the San Diego Padres for a player to be names later. Although the speedy utility player had a paltry .216 batting average in 28 games with Boston this year, Ciriaco is batting .333 with four stolen bases and four RBI in 11 games with San Diego so far this season.

Clay Buchholz has been places on the 15 day DL retroactively, starting June 9th. Buchholz has been sidelined since the first week of this month with shoulder and neck discomfort and is expected to throw in the bullpen starting on Wednesday. If the bullpen sessions go well, the Red Sox will likely have him pitch for one of their minor league affiliates before coming back on the Boston roster.

Meanwhile, C David Ross has been placed on the 60 day DL with concussion-like symptoms and the Red Sox sent 3B Will Middlebrooks down to Triple A Pawtucket.

ELSEWHERE IN THE AL EAST- The Red Sox aren't the only AL East team suffering from a rash of injuries. Although they came out of spring training expecting to miss a number of starters through mid-season, but instead of healing, even more starters have been placed on the DL.

The latest is former Red Sox 3B Kevin Youkilis, who missed most of May with a lumbar spine strain and returned to the lineup for a few weeks before complaining of discomfort again during the Yankees west coast road trip last month. After being examined by a specialist, the Yankees announced that Youk will require surgery and will miss anywhere from 10 to 12 weeks to recover.

Perennial All-Star SS Derek Jeter was expected to return around the All Star break, but that timetable has been moved back. Both outfielder Curtis Granderson and 1B Mark Texiera returned from the DL only to return after apparently re-aggravating their injuries a few weeks apart from each other.

TORONTO BLUE JAYS- Somebody break up the Blue Jays!

After being mostly a non-factor in the American League East this season, the Blue Jays put together a franchise-best 11 game winning streak and 15 of their last 19 to put them back within striking distance of the AL East lead. Although they lost to the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday, the Jays are within five games of first place.

The resurgent Jays will travel to Fenway to face the Red Sox once Boston finishes their two game series against Colorado.

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