Exciting Weekend

27 04 2009
A fan holds up a broom as the Boston Red Sox swept a three game series against the New York Yankees last night. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

A fan holds up a broom as the Boston Red Sox swept a three game series against the New York Yankees last night. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

By Brendan Tyman

This past weekened provided several highlights and the only downside for Boston sports fans was the 121-118 loss suffered by the Celtics in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series versus the pesky Chicago Bulls.

The image that will stand out the most is not the NFL Draft or the last second treys knocked down by Ray Allen and Ben Gordon to send the contest into another frame for their respective teams, but Jacoby Ellsbury stealing home with 15-year veteran Andy Pettite on the mound.

Things could not get better as Boston has become the center of the sports universe. Many analysts declared the New England Patriots as having one of the best drafts and being set for 2010 with 3 second round selections. The Boston Red Sox just swept the New York Yankees and the 9-game homestand. The Boston Bruins finally got revenge on the Montreal Canadiens and are currently relaxing while their future opponent is battling. The Boston Celtics are the defending champions and looking to repeat as world champions. Two Boston College players were just chosen on the first day of the Draft (B.J. Raji was the first defensive tackle taken by the Green Bay Packers and Ron Brace was taken by the Pats).

If you are a Boston sports fan, you can be thankful for living in this glorious renaissance in sports history. Enjoy weekends like this past one because they do not come along very often.


Habs Fans Boo American National Anthem, Bruins Take 3-0 Lead

21 04 2009

By Jim Chandleybsinmontreal

The fans of the Les Habitants de Montreal continued their strange (and slightly offensive) practice of booing the American national anthem last night, as the Canadiens hosted the Bruins in their first home playoff game of 2009.

But more importantly, the B’s took complete control of the situation on the ice.

Boston took a 3-0 lead in the series, putting the two teams in territory where the Bruins have never lost and the Canadiens have never won.

Christopher Higgins scored in the eighth minute of the game, the product of an expected early push by the Habs to try and get an early edge back in their own building.  So the Habs had momentum and a lead.

For the next few minutes, the Bell Centre was rocking as the fans started to get into it.  But Phil Kessel was not interested in hearing anymore “Go Habs, Go” chants.  He tipped in a shot from Dennis Wideman with just over a minute left in the first.

Early in the second, Shawn Thornton scored his first goal in the playoffs to give the B’s a 2-1 lead.  But he would be answered moments later by Yannick Weber.  The score sat at 2-2 for most of the period.  With under three minutes to go in the second, former Canadien Michael Ryder scored on his old team, burying a rebound from the left slot.

Taking a 3-2 lead into the third, Boston knew they would see a barrage of shots from Montreal in the final frame.  And did the barrage ever come.  While the shots were selective, the Canadiens controlled the puck for most of the period.  But the defensive effort was truly superb.  For fans who were wondering where the third period defense was during the regular season, the B’s have answered so far in the playoffs.

When the Habs were forced to pull Carey Price in the final minute (probably a big improvement, given Price’s play of late), they paid for it.  Chuck Kobasew out-hustled the entire team to put in an empty net goal.  The B’s took a 4-2 lead that would stand for the final 30 seconds.

Boston will skate on Montreal’s ice again on Wednesday night, looking to complete the sweep.

Boston Wins Again, Takes 2-0 Lead

19 04 2009

By Jim Chandley

The Bruins sent a clear message to the Montreal Canadiens last night at the Garden:

We are a better team, our goalie is hotter than yours is right now, and you are no tougher than we are.  That was the message, and the Habs appeared to have little trouble hearing them.

Boston jumped out to an early 2-0 lead on goals from Marc Savard and Chuck Kobasew.  Alexei Kovalev scored moments into the second to cut the lead in half.  For five minutes it looked like a game.

Five minutes later, ‘Sheriff’ Shane Hnidy scored to make it 3-1 and it would soon stop being a game.  Those few minutes between goals were the ones where Montreal needed to net another and try to swing some momentum.

After Hnidy’s goal, it started to pour.

Savard scored again three minutes later on the powerplay.  His was followed by Michael Ryder on the powerplay later in the second period.  With the game salted away at 5-1, things began to slip into the ever-familiar Bruins/Canadiens boxing match that fans are so fond of.

Josh Gorges is probably not feeling too well this afternoon.  He got rocked by an unlikely party; Patrice Bergeron decided to try and take his pound of flesh from the Canadien’s defenseman, and he was not to be denied.  Bergeron landed two punches on Gorges before he knew what had happened, and the third put Gorges firmly on his back.

From this point on, both teams got a little pride out.  Most notably, Milan Lucic cross checked Maxim Lapierre hard after a whistle (Lucic has since been suspended for tomorrow night’s game for the shot).  Fights were almost constant throughout the third as Montreal knew they were going home down 2-0.

The two will tango again on Monday night in Montreal.

One Down, 15 to go

16 04 2009

By Jim ChandleyCanadiens Bruins Hockey

The B’s beat the rival Canadiens 4-2 at the Garden tonight in their first playoff game of 2009.

Phil Kessel scored twice including an empty net goal with 15 seconds left to salt the game away.  Zdeno Chara scored on the powerplay and David Krejci scored only moments after Kessel’s first goal to set the pace.

The Habs got goals from Christopher Higgins and Alexei Kovalev, but it was not enough to hold of the top seed in the East.

Fisticuffs ensued as the game came to a close.  Steve Montador and Guillaume Latendresse went at it in an obvious carryover from the last regular season game the two teams played, which was full of rough stuff.

Game 2 will be played Saturday night in the midst of one of the best sports days Boston has seen in some time.

The Celtics will open their first round playoff series with the Bulls at the Garden Saturday afternoon.  The facilities crew will then flip the floors so that the B’s can host the Canadiens in game 2.  At 7, the puck will drop at the Garden and the Sox will take the field against the Orioles back in the Fens.

The city will surely be abuzz over all the sports action; just make sure you’re in town early to get a parking space…

Bruins Wrap Up Regular Season with a Win

13 04 2009

By Jim Chandley

The B’s beat down the New York Islanders in their regular season finale on Sunday.  The 6-2 slaughter was a fitting end to the Bruins successful season.

Phil Kessel had a hat trick to finish the season with 36 goals.  Michael Ryder, Chuck Kobasew and Marc Savard also scored for the B’s.

Boston’s 53-19-10 finish was their best in over 10 years.  With 116 points, the Bruins were a full four wins better than anyone else in the Eastern Conference.  However, the San Jose Sharks did finish one point ahead of Boston.  Should the two meet in the Stanley Cup Finals, San Jose would have the advantage of home ice.

The Garden will be packed on Thursday night as the B’s host their arch rivals, the Montreal Canadiens, in Game 1 of the first round.  The game starts at 7 PM.  For those who can’t make it to the Arena, the game will be on NESN.

Hockey Game Breaks Out at Boston/Montreal Bosing Match

10 04 2009

By Jim ChandleyNHL/

The Bruins beat the Canadiens 5-4 in overtime tonight.  While the Bruins were happy to have the win, the trip to overtime gave Montreal the point they needed to get into the playoffs.

The game, however, was hardly the story.  These two ancient rivals were at each other’s throats all night long.  Between the two teams, 87 penalty minutes were handed out.

Milan Lucic beat down Mike Komisarek in the second period.  Ryan O’Byrne and Shawn Thornton also got into, also in the second.  No fight was isolated; both teams went at each other each time the rough stuff started. All told, the second period took over an hour to play because of all the fighting.

The game and the fights were huge victories for Boston.  They finished the season series against the Habs with a 5-0-1 record, their best season against Montreal since before the lockout.

Bruins Lose 3-2 in Ottawa

7 04 2009

Embattled Bruins Goaltender Manny Fernandez

By Jim Chandley

In their first game since clinching the top spot in the Eastern Conference, the Bruins started Manny Fernandez in goal to give starter Tim Thomas a night off.

Christoph Schubert and Mike Fisher scored in the first to give Ottawa a 2-0 lead.

Zdeno Chara and Phil Kessel scored in the second for the B’s (Kessel’s was his 32nd on the season), but so did Ottawa’s Dany Heatley.

The Senators kept their 3-2 lead throughout a few charges from the Bruins in the third.  The score  would remain at 3-2.

Boston will host the Habs on Thursday night at the Garden.