This Week In Boston Sports: Playoff Runs, Yankees & Free Agency

This Week In Boston Sports: Playoff Runs, Yankees & Free Agency 1

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This was an exciting week for Boston sports fans, as both the Bruins and the Celtics found themselves back in the playoffs, while the Red Sox returned home with hopes to put that tough opening road trip behind them and get back to their winning ways.

Boston Bruins

This week saw the Bruins start their quest for the cup after a very successful regular season in which they went 49-24-9 and finished second in the Atlantic Division. In the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, they are facing off with the Toronto Maple Leafs, who finished third in the division. These two teams also faced off in the first round of the playoffs last year, and Boston won the series in seven games.

In Game 1 on Thursday night at the TD Garden in Boston, the Maple Leafs completely outplayed the Bruins and beat them 4-1.

The Bruins scored first on a power-play goal by Patrice Bergeron from Brad Marchand, but they wouldn’t find the back of the net again. Frederik Andersen played an unbelievable game in net for the Maple Leafs, totalling 37 saves.

The Maple Leafs tied the game later in the first period with a goal by Mitchell Marner. Marner would also give them the lead with a goal on a penalty shot in the second period. Toronto would never look back, as William Nylander added a goal and John Tavares scored the empty netter to secure the 4-1 win.

The Bruins came back with a vengeance though in Game 2 on Saturday. They came out with all the energy and played a very physical game that resulted in a few fights and multiple penalties.

After dominating the possession time from the start, the Bruins finally broke through with a goal by Charlie Coyle five minutes into the game. Marchand scored on a beautiful pass by David Pastrnak to put the Bruins up 2-0 in the first. Danton Heinen scored the only goal of the second period when the Maple Leafs defenseman lost control of the puck right in front of his own net and Heinen put it home.

Nazem Kadri scored the only Maple Leafs goal of the night on a redirected slap shot halfway through the third period. Finally things came to a head between Kadri and Jake DeBrusk, who had been battling all night, when Kadri laid a dirty cross-check to the head of DeBrusk, which earned him a game misconduct and a possible suspension.

The Bruins took advantage of the five-minute power play, and Bergeron scored to put the icing on a 4-1 Bruins victory to tie the series at 1.

The series now shifts back to Toronto, where Game 3 will take place on Monday night at 7 p.m. DeBrusk, who exited the game after taking that cross-check, Torey Krug, and Connor Clifton all were injured in Game 2 and are listed as day-to-day.

Boston Celtics

The Celtics also started the playoffs this week as the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference. They finished with a 49-33 record and ended the regular season by winning four of their last five games. They are taking on the fifth-seeded Indiana Pacers in the first round.

Game 1 on Sunday afternoon was a defensive battle on both sides, but the Celtics escaped with an 84-74 victory. The Celtics stingy defense held the Pacers to just 33 percent shooting for the game.

The Pacers were leading throughout the first half and went to halftime with a 45-38 lead. But the Celtics came out firing in the second half and outscored the Pacers 26-8 in the third quarter.

The Celtics got contributions from everyone, as five different players scored in double digits. Kyrie Irving and Marcus Morris led the way with 20 points each. Jayson Tatum added 15, while Gordon Hayward and Al Horford each scored 10. Horford recorded a double-double with 11 rebounds as well. Irving led the team with seven assists.

The Celtics held a significant advantage in both rebounding and three-point shooting. Indiana grabbed just 42 rebounds and shot just 22 percent from three while Boston secured 55 rebounds and shot almost 36 percent from behind the arc.

Game 2 will take place at 7 p.m. on Wednesday night at the TD Garden, where the Celtics will look to continue their dominance and go to Indiana up 2-0 in the series.

Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox returned home from their horrible 3-8 west-coast road trip on Tuesday, when they received their World Series rings and were honored in front of the Boston crowd for last year’s magnificent season. With a change of scenery, Sox fans were hoping for a change in fortune for this 2019 Red Sox team.

That didn’t happen on Tuesday, as the Red Sox lost 7-5 to the Toronto Blue Jays after another shaky start by Chris Sale. His velocity was back in the mid-90s but he still allowed five runs in just four innings of work. Mitch Moreland and Mookie Betts each hit home runs in the loss.

The highlight of the week for the Red Sox came on Thursday night against the Blue Jays. In that game, they were down 5-0 early after Nathan Eovaldi let up a couple of home runs. They would claw back all game and finally tied it at five on a Moreland home run. Then, after giving the lead back up, the Red Sox went into the bottom of the ninth down 6-5. Betts walked with one out and then Moreland scored him with a game-tying double. Three batters later Rafael Devers gave the Red Sox the much-needed 7-6 win on a walk-off single.

Next, the Red Sox welcomed the Baltimore Orioles into town for a four-game series. They won Friday’s game 6-4 behind a terrific pitching performance by Eduardo Rodriguez. He threw 6.2 innings of two-run ball while striking out eight batters to secure the first win by a Red Sox starting pitcher this season.

On Saturday, the pitching struggles re-emerged. Rick Porcello let up three runs and the bullpen let up six more as the Red Sox lost 9-5. The story of this game was that Orioles once-superstar Chris Davis broke his MLB record 0-for-54 hitless streak with a 3-for-5 day and four RBIs.

Finally, on Sunday, David Price pitched seven shutout innings and Xander Bogaerts hit a three-run homer to propel the Red Sox to a 4-0 win.

The Red Sox are 3-2 since returning home and now sit at 6-10 this season, tied for third place in the AL East. They wrap up the series with Baltimore on Monday at 11 a.m. before they go to New York for their first series of the season with the rival Yankees.

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New England Patriots

Even though it’s the offseason, the Patriots are still making news in the NFL. They just signed safety Patrick Chung to a one-year extension to keep him with the team through the 2021 season. Chung is one of the longest tenured players on the Patriots defense and was one of their captains last season.

The Patriots also made a move to try to fill the void left by the retirement of Rob Gronkowski (who was present and pumping up the crowd at the Bruins game on Saturday) when they signed veteran tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins to a one-year deal. Seferian-Jenkins was a second round pick back in 2014 who spent time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New York Jets before playing for the Jacksonville Jaguars last season. He is not Gronk by any means, but he is a solid experienced tight end who could help the team next season.

The Patriots also met with former All-Pro wide receiver Demaryius Thomas and running back T.J. Yeldon this week in free agency. In addition, they hosted visits with some players available in the upcoming NFL Draft, including South Carolina wide receiver Deebo Samuel, Iowa tight end Noah Fant and Ole Miss wide receiver A.J. Brown. The Patriots will undoubtedly be looking to the draft to beef up Tom Brady’s receiving corps for next season.

 

Schedule Ahead:

Boston Red Sox – Monday 4/15 vs Baltimore Orioles @ 11 AM, Tuesday 4/16 at New York Yankees @ 6:35 PM, Wednesday 4/17 at NYY @ 6:35 PM, Friday at Tampa Bay @ 7:10 PM, Saturday at Tampa Bay @ 6:10 PM, Sunday at Tampa Bay @2:10 PM

Boston Celtics – Wednesday 4/17 vs Indiana Pacers – Game 2 @ 7 PM, Friday 4/19 at Pacers – Game 3 @ 8:30 PM, Sunday 4/21 at Pacers – Game 4 @ 1 PM

Boston Bruins – Monday 4/15 at Toronto Maple Leafs – Game 3 @ 7 PM, Wednesday 4/17 at Toronto – Game 4 @7 PM, Friday 4/19 vs Toronto – Game 5 (TBA), Sunday 4/21 at Toronto – Game 6 (TBA, if necessary)


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  • This Week In Boston Sports: Playoff Runs, Yankees & Free Agency 2

    Saugus, Mass native Boston sports fanatic UConn journalism student Twitter: @dbars_12