The Bruins were finally back in action this week after a long break and they looked like they didn’t miss much of a beat at all, while the Red Sox continued to struggle, picking up just two wins this week. The Bruins are now just two wins away from delivering Boston’s third championship in the last seven months.
The Bruins played the first three games of the Stanley Cup Finals this week against the St. Louis Blues, and they currently hold a 2-1 lead in the series, which has been very entertaining so far. Game 1 on Monday night was the first time the Bruins had played in 10 days, and their rust showed a little bit through the first 21 minutes of game time. They played well and got some opportunities, but the Blues were quicker and flat-out better initially.
However, Vladimir Tarasenko’s goal to make it 2-0 Blues a minute into the second period proved to be the final point St. Louis would put up. The Bruins started to dominate after that, and they would outshoot the Blues 18-3 in the second period. Goals by Connor Clifton and Charlie McAvoy tied the game up at two heading into the final period. The Bruins continued to pepper goalie Jordan Binnington with shots, and Sean Kuraly scored the game-winning goal five minutes into the third period. Brad Marchand scored an empty netter to secure the 4-2 win for the Bruins. Tuukka Rask had to make just 18 saves in their eighth straight win, while Binnington saved 34 of the Bruins 37 shots.
The Blues looked like a different team in Game 2, as they were more physical and registered a lot more shots on goal. The first period had an abundance of goals, as both teams scored two. Tarasenko and Robert Bortuzzo scored for the Blues and Charlie Coyle and Joakim Nordstrom scored for The Bruins. It seemed like it was going to be an offensive showdown, but then there were no goals scored by either team in the second and third periods. The defense and goaltenders played extremely well throughout these periods, but the Bruins were completely outplayed once the overtime period began. It wasn’t long before Carl Gunnarsson scored the game-winning goal on a slap shot to tie the series at one with a 3-2 win for the Blues. Rask made 34 saves in the loss, while the Bruins were only able to muster up 23 shots on net in the game.
The Bruins lost Charlestown-native defenseman Matt Grzelcyk to a concussion in Game 2 after a high hit from Oskar Sundqvist. Sundqvist was suspended for Game 3 while there is no report on when Grzelcyk may return.
Even without Grzelcyk in Game 3 in St. Louis, the Bruins embarrassed the Blues on their own ice. This game could have been called after the first period, when the Bruins scored three goals and held nearly all the scoring opportunities. Things didn’t get any better after that for the Blues, as the Bruins scored four more goals in the next two periods for a dominating 7-2 victory. Binnington was pulled in the second period after allowing five goals on just 19 shots. Torey Krug became the first Bruins player ever to record four points in a Stanley Cup Final game with a goal and three assists. Patrice Bergeron added three points of his own with a goal and two assists. The Bruins were an astounding 4-for-4 on the power play in Game 3, continuing a power-play attack that has been so effective throughout the playoffs. The other Bruins goals were scored by Coyle, Kuraly, Marcus Johansson, David Pastrnak, and Noel Acciari.
It was truly a momentum-shifting win for the Bruins, and they will be back in action on Monday in St. Louis for Game 4, where they will try to take a commanding 3-1 lead in the series heading back to Boston.
Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox did not have a good week whatsoever, as they lost two out of three games to both the Cleveland Indians and the New York Yankees. They now sit at just one game above .500 at 30-29 and are 8.5 games out of first place in the AL East.
The week got off to a good start with a 12-5 rout of the Indians on Memorial Day. J.D. Martinez hit two home runs in that game, and Sandy Leon added a three-run home run of his own. However, after that win they lost their next four games before finally breaking through with an 8-5 win on Sunday night against the Yankees. Keep in mind that the Red Sox did not lose four straight games in all of 2018, and it is already their second losing streak of that many games so far this season.
The losing streak started with one of the worst losses all year for the Red Sox on Tuesday. David Price pitched six shutout innings and the Sox held a 3-0 lead in the eighth. Then Marcus Walden allowed two runs in the eighth on a Francisco Lindor double to make it a 3-2 game. The Red Sox extended their lead to 5-2 in the bottom of the inning, and Ryan Brasier came out for the ninth. He let up three runs without recording an out, and then Travis Laskins came into the game and let up two more runs to give the Indians the lead and a 7-5 victory. The Red Sox have had some bad losses this year but giving up five runs in the ninth inning with a three run lead might take the cake.
Things didn’t get better after that, and the Sox lost 14-9 in the series finale on Wednesday. Then, after a rainout on Thursday in New York, the Red Sox proceeded to lose 4-1 on Friday night and 5-3 on Saturday night. They didn’t take advantage of their offensive opportunities in either game and fell short as a result. Plus, timely home runs by DJ LeMahieu and Gary Sanchez put the Yankees in positions to win both games.
Finally, on Sunday behind another great start by Price, the Red Sox registered their first win over the Yankees this season after dropping the first four. Both Martinez and Xander Bogaerts went deep, and seven different players recorded RBIs in the win. Price allowed just two runs in 6.1 innings and earned his first win at Yankee Stadium since joining the Red Sox. It was not a good weekend for the Sox, but it would have been a million times worse if they got swept. The win on Sunday at least gives them a positive to build from moving forward.
Next, the Red Sox have an off day before they travel to Kansas City for a series with the Royals that starts on Tuesday. Then they will return home for a weekend series with the Rays that includes a doubleheader on Saturday.
There have been multiple reports in the last week that the Celtics may not be pursuing Anthony Davis as hard as originally thought this summer and may be looking instead to build a team around Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. The return of Kyrie Irving is anything but certain at this point, and instead of emptying their vault of players and draft picks for Davis, Danny Ainge may look to free agency and the draft to compliment their young core of players.
I for one would not be opposed to this, but I know that many Celtics fans feel that the Celtics have no chance to compete unless they go out and get a superstar like Davis. However, I believe a team consisting of Brown, Tatum, Marcus Smart, Al Horford, Gordon Hayward and a few other supporting cast members could be a really solid team if everything were to come together.
If this is indeed the direction that the team intends to go in, it will certainly be interesting to see what type of players the Celtics pursue on the trading bloc, in the draft and in free agency in the coming months.
New England Patriots
We found out last week that the Patriots will receive their Super Bowl rings this Thursday night in a private ceremony at the Kraft residence. It should be a special night, as it will likely be the final time that the entire team will be together to celebrate their incredible achievement. Even Trey Flowers, who is now a member of the Detroit Lions, and Brian Flores, now the head coach of the Miami Dolphins, are expected to be at the ceremony, which shows that no matter where the members of the team go, they will always have a special bond symbolized by that illustrious Super Bowl ring.
In other news, several Patriots players participated in the annual Best Buddies game at Harvard Stadium on Friday. The game was part of the Best Buddies charity event which raises money and awareness for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The players that participated included Tom Brady, Julian Edelman, James White, Marcus Cannon, Troy Brown, and multiple other Patriots both current and retired. The highlight of the game was a 75-yard touchdown pass from Brady to Edelman. It is really cool to see so many great players out there having fun with the kids and supporting such a great cause.
Bruins– Monday 6/3 at St. Louis Blues Game 4 @ 8 p.m., Thursday 6/6 vs. Blues Game 5 @ 8 p.m., Sunday 6/9 at Blues Game 6 @ 8 p.m. (if necessary)
Red Sox– Tuesday 6/4 at Kansas City Royals @ 8 p.m., Wednesday 6/5 at Royals @ 8:15 p.m., Thursday 6/6 at Royals @ 1:15 p.m., Friday 6/7 vs. Tampa Bay Rays @ 7 p.m., Saturday 6/8 doubleheader vs. Rays @ 1 p.m. and 6 p.m., Sunday 6/9 vs. Rays @ 1 p.m.
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