It was something of a somber week for Boston sports fans, as the Bruins lost Game 7 of the Stanley Cup at the TD Garden. As a result, they failed to bring home the third Boston championship in the last eight months and had to watch the St. Louis Blues hoist the cup on their home ice. In happier news, the Red Sox are winners of five straight games going into one of their toughest series of the year, so it wasn’t a total loss for Boston sports this week.
The anticipation and excitement in Greater Boston for the first Game 7 of a Stanley Cup ever hosted here was unlike anything I have seen. I think everybody knew that it was going to be a tough game, but there was a lot of confidence that the Bruins would pull through on Wednesday night.
It certainly looked like that would be the case when the game started and the Bruins took full control. They got 12 shots on net in the first period and controlled the puck for the majority of that period. Yet, it was the Blues who went up 2-0 on just four shots in the opening period.
Jordan Binnington played out of his mind in Game 7, recording 32 saves and completely stifling the Bruins offense. The Blues defense deserves a lot of credit too, because they didn’t even let a lot of the Bruins shots get to Binnington by blocking 21 of them.
Tuukka Rask on the other hand, who had played unbelievable all postseason, did not have his best game. He let a couple of goals in that he would usually stop, and that was the difference in the game. Binnington outplayed Rask, and the Blues won 4-1 to bring home their first ever Stanley Cup. Ryan O’Reilly was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoffs MVP, an award seemed destined for Rask had the Bruins won.
Despite the tough ending, the Bruins put together an unbelievable season and postseason run that should be looked at favorably. They played their hearts out and left everything on the ice, but the Blues played a better series overall and deservedly won. It was the definition of a Cinderella season for the Blues, as they sat in last place at the beginning of January but are now world champions. It’s a great time for them and the city of St. Louis, but it is tough for us here in Boston watching our team come up just short. However, it was a terrific postseason run and one of the most entertaining Stanley Cup Finals that I have ever seen. So thank you to the Bruins for a great year and congratulations to the Blues.
Boston Red Sox
It wasn’t all bad news for Boston sports this week, as the Red Sox won five straight games to move to 39-34 and just 5.5 games behind the New York Yankees for first place in the AL East. The week didn’t start off good though because they followed up their terrible series with the Tampa Bay Rays by losing the first two games of the series with the Texas Rangers. On Monday, the bullpen blew a 2-1 ninth-inning lead and the Sox lost 4-3 in 11 innings, and on Tuesday the Rangers won 9-5 in a weird game that featured the ejections of both managers.
Finally, on Wednesday the Red Sox figured things out in a 4-3 win that featured an ever-exciting walk-off walk by Mookie Betts. Andrew Benintendi smacked three hits and drove in two runs in the win. Five home runs for the Red Sox on Thursday night was enough to power them to a 7-6 win and a series sweep. It was Xander Bogaerts’s solo shot in the seventh inning that was the difference in the game.
The Sox carried that momentum into Baltimore, where they swept the weekend series with the Orioles in fairly easy fashion. The offense exploded for 13 runs on 16 hits, including six home runs, in Friday’s 13-2 blowout win. Eduardo Rodriguez picked up his seventh win of the season with seven solid innings. Chris Sale also pitched seven good innings in Saturday’s 7-2 victory. Brock Holt led the way at the plate with three hits and two RBIs.
The only close game in the series was Sunday’s interesting contest that featured just three runs in the first seven innings but 11 runs in the final three. The Red Sox led 2-1 when the bullpen let up two runs in the bottom of the eighth. Then, Marco Hernandez tied the game at three with a home run in the top of the ninth. It was his first major league home run in over three years, and it was a big one. Rafael Devers broke the tie in the top of the 10th inning with his 11th home run of the season. The Red Sox would end up scoring five runs in the inning to take an 8-3 lead. The Orioles would make things interesting in the bottom of the inning, but the Sox escaped with an 8-6 win for their fifth in a row.
Now, they head to Minnesota to face off with the Twins, who have the second best record in the American League at 47-23. The Twins have been a big surprise this year, so this will be a huge test to see how the Red Sox fare against one of the best teams in baseball.
The big Celtics news this week is not what they did but rather what they didn’t do. The Celtics will not be getting Anthony Davis, as the New Orleans Pelicans agreed to send him to the Los Angeles Lakers for a large haul of young players and first round picks. There were also reports this week that Kyrie Irving plans on signing with the Brooklyn Nets next month when free agency starts. Obviously this is not written in stone yet, but it seems that Irving does not intend on staying in Boston, which has been suspected now for a couple of months.
With Davis off the table and Irving as good as gone, the Celtics will likely look to the draft to build around their young core. There is also a possibility that they look to the open market for Irving’s replacement at point guard.
Al Horford and Marcus Morris are reportedly open to re-signing with the Celtics, so that is something else to keep an eye on. Horford has a player option for next season while Morris is an unrestricted free agent. It will also be interesting to see what the Celtics decide to do on Thursday in the NBA Draft, in which they have four picks including three first rounders.
New England Patriots
The biggest news out of Foxboro this week was a trade that didn’t end up happening. The Patriots reportedly acquired tight end Michael Roberts from the Detroit Lions for a seventh round pick, but then the trade was voided the next day after a failed physical. The Patriots were clearly looking for more depth at tight end, but they will now have to find it elsewhere.
The only other newsworthy thing that happened this week is that Sony Michel underwent a knee scope, a minor surgery that should not cause him to miss any time. He missed the offseason workouts but is expected to be ready for training camp.
The Patriots ended up canceling the final two offseason workouts this week and instead had team bonding time by paintballing. It is now officially summer break for the Patriots as they rest up and prepare to pursue banner number seven.
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