The Boston Bruins are back in action at home tonight against the New Jersey Devils, Boston trying to extend its streak of garnering at least one point to 17 games, but the Bruins will be without the services of young rising star defenseman Charlie McAvoy, who will miss at least two weeks after undergoing a heart-related procedure called an ablation.
McAvoy complained of palpitations and was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat and underwent the procedure at Mass General Hospital to create some scar tissue on the inside of his heart where the irregular beat has been coming from. The 20-year old former Boston University blue liner has been one of the best players for the Bruins this season and has logged a tremendous amount of ice time playing alongside veteran Zdeno Chara, and while the Bruins say McAvoy's condition is not considered serious and the procedure requires only an overnight stay in the hospital he will be watched closely and evaluated over the next couple of weeks, and he will be sorely missed in the Boston lineup in the meantime.
The Devils after a hot start to the year have fallen on hard times, winners of just 15 of their last 35 games and they'll be without their leading scorer Taylor Hall tonight, as he's out with a hand injury, and New Jersey will be playing the second of back to back games tonight after being shut out 3-0 by the Detroit Red Wings last night.
Two teams having opposing kinds of seasons met in Toronto last night, with the once down but now up and rising Colorado Avalanche facing off against the hot out of the gate but now cooling down a bit Maple Leafs.
The Avalanche were buried at the bottom of the western conference in the opening months of the season but have been on a tear of late, and now are making a steady climb up the standings and into the wild card chase on the strength of a ten-game winning streak after beating the Leafs 4-2 last night.
No one on Colorado's roster may have been more happy to get that win than goalie Jonathan Bernier, who manned the net for Toronto last season and was often the target of fan ire in a difficult year for the Leafs. But the ice sheet of a hockey rink serves well for the adage that revenge is a dish best served cold, so Bernier's 29-save effort had to feel extra good against the team that traded him in the off season, and in his first Toronto visit since. Bleake Comeau had the eventual winning goal for Colorado in a two-goal third period for the Avalanche, and the Leafs are struggling to find consistency heading into the all star break, with just three regulation wins in their last ten games.
The Middlebury women's basketball team was undefeated at their home Pepin Gym heading into last night's tilt against Smith College, but the Panthers would see that home unbeaten streak end in a 60-45 loss to the Pioneers. Smith got out to an early 22-10 lead by the second quarter before the Panthers went on a 6-2 run to tighten things up, but they couldn't claw all the way back and are now 6-1 at home, and 13-5 overall. Sabrina Weeks led Middlebury with 13 points.
Great battle going on down under at the Australian Open tennis tournament between Rafael Nadal and Marin Cilic. Nadal leads two sets to one but Cilic forced a tie breaker before Nadal won that third set and now in the 4th set it's Cilic up 5-2 so it looks like that one's going to a five-set decision. [Update: Cilic wins after Nadal retires from the match with an injury]
On the women's side an upset by Belgium's Elise Mertens over Elina Svitolina in straight sets has put her into the semi-finals and she'll take on the winner of the match between Caroline Wozniacki and Carla Suarez Navarro, and back in the men's bracket the story of the tournament so far may be the unranked Kyle Edmund of England advancing into the semi-finals after upsetting third seed Grigor Dimitrov in four sets, or it would be if not for the even more unlikely success to this point of Tennys Sandgren, the native of Tennessee who's into the quarterfinals as the 96th ranked player of the tournament and spells his name "Tennys" with a "y".