Mitch's Sports Report: Thrilling Comeback By Bruins In Regulation Made Moot In Overtime

Apr 18, 2017

A spectacular comeback by the Boston Bruins in regulation was rendered moot in overtime last night in a 4-3 loss that now has the Bruins trailing two games to one in their opening round playoff series against the Ottawa Senators.

The game was a play in three acts: a terrible first period that saw the Bruins fall behind 2-0 in front of their own fans, and then 3-0 early in the second, but act two was that emotional second period that saw Boston roar back on consecutive goals by Noel Acciari, David Backes, and David Pastrnak that had the Garden rocking in full throated intensity, and then the tragic finale in sudden death overtime when Bobby Ryan put home the game winner for Ottawa, deflecting a pass over Tuukka Rask while the Senators were on the power play.

And about that power play. There are two ways of looking at the call that sent Bruins forward Riley Nash off for roughing. There's my sour grapes view that such a call in a tie game in overtime is a terrible one, especially since both Nash and Bobby Ryan, the player he was tangled up with, were guilty of cheap shots and hits on each other, and handing a man advantage over to one team when such things are what end up deciding games like this isn't fair, because roughing calls are almost always subjective. Tripping, slashing, those infractions are more obvious and it's usually clear that just one player is the guilty party. In this case both players should have been sent off to have the teams skate 4 on 4. But the other view, and in fact the one expressed after the game by Riley Nash himself, is that players have to realize the situation and know that sometimes the refs only call the retaliation they see, and not the back and forth that preceded it. In any event, Ryan poured salt in the wound by potting the game winner, and all the Bruins can do now is put the loss behind them and do whatever it takes to win game four, because they cannot afford to go back to Ottawa for game five facing elimination.

Another overtime game last night in Toronto, and much like the Bruins contest, the hometown crowd went wild seeing their team come back from a deficit. But unlike the Bruins, the Toronto Maple Leafs sent their fans home deliriously happy when Tyler Bozak scored to beat the Washington Capitals 4-3.

The Maple Leafs were supposed to be a year or two away from completing a rebuilding process, developing their young core of players like Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander, but don't tell the Leafs and their fans that they're not ready for prime time yet. The number eight seeded Leafs now have a two games to one lead over the Capitals, who finished with the league's best record this season but are pulling their old trick of falling apart in the playoffs. The Caps let a two goal lead slip away last night before Bozak stuck the dagger in. The series is by no means over but given Washington's playoff history, they may be playing tight, while the Leafs are running and gunning with youth, speed, and abandon, and having a ton of fun as a classic hockey town home to an Original Six franchise is beginning to see a path to capturing Lord Stanley's Cup after years in the wilderness stretching back tom 1967.

And speaking of looming upsets, the Nashville Predators now have a three games to none lead over a team that was supposed to handle them fairly easily in round one, the Chicago Blackhawks. Kevin Fiala scored in overtime last night to give the Preds a 3-2 win and a chance to sweep away Chicago on their home ice in game four.

And completing a night of all-overtime hockey, the Anaheim Ducks and Calgary Flames also needed sudden death to decide things in Calgary last night, and Corey Perry made the Flames pay for blowing a three goal lead in regulation, scoring the game winner in OT to give the Ducks a 5-4 win and putting Calgary on the brink of elimination, down now three games to none.

To Major League Baseball, and the Boston Red Sox won their annual Patriots Day game 4-3 over the Tampa Bay Rays yesterday, good for a three game winning streak and a successful 7-2 homestand. Steven Wright looked like he'd continue his recent struggles, yielding two runs in the first inning, but only one of the runs was earned and the knuckleballer settled down and ended up scattering nine hits over six innings and handing the ball over the a Red Sox bullpen that has been shockingly good in the early going this season, and got the job done again yesterday. Robbie Ross Jr. got two outs with the bases loaded in the 7th and the Sox leading 4-2, thanks to a two-run single by Andrew Benintendi before handing the ball over to rookie Ben Taylor, who gave up a run scoring single to Steven Souza but nothing else. Heath Hembree pitched a scoreless eighth and Craig Kimbrel struck out the side in the 9th for the win. The line on the Sox this season was that the starting pitching would be excellent and the bullpen a potential soft spot, but so far it's been just the opposite. The Sox head out on the road to take on the faltering 2-10 Blue Jays in Toronto tonight. The Jays were idle yesterday.

The NY Yankees are riding high on an 8-game winning streak after beating the Chicago White Sox 7-4. Rookie Jordan Montgomery pitched shut out ball into the seventh inning and Matt Holliday hit a three run homer with Aaron Judge adding a two-run shot to power the Yankees offense.  The Mets were off. They host the Philadelphia Phillies tonight.

In the 121st running of the Boston Marathon yesterday Geoffrey Kirui of Kenya won the men's race with a time of 2:09:37. The top women's finisher was also from Kenya, Edna Kiplagat, finishing at 2:21:52, and among Vermonters who ran yesterday the top men's finisher was Todd Smith of Bristol at 2:44:07, and Emily Urquhart of White River Junction had the best finishing time among Vermont women, crossing the line at 3:15:13.

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