In the NHL, every team goes gets bitten by the injury bug, and in recent years those bugs have really seemed to enjoy sinking their teeth into Boston Bruins center David Krejci.
The slick and talented playmaker was out again last night with an undisclosed injury so the Bruins reached down to bring up a youngster to fill in while the number two pivot recovers, and that rookie, Danton Heinen, did not squander the opportunity. Heinen scored his first NHL goal while the Bruins were short-handed in the first period against San Jose Sharks goalie Martin Jones, and Heinen followed that career milestone with yet another goal in the second that turned out to be the game-winner in Boston's 2-1 victory over the Sharks in Boston.
Heinen's second career goal broke a 1-1 tie after former Bruins Joe Thornton had evened the game in the second, and the other factor in the Bruins win was the hold the fort while the wagons circle goaltending of back-up Anton Khudobin. He's been filling in for Tuukka Rask, who's recovering from concussion symptoms. Khudobin doesn't play with the same calm countenance of Rask, and his thrashing, limbs akimbo style of save-making doesn't always look pretty, but he got the job done, making 36 stops, some of them most critically in the last two minutes of the game when Boston had to kill off a power play to preserve the lead and the win.
Next up for the Bruins will be hosting the scorching hot L.A. Kings, who are cutting a swath through the league early in this season, and are feasting so far on their east coast road trip, which included a 4-0 shut-out of the Montreal Canadiens last night at the Bell Centre. The Habs did put a lot of pucks on net, forty of them to be exact, but L.A. goalie Jonathan Quick turned away all of them for his 46th career shut-out. The Kings are 8-1 on the season while Montreal drops to 2-7 and while it may not be entirely fair, it's probably time for placing your over-under bets on how long former Bruins and current Montreal coach Claude Julien has before being shown the door in Montreal for the second time in his coaching career. The fan base in Montreal simply isn't going to have the patience for Les Habitants languishing in the basement of the division, even if more blame should be laid at the feet of their general manager Marc Bergevin.
The NY Rangers have also gotten off to a disappointing start, with just two wins on the season, but you know what's a good cure for those blues? Playing a team that hasn't won a single game yet at all. That would be the Arizona Coyotes, now 0 for 9 on the season after losing to the Rangers 5-2 at Madison Square Garden last night. Rookie Boo Nieves, and yes that's Boo as in what ghosts say on Halloween or as in the character from the Harper Lee novel.
Either way it's my new favorite player name. So the Rangers get their third win of the year while the Coyotes are making a good case for having their franchise moved from the desert, where it shouldn't be in the first place. Why the NHL isn't doing everything to move that team to Quebec and bring back the Nordiques is a mystery to me.
The Carolina Hurricanes handed the Toronto Maple Leafs just their third loss of the year in a 6-3 win in Ontario. Josh Jooris scored twice for the 'Canes.
In the NBA, and there were only about 11,000 fans in attendance for the Milwaukee Bucks as they hosted the Boston Celtics last night, but that's only because to mark the team's 50th anniversary, Milwaukee chose to play one game in their old arena, known as the Mecca, where the team played from 1968 to 1988. The Celtics appreciate history as the most storied franchise in the league, and also appreciated the play of Al Horford, who scored 27 points to lead Boston to a 96-89 win, avenging a loss to Milwaukee in the second game of the season. Kyrie Irving added 24 in the Celtics win.
To the NFL, and with apologies to Edgar Allen Poe, it was the Miami Dolphins crying "Nevermore!" in Baltimore last night after getting pummeled by the Ravens 40-0, but in a cruel twist worthy of the master of macabre fiction, it was the Ravens who may have suffered the greater calamity with the concussion suffered by quarterback Joe Flacoo, courtesy of a late hit by Miami linebacker Kiko Alonso late in the second quarter of the rout.
Alonso was flagged for the late hit but was not ejected from the game as many on the Baltimore sidelines and in the stands felt he should have been. Flacco was bloodied by the hit and did not return, and the Ravens will be monitoring his progress closely in the days and weeks to come. The NFL has enough problems with players being concussed on legal hits during the course of a given game, and the league should at the very least be doing more to punish players who injure others on clearly illegal hits like the one Alonso delivered to Flacco.
Locally, the University of Vermont women's soccer team won a playoff thriller yesterday to move into the semi-finals of the America East tournament, defeating the Albany Great Danes 2-1 when Brooke Jenkins scored the game winner in the final minute of regulation. Taylor Palmer also scored for the Catamounts, who move on to face second seeded Binghamton Sunday.
In boy's high school soccer playoffs, Will Hauf scored five minutes into overtime to lift Mount Mansfield to a 2-1 win Mount Anthony Division I play.
In division one girl's soccer playoffs, Burr and Burton scored four goals in the first half and went on to shut out Essex 5-0.
Jenna Puleo scored a hat trick to fuel host Essex's 5-0 quarterfinal shutout against Rutland in division one field hockey playoff action, and in division two field hockey playoffs, Mount Abraham got by Otter Valley 1-0 on a game winning goal by Jaylen Cook.