The Lunch Break Down: Wednesday, June 20, 2018

HOPE EVERYONE HAD A WONDERFUL SALE DAY!

Our beloved Red Sox fell last night to Minnesota to the terrible Twins. Chris Sale(6-4 2.74 ERA), as expected, performed well against the garbage lineup that Minnesota took the field with last night. The Twins had the audacity to put out a starting nine that included a whopping four players who are hitting better than .250 on the year. Sale should have dominated this team, and he left a bit to be desired. Despite a rough 6th inning where he allowed two runs and surrendered the lead that the Sox took in the top of the inning, thanks to Rafael Devers(12) going deep; Sale put up an impressive line of 7 IP 3 H 1 BB and 11 SO. Sale would go out and throw a scoreless 7th, but when he left the game, he was in line to take the loss.

Minnesota’s Jose Berrios (7-5 3.38 ERA) did well enough to keep the Red Sox in check. The only blemish for him was the aforementioned HR he gave up to Devers.  Berrios got himself out of trouble all night, working well with men on base and getting key strike outs when needed. Aside from that small blip, he held the Red Sox scoreless for 6 1/3 innings before the HR and that was that for Berrios. The 8th inning came along and Boston found themselves a stroke of clutch with Sandy Leon’s RBI single off of Zach Duke, scoring Devers.

Of course it would be too easy for the Red Sox to close this game out nice and easy after the jolt from Leon. Everyone’s favorite clown Joe Kelly came into the game and in the bottom of the 8th allowed both Eduardo Escobar and Robbie Grossman to have huge extra-base hits off of him. Of course, the hit by Escobar was aided by Jackie Bradley Jr’s error; but I’m not going to roast Bradley Jr. for that. The guy makes a lot of good plays, and if he makes one rubbish one, so be it. Kelly should’ve been able to regain his composure despite the two-run gaffe. Besides, if Kelly is such an amazing flame-thrower, why would anyone be able to make contact against him in the first place? Kelly followed that play up by allowing an additional base runner and the final nail in the coffin was delivered by Robbie Grossman after he tripled home two more Twins. The Red Sox and their horrible bullpen blew another game, 6-4 Twins win.

Boston’s bullpen continues to show how much of a problem it is. Joe Kelly is showing his true colors, those being horribly mediocre. He couldn’t even record an out last night. Not the performance you need, especially when your “Ace” is starting. Kelly had a few good appearances lately, against the White Sox, Orioles, and Mariners. The last time he faced a good team, Houston, he got knocked around in back to back games. Add Joe Kelly to the list of Red Sox pitchers who only have a shot if the lineup they are facing is of a team actively trying to lose baseball games.

Tonight, the real ace David Price (8-4 3.76 ERA) is going to further his case for AL Cy Young Award winner as well as establish himself as the true leader of the Red Sox pitching staff. Price has been a different animal since the Fortnite Fiasco and his Revenge Tour continues this evening at Target Field.  Price had some interesting Fortnite related comments regarding his chances at this years All-Star Game. The Twins will counter with Lance Lynn (4-5 4.98 ERA), who got roughed up by the Tigers in his last outing. Boston will be able to match the intensity of Price and I expect them to make this series even at one, and pick up their 50th win of the season. David Price is living in his own world and is making the media furious. I didn’t like Price and what he did last season with Eck, but I have completely changed my tune this year. Price is giving it right back to these guys and it is motivating him on the mound.  The Red Sox enter tonight’s game trailing the Yankees by an entire game.

The Patriots news is limited to social media these days. Mike Reiss of ESPN talks about the latest regarding Tom Brady and analyzing his use of emjois on Instagram and how it could hint towards when Brady will retire.

The Boston Celtics are preparing themselves for the upcoming NBA Draft on Thursday. For what it’s worth, Ryen Russilo updated us on what he was hearing:

Felger and Mazz spent a lot of time yesterday discussing the possibility of the Celtics moving up to the top 6 in the draft. They currently sit at the end of the first round, and it would be interesting to see how much they would have to give up in order to jump so much. You would imagine any such move would have to include the Sacramento 2019 pick and Terry Rozier. The additional assets will determine whether or not Danny Ainge pulls the trigger again and makes a big move for this team.

 

The Boston Bruins will have the honor of witnessing the Washington Capitals hoist their Stanley Cup Champions banner into the rafters on October 3rd, against the Bruins. Tough break.

 

The Lunch Break Down: Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Happy 619 Day! Today’s Lunch Break Down should be light enough to still have room for a big dinner later on today.

 

The Red Sox had the night off, a well earned rest. The Sox’ road trip continues tonight at 8:10 in Minnesota. The man who is allegedly the Ace of the staff, Chris Sale (6-4 2.75 ERA) will get the ball tonight against Jose Berrios (7-5 3.51 ERA). The story that is being pushed around by some is that Sale has been lights-out in his last two starts and that there is nothing to worry about. The fact is, Sale pitched against the White Sox and the Orioles in his last two starts. In fact, Chris Sale has faced mostly garbage teams this entire season.

He’s pitched only once against the Yankees on April 10th (6 IP, 8H, 8 SO), NL East leader Atlanta (4.1 IP, 5 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, 8 SO), and finally June 1st vs Houston (6 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 6 SO). Otherwise, Sale has pitched against: Miami (awful), Baltimore (awful), Oakland (awful), Toronto (awful), Kansas City (awful), Texas (awful), Tampa Bay (awful), and the White Sox (yes, they are awful, too). Sale has started 15 games this year, 3 of them against playoff teams. Minnesota is 6 games under .500, sitting at 31-37, good enough for 3rd place in the awful AL Central and only a 5.5 game deficit from the division lead.

 

Brian Dozier and Logan Morrison are the only guys with success against Sale in a decent enough sample size. Sale has been OK in his career at Target Field (5-3 4.60 ERA), but this Twins team is atrocious and Sale should mow them down.

 

On the Manny Machado front, NBC Sports via The Atheltic’s Ken Rosenthal does not believe the Red Sox to be a good fit for the Orioles star. According to Rosenthal, Dave Dombrowski believes that Boston and Baltimore “likely do not match up on a trade at this time”. This makes sense considering how early this is in the season relative to the usual trade deadline moves. Washington got things started, acquiring Royals Closer Kelvin Herrera for three prospects, which is reasonable considering how effective Herrera has been in his young career. He is a two time All-Star and currently owns a 1.05 ERA , allowing only 3 runs in 25.2 IP this season. Herrera would’ve been a fantastic addition to the Red Sox bullpen. The problem, as shown in the Machado discussions, is that the Red Sox simply do not have the assets to get these moves done. Boston can hope that the price for Machado dips somehow, but they’re going to be stuck holding the bag at the trade deadline this season. As I mentioned yesterday, the Yankees must be waiting in the wings ready to pounce on yet another Boston mistake and capitalize on it.

 

Things with The Patriots are finally quiet. The shock from Tom Brady’s interview with Oprah has worn off and the world can be as one. Former Patriots convicted steroid abuser Rodney Harrison had some heart-warming advice for the latest (allegedly) convicted steroid user on the team, Julian Edelman.

The Celtics remain in the news as they are in pursuit of San Antonio star Kawhi Leonard. The latest on the Leonard rumors, courtesy of KSAT12 in San Antonio:  Boston remains in the mix, seemingly Jaylen Brown and a 1st round pick would be the Celtics’ starting point. As much as I love Jaylen Brown, I do not think he will ever come close to the type of player Leonard is when he is healthy and committed. If Ainge and the Celtics brass can find a way to assure that Leonard and Irving are both here to stay beyond their current deals, I would hope the team jumps at the chance to get Leonard. San Antonio is going to take the most attractive offer they can find. There were reports yesterday that the Spurs would not consider moving Leonard within the conference, but it appears as if both Phoenix and Sacramento have made their interest in the services of the former Finals MVP. Another interesting nugget from this Leonard scenario is that Cleveland may try to acquire him in hopes it would lure LeBron to stay in Cleveland. As I mentioned yesterday, Leonard is going to be the cog of this NBA off-season. Once he goes, the rest of the dominoes will fall.

 

Finally, the Bruins are keeping a low-profile. The NHL news of the day yesterday was Washington Head Coach Barry Trotz announcing his resignation from the team only weeks after leading them to their first Stanley Cup victory.

 

The Lunch Break Down: Monday, June 18, 2018

It’s Monday again. Let’s open up today’s Lunch Break Down with the only show in town, the Red Sox.

 

On Friday, Heath Hembree and Matt Barnes combined to give the Red Sox a loss. This was after Rick Porcello (8-3 3.70 ERA) pitched a fantastic game, much better than I anticipated he would. The Red Sox were not considered favorites, to me anyway, headed into this game. Things did not look well as Seattle jumped out to a 1-0 lead after Jean Segura hit his 6th HR of the year, and in the 2nd inning Seattle added on two more runs off of Porcello; who continues to struggle at the start of games.

Historically, Seattle SP James Paxton(6-1 3.44 ERA) performed well against Boston. This came to an abrupt end, as the Red Sox  answered Seattle in a big 3rd inning of their own. Brock Holt had an RBI single, a fielding error by Kyle Seager resulted in a Mitch Moreland at bat scoring two runs for the Red Sox. This inning was capped off after Xander Bogaerts (11) had a 3-run homer to force Paxton out of the game.

 

Porcello would only give up one more run on his way to a decent 6 inning, 9 strikeout performance. He isn’t exactly lighting the league on fire, but he is doing fine for a mid-rotation starter. This game was lost by the Red Sox bullpen. Heath Hembree gave up a homer to Mike Zunino (11) on a 3-2 count, 88 MPH slider. In comes super hero Matt Barnes and he allowed Red Sox ruiner Denard Span to rope a 2 RBI double, giving Seattle the 7-6 lead. Unfortunately Boston tried to muster something in the top of the 9th when JD Martinez and Xander Boaerts got on base, but the rest of the order couldn’t pick up their slack.

 

Saturday may have been even more frustrating for the team, as they fell 1-0. Steven Wright (2-1 1.23 ERA) pitched great yet again, but the Red Sox offense could not get anything going against Wade LeBlanc (3-0 2.63 ERA). Wade LeBlanc has been a major league pitcher for 10 years now, and this may be the best start he has ever had in his career. He had some rough years on some bad teams in San Diego. He had to play with Miami and Houston (before they were good), had a decent stint with the LA Angels, a cup of coffee with the Yankees; and now has bounced between Pittsburgh and Seattle for the last two seasons. Against the Red Sox, though, LeBlanc looked like a stud. This was the first time all season that LeBlanc pitched more than 6 innings. He also set a season high with 9 strike outs, and surrendered only 2 hits. The Red Sox should’ve been able to scrape together at least two runs off of him, but games like this happen sometimes. The offense went cold, as 22 Red Sox in a row were sat down by the lively LeBlanc. The only offense in this game came in the bottom of the 3rd inning. Otherwise it was a knuckleballer and a soft tosser battling it out. Mookie Betts and Eduardo Nunez were the only Red Sox who got hits in this game. Wright had 7 strong innings, 5 hits, 4 K’s and only 2 walks. He is beginning to look like the guy he was before John Farrell made him pinch run against the Dodgers and blow out his shoulder. That’s a positive to take from this overall negative game.

The offense put any questions of a possible slump on Sunday, exploding for 9 runs in a win. The Red Sox salvaged a split with the Mariners, taking the first and final game of this four game series. Boston improved to 49-24 on the year and percentage points behind the Yankees in a virtual tie for first place in the AL East. Eduardo Rodriguez (9-1 3.59 ERA) did give up a home run, but that was the only flaw I would find in this start. He had 9 strikeouts in only 6 innings of work, this was a tremendous start for the lefty. Rodriguez has battled injuries and now finally seems to be coming into his own. He’s another dangerous weapon on the underrated Red Sox starting pitching staff.

Mediocre Mike Leake (7-4 4.47 ERA) pitched as bland as he always has, 5 runs in 6 innings. Decent enough, but not after this Red Sox was coming off of a shut out. Leake was the sacrificial lamb, and sacrifice him they did. Mitch Moreland got things started in the top of the 3rd with a 2 RBI single. Rafael Devers (11) deposited a ball into the right field seats for a 3-run homerun and the Red Sox found themselves ahead 5-0 quickly. Nelson Cruz(17) took Rodriguez deep in the 4th. This would be the last offense Seattle could muster until garbage time in the 8th inning. The Red Sox added on three more runs in the top of the 7th behind the power of Jackie Bradley Jr (4) and Xander Bogaerts (12). Bradley Jr has looked better with the bat lately, and Bogaerts has been on a tear. Bogaerts is finally finding the power stroke that he was touted to have when he was a youngster coming up in the organization.

Overall, the weekend could’ve been better for the Red Sox. Seattle is a good team, but I would hope that the Red Sox would beat them in a 5 or 7 game series. It would have been nice to see them take 3 of 4 or sweep, but a split isn’t the end of the world. They almost have 50 wins on the season, but the team still has some deficiencies. They need bullpen help and depth on the bench. It’ll be interesting to see if Dombrowski can even do anything. Manny Machado would be nice, but I don’t think he is a necessity at this point. Perhaps for next season he could fit on this club, but Boston needs to solidify the bullpen because once October comes, the management of close games in the postseason will be a lot easier on the teams rookie Manager Alex Cora if they have a can’t-miss bullpen.

The Celtics had a piece of related interesting news this weekend. Mid-afternoon on Friday word got out that Kawhi Leonard wanted out of San Antonio. Reports from ESPN suggest that Leonard is interested in going to Los Angeles. I do not expect any serious transactions to happen until the LeBron domino falls. Once LeBron makes his decision, the rest of the off-season will commence. The Celtics are of course rumored to be interested in the former NBA Finals MVP. They reportedly tried to acquire Leonard at the trade deadline this past season, so it’s no surprise if Danny Ainge continues to pursue the player. Ainge would have to make the money work and also manage to not low-ball the Spurs again like he may have done in February. The Celtics should be able to offer the greatest value for San Antonio in return for Leonard, but would Boston be willing to risk losing out on the prime years of Jaylen Brown, the Sacramento ’19 pick, and possibly the asset of Terry Rozier for only two guaranteed years of Leonard; who is an unrestricted free agent in 2020?

All remained quiet with the Patriots, unless you like Oprah. In which case, you were really excited to watch Super Soul Sunday on the OWN Network where Oprah sat down with Tom Brady to discuss a bunch of things to push his life after football. Brady discussed how he has learned to lose better than before because of his kids; and also mentioned that he sees retirement coming. We all do, Tom. Will it be next year or in four years?

The Bruins continue to court Ilya Kovalchuk. Their biggest roster move over the weekend was re-signing Matt Grzelcyk to a two year extension. The SportsHub is reporting that the team is considering moving on from veteran David Krejci, with some reluctance from Don Sweeney.

This week we can expect the Manny Machado rumors to continue gaining steam, possibly resulting in an old-fashioned Red Sox vs Yankees arm race (that New York would surely win) as well as continued speculation with the Celtics and their future plans involving Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard, and LeBron James.

 

 

 

 

The Lunch Break Down: Friday, June 15, 2018

Another week in the books, and another week closer to football games. Heading into the weekend, let’s take a look at today’s Lunch Break Down.

David Price has officially established himself as the Ace of the Red Sox. Price (8-4, 3.76 ERA) had a masterful performance last night in Seattle. If you couldn’t stay up for this one, I don’t blame you, but you did miss a great game by Price. He had great command of his pitches and was putting the ball anywhere he wanted to. The Mariners looked helpless against him. In 7 innings, it took Price only 106 pitches to rack up 7 strikeouts to accompany his zero walks on the night. The Mariners find themselves neck and neck with the defending World Champion Houston Astros for the AL West lead and are now 7-3 in their last 10 games.

Price looked like the guy Red Sox fans thought they were getting when the lefty first agreed to come to Boston, he is absolutely scorching hot right now. In his last 7 games he is 6-0 with a 2.64 ERA in 44.1 innings pitched. During this period, Price has allowed only 13 earned runs, 14 walks, and amassed an impressive 47 strikeouts;adding up to a 1.04 WHIP since May 12 aka after the Yankees missed start and Fortnite Fiasco. Haven’t heard a lot of video game chatter lately regarding Price and his performance. He is an elite starting pitcher and he’s a guy the Red Sox can and should rely on going into the heat of the Summer’s race. Before this season I declared that Price would win the AL Cy Young award. He seems to be on track to at least be in consideration, but there’s a long way to go until September. Besides, my other mortal lock was Comeback Player of the Year Hanley Ramirez (RIP HANLEY).

While Price was the headliner last night, it would be unfair if there was not recognition given to the offense. The team didn’t hit around Felix Hernandez as much as I thought they would, but they definitely did enough to win. Jackie Bradley Jr (.184 3 HR 15 RBI) had an RBI double in the top of the 2nd inning that scored Devers. The game was tied until the 5th inning after a bizarre play involving catcher Christian Vazquez and Kyle Seager which resulted in Seager stealing third base and scoring off of a sacrifice fly by Guillermo Heredia. It was bizarre because Seager was enjoying a large lead for himself off of second base with a runner on first, Vazquez decided to try and pick him off, but Seager just ran to third base once Vazquez threw the ball. In a game where it was obvious runs were going to be hard to come by, I thought this play by Vazquez really could’ve opened the door for Seattle to steal this game against the Sox. However, Price was able to settle down and get them out of it. This was rewarded in the top of the 6th, when Xander Bogaerts (.281 10 HR 36 RBI) crushed a ball over the center field wall, giving the team a 2-1 lead they would not relinquish. Price is the winner, he moved to 8-4, Hernandez the loser falls to 6-6; and Kimbrel secured his 22nd save of the season.

 

Rick Porcello (8-3 3.54 ERA) takes the bump tonight against Mariners lefty James Paxton (6-1 3.02 ERA) at 10:10. Porcello has struggled lately and the Mariners offense has performed well against him generally speaking. Paxton owns the Red Sox. I would expect the team to come up short tonight.

Also, if you didn’t watch the game, you missed an All-Time Jerry Remy moment. Watch the clip below and see for yourself how Jerry enjoyed one of the more exotic menu items Seattle offers:

 

The Patriots are having a quiet week by their standards. Tom Brady has an interview with Oprah that is going to air this weekend. I don’t expect there to be anything juicy there, this is all Tom setting himself up for life after football. Is it possible that Head Coach Bill Belichick heard about this Oprah situation and became enraged? This would be the only valid argument to defend the fact that NFL.com reports that the Patriots hosted former Jets stud Christian Hackenberg  yesterday. I wonder if there was anything left over for him to see from Bill’s football history lessons from the other day. I hope they showed Christian how much fun the team plans to have this year.

 

The Celtics are quiet today as well, other than the now usual local sports media beating the drum of the idea of trading Kyrie. Irving is not the type of personality that is going to feed into the media or give the media what he wants. He knows he is in control of his destination and is playing things smart. Some fans may be upset that Kyrie didn’t explicitly come out and say how much he loves Boston and how he wants to spend his entire career here. I don’t blame him for not going on about the subject. Kyrie understands that this is a business, and he also understands that situations can change sometimes. He has learned from his horrible experience in Cleveland and is rightfully putting up blockers to the media and playing his hand the correct way.

The only way I would agree with Danny Ainge looking to move on from Irving would be if he has discussed the future with Kyrie Irving himself and he said he does not want to stay in Boston, or of course, LeBron James. I think if the Celtics moved on from Kyrie just to move on from him it could give off a bad vibe to the rest of the players in the league regarding stability in the Celtics organization. Would players be as willing to come to Boston in the future if they know that Danny Ainge is going to trade them the moment he is able to?

 

The Bruins do not have anything going on today, it is understood that the pursuit of Ilya Kovalchuk remains one of the top priorities of GM Don Sweeney. There was an interesting somewhat Bruins-related story that came out earlier this week. Former Bruins defenseman Nick Boynton authored an eye-opening piece on the Player’s Tribune about his struggles with personal demons now that his career has ended battling post-concussion symptoms and substance abuse. It is worth your time if you have not yet read it. This subject is one of the most difficult to discuss in all of sports at the moment, but it shouldn’t be. It’s clear there are several retired athletes who participated in violent sports who’s lives now are ruined or are on the verge of being ruined because of what their bodies went through providing entertainment. There is no easy solution.

 

 

The Lunch Break-Down: Thursday, June 14, 2018

Here’s a run-down of what’s happening on today’s Lunch Break-Down

 

The Red Sox finished off their sweep of the Orioles last night behind a decent start by Chris Sale, who’s struggles continue to be annoying yet not enough to be a problem. Sale somewhat bounced back against the diseased birds from Baltimore. Since May 16, over the course of 6 starts, Chris Sale has only pitched more than 6 innings twice (May 22 vs TB and June 8 vs CHW). Over this sample period, Sale has faced: Oakland, Tampa Bay, Atlanta, Houston, Chicago White Sox, and now Baltimore. He has thrown more than 100 pitches in all but one of those games, May 27 vs Atlanta, when he only lasted 4 1/3 innings after giving up 6 runs. The concern for Chris Sale and his performance is something that needs to be taken seriously. In 3 of those 6 starts, Sale had 3 or more walks in his outing. For a guy who is seen as fragile and needs his pitch count managed, he isn’t doing himself any favors by wasting them with walks. He had 4 last night against Baltimore alone.

 

Tonight at 10:10, the Red Sox will begin a 4 game series with the Mariners in Seattle. David Price (7-4, 4.00) is scheduled to take on Felix Hernandez (6-5, 5.70 ERA) and this is a game where I expect the Red Sox to come away with a win. Price has been on fire lately and has been the true ace of the Red Sox staff. Seattle’s batters collectively do poorly against Price for their career, notably Nelson Cruz (.188 in 16 AB) and Kyle Seager (.200 in 20 AB with 1 HR). Felix Hernandez is not the same pitcher he once was. He’s either hurt or he just doesn’t have it anymore. The Red Sox should feast at the dish this evening at Safeco.

The Patriots continue to enjoy their time off.  Someone who wasn’t going to attend OTA’s anyway decided to spend some of his free time earlier this week working on his golf game. Patriots QB Tom Brady was found hanging out with Rickie Fowler and Phil Mickelson leading up to this week’s U.S. Open.

 

The Celtics continue to deal with stories surrounding the drama with Kyrie Irving and his dedication to the team for the long-term. Kyrie was being typical Kyrie when he spoke to the media this week at a press conference designed to promote his upcoming film. Kyrie spoke about living in the present and enjoying his time in the present with the Celtics. While this didn’t give media or fans a warm and fuzzy feeling that he was going to stay here forever, I just think that is the way Kyrie handles the media. He doesn’t want to speak in absolutes and seems to be the type of guy who takes life as it goes. I’m not worried about Kyrie and his future in Boston at all. If he is all-in, he will sign. If he isn’t, I have faith in Danny Ainge to pull the trigger on a trade that could still help this core be a competitor with Golden State. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported  that Ainge tried to pry away struggling Spurs star Kawhi Leonard in February. The deal was apparently so awful from the Celtics end that the Spurs did not even bother calling the team back with a counter offer….or, they just had no intention of cutting bait with someone who, when healthy, is a top 10 talent in the NBA.

 

The Bruins came to an agreement on an entry-level deal with their first round selection from 2017, Defensman Urho Vaakanainen; reports the Boston Herald.

There are also rumblings with the Bruins and former New Jersey Devils’ star Ilya Kovalchuk as the 35 year old elder statesman is making his return to the NHL after a 5 year hiatus in Russia. Matt Porter of the Boston Globe reports that GM Don Sweeney is hopeful that the Bruins and Kovalchuk could come to an agreement saying: “I hope he looks at [the Bruins] and says, ‘That’s a team I’d be interested in,’ ” … “He indicated that, but you know, until I get a chance to sit with him, I won’t know that exactly.” It is something to keep an eye on, as Kovalchuk would certainly be an interesting acquisition for the Bruins.

Bruins Drop Second Straight to Tampa, Where Did It All Go Wrong?

What’s up everyone? This is Jameson Foley here with my first installment for The BossTown Brand. A brief introduction: I met Mr. Boss 9 years ago while attending Framingham State University and we have been great friends ever since. I have been following the game of hockey and the Boston Bruins my whole life. I have been a referee the past 3 years, so don’t expect any ref criticism here(although it is sometimes deserved!) To me, it is the greatest sport in the world and there is nothing else like it. So, let’s get started.

The Bruins came out flying in Game 1 and earned a huge 6-2 victory in Tampa to steal the home ice advantage away from the Lightning.  However, Games 2 and 3 were a much different story. A lot of things went wrong in both games and now the Bruins see themselves down 2-1 in the series with game 4 approaching on Friday.

GAME 2:

What went wrong in Game 2?

The Bruins came out extremely flat in Game 2. It took them almost 15 minutes to register their first shot on goal and by that point they found themselves down 1-0 after Yanni Gourde was able to capitalize on the powerplay after Krug took a weak slashing penalty. The Bruins were able to tie the game at 1 before the period ended. In total they were outshot 10-8 in the first period and 31-20 to end the game.

Turnovers. Turnovers. Turnovers. The Bruins turned the puck over 13 times. If they want to beat this Tampa team, they cannot be turning the puck over this much. They need to control the game and they were unable to do so. Marchand had a very bad turnover with a little less than 6 minutes left in the game which led to Tampa taking a 3-1 lead and essentially ending the game. The Bruins need to take better care of the puck if they want to win this series.

The powerplay did not look good. The Bruins went 0-3 on the powerplay for the night including a lengthy 5 on 3 in which they were unable to get the puck in the net. Tampa was one of the worst penalty killing teams during the season and the Bruins need to take advantage of that.

The Positives

On the bright side, Boston was outplayed in almost every aspect of this game but still found themselves behind by only 1 goal most of the game. They did not play well but still had a chance to win this game. If they can improve on the powerplay and puck control they will be able to pull out a victory in this series.

Game 3:

What went wrong in Game 3?

This was a painful game to watch in all aspects. The Bruins came out as flat as they possibly could and quickly found themselves down 2-0. Tampa is not a team that will relinquish a 2 goal lead no matter how much time is left and last night they proved why they are the #1 seed in the east. Once again, a slow start hindered the Bruins with Tampa dominating the first period outshooting the Bruins 19-14 and taking a 3-1 lead into the dressing room. The Bruins were unable to overcome that deficit and ending up losing game three 4-1. Now the Bruins find themselves down 2-1 in this series.

Andrei Vasilevskiy was one of the best goalies in the league for the entire season. The Bruins were able to score 5 goals on him in Game 1. So, what happened? In Games 2 and 3 Tampa has been making his life too easy. They are blocking shot after shot and keeping the front of the net clear. If the Bruins want to beat Vasilevskiy, they must get people in front of the net. They need to limit his vision with screens and Tampa is not allowing them to do so. Tampa’s defense has stepped up in a big way and that is the reason they find themselves up 2-1 in the series.

Positives

Were there any positives to take from last night’s game? To be fair the Bruins played their worst game of the season but entering the third period they were still only down by 2 goals and still had a chance to win this game. They are keeping these games close, but they need to play better if they want to win.

Now we need to talk about Tuukka Rask. People who know me, know that I am probably Tuukka Rask’s biggest fan, but he deserves criticism as well. Tuukka needs to be better. In these last 2 games he has had very bad 1st periods. He is able to make big saves to keep the Bruins in the game but these saves are in the 2nd and 3rd periods while the team is already down. He needs to set the tone early and make these first period saves. They cannot afford to keep falling behind early in these games and Tuukka needs to be the elite goalie he is paid to be.

Keys to game 4:

More intensity. To avoid going down 3-1 heading back to Tampa the Bruins need to win the first period. They cannot come out flat and find themselves behind in the first period again. Tampa has shown, in the last 2 games, that they will not let that happen. The Bruins need to treat this like a Game 7 and come out with the win or go home mentality.

They need to get bodies in front of the net. Tampa has blocked 27 shots in the last 2 games. They are doing a great job at keeping the puck away from the net. The Bruins need to get in front of the net and prevent this. They need to take away Vasilveskiy’s vision to get pucks in the net.

Limit turnovers. Turnovers killed the Bruins in Games 2 and 3. These turnovers gave Tampa a lot of second chances and that offense is not one you want to give second chances to because they will capitalize. If they Bruins want to win they need to keep the puck out of their zone and stop giving away the puck.

Possession. If felt like the lightning controlled much of Game 3 and the Bruins never stood a chance of coming back, which was true. Tampa controlled the puck almost the entire game. They upped their pressure on the forecheck which led to many Boston turnovers. These turnovers never let Boston control the game and it showed. If the Bruins want to win Game 4 and even up this series heading back to Tampa, they need to control the puck and play their game.

Around the NHL:

San Jose vs Vegas

San Jose defeated Vegas 4-0 last night to even up their series at 2 headed back to Vegas. Marc Andre Fleury has been incredible so far this postseason for Vegas but he was out dueled by Martin Jones last night. The teams split their home games but I believe the home teams still have the advantage in the series and Vegas will prevail in a hard fought 7 game series. Game 5 is Friday night in Vegas.

Washington vs Pittsburgh

Washington leads 2-1 over Pittsburgh with game 4 being played tonight in Pittsburgh. The teams split in Washington and after a late Ovechkin goal to give the Caps a 4-3 victory, Washington took a 2-1 series lead. Washington looks to make it 3-1 heading back to Washington with a chance to close it out. Pittsburgh looks to even it up with a victory tonight. If history tells us anything, do not count the Penguins out. The Penguins have eliminated the capitals in each of the last 2 postseasons, so we have a lot of hockey left to play in this series. Could this be the Caps year to beat the Penguins? I believe that it is and the Caps will prevail in 6.

Winnipeg vs Nashville

Winnipeg currently leads the series 2-1 and is looking like the stronger team. After being down 3-0 early in 3 Winnipeg was able to score 4 unanswered goals and pull out a 7-4 victory over the President’s trophy winning Nashville Predators. This series is far from over, but Nashville faces a huge challenge tonight, in Winnipeg, to avoid going down 3-1 in the series. The Jets were the best team on home ice this season boasting a 32-7-2 record in front of their home crowd. The Jets should be able to take care of game 4 on home ice tonight and will take care of the Predators in 6 games. The winner of this series is looking like they will be the front runner to become the Stanley cup champions but anything can happen. Stay tuned.

Editor’s Note: Jameson Foley will be The BossTown Brand’s official specialized contributor for all things Bruins, NHL, and New England Revolution. Foley is a die hard Philadelphia Eagles fan and enjoys watching a Toronto Blue Jays game from time to time. Boston Bruins logo via Chris Creamer and his SportsLogos.net site.