Category Archives: NHL

WATCH: David Pastrnak Wins it with a Beauty, Is turning into an All-Star before our Eyes

By Peter Santo

Editor-In-Chief

Bruins fans were getting worried when Jason Demers tied the game for Florida in the final minute of the third. But David Pastrnak put our worries to rest with a beautiful game winner in OT. The 20 year old now has 15 goals in 21 games and looks poised to make his first All-Star appearance.

Is he the scorer the Black and Gold have needed for years? Early returns have been good so far.

 

Cavs Capture Elusive Title, DJ wins US Open

By Peter Santo

Editor-In-Chief

I figure what better place than the Auburn University library, a place I will spend a lot of time in over the next four years, to get SantoSports back up and running this summer.

Well, a lot has happened since I last published an article. LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers ended 52 years of frustration by defeating the Golden State Warriors for the NBA title. Dustin Johnson overcame a pathetic rules decision by the USGA to win his first major championship. Oh, and the Pittsburgh Penguins rode a rookie goaltender to the Stanley Cup title.

We will start with Cleveland, a city that has been tortured by its sports teams since the Cleveland Browns captured the NFL Championship (before the Super Bowl was even a thing) in 1964. When LeBron James returned home two years ago, he promised to deliver Cleveland the championship that had eluded them for so long.

And deliver he did, but it did not come without some drama. After seeing the 2015 season end in a heartbreaking loss to the Warriors in the NBA Finals, the Cavs were out for revenge. Both James and his teammates certainly had their fair share of doubters. To win the title, they would have to defeat the team that finished with the best regular season record in NBA history.

To make matters worse, they lost 3 of the first 4 games of the Finals to fall behind 3-1. Most thought it was over, they were ready to crown the Warriors NBA champions once again, anoint the Dubs the best team in the history of the NBA. But LeBron James had other ideas. James and teammate Kyrie Irving went on a tear for the ages in games 5, 6 and 7, handing the Warriors their first three game losing streak of the season, and seizing the title for Cleveland.

To win the title, they needed to win a game 7 on the road. Kyrie Irving hit a game winning three pointer, and LeBron James somehow rejected Andre Iguodala at the rim to seal the deal.

I don’t care how much you hate LeBron James, Cleveland winning this title was good for basketball, and good for sports as a whole.

While James and company were preparing for game 7, Dustin Johnson was busy exasperating his own demons. DJ had come so close in majors so many times, but had always come up short. There was the final round collapse at Pebble Beach in the 2010 US Open, the bunker incident at Whistling Straits in the 2010 PGA, the drive OB at Royal St. Georges in the 2011 Open Championship, the three putt at Chambers Bay.

People rightfully began to wonder if Johnson, one of the most talented and athletic golfers the game has ever seen, was simply destined to never win a major championship.

Shane Lowry entered the final round with a four shot lead, perhaps this helped DJ in his quest for that elusive first major, as the pressure was squarely on Lowry to close the deal. However Lowry struggled from the get go en route to a final round 76 and T2 finish, and the ball was in Dustin’s court.

Well DJ began putting together a flawless final round, the USGA did everything in their power to get in his head, and keep him from winning our National Championship. It all started on the 5th hole, when it was questioned whether or not Johnson caused his ball to move as he addressed a 3 foot par putt. Johnson conferred with playing partner Lee Westwood and the rules official walking with his group, and together they determined that Johnson had not caused the ball to move, and that his par would stand.

According to USGA rules, this should’ve been the end of it, however Mike Davis and company felt like drawing things out for some reason. They called rules officials in off the golf course to re-watch the video footage and when Johnson reached the 12th tee, he was informed that they were still reviewing footage, and they had yet to determine whether or not he would be penalized.

How on Earth could Dustin, or any golfer, attempt to win a major championship under these circumstances? Superstars such as Rickie Fowler, Rory Mcilroy, and Jordan Spieth ripped the USGA on Twitter, and no one could quite believe this was happening.

Give credit to Johnson, he refused to let it get to him, striped his drive on the 12th, and went on to win by three, eliminating any doubt. In the end, Johnson was penalized a stroke, but it didn’t matter.

They tried to take it away from him, but Dustin Johnson is, and will forever be, a US Open champion.

State of Bruins and Hurricanes Preview

By Mitch Canzano

Staff Writer

At this point in time, the Boston Bruins are tied at the top of the Atlantic division with the surging Tampa Bay Lightning. The other night, Boston beat Tampa Bay just 10 seconds into overtime on Brad Marchand’s 34th (!!) goal of the year. That’s good for 3rd in the league.

For Boston, the timing couldn’t be better for a career year like this one as last year the Bruins ranked 22nd in the league in goals per game with just 2.55. This year, Boston is 3rd in the league, averaging 3.00 goals per game.

This immense improvement in offense has the Bruins sitting at a 38-23-7 record through 68 games. With 14 games to go, the Bruins find themselves in a tight race for the Atlantic Division crown. The Bruins are tied with the Lightning (though Tampa Bay has a game in hand) and are just 2 points in front of the Panthers, whom they defeated the other night.

When the going gets tough, the tough gets going, and that’s just what the Bruins have shown as they are 12-5-2 since coming out of the All-Star Break at the end of January.

However, the going only gets tougher from here on out, as the Bruins have upcoming games against the Islanders, Sharks, Ducks, Kings and Panthers, all of whom are fighting for playoff position.

The West Coast trip could be a make or break trip for the B’s who will need to grind and find ways to win on such a fatiguing string of games. Tonight, the Bruins take on the Carolina Hurricanes who are in the midst of a pretty rough season and sit near the bottom of the Atlantic Division.

The Hurricanes (30-26-11) are coming off an overtime win in which they tied the game with just 1 second left in regulation to send it to overtime. Coming off a win like that can create all kinds of confidence in a locker room, and the Canes will come into the Garden looking to play spoiler. The Bruins boast a 4 game home win streak against the Canes, but the Bruins have been abhorrent at home this season, so it’ll be interesting to see how that narrative plays out.

Nevertheless, the Bruins need to keep stringing wins together in order to stay atop the close Atlantic Division and clinch a playoff spot. After a disappointing season in which Bruins fans didn’t get to see the Bruins in the playoffs, let’s hope the B’s can come together and make a strong push for their first Stanley Cup since the 2011 campaign.

Bruins defeat Lightning in OT

By Peter Santo

Editor-In-Chief

A night after Lee Stempniak was the overtime hero against the Florida Panthers, Brad Marchand decided to follow suit. The Bruins defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning, 1-0 in Overtime last night in a game that was eerily similar to game 7 of the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals.

Marchand finally put a puck past Ben Bishop just ten seconds into Overtime, sealing the shutout and securing the extra point for the B’s.

Patrice Bergeron flew down the wing and found Marchand streaking towards the net for the game winning goal.

“I knew if I got to the net Bergy would find me — and he does all the time,” said Marchand.

The victory capped off a Florida sweep for the Bruins, and tied them for the Atlantic Division lead with 83 points.

“It’s great to see the results,” said Bergeron. “That’s what you’re playing for, to get the results, and learn from past mistakes and to grow as a team and I think we’ve been doing that.”

“We have 14 games left. We have some more work to do, but at the same time, I think at this time of the year, we’re starting to see some good things happening,” said Bergeron. “And we’ve got to keep growing as a team in all areas of the game.”

While the Bruins are playing well at the right time, they realize it is never perfect, and more work must be done.

“It will never be perfect,” said Head Coach Claude Julien. “You can talk to any coach in this league — it doesn’t matter how many points we get, we always look for our team to be better.”

Goaltender Jonas Gustavsson made 42 saves for the seventh shutout of his career. “He made a few huge saves especially late in the game and really kept us in it, so this one is definitely all him,” said Marchand.

“He was outstanding, I thought,” said Julien. “That big save, as you know, with the pad in the second period and even other saves like that. He was big and they had to be good to beat him tonight and that’s a huge boost for our team when you can put a goaltender like that in a big game and play the way he did.”

Bergeron Knocks off Flames Late

By Peter Santo

Editor-In-Chief

A day after I questioned GM Don Sweeney and the Bruins for failing to trade Loui Eriksson at the trade deadline, the Bruins came out and were able to grind out a victory in front of their home fans.

Landon Ferraro got the home crowd going in the first period with his fifth goal of the season to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead.

The game was a defensive battle in the second period with the Bruins unable to convert on multiple power play opportunities.

But the fifth time was the charm for the B’s. After the Flames took a too many men on the ice minor with 4:07 to play, Bergeron beat Joni Ortio with a one-timer from the high slot off a perfect pass from Ryan Spooner. The goal was Bergeron’s 24th of the season and secured a late victory for Boston.

Video Highlights: https://www.nhl.com/gamecenter/cgy-vs-bos/2016/03/01/2015020943/recap#game=2015020943,game_state=final,lock_state=final

Why the Bruins should’ve traded Loui Eriksson

By Peter Santo

The Boston Bruins currently sit at 34-23-6, good enough for fourth place in the Atlantic Division. I would say they have overachieved largely due to the play of Brad Marchand and the coaching of Claude Julien.

The Bruins are third in the league in goals per game behind only Washington and Dallas. However, they are just 11th in goals against per game. It is clear that their biggest need right now is a top four defenseman. While only trading only Eriksson would not land them the player they desire, it would go a long way to acquiring assets for a future trade.

Reports surfaced yesterday that the Bruins were “working hard” to move Eriksson, they were unable to reach a deal before yesterday’s deadline. Now Eriksson is likely to leave the Bruins as a free agent this summer, netting the Bruins nothing in return.

The Bruins did make two moves on Thursday, but neither move had much significance on the Bruins chances this season or in the future. After spending most of the day reportedly in talks with teams for top four defensemen like Dan Hamhuis and Kris Russell, the Bruins settled for a defenseman much farther down the totem pole.

The B’s acquired D John-Michael Liles from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for a third round pick, a fifth round pick, and a prospect.

After Kris Russell was acquired by the Dallas Stars for the insane price of Jyrki Jokipakka, a pick and Brett Pollock, a trade for Patrick Wiercioch of the Ottawa Senators made sense as a backup plan, requiring only a second round pick in return.

However the Bruins opted to give up more for Liles, who is ten years older then Wiercioch. How do they compare stat wise?

Dashboard_1__12_.0

While Liles looks to be the much better player, he does not fit into the Bruins future nearly as well as Wiercioch would have. And the trade looks even more suspect considering the price the Bruins had to pay.

In addition to adding to their defensive core, the Bruins also added to their offense by trading for Lee Stempniak. Stempniak was the Devils leading scorer at the time of the trade and should slide onto the Bruins second line.

However, this is another example of poor asset management by GM Don Sweeney and Team President Cam Neely. Stempniak is a guy the Bruins rejected in tryout camp in the preseason, and now they’ve given up a second and fourth round pick to acquire his services.

Bruins projected Future Lineup:

Eriksson-Krejci-Pastrnak

Marchand-Bergeron-Stempniak

Hayes-Spooner-Beleskey

Randell-Ferraro-Connolly

Chara-Krug

Liles-Seidenberg

K Miller-Morrow

The bottom line is that these are excellent trade deadline moves for a contending team, but for a team like the Bruins that is really on the fringes of contending and is unlikely to make a run at a Cup this season, they have not done much to help themselves long term.

The Bruins still remain a mystery long term, they failed to lock up Eriksson to a contract extension and didn’t cash in on their biggest asset when they had the chance.

These moves give the Bruins a chance of making a cinderella run in a weak Eastern Conference, but I wish they had looked more towards the future yesterday.

Bruins finally win a home game

By Peter Santo

Editor-In-Chief

The Bruins had struggled all season in front of their home fans at TD Garden, and I don’t think Bruins fans expected to be all too happy Wednesday night with the Pittsburgh Penguins coming to town. However Bruins fans left delighted as their club put together one of their best performances of the season en route to a 5-1 victory.

The Bruins needed a bounce back performance after losing to the Columbus Blue Jackets Monday night, and the black and gold came out firing on all cylinders.

“It’s always big, especially after a tough loss last game, to come in and have a good start tonight,” said forward Brad Marchand. “[We had to] get that lead, and get the momentum from the crowd and kind of get our confidence under us. It was big, and definitely helped us through the game.”

David Pastrnak opened the scoring on a penalty shot in the first period, becoming the youngest Bruin ever to score on a penalty shot.

“All I tried to do was put the puck in the net,” Pastrnak said. “Then I had a little speed, and I had to stop because I didn’t think I would be able to make the shot from all the speed — so I stopped and shot it five-hole, and it went in.”

Pastrnak added a second goal early in the second period to give the Bruins a 2-0 advantage. But it was the Bruins’ third goal that was one for the highlight reel. Adam McQuaid blocked a shot without a helmet, Ryan Spooner took the puck down the wing with speed, and Jimmy Hayes finished the play with a beautiful one timer.

With the win the Bruins improved to 13-15-3 on home ice while maintaining a stellar 20-7-3 road record. They currently sit in third place in the Atlantic Division behind the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning and are holding down the five seed in the Eastern Conference. The Bruins will look to build on this victory as they continue to make a playoff push in the Eastern Conference.

Highlights: https://www.nhl.com/bruins/video/recap-pit-1-bos-5/t-277437088/c-41805203

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