Mitch's Sports Report: Bruins Blow Lead, Fall To Jets In Overtime Shoot-Out
The Boston Bruins had a nine-day break from NHL action, a combination of every team's bye week coinciding in their case with the league's all-star game, and they returned looking energized in the early going against the Winnipeg Jets at TD Garden last night, jumping out to a 2-1 lead after two periods of play.
But while the team had some extra spark in their skates from the long lay-off, they also displayed some mental lapses that allowed the Jets to pick up two goals in the third period and eventually go on to a 4-3 overtime shoot-out victory.
Patrice Bergeron got the Bruins on the board first, setting himself up at the face-off dot where he beat goalie Connor Hellebuyck with a one-timer on a perfect feed from Brad Marchand, who had three assists on the night.
The Jets tied it up on a quick power play strike but the Bruins regained the lead on their own man advantage with David Pastrnak, fresh off his all-star appearance, doing the honors with his 28th goal of the season.
It stayed 2-1 until the third period and that's when the Bruins executed an ill-timed and un-disciplined line change that allowed Kyle Connor to go in all alone on a breakaway and he beat Jaroslav Halak to tie the game, and it took all of 34 seconds for Connor to tally again to make it 3-2 in favor of the Jets.
The Bruins were rescued from a regulation loss when Bergeron scored his second goal of the contest and the teams went to overtime, nothing decided there, so it was on to the hockey equivalent of penalty kicks in soccer, with Kyle Connor again torturing the Bruins by besting Halak to score a win that snaps Winnipeg's three game losing skid. The Bruins do pick up one point for the regulation tie, but playing at home with a lead going into the third feels like a game the Bruins should have won.
The game also featured the debut of Trent Frederic, a big forward just called up from Providence, and while he didn't score a goal in his first NHL contest, he did get the crowd cheering his round of fisticuffs when he dropped the gloves and went at it with Winnipeg's Brandon Tanev in the second period. Frederic's parents seemed none too concerned about their son trading haymakers, shown on camera high-fiving each other with smiles all around as Frederic skated off to an old fashioned Gah-den standing O for his willingness to engage in the increasingly rare act of hockey pugilism.
Elsewhere, the Philadelphia Flyers have won a season-high five games in a row, their latest a 1-0 shut-out over the NY Rangers thanks to the lone goal of the game scored by Oskar Lindblom.
Making his first start in six weeks due to injury, goalie Anthony Stolarz was perfect on the night, stopping all 38 shots the Rangers threw at him.
On the ice in college men’s hockey, the Norwich Cadets are now winners of ten in a row after a 3-0 shut-out of Plattsburgh State in New York last night. The Cadets got goals from Brett Ouderkirk, David Robertson, and the pride of St. Cesaire, Quebec, Maxime Borduas, and goalie Tom Aubrun made 23 saves for his fourth shut-out of the year.
The Boston Red Sox are trying to improve their bullpen without spending big bucks to find themselves even deeper into the league's luxury tax territory. One way to do that is to sign a player to a minor league deal who'd been banned from baseball for violating the league's performing enhancement drug policy three different times.
The league had banned Jenrry Mejia for life but there is also a reinstatement avenue, which Mejia negotiated successfully, and the Red Sox are taking a chance that the former NY Mets closer, who's been out of baseball since 2015, has learned the error of his ways, and can help the big club in 2019. You never know, but I'm putting this one in the grasping at straws file.