BOSTON — The Boston Bruins face an interesting decision entering the final weekend of the regular season starting Saturday when they host the Ottawa Senators.
Do they go for the top spot in the Atlantic Division or provide rest for some of their battered and bruised troops against Ottawa and again on Sunday’s makeup game against the Florida Panthers?
The Bruins lost Thursday night at Florida and were eliminated from the President’s Trophy race. The late loss also allowed the Tampa Bay Lightning to remain tied with Boston for first place in the division and Tampa Bay took a two-point lead with Friday night’s home win over the Buffalo Sabres.
So [url=http://www.bearscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-adrian-amos-jersey]Adrian Amos Jersey[/url] , to finish first, the Bruins would have to sweep the Ottawa Senators and the Florida Panthers at home this weekend, while the Lightning failed to get two points at Carolina on Saturday night.
The interesting angle on all this is wondering how the Bruins are better off. If they win the division, they would get one of three Metropolitan teams — the Columbus Blue Jackets, New Jersey Devils or the Philadelphia Flyers. If they finish second, it’s the Toronto Maple Leafs in a clash of the only two Original Six teams heading to the playoffs.
The Bruins went 0-2-1 on their road trip that ended the road season.
Bodies are in and out of the lineup and there is a feeling some could use some rest after dropping both games in Florida in regulation.
“Hopefully we learn from (this) and hopefully we realize this is going to be the hockey we’re going to play,” Boston’s Patrice Bergeron said after Thursday night’s 3-2 loss. “If we want to play until June that’s how it’s going to be. We have to realize that and be better.”
The Senators, playing out the string like all the Canadian-based teams except the Maple Leafs are 2-3-0 in their last four games but 2-9-0 in their last 11.
The Bruins have won all three of the games between the teams this season, one at TD Garden, where the Sens won all five games counting playoffs last year.
The Senators lost in Pittsburgh Friday night. On Wednesday night, they won at Buffalo as the Sabres clinched the worst record in the league for the coming draft lottery.
“We’re out there, we’re playing to win [url=http://www.jaguarscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-taven-bryan-jersey]Taven Bryan Jersey[/url] , we want to win as many games as we can and prove that we belong in the roles that we play,” Ottawa goaltender Craig Anderson said after the win in Buffalo. “We want to make sure we play for each other, we play for our fans, we play for the crest on the front. We know that all we can do is go out there and work hard and let the chips fall as they may.”
Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin are likely to split the two weekend games for the Bruins, who are still waiting for the return of Rick and Riley Nash and Sean Karaly while others, like Zdeno Chara and Charlie McAvoy continue to shake off rust.
Rask is 11-7-4 with a 2.17 goals against average and .925 save percentage in the regular season against the Senators but lost to them in last year’s playoffs. Khudobin is 5-0-1 with a 1.81 GAA and .948 save percentage against Ottawa.
Anderson is 12-12-0 with a GAA of 3.05 and a .905 save percentage against Boston in the regular season and beat the Bruins in last year’s postseason.
Mike Condon is 2-4-0 with 2.87 GAA and .907 save percentage against Boston. He defeated the Bruins in the Winter Classic at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro as a rookie.
Albert Almora Jr. got even. So did the Chicago Cubs.
Almora hit a game-ending RBI single in the 10th inning, and the Cubs beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 2-1 on Tuesday night to salvage a split of their day-night doubleheader.
Kris Bryant sparked the winning rally with a leadoff triple against Brock Stewart (0-1). After Javier Baez was walked intentionally, Almora hit a liner into right field.
In the Cubs’ 4-3 loss to the Dodgers in Game 1, Almora popped out to first with the bases loaded with one out in the eighth. The Dodgers intentionally walked Jason Heyward before Yimi Garcia retired Almora.
”It was personal for me,” Almora said. ”I didn’t come through. I was a little aggressive.
”I learned from the first mistake and I didn’t do too much (in the second game), but I really wanted that one pretty bad. It was just a little bit of revenge from the first game.”
Rob Zastryzny (1-0), the fifth Cubs reliever [url=http://www.lionscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-jake-rudock-jersey]Jake Rudock Jersey[/url] , got Yasmani Grandal to fly out with the bases loaded in the top of the 10th to earn the win.
The rematch of the last two NL Championship Series was set to begin on Monday night, but the opener was postponed by a mixture of poor weather and a limited power outage at Wrigley Field. It’s the only scheduled visit for Los Angeles, leading to the day-night doubleheader.
”It was two really interesting games,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. ”Could have lost both, could have won both. It’s nice to walk off.”
Los Angeles began the long day with its 4-3 victory on pinch-hitter Kyle Farmer’s two-run double in the ninth. Joc Pederson led off the game with his ninth homer and Yasiel Puig drove in a run with a bloop double.
The Dodgers jumped in front in the nightcap on Austin Barnes‘ RBI single in the sixth. But the Cubs tied it on Kyle Schwarber’s 13th homer, a drive to right against Erik Goeddel in the seventh.
Los Angeles wasted an impressive return for Rich Hill, who pitched six innings of three-hit ball in his first major league start in a month. Hill was placed on the disabled list on May 20 with a blister on his left middle finger, a recurring problem for the veteran left-hander.
”The fastball command, the curveball command, it was on point tonight,” manager Dave Roberts said. ”You hope to get something like that, but you never know what you’re going to get making his first start back from injury [url=http://www.cowboyscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-bob-lilly-jersey]Bob Lilly Jersey[/url] , but again, he was outstanding.”
Mike Montgomery kept Chicago in the game with six effective innings, yielding one run and five hits. The lefty has a 1.21 ERA in five starts since he was inserted into the rotation after Yu Darvish went on the disabled list on May 26 with right triceps tendinitis.
”I just want him to continue to take start after start like this,” Maddon said.
Bryant led off in each half of the doubleheader. The third baseman doubled twice and drove in two runs in Game 1, and went 1 for 5 in the night cap.
It was the third and fourth times this season – and in his career – that the slugger batted at the top of the order.
Bryant’s two-run double in the opener helped Chicago to a 3-1 lead. But Puig doubled in Chris Taylor in the sixth, setting the stage for the ninth-inning rally.
Farmer lined a 2-2 pitch from Justin Wilson (1-2) into the corner in left after pinch-hitter Austin Barnes walked and Justin Turner singled. Farmer is batting just .238 for the season, but is 6 for 16 with two doubles off the bench.
Edward Paredes (2-0), the fifth of six Dodgers relievers, got one out in the eighth to earn the win. Kenley Jansen pitched the ninth for his 18th save.
Wilson (1-2) came one pitch away from earning his first save. Maddon used the lefty because closer Brandon Morrow has a sore back that flared up on Monday.
The Dodgers’ Kenta Maeda lasted 3 2/3 innings, allowing three runs and five hits in his second start since coming off the disabled list. Cubs starter Tyler Chatwood allowed two hits and struck out six in five innings, walking five to increase his major league-leading total to 63.
To make room for Hill on the roster, the Dodgers optioned infielder/outfielder Breyvic Valera to Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Stewart was added to the roster as the 26th man prior to the second game of the doubleheader. The Cubs recalled right-hander Justin Hancock from Triple-A Iowa as their 26th man.
The Cubs celebrated Hall of Famer Billy Williams’ 80th birthday during the nightcap. Led by the Wrigley organist [url=http://www.coltscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-erik-swoope-jersey]Erik Swoope Jersey[/url] , many in the crowd of 40,409 joined in singing ”Happy Birthday” to the six-time All-Star after the second inning.
Dodgers: LHP Clayton Kershaw (strained lower back) is scheduled make a minor league rehab start on Saturday with Triple-A Oklahoma City. According to Roberts, Kershaw will be limited to four innings and 60 pitches. His next appearance could be with Los Angeles. … INF Chase Utley (left thumb sprain) could be activated off the DL on Wednesday.
Cubs: Maddon gave no timetable for Morrow’s return. … Darvish will throw a simulated game on Wednesday. Maddon said the Cubs will determine the next step in the right-hander’s rehab program based on his response. … INF Javier Baez, hit on the elbow by a pitch on Sunday, returned to the starting lineup at second base in the nightcap. Baez entered the first game in the seventh inning.
Dodgers RHP Ross Stripling (6-1, 1.76 ERA) squares off against Cubs LHP Jon Lester (8-2, 2.28 ERA) on Wednesday afternoon in the series finale.
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