by: Talia Goodman
The Bruins had themselves a phenomenal week — and for the first time in a long time, I don’t have to say that sarcastically.
Rookie goaltender Jeremy Swayman continued to impress with a 2-0 record this week, including Friday’s 3-0 shutout. Returning from injury, netminder Tuukka Rask proved essential, carrying the Bruins to their other two wins, leaving Boston with a 4-0 record on the week.
During their first game, on Tuesday, April 13, the new acquisitions of Taylor Hall and Curtis Lazar faced their former squad, the Buffalo Sabres. Buffalo is dead-last in the league, but they threatened a loss for the Bruins with a shootout journey. Thankfully, Jake Debrusk and Charlie Coyle scored both shootout opportunities on Sabres’ goalie Dustin Tokarski and earned two points for the team.
In back-to-back games against the New York Islanders, the Bruins prevailed. With the aid of Rask, the Bruins were able to defeat the Islanders 4-1 on Thursday night. Hall shined in his second game with the team, scoring a goal on three shots.
The next day, the Bruins faced New York yet again and came out of the game with an even better result: a 3-0 shutout with Swayman in net. The rookie should be a permanent fixture in this Bruin’s roster. Hall scored again and Mike Reilly, the Bruins acquisition from the Senators, added an assist. The trade deadline has been an early hit for the Bruins. Don Sweeney may have gotten just what the team needed to take them to the next level.
The previous games were all exciting, no doubt about it. But the highlight of the week had to come in their final matchup on Sunday against the Washington Capitals. Storms have been brewing between these two teams all season, partially due to Tom Wilson’s dirty hit on Brandon Carlo earlier this season, so it was no surprise to witness more of the same.
An action-packed 20 minutes had the Bruins up 2-1, but not for long. Two power play goals for the Capitals gave them their first lead of the game at 3-2.
The villain of the game was Garnet Hathaway, who amassed a major and a game misconduct for a dirty hit on Bruins Jarred Tinordi.
To call this a physical game would be the understatement of the year.
The Bruins thrived in this physical atmosphere, scoring three more goals to end the game 5-3. Rask looked solid in net, and David Krejci stood out as the player of the game in my eyes.
It was a relief to finally see the Bruins look so put together this week and able to utilize their depth in all aspects of the game.
This coming week, the Bruins face Hall’s former team, the Sabres, on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, as well as Sidney Crosby and the Penguins in a Sunday matinee game.
Let’s see if the Bruins can hold their winning streak and climb to third place in the East division.
by: Carter Segal
On Tuesday, April 13, the Celtics kicked off a great week of basketball with a nailbiter against the Portland Trail Blazers.
Boston was once again without their new sixth man, Evan Fournier, due to health and safety protocols. As a result, Boston was extremely dependent on their top players — as demonstrated by the fact that only eight Celtics played more than ten minutes.
So with little bench help, it was concerning when the Celtics got off to a slow start, allowing 38 points in the first quarter. If the starters were not going to show up, there was no one to alleviate their pressure.
But the momentum of the game shifted in Boston’s favor in the third quarter, thanks in large part to 17 points from Jayson Tatum. Going into the fourth quarter with a five-point lead, Boston held on to the win, sealing the game with a Jayson Tatum dagger 3-pointer with eight seconds left on the clock.
On offense, the team was led by Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown in scoring (32 and 24 points, respectively). What really stood out to me was Tatum’s shot selection. He was building his game around getting to the rim, as shown by his ten free throw attempts. While Kemba Walker and Marcus Smart did not have big scoring games, they both did a great job setting up their teammates for easy baskets and facilitating the flow of the game.
Defensively, Marcus Smart did an incredible job guarding Blazers star Damian Lillard. While Lillard ended up with 28 points, he shot five percent lower from the field than his season average, and ended the game with five turnovers. Portland’s offense only goes as high as Lillard can take them, and Smart made sure that the Blazer’s star would have to work for every basket.
Thursday’s game against the L.A. Lakers was much less exciting than the Blazers game. The Lakers were without both Lebron James and Anthony Davis, and Boston took advantage of the situation. From the opening tip, it was clear Boston was going to run away with the game. Jaylen Brown finished with 40 points, getting to the rim with ease. On defense, the Celtics dared the L.A. shooters to hit tough shots with defenders closing out, and the Lakers could not make them pay, hitting a mere 32% of their three point shots. For one of the first times this season, Boston played a significantly worse team and did not allow the game to get close.
Boston capped off the week with what might have been the game of the year against the Golden State Warriors. The Celtics were without Jaylen Brown, Robert Williams III, and Evan Fournier, putting a lot of pressure on Jayson Tatum.
Pressure is nothing new for their opponent’s star player, Stephen Curry. This season, Curry has been doing everything in his power to keep the not-so-talented Warriors in the playoff picture. Over the past month, Curry had been averaging 39 points and six and a half 3-pointers a game, shooting an unheard of 48% from behind the arc.
The game did not disappoint. Curry dropped 47, doing the most to keep the Warriors in the game. But Curry was nearly matched by Tatum’s 44 points of his own. And, unlike the two-time MVP, Tatum’s supporting cast came to play. Kemba had 26, Smart had 16, and Payton Pritchard and newly acquired forward Jabari Parker had 11 points.
After months of being at the edge of the playoff picture, the Celtics appear to have found their form. All of a sudden, they are within striking distance of the three seed. As the playoffs get closer and closer, Boston is playing better and better.
by: Matt Fonzi
The MLB Season was in full swing as the Red Sox headed into their second week of the season. They faced off against the Minnesota Twins and the Chicago White Sox. After a strong ending to their first week of play, Boston had the momentum to go on a run.
The first game of the week was scheduled for Monday, April 12, but incoherent weather pushed the game back to Wednesday for a double header.
On Tuesday, April 13, the Sox started their series against the Twins in a close game that went down to the wire. Tied late into the game, the Sox had a chance to put the pressure on Minnesota. Bobby Dalbec took advantage of the opportunity in the top of the eighth inning, hitting a line drive to right field, and securing a run to take a 3-2 lead. The Twins went scoreless in the bottom half of the inning, and Rafael Devers put the game away with a solo shot in the top of the ninth with a final tally of 4-2.
The following day, a double-header was on. For a highlight play of the week, Alex Verdugo had to take the spot. In game one on Wednesday, the Sox went into the final inning up by a run. With two outs, Luis Arraez chopped a ball to right field, which presumably would have batted in the runner on second. However, Alex Verdugo laid out for the ball to put an end to the game and secured the eighth straight win for the Red Sox, winning 3-2.
Later that day, the Red Sox also snatched the win in the second game of the double-header. However, the series would not be a sweep as the Twins grabbed the last win on Thursday by a margin of 4-3.
The Sox versus Sox series was supposed to begin on Friday, but Mother Nature once again pushed the series back a day.
This would set up yet another double header on Sunday. The series began on Saturday looking a little different, as the Red Sox wore bright yellow and powder blue with their new Nike City Connect uniforms. Some enjoy them, some don’t. Personally, I think it’s a great way to change up the Red Sox, and a great way to represent the city.
The jerseys proved victorious in their first appearance. Tied at three in the eighth inning, the Red Sox went on a run. In the first at-bat of the inning, Marwin Gonzalez hit a bomb to center field on a 1-1 pitch. Christian Arroyo got on base with a single, but then two straight outs almost put the rally to an end. Yet Enrique Rodriguez singled to center field, putting two runners on base. White Sox pitcher Jose Ruiz then walked two straight batters, let up a double, and walked one more to go down by four runs. The inning ended at 7-3, and so did the game.
This was a big win for the Red Sox, considering that another double header is to come.
For a team that had a lot of doubters to start the year, I’d say being at the top of the AL East is more than impressive. I’m not sure how long this success will last, but for the time being, Sox fans are happy. Next week, fans will see Boston square off against the Toronto Blue Jays and the Seattle Mariners. The Mariners are hot right now, sitting at 9-6, while the Blue Jays are at 7-9. An interesting week to look forward to.
by: Chris Jimenez
The first round of the NFL draft is just over a week away and Patriots nation is inching closer to finding out how Bill Belichick will solve the Tom Brady-sized hole in this roster.
A new mock draft was released earlier this week by ESPN’s Mel Kiper, who predicted the Patriots would trade up from the 15th overall pick to the 10th overall pick, which is currently obtained by the Dallas Cowboys.
The chances that a team in the Patriots conference would trade with them are slim to none, so the most likely trade partners would be the Cowboys at 10th overall or the Panthers at 8th overall. Both teams have quarterbacks they are confident in, which means they could be open to accruing more picks and capital in trading down.
Even if they were able to trade up for the purpose of drafting a QB, there are multiple speculations as to who would drop in the draft and who the Patriots are most interested in. Two months ago, the QB deemed the most likely to drop was former Alabama QB Mac Jones, who had only one year as a starter, leading his team to a national championship.
During this pre-draft process, quarterbacks rose and fell drastically, as every snap they have ever played has been analyzed by every scouting department in the NFL. Now the QB that is predicted to drop past the top-five picks is former Ohio State QB Justin Fields, who was a two-year starter for the Buckeyes and a Heisman finalist in 2019.
Fields is a versatile dual-threat quarterback, while Jones has been often compared to Tom Brady in the sense that he stays in the pocket and makes smart, accurate throws. Jones is criticized for being a pocket passer in an era where most quarterbacks have some sense of mobility. There are also doubters who believe that Jones is overrated because he had a top-five offensive line and wide receiver core in college.
Fields has been criticized for holding onto the ball for too long and allowing himself to be sacked.
In 2019 Fields had a 67.2% completion percentage, throwing for 3,273 yards, 41 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions while rushing for 484 yards and 10 touchdowns. Fields also had a track team of receivers at Ohio State who were known to blow by college defenders.
In 2020, Jones had a 77.4% completion percentage, threw for 4,500 yards, 41 touchdowns, and 4 interceptions.
To me, Fields seems like the better choice for how this Patriots roster is tailored and set up. The Patriots have one of the craftiest offensive coordinators in the league in Josh McDaniels, who has shown that he can center an offense around anyone who walks through the door.
This offense seems to be one that will run the ball down an opponent’s throat and pass when needed behind an amazing offensive line. Justin Fields, being dual-threat, increases the versatility of the Patriots run game.
One thing that stands out to scouts about Fields is his ability to throw the ball down the field accurately. He can drop the ball in a receivers arms with perfect placement 50 yards down the field.
In his recent press conference, Bill Belichick said that this QB class is “interesting,” not giving any hints as to who he would prefer. He also stated that if any player were to drop to New England, that they would most certainly consider trading up to get him. This tells us that Belichick is certainly willing to trade up, if need be, but that it would most likely occur during the draft instead of prior to it. The price to pay for trading up during the draft is drastically cheaper than to trade up before the draft, as we witnessed with the trade of Matthew Stafford from Detroit to Los Angeles.
The draft is getting ever closer and we will continue to see more mock drafts and reports come out in the coming week as to the plans for the New England Patriots quarterback situation.