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The Phils are unable to sweep the Cubs as A.J. Burnett is pounded for eight runs, as the Phils lose to the Cubs, 8-3.

Jimmy RollinsA.J. Burnett give up eight runs as the Phils are unable to sweep the series in Chicago, as they lose to the Cubs 8-3.

The Cubs took the lead in the bottom of the first as, with a man on first, and with nobody out, Ryan Kalish hits an RBI triple, knocking in Emilio Bonifacio, who had started the inning off with a walk, giving the Cubs a 1-0 lead. Two batters later, after Anthony Rizzo had walked, putting runners on the corners, with still nobody out, Nate Schierholtz hits a sacrifice fly, knocking in Kalish, giving the Cubs a 2-0 lead, while sending Rizzo up to second base. The Cubs then made it a 3-0 lead two batters later, after Luis Valbuena had walked, putting runners on second and first, and with one man out, as Starlin Castro hits an RBI double, knocking in Rizzo, and sending Valbuena up to third base. The Cubs then increased their lead as Ryan Sweeney hits a sacrifice fly, knocking in Valbuena, giving the Cubs a 4-0 lead. The Phils tried to get onto the scoreboard in the top of the fourth as, with the bases loaded, via singles by Marlon Byrd and Dom Brown, with Byrd stopping at second base, and with both runners moving up a base on shortstop Castros’ force attempt fielding error of Carlos Ruiz’s grounder, and with one man out, Cody Asche hits into a force out at the plate, 1-2, as pitcher Carlos Villanueva threw out Byrd at home plate, as catcher John Baker touched the plate for the inning’s second out, while Brown and Ruiz both moved up a base, and Asche reached first base, leaving the bases loaded, before A.J. Burnett ended the threat by flying to center for the inning’s final out. The Phils would finally score in the top of the fifth as, with two men on, and with nobody out, Chase Utley hits a grounder up the middle which looked like it had a chance to be a base hit, but would be deflected off of pitcher Villanueva’s glove to the shortstop Castro, who then threw out Utley, 1-6-3, for the inning’s first out, while Ben Revere, who had started the inning off with a walk, then stole second base, before going on to third base on Jimmy Rollins’ single, would score, making it a 4-1 Cubs’ lead, as Rollins, who had earlier singled, then stole second base, would be forced to stay at second base because of the deflection, before Phils’ manager Ryne Sandburg would come out to dispute the call, asking for a review. The umpires would review the play, before upholding the call, leaving the Phils with a man on second, and with one man out. The inning would then end as Ryan Howard hits a sharp line drive that would be caught by Bonifacio, who then threw to second base to double up Rollins in a 4-6 doubleplay. The Cubs would get the run back in the bottom of the sixth as, with two men on, and with two men out, Bonifacio hits an RBI infield single, on a ball that was deflected by pitcher Burnett, allowing Sweeney, who had reached third base on a three base fielding error by center fielder Revere, to score, giving the Cubs a 5-1 lead, while sending Baker, who had earlier been hit by the pitch, to reach second base. The Cubs then made it a 7-1 lead as Kalish followed with a two-run double, scoring both Baker and Bonifacio. After the Phils had replaced Burnett with Brad Lincoln, the Cubs made it an 8-1 lead as Rizzo hits an RBI single, knocking in Kalish. The Phils would get a run back in the top of the ninth as, with the bases loaded, via walks to Asche, pinch-hitter Tony Gwynn, Jr., a wild pitch by pitcher Jose Veras, moving up both runners, and a walk to Revere, and with one man out, Rollins hits into an RBI force out, knocking in Asche, making it an 8-2 Cubs’ lead, as Gwynn is forced out at third base, 5-unassisted, while Revere moved up to second base. After Utley had walked to reload the bases, as Revere and Rollins both moved up a base, and Pedro Strop replaces Veras on the mound, the Phils made it an 8-3 Cubs’ lead as Strop threw a wild pitch, allowing Revere to score, while Rollins and Utley both moved up a base. That would end up being the final score as Howard would line out to left field for the game’s final out.

A. J. Burnett (0-1, 3.86) took the lost as he pitched five and two-third innings, giving up eight runs, only four of which were earned, on five hits, six walks and a hit batter, while striking out three. Brad Lincoln pitched a third of an inning, giving up a hit. Jeff Manship pitched two scoreless innings, giving up a walk, while striking out two. Carlos Villanueva (1-2, 4.26) got the win as he pitched five innings, giving up a run on six hits and a hit batter, while striking out three. Brian Schlitter collected his second hold of the season as he threw a 1-2-3 inning. Hector Rondon pitched two scoreless innings, giving up two hits, while striking out two. Jose Veras pitched two-thirds of an inning, giving up two runs on four walks and a wild pitch, as he struck out a batter. Pedro Strop pitched a third of an inning, as he threw a wild pitch, before finally getting out the only batter whom he would face.

The Phils had eight hits in the game, with Jimmy Rollins (Singles, RBI) and Dom Brown (Singles) both leading the team with two hits each. Ben Revere (Single), Chase Utley (Double, RBI), Byrd (Single) and Cody Asche (Single), had the other four Phils’ hits, while the final Phil’s run came in on a wild pitch. The Phils also had four walks (Revere, Utley, Asche, pinch-hitter Tony Gwynn, Jr.) and two stolen bases (Revere (4), Rollins (1)) in the game, while the defense committed an error (Revere) and picked a runner off first (Burnett).

The Phils (3-3, 4th East) are off today as their home opener against the Brewers (4-2, T-1st Central) was called off yesterday because of the possibility of rain in today’s forecast. Instead, it will be played tomorrow afternoon at Citizens Bank Park, to start at 4:05 pm EDT. The Phils will send to the mound Kyle Kendrick (0-0, 1.29) who is coming off a no-decision against the Rangers on April 2, as he pitched seven strong innings, giving up a run on five hits and a walk, while striking out four, in the Phils’ 4-3 walk-off lost. He will be going for his first win of the season, while trying to lead the Phils to the win on opening day. The Brewers will counter with Kyle Lohse (0-1, 3.86), who is coming off a lost against the Braves on April 1, as he went seven innings, giving up three runs on five hits and two walks, while he struck out eight, in the Brewers’ 5-2 lost. He will be going for his first victory of the season, while trying to silent the Phils’ bats. The Phils will be trying to start off their first home stand of the year on a good note.

The Phils win their first series of the season as they shutout the Cubs, 2-0.

Cliff LeeThe Phils pitched a shutout as they win their first series of the season, defeating the Cubs, 2-0.

The Phils took the lead in the top of the first as, with two men out, Chase Utley hits a solo home run, his second home run of the season, and his second in two games, giving the Phils a 1-0 lead. The Phils would increase their lead in the top of the fourth as, with two men on, and with one man out, Dom Brown hits a RBI single, knocking in Utley, who had started the inning off with a walk, then stopped at second base on Ryan Howard’s single, giving the Phils a 2-0 lead, while sending Howard, who had earlier singled, up to second base. That would end up being the final score as Jonathan Papelbon recorded his first save of the season, redeeming himself for his blown save on Wednesday, as he threw a 1-2-3 ninth, striking out Emilio Bonifacio, swinging, for the game’s final out.

Cliff Lee (2-0, 6.00) got the win as he threw seven shutout innings, giving up ten hits, while striking out six. Jake Diekman collected his second hold of the season as he threw a scoreless inning, giving up a walk. Jonathan Papelbon recorded his first save of the season as he threw a 1-2-3 inning, striking out a batter. Jeff Samardzija (0-1, 1.29) took the lost as he also pitched seven innings, giving up two runs on six hits and three walks, while striking out eight. James Russell pitched two-thirds of an inning, giving up a hit and two walks, while striking out two. Justin Grimm pitched one and a third scoreless innings, striking out a batter.

The Phils had seven hits in the game, with Chase Utley leading the team with three hits, a single, a double and a solo home run. Ben Revere, Ryan Howard, Don Brown (RBI) and Cliff Lee had the other four Phils’ hits, all singles. The Phils had five walks (Utley, Howard, Marlon Byrd, Brown (2)), and a stolen base (Revere (3)) in the game, while the Phils’ defense performed a doubleplay.

The Phils (3-2, 4th East) will conclude their series with the Cubs (1-4, T-4th Central) tomorrow afternoon. The game will be played at Wrigley Field and is to start at 2:20 pm EDT (1:20 pm CDT). A.J. Burnett (0-0, 1.50) will start the game for the Phils, as he comes off a strong start in a no-decision against the Rangers on April 1, as he went six innings, giving up a run on seven hits and two walks, while striking out three, in the Phils’ 3-2 walk-off lost. He will be going for his first win of the season, while trying to give the Phils’ pitching staff their fifth straight quality start. Carlos Villanueva (2-0, 13.50) will make the start for the Cubs, his first for the season, as he last pitched on April 2 against the Pirates in relief as he pitched an inning and a third, giving up a run on four hits, while he struck out a batter, in the Cubs’ 4-3 extra-inning lost. Villanueva will be trying to put a stop to the Cubs’ present slide. The Phils will be trying to come back home with a series sweep under their belts.

The Phils spoil the Cubs’ celebration of the 100th home opener at Wrigley Field, as they defeat the Cubs, 7-2.

Chase UtleyThe Phils ruin the 100th home opener at Wrigley Field as they defeat the Cubs, 7-2.

The Cubs take the lead in the bottom of the second as, with two men out, Wellington Castillo hits a solo home run, his first home run of the season, giving the Cubs a 1-0 lead. The Cubs would increase their lead in the bottom of the third as, with a man on second, and with two men out, Starlin Castro hits an RBI single, knocking in Darwin Barney, who had started the inning off with a single, then moved up to second base on Travis Wood’s sacrifice bunt, 1-4, giving the Cubs a 2-0 lead. The Phils would get a run back in the top of the third as, with two men on, and with nobody out, Dom Brown hits an RBI single, knocking in Marlon Byrd, who had started the inning off by reaching base on third baseman Luis Valbuena’s fielding error, then stopping at third base on Ryan Howard’s single, making it a 2-1 Cubs’ lead, while sending Howard, who had just singled, up to second base. The Phils would take the lead in the top of the fifth as, with one man on, and with one man out, Chase Utley hits a two-run home run, his first home run of the season, knocking in Carlos Ruiz, who had just singled, giving the Phils a 3-2 lead. The Phils would add to their lead in the top of the seventh as, with two men on, and with one man out, Utley hits an RBI single, knocking in Ben Revere, who had earlier singled, then stole second base, giving the Phils a 4-2 lead, while sending Ruiz, who had just walked, up to second base. The Phils would increase their lead in the top of the eighth as, with one man on, and with two men out, pinch-hitter John Mayberry, Jr. hits a two-run home run, his first home run of the year, knocking in Brown, who had lead the inning off with a single, making it a 6-2 Phils’ lead. The Phils added an insurance run in the top of the ninth as, with a man on first, and with two men out, Brown hits an RBI double, knocking in Howard, who had just walked, giving the Phils a 7-2 lead. That would remain the final score as Mario Hollands and Jeff Manship would combine for a 1-2-3 ninth, with Manship getting pinch-hitter Mike Ott to ground out, 6-3, for the game’s final out.

Roberto Hernandez (1-0, 3.38) got the win as he pitched five and a third innings, giving up two runs on three hits and a walk, while striking out five. Jake Diekman collected his first hold of the year as he pitched two-thirds of an inning, getting out both men whom he would face, striking out one. Justin De Fratus also collected his first hold of the season as he threw a 1-2-3 inning, striking out a batter. Antonio Bastardo, Mario Hollands and Jeff Manship would combine for two 1-2-3 innings, striking out two batters (Bastardo (1), Hollands (1)) between them. Travis Wood (0-1, 4.26) took the lost as he went six and a third innings, giving up four runs, only three of which were earned, on six hits, a walk and a hit batter, while striking out eight. Hector Rondon pitched to one batter, walking him. Wesley Wright pitched an inning and a third, giving up two runs on four hits, while striking out a batter. Brian Schlitter pitched an inning and a third, giving up a run on a hit and a walk.

The Phils pounded out eleven hits in the game, with Ben Revere (Singles) and Dom Brown (2 Singles, Double, 2 RBIs) both leading the team with three hits, followed by Chase Utley (Single, Home Run, 3 RBIs) with two hits. Carlos Ruiz (Single), Ryan Howard (Single) and pinch-hitter John Mayberry, Jr. (Home Run, 2 RBIs), had the other three Phils’ hits. The Phils also had three walks (Ruiz (2), Howard), a hit batter (Ruiz) and a stolen base (Revere (2)) in the game, while the defense performed a doubleplay.

The Phils (2-2, 4th East) will continue their series with the Cubs (1-3, 5th Central) with a day game tomorrow afternoon. The game will be played at Wrigley Field, and it will start at 2:20 pm EDT (1:20 pm CDT). The Phils will send to the mound Cliff Lee (1-0, 14.40), who is coming off a win against the Rangers on March 31, as he went five innings, giving up eight runs on eleven hits and a walk, while striking out only one, in the Phils’ 14-10 win. He will be trying to pitched a better start, while trying to help get the Phils over the .500 mark. The Cubs will counter with Jeff Samardzija (0-0, 0.00), who is coming off a no-decision against the Pirates on March 31, as he went seven shutout innings, giving up five hits and two walks, while striking out three, in the Cubs’ 1-0 extra-inning lost. He will be trying to even up the series for the Cubs. The Phils will once again be trying for the series win tomorrow, while hoping to see their fourth straight quality start from their starters, while the bats continue to hit.

The Phils win their first series of the second half of the season as they defeat the Cubs in a laughter, 12-1.

chase utleyThe Phils defeat the Cubs in a laughter, winning 12-1.

The Phils took the lead in the bottom of the second as, with runners on second and third, and with one man out, John Mayberry, Jr. hits an RBI infield single, scoring Darin Ruf, who had earlier singled, then stopped at third base on Cody Asche’s double, giving the Phils a 1-0 lead, while sending Asche, who had just doubled, up to third base. The Phils then made it a 2-0 lead one batter later as Michael Martinez hits an RBI single, scoring Asche, while sending Mayberry over to third base. The Phils then made it a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the third as, with one man on, and with one man out, Ruf hits a two-run home run, his fifth home run of the season, knocking in Chase Utley, who had earlier doubled. The Cubs got on the scoreboard in the top of the fourth as Nate Schierholtz hits a lead-off home run, his fifteenth home run of the year, making it a 4-1 Phils’ lead. The Phils then proceeded to bust the game open in their half of the fourth as, with runners on the corners and with one man out, Carlos Ruiz hits a RBI bunt single, knocking in Martinez, who had started the inning off with a single, had reached second base on Ethan Martin’s sacrifice bunt, 1-4, then reached third base as he beat Cubs’ pitcher Jeff Samardija’s throw to third on Kevin Frandsen’s fielder choice’s grounder to the pitcher, giving the Phils a 5-1 lead, while sending Frandsen, who was safe at first on the fielder’s choice, up to second base. The Phils then increased their lead as Utley hits an RBI double, knocking in Frandsen, giving the Phils a 6-1 lead, while sending Ruiz up to third base. The Phils then made it an 8-1 lead as Dom Brown hits a two-run single, scoring both Ruiz and Utley. The Phils then made it a 10-1 lead two batters later as, with a man on, and now with two men out, Asche hits a two-run home run, his first career home run, knocking in Brown. The Phils then made it a 12-1 lead in the bottom of the eighth as, with a man on first, and with nobody out, John McDonald hits a two-run home run, his first home run of the season, knocking in Ruiz, who had started the inning off with a single. That would end up being the final score as Raul Valdes pitched a 1-2-3 ninth.

Ethan Martin (1-1, 6.75) got the win, the first of his major league career, as he pitched five strong innings, giving up a run on four hits and three walks, as he struck out four. Zack Minor, Cesar Jimenez and Raul Valdes combined for four scoreless innings, giving up just two hits (Jimenez) and a walk (Minor) between them, while striking out four (Minor (2), Jimenez (1), Valdes (1)). Jeff Samardija (6-11, 4.23) took the lost as he lasted only three and a third innings, giving up nine runs on eleven hits, while striking out three. Eduardo Sanchez pitched two and a third innings, giving up a run on a hit and two walks, while striking out three. Hector Rondon pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a walk, while striking out a batter. Michael Bowden pitched an inning, giving up two runs on two hits.

The Phils had fourteen hits in the game, with Cody Asche (2 RBIs) leading the ballclub with three hits, a single, a double and a two-run home run, the first of his career, followed by Carlos Ruiz (Singles, RBI), Chase Utley (Doubles, RBI), Darin Ruf (Single, Home Run, 2 RBIs), and Michael Martinez (Singles, RBI) with two hits each. Dom Brown (Single, 2 RBIs), John Mayberry, Jr. (Single, RBI) and John McDonald (Home Run, 2 RBIs) had the other three Phils’ hits. The Phils also had three walks (Utley, Ruf and pinch-hitter Erik Kratz) and one sacrifice bunt (Ethan Martin) in the game.

The Phils (52-62, 4th) will start a three-game series with the Nationals (54-60, 2nd), starting with a night game tonight. The game will be played at Nationals Park and is to start at 7:05 pm EDT. The Phils will send to the mound John Lannan (3-4, 4.10), who is coming off a no-decision against the Braves on August 3, as he pitched four and a third innings, giving up four runs, only two of which were earned, in the Phils’ 5-4 extra-innings lost. He will be trying to give his old team fits. The Nats will counter with Dan Haren (6-11, 5.14) who is coming off a win against the Brewers on August 3, as he went seven innings, giving up four scattered hits and two walks, while striking out six, in the Nats’ 3-0 win. He will be trying to pitch well against the Phils. The Phils will be trying to start their present series on a good note.

The MTR Morning Show – FlippinOutRadio Edition 6-24-13

Joey has to work in the city, so James and Kyle Flippin discuss “why isn’t the Stanley Cup Finals getting better ratings?” , The Mets take 2 of 3 from Phillies , Yankees split with the Rays , and the on-going saga of Aaron Hernandez …

MTR Morning Show 6-24-13

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2013 Stanley Cup Finals: Blackhawks beat Bruins 6-5 in OT to cap crazy roller-coaster Stanley Cup game

BOSTON – The Boston Bruins’ comeback fell short this time. And suddenly the Stanley Cup final is a lot more interesting.

Brent Seabrook scored at 9:51 of overtime to give the Chicago Blackhawks a 6-5 win over the never-say-die Bruins in a wild game Wednesday night. The defenseman’s shot through traffic that beat Boston goalie Tuukka Rask gives the Blackhawks, who never trailed in the game, a new lease of life.

The teams are now tied at 2-2 heading into Saturday’s Game 5 in Chicago. And Boston’s momentum, from two straight wins built on prickly defense, has been arrested.

“(We were) thinking we pretty much have to win one game (in Boston), so mission accomplished,” said Chicago defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson. “And we’ve got two days here to regroup and go back to Chicago and play in front of a big crowd back home. Hopefully we can feed off the energy in the United Center.”

Added forward Patrick Sharp: “Best of three with two home games but it doesn’t really mean much. Boston’s been tough in their building and tough in Chicago. I don’t think it matters where we play, it’s going to be an even series.”

The Bruins threw everything they had at the visitors in mounting a furious comeback but came up short in the third game of the series to go to overtime. Seabrook’s winner was his third of the playoffs and second in overtime.

Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said he felt confident going into extra time, despite Boston’s fight back.

“I still thought in the third period we didn’t give up a ton even though it was a 5-5 game,” he said. “We still had some composure going into the overtime. I thought the bench was where it needed to be and (we) continued to move forward.

“But certainly they got the crowd (going) and we lost the momentum a couple of times. We had a nice lead, but they pressed. Their power play helped them tonight as well. But we did a lot of good things.

“We’ll look at the positives and move forward.”

It was a crazy contest, crammed full of offence and momentum swings bristled with more than a little bad blood. At times, it was like a violent all-star game.

Quenneville’s decision to reunite Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Bryan Bickell paid dividends. Toews and Kane each scored for the Blackhawks, with Michal Handzus, Marcus Kruger and Sharp getting the Blackhawks’ other goals.

But the Bruins refused to keel over in trying to defending a seven-game playoff winning streak at home.

Patrice Bergeron scored twice and Rich Peverley, Milan Lucic and Johnny Boychuk added singles for Boston, which found itself behind the eight-ball all night. It was a roller-coaster ride for the crowd of 17,565 — the 164th straight full house at TD Garden — as the Bruins trailed 3-1 and 4-2.

Chicago outshot Boston 41-28 after regulation time and 47-33 overall.

“We opened up and scored goals. But we gave them some goals,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien. “Our whole team was average tonight … They were better than we were.”

Julien cited poor decision-making and sloppy puck movement in what he termed “a tough outing.”

What kind of night was it for Boston? Hulking captain Zdeno Chara had two assists but was minus-3.

The Toews-Kane-Bickell line combined for two goals and three assists and was plus-7. Bickell and Kane both had assists on the winning goal.

“We knew it was going to be a tough series and an even series,” said Bergeron, who finished at minus-2 despite his two goals. “That’s where we’re at. We never said it was going to be easy. They’re a great team out there and so are we.”

Tied 1-1 after 20 minutes, Chicago pulled ahead by outscoring the Bruins 3-2 in a frenetic second period that saw five goals in 10:49 and three in 2:39.

The five second-period goals matched the combined total of Games 2 and 3. And Chicago’s three-goal production for the period was one more than the Pittsburgh Penguins managed to put past Rask in four games.

Trailing 4-3 to open the third period, Bergeron pulled the Bruins even at 2:05 with a wrist shot on the glove side that Corey Crawford might want back. Jaromir Jagr, in his 200th NHL playoff game, drew the assist on Bergeron’s ninth goal of the post-season after some dogged possession in the Chicago end.

The Bruins are no strangers to comebacks. Boston trailed 4-1 with 11 minutes to go in Game 7 against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round, only to make history by winning 5-4 in OT to become the first NHL team to win a Game 7 after trailing by three goals in the third period.

Sharp put Chicago ahead 5-4 on the power play at 11:19 just six seconds after Boston survived a brief two-man disadvantage. Sharp stuffed the puck in from close range with Jagr trying to race back in the play from the penalty box, which still had David Krejci in it.

Boston remarkably answered back with Boychuk’s slapshot just 55 seconds later knotting the score at 5-5 before Seabrook ended it in overtime to give Chicago a win it desperately needed.

Teams have trailed 3-1 in a best-of-seven a total of 229 times and have come back to win the series on 20 occasions or 8.7 per cent of the time. But the only team to do it in a Stanley Cup final was the 1942 Maple Leafs, who famously rallied to beat the Detroit Red Wings.

Chicago came out with purpose in the first period and Rask had to stop Marian Hossa, back in the lineup after missing Game 3 due to an upper-body injury, from point-blank range early on. By the five-minute mark, Chicago had outshot Boston 5-0. A penalty to the Blackhawks’ Johnny Oduya seemed like a reprieve but a short-handed 2-on-1 rush with Handzus and Brandon Saad put Chicago ahead at 6:48.

Tyler Seguin lost the puck to Saad near the blue-line, allowing the penalty killing duo to take off.

The goal, the first short-handed effort of Handzus’ 95-game playoff career, ended Rask’s shutout streak at 129:14 and the Bruins’ home shutout string at 193:16.

But Boston began to show signs that it was digging itself out of the hole. A Krejci chance at the side of the net just missed when the puck bounced over his stick and several other passes also just missed their targets in front of the Chicago net.

Peverley then tied it up in the dying seconds of a power play. It was a typical sequence by the Bruins, the product of hard work. Andrew Ference made a nice play at the blue-line to keep the puck in and when Saad couldn’t clear the puck, Peverley swooped in and rifled a wrist shot past a surprised Crawford on the glove side at 14:43.

It was Peverley’s first goal since Game 3 of the first-round series against the Maple Leafs.

As the first period wound down, the Bruins were moving their feet and creating chances. Outshot 7-1 earlier in the period, Boston finished with nine shots to Chicago’s 12 and had a shot ring post after one.

It was a tight second period until Toews, with his first point of the series, tipped in a Michal Rozsival point shot at 6:33 to make it 2-1 past a screened Rask. It was just Toews’ second of the playoffs and his first goal since May 25.

Less than two minutes later, Kane scooped a backhand for his seventh of the playoffs into a near empty net at 8:41.

Julien called a timeout in a bid to staunch the flow of goals and it seemed to work as Lucic pulled one back with his sixth at 14:43, stuffing in a backhand of a Chara rebound after some fierce Boston forechecking.

But Kruger ended the celebrations 49 seconds later, tucking a shot home after a nice setup by Michael Frolik. Kruger appeared to have outdeked himself, but pulled the puck back as it went past the post and stuffed it in.

Boston got the crowd going again at 17:22 on the power play, cutting the deficit to 4-3 with an opportunistic Bergeron goal. A booming Chara shot came off the glass behind Crawford’s goal and bounced right in front of the crease where Bergeron banged it on.

An action-packed second period ended with Chris Kelly hitting the post and Crawford stopping Jagr from close range. Chicago outshot Boston 13-11 in the period.

Badly beaten in the faceoff circle last time out, Chicago held a 25-20 edge in faceoffs after two periods in Game 4. The Bruins led 35-33 after three periods.

Coming into Wednesday’s game, the Bruins had won seven straight at home, outscoring their opponents 21-10.

Prior to Game 4, the Bruins were 11-2 in their last 13 games, with both losses coming in overtime. They had outscored opponents 40-21 in that span.

2013 Stanley Cup Finals: Blackhawks beat Bruins 6-5 in OT to cap crazy roller-coaster Stanley Cup game is a post from: PhatzRadio.com

Looking Past Game One of the Stanley Cup Finals: Can the Bruins Recover?

For the first time in 34 years two of professional hockey’s original six teams meet to fight for the Stanley Cup. The Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks kicked off the grand finale of the NHL season Wednesday night in Chicago with both teams coming into this series with a ton of confidence and momentum. Both won their final games by a single goal: the Bruins in regulation to complete a sweep of the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Blackhawks in overtime to squelch any chance of a comeback for the LA Kings. The Blackhawks took game one with a late comeback effort in the third period and a miraculous goal in the third overtime off two deflections of a Michal Rozsival slapshot.

Both teams have incredible goaltenders, so the rest of this series is likely to be decided by multiple one-goal deficits. Bruins Goalie Tuukka Rask posted two shutouts in the Pittsburgh series against a team who scored the most goals in the NHL during the regular season. The Bruins defense as a whole kept the Penguins to just two total goals for the duration of the series. The Blackhawks averaged 3.1 goals per game in the regular season, but they didn’t face a goalie like Rask every day. Chicago does have a hotshot goalie of their own, though. Corey Crawford actually did a hair better than Rask through the post-season in one major category, earning him a 1.74 goals against average to Rask’s 1.75. On the other hand Rask enters this series with a .943 save percentage to Crawford’s .935. Both teams will have to be very crafty and look to score on unconventional plays, using unique angles and assaulting the net from every side. The first game proved both teams are capable of doing just that when it counts.

Offensively the Blackhawks are well-balanced with 11 of their players coming into this series with at least five playoff points. Their last game against the Kings also proved that just one player can make a huge difference depending on the circumstances. Patrick Kane scored a hat trick in the final victory for the ‘hawks, and that included the game winner in overtime. The Bruins offense is just as stacked with 15 players scoring at least one goal in the playoffs. David Krejci leads the squad with 9 playoff goals with 12 assists, followed closely by Nathan Horton’s 7 scores with 10 assists. Johnny Boychuk (1 assist) and Patrice Bergeron (5 assists) both came into this series with five playoff goals each. There’s one Bruin who’s also bound to break out of a goal-free playoff slump this series: Jaromir Jagr. The Bruins were averaging 36.4 shots on goal in the playoffs leading into game one of the finals, and they showed no signs of slowing down Wednesday with 54 more shots on goal in that contest.

Both teams are playing strong hockey and should provide NHL fans with a thrilling series. If their recent play is any indication it could be a back-and-forth series with no team having any clear edge. All that adds up to huge potential for a deciding game 7. There really couldn’t be two better matched teams in the finals.

Prediction: Bruins win the series 4 games to 2 with Rask playing better than ever moving forward from this tough loss and turning away the best shots the Blackhawks have to offer throughout the series. Most of the games will be one-goal wins, and look for two or three more games to go into overtime for the deciding goal. It will be a hard-fought series with the Blackhawks tying it up at two games each going into game 5 where the Bruins will gain their separation and never look back.   .

Schedule:

Game 2: Saturday, June 15th in Chicago @ 8PM EST on NBC Sports Network

Game 3: Monday, June 17th in Boston @ 8PM EST on NBC Sports Network

Game 4: Wednesday, June 19th in Boston @ 8PM EST on NBC Sports Network

Game 5: Saturday, June 22nd in Chicago @ 8PM EST on NBC

Game 6: Monday, June 24th in Boston @ 8PM EST on NBC

Game 7: Wednesday, June 26th in Chicago @ 8PM EST on NBC

2013 Stanley Cup Finals: Blackhawks beat Bruins 4-3 in 3OT Cup opener

CHICAGO (AP) — Of course, it was Andrew Shaw. The pesky little forward always gets up when he’s knocked down.

The three-overtime opener of the Stanley Cup finals came to a thrilling end at the stroke of midnight Wednesday because the tenacious Shaw is a whole lot more than his reputation for irritating opposing players.

Shaw skated in front of the goal at the right time, deflecting Dave Bolland’s tip into the net for the winning score in the Chicago Blackhawks ‘ 4-3 victory over the Boston Bruins in the fifth-longest game in the history of the Stanley Cup.

“We knew it wasn’t going to be pretty at that point,” Shaw said. “You could tell both teams were physically exhausted. We’ve preached it: Go to the net, you’ll find a way to get a greasy goal. We did a heck of a job of it there in the third overtime.”

Shaw was knocked down near the boards but got up as the puck came out to Michal Rozsival, who started the winning sequence with a shot from the right point into traffic. Bolland’s tip then went off Shaw’s right leg and past Tuukka Rask at 12:08 for his fifth goal of the playoffs.

And just like that, the longest finals game in five years was over. Shaw skated off to the side and pumped his arms furiously, then joined his teammates for a weary celebration.

“The bigger the stage, the bigger the challenge, he rises to the occasion,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “He knows where the front of net is. Doesn’t have to be pretty. He’s a warrior. He’s one of those guys that you appreciate he’s on your side and he’s relentless.”

Milan Lucic had two goals and an assist for the Bruins, who had won five straight and nine of 10. Patrice Bergeron scored a power-play goal and David Krejci finished with two assists.

“Not disappointed in our effort,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “There’s certain things you’re going to want to fix for next game. But as far as the game is concerned, it was a hard-fought game.”

Rask made an astounding 59 saves in a finals marathon that passed Pittsburgh’s 4-3 win over Detroit on June 2, 2008, when Petr Sykora scored at 9:57 of the third overtime.

Game 2 is Saturday night at the United Center.

“That’s playoff hockey,” Bruins center Rich Peverley said. “It’s fun to watch, so we’ll think about this until we get out of here and then shake it off and get ready for Saturday.”

The Blackhawks won for the eighth time in nine games and improved to 10-1 at home in the playoffs.

Bolland and Johnny Oduya scored in the third period for Chicago, which never would have made it to the third overtime if not for an impressive performance by goaltender Corey Crawford. Brandon Saad had his first goal of the playoffs.

Crawford gave the Blackhawks a chance by standing his ground when the Bruins had repeated opportunities in the extra sessions.

Shawn Thornton and Daniel Paille skated in for a 2-on-1 in the first OT, and Crawford turned away Thornton on the doorstep. He denied Peverley and Tyler Seguin in rapid succession, and helped Chicago kill off two power plays when it was whistled twice for too many men on the ice.

Nathan Horton hit the post in the first extra session, and Zdeno Chara’s slap shot deflected off Jaromir Jagr and then the inside of the right post at the very end of the second overtime.

“It’s exhausting,” said Crawford, who had 29 of his 51 saves in the overtimes. “I just try to tell myself to make the next save, and we’re going to score on our next shot.”

The action was so fast and furious that it took a toll on the players, with Horton skating off during a power play with an injury – likely a serious one to leave the ice during that pivotal moment.

The Blackhawks trailed 3-1 in the third period before they turned up the pressure on Rask, who stepped up when he faced a similar attack from Pittsburgh in the Eastern Conference finals. This time, he coughed up the lead, hurt by one unlucky carom.

First, Bolland converted a nice pass from Shaw for his first goal of the playoffs. Then Oduya’s long slap shot went off the left skate of Boston defenseman Andrew Ference and into the net for the tying goal with 7:46 remaining in regulation.

Oduya’s shot was going wide if it didn’t hit Ference’s skate.

“We were up two goals and all of a sudden the game was tied,” said Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara, who had more than 45 minutes of ice time. “We’ve got two days to regroup and get ready for the next game.”

The sellout crowd of 22,110 cheered as Krejci and Chicago captain Jonathan Toews stared each other down for the opening faceoff of the first Stanley Cup finals between Original Six franchises in 34 years.

And it almost didn’t happen.

Game 1 came exactly five months after the official end of a long and bitter lockout. The labor dispute wiped out 510 games, but the sides managed to come together in time to save an abbreviated 48-game season and playoffs.

They were rewarded with a final playoff series between two big-market teams with passionate followings and scores of top players. Led by Toews and a group of skilled forwards, the Blackhawks returned to the Stanley Cup finals for the first time since they won it all three year ago. Boston won the title the following season, and the same core of players is at the center of this year’s playoff run.

It was enough to attract the attention of President Barack Obama, who has a home in Chicago and made it clear who he was pulling for before the opener. He wished the Blackhawks good luck over Twitter before adding: “hope to welcome you back to the White House again as (hash)StanleyCup champs.”

Boston countered with a Rolling Stone: Mick Jagger tweeted a picture of himself holding a Bruins jersey before a show at TD Garden.

The Bruins got off to fast start behind Lucic, who converted a nice pass from Horton for the first goal of the series at 13:11 in the first.

Lucic set up his second goal with a little dirty work. He won the puck in a scrum along the boards, got a pass from Krejci and fired it into the right side just 51 seconds into the second period, extending Boston’s lead to 2-0 with his fifth goal of the playoffs.

The two-goal lead looked like a sure bet with Rask in net, but the Blackhawks found a way to get back into the game against the red-hot goaltender. Marian Hossa stole the puck from Dennis Seidenberg in the Boston end and fed Saad, who one-timed it past Rask at 3:08 in the second.

Saad’s goal ended a scoreless streak of 149 minutes and 36 seconds for Rask dating to Game 3 of the sweep against the Penguins.

That got the crowd going again, and the Blackhawks drew a pair of penalties in rapid succession to earn a 5-on-3 power play for 1:17. With the prime opportunity to move into a tie, they passed the puck around too much and the Bruins easily killed off both penalties.

NOTES: It was the first game between the teams since Boston’s 3-2 shootout victory on Oct. 15, 2011. There were no games against teams from the other conference during the lockout-shortened season. … This is the first playoff series between the teams since Boston swept Chicago in the 1978 quarterfinals. The Bruins won five of their six previous postseason series against the Blackhawks.

Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap

2013 Stanley Cup Finals: Blackhawks beat Bruins 4-3 in 3OT Cup opener is a post from: PhatzRadio.com

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Blackhawks Take Game One of Stanley Cup Finals With Triple Overtime Win Over Bruins

By: Rich Bergeron

The Chicago Blackhawks went from the frying pan of a double overtime series finale against the LA Kings into the fire of a triple overtime game against the Boston Bruins to kick off the Stanley Cup finals Wednesday night at the United Center. The two squads struggled to break a 3-3 tie through an exciting first two overtimes before a miraculous set of puck deflections by the Blackhawks finally ended the game over halfway through a third overtime. If this epic game is any indication of what the future holds for this series, fans of both teams are in for some late nights of hockey.

The Bruins scored a goal in each of the first three periods, with two of them coming from Milan Lucic and the third coming from Patrice Bergeron on the first successful power play for the Bruins in 14 opportunities. The first Lucic goal came at 13:11 of the first period with Nathan Horton and David Krejci assisting. Lucic deposited the puck into the right side of the net past a reaching Corey Crawford to put the Bruins on the board. Though the first period featured multiple big hits and a very aggressive start for the Blackhawks, the Bruins adjusted by the end of the period and ended up with 11 shots on goal to 8 shots for the ‘hawks. Lucic scored his second goal just 51 seconds into the second period with a slapshot from Bergeron that skiped off Crawford’s left arm into the net. Krejci also assisted on Lucic’s second goal. The final Bruins goal came at the 6:09 mark of the third period thanks to a power play inspired by a tripping penalty called when Michael Frolik attempted to hook the skate of Zdeno Chara with his stick. Bergeron put the puck in the upper right corner of the Blackhawks goal just moments into that power play with assists from Tyler Seguin and Lucic.

The Blackhawks stopped a long streak of playoff saves for Bruins Goalie Tuukka Rask that lasted 129:36 with Rookie Brandon Saad’s first playoff goal at 3:08 of the second period. Marian Hossa came up with the assist. The Blackhawks finished their comeback in the third with two goals to tie it up from Dave Bolland (8:00) and Johnny Oduya (12:14). Bolland’s goal went right over the defensive split of Rask with Andrew Shaw earning the assist. Oduya’s goal came from a vicious outside slapshot that careened off the skate of Andrew Ference and trickled just behind Rask into the net. Marcus Kruger and Frolik came up with the assists on the tying score.

Through most of the first two overtimes the Bruins tried to overcome a higher output of shots from the Blackhawks, who maintained around a 10-shot overall edge. The Blackhawks gave up two penalties for having too many men on the ice, and the Bruins put themselves in great positions to win only to miss the mark by inches on multiple occasions. From post-ringing shots to swarming attacks that failed to follow through to goals, the Bruins seemed in full control going into the second half of the third overtime. It seemed to be only a matter of time before they would finally end it all. Instead, it was a bizarre blast from Michal Rozsival that deflected off the stick handle of Dave Bolland and then off Andrew Shaw into the goal past Rask, who had a blocked view of the whole scene. The Bruins exited the ice and the bench as quickly as possible with nobody to blame but cruel fate for a crushing loss that could have been theirs for the taking.

The Bruins played some phenomenal defense throughout the game with Rask deserving only half the credit for keeping the game in reach throughout the contest. The Bruins defense stuffed multiple shots with their own sticks and selfless slides. Rask did his part, though, saving 59 total shots to 51 for Crawford. The Bruins went 1-3 on the power play while the Blackhawks were scoreless in three power plays. Despite tons of huge hits and some extremely physical play, the sportsmanship in this game was impressive. No fights broke out at all, just a few minor scuffles quicky broken up by referees. Nathan Horton also sustained some type of injury to his arm or shoulder that kept him out of the second half of the game.

The Bruins are now 4-2 in overtime games in these playoffs while the Blackhawks improve to 4-1 in the same category. Both teams will need the two days off they will get between this contest and game two on Saturday, also at the United Center. The series won’t go back to Boston until Monday’s game three, though the Bruins have played better hockey on the road in recent playoff games than they have on home ice. The first game proved to be one of the most competitive contests in the Stanley Cup’s long history, and it was also one of the longest. The final goal came with just 7 minutes and 42 seconds left in the third overtime. The rest of the series may see more overtime periods in future games, but it’s hard to imagine another game going this long. One theme that will likely continue throughout the series is one-goal deficits determining the final outcome. These teams are just so incredibly competitive and closely matched. We are in for an epic finals.

Boston Bruins to face Blackhawks in Stanley Cup 2013

The Boston Bruins will be advancing into the finals of the Stanley Cup playoffs after a 1-0 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins last Friday evening. Defensemen, Adam McQuaid, scored the only goal of the game bringing the Bruins to victory early in the third period of game 4. Boston Bruins fans everywhere celebrated the victory. This was Tuuka Rask’s second shutout of the series, only allowing the Penguins two goals in all four games that were played, coming nowhere near the Bruin’s twelve goals scored in the last four games. This was an exciting moment for Adam McQuaid, as a defensemen who rarely gets the chance to score, let alone the series-winning goal. It was his first goal in thirteen games. The moment the buzzer sounded fans went crazy after seeing the “laser beam” slap shot that went right over Penguins’ goalie, Vokoun’s, glove into the top left corner of the goal.

The Bruins will be taking on the Presidents’ Trophy winners, the Chicago Blackhawks, in the finals of the Stanley Cup, which begin this Wednesday at 8pm EDT. This will be an exciting game for not only Bruins and Blackhawks games, but also almost anyone who takes a keen interest in the history of hockey. Both teams are members of the Original Six and have not met since 1978 in the Stanley Cup Finals.  It will be one of the most exciting Stanley Cup Finals matchups in recent history considering both teams are so talented and have such similar positive attributes.

Neither team is particularly well acquainted with the other so it will be extremely interesting to watch unfold and see which team comes out on top. The Bruins did not face the Blackhawks this season and have not done so since October 15, 2011. Bruins’ coach, Claude Julien, said last Sunday, “We’ve done our homework, we see what they have. We’re not going in there blindly.” Hopefully, the Bruins are aware of what they are up against and give the fans an even better end to a great season.

Right now the Bruins seem like an unstoppable force backed by a city that would love nothing more than to bring home the Stanley Cup, but the Blackhawks are first in the league and will surely not give up the Cup that easy. It will be a fight to the finish.

References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presidents’_Trophy

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Stanley_Cup_champions

http://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/2013/06/09/bruins-blackhawks-unfamiliar-foes/fLg2TSZA2xcK1KjsF5TcrK/story.html

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