Daily Noontime – April 5, 2012

Paul Pierce missed a game-winning shot on Wednesday, as San Antonio escaped with an 87-86 victory! (Photo Credit: Zimbio.net)

By NoontimeSports.com 

Happy Thursday to everyone, and welcome into yet another astounding rendition of the Daily Noontime! Let’s get this day started with some headlines and news from the Hub!

* The Boston Celtics six-game winning streak was snapped on Wednesday, as the San Antonio Spurs escaped with an 87-86 victory. The Green and White rallied during the final minute, but Paul Pierce missed a jump shot as time expired, which allowed the Spurs to walk off the TD Garden parquet with a victory.

* The Celtics will return to the hardwood on Thursday, as they’ll travel to Chicago for a 9:30pm tip-off. The Bulls currently reside atop the Eastern Conference standings, and have beaten the Celtics twice this season.

* Boston’s hockey team – the Bruins – will return to the ice for their second to last regular season game on Thursday when face-off against the Senators in Ottawa.

* According to reports – no news has been released in regards to Johnny Boychuk’s knee injury from Tuesday against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Boychuck left the game in the third period, and did not return for the remainder of the contest.

* Finally, the Boston Red Sox will play their first official regular season contest against the Tigers in Detroit on Thursday – first pitch is scheduled for 1:00pm – Jon Lester will oppose Justin Verlander.

Bruins Beat Flyers 5-1, Advance to Eastern Conference Finals

By Stacey Kilpatrick

I was 4-years old in 1992, which was the last time the Boston Bruins played in the Eastern Conference Finals. Now, I’m almost 23-years old and cannot believe that they are headed back the championship.

Johnny Boychuk, Milan Lucic and Brad Marchand goals during the third period helped Boston secure a 5-1 victory on Friday at the TD Garden against the Philadelphia Flyers, as well as punch their ticket to round three of the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Lucic put the Bruins on the scoreboard at 12:02 in the first period on a power play. Yes, they scored on a power play, which was followed up by some great Tim Thomas goaltending, which was on display all night long.

Horton Leads Bruins By Canadiens, Boston Advances to NHL Conference Semis

Horton once again, propelled the Bruins to another OT win against the Canadiens on Wednesday at the TD Garden.

By Matt Noonan

Win or go home is the message every coach tells his or her team prior to Game 7.

The Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens met on Wednesday evening at the TD Garden for Game 7 and clearly this final NHL Stanley Cup Playoff opening round matchup was intense and simply “in your face” hockey.

This game had that special Game 5 feeling written all over it, especially when Nathan Horton scored halfway through double overtime. It also had moments of Game 4, when Boston rallied to tie the series 2-2 at the Belle Center in Montreal.

Although, who exactly was going to win this game remained the question for nearly 65 minutes, but yet again, Horton netted another overtime winner and punched the Bruins tickets to the NHL quarterfinals, where they’ll face the Philadelphia Flyers for the second time in two years.

Horton was one of the major off-season acquisitions by the Bruins and clearly, this particular move paid off. He finished the season with 26 goals, 27 assists and 53 points. So, I think it is certainly fair to say that he made a dent on the Boston Bruins organization.

Although, before the Bruins celebrated Horton’s exciting game winner, Boston began the game with two quick scores that came off the sticks of Johnny Boychuck and Mark Recchi. Then Yannick Weber scored Montreal’s first goal nearly four minutes after Recchi had scored. Indeed, the Canadiens had washed away any thought of a Bruins shutout, as Webber’s goal was one of those, “we’re not giving up” moments.

Boston would be held scoreless in the second period, as Carey Price baffled the Bruins offense that continuously attempted shot after shot. Price finished the game with 30 saves and every time he deflected the puck, it was simply magical.

In the second period, the Canadiens did more than just watch Price stand on his head, as they scored their second goal of the contest when Tomas Plekanec took advantage of Boston’s shorthanded unit and pushed the puck passed Tim Thomas. Thomas hung his head and the TD Garden fans were suddenly in a state of shock.

Boston’s power play was miserable for the seventh night in a row, as Montreal finished the game 2-for-4. Yet, why exactly has Boston’s penalty killing unit played so dreadful is way beyond me, but just consider this, the Bruins never scored a single goal when they were on the power play all series, which is quite frightening.

Entering the third and final period, both teams played their “hearts out,” as both Chris Kelly and P.K. Subban recorded goals for their teams to force overtime and once the sudden death period began, it only took Boston 5:43 to secure their fourth win of the series.

So now Boston moves onto round two, while Montreal returns to Canada for the summer. Was this series the best? That’s debatable, but between Games 4, 5 and 7, it’s certainly easy to say that the Bruins proved they were indeed the better team. Experts picked them, fans believed in them and callers who were raged with excitement bombarded radio stations in Boston because of their success during the regular season.

The Bruins indeed beat the Canadiens, but while the celebration shouldn’t last long, it’s now time to turn the page and prepare for the defending Eastern Conference Champions, the Philadelphia Flyers.