You know how much I hate to say “I told you so”, but I told you Boston would pull off the Easter sweep. The C’s advanced, the Sox completed their potential season-saving weekend, and the Bruins forced a Game 7 at the Garden. Now we’re poised for another busy week of winning as we inch closer to the latest installment of the “Embarrassment of Riches” tour that this city embarked on 18 years ago.
We’ll start with the Sox before we get to the two playoff teams. Their Easter win was obviously less significant than the Bruins and Celtics, but that weekend series against Tampa was about as important a matchup as you can have in April. They were in danger of completing losing sight of the Rays in the AL East standings, and instead they swept the best team in baseball and finally gave us a reason to believe in them moving forward. Shoutout to Christian Vazquez, who’s been the Sox’ hottest hitter and best overall player as of late. He was the MVP of the series with a homer in Game 1, a walk-off snap throw in Game 2, and a game-winning sac fly in extra innings in Game 3.
Boston is now 5.5 games behind the Rays, 3 behind the Yankees, and 1.5 behind the Jays. Nobody is impressed by a 9-13 record, but hopefully they can ride this momentum and right the ship before spring turns to summer. Monday’s Chris Sale start against the Tigers was pushed back due to rain, which means the Sox have a chance to extend their winning streak to five on Tuesday if they can take both games in the day/night doubleheader. Hector Velazquez will be on the hill in Game 2. Start times at 1:10 and 7:10.
Less than an hour before the Sox game ended on Sunday, the Bruins beat the Leafs in Toronto to force the third Game 7 between the two teams in the past six years. The puck drops at TD Garden on Tuesday night at the same exact time as the first pitch of the second game at Fenway.
The Maple Leafs are historic chokers in the playoffs and have had some all-time collapses in Boston. There have been complaints about the ice at TD but both teams have to deal with it so nobody really cares. Bruce Cassidy has also brought up Toronto’s habit of “bumping skates” to the officials. Clearly there’s a lot of tension heading into this one, which is to be expected. What’s most important for the Bruins is that Tuukka Rask has been solid in net and appears to have a lot of confidence right now, and the rest of the guys seemed locked in on Sunday as well.
I don’t know what happened between Friday night and Sunday afternoon, but Boston’s effort from Game 5 to Game 6 was like night and day. The good news is that there’s no way they’re not emptying the tank for a Game 7 in front of their home crowd, especially with TB12 on their side:
If the B’s can advance to the second round they’ll face the Columbus Blue Jackets, who just shocked the hockey world by sweeping one of the best regular season teams in NHL history. Speaking of second round, the Celtics began the Easter Sweep by finishing off the Pacers to advance to the Eastern Conference Semifinals for the 10th time in the last 17 years. The series won’t begin until Sunday but we already know who the opponent is because the Bucks completed their first-round sweep of the Pistons on Monday night. We’ll have more on that matchup coming soon but you guys have enough on on your plate for now.
Follow Jack Bardsley on Twitter @BostonsBigFour