The Bruins came out and dominated right from the start, scoring two quick goals, and crushing the spirit of the Philadelphia Flyers en route to a 5-1 victory at the Garden. The Bruins even scored a power play goal, and in the process took a commanding 3-0 series lead. While there will be many comparisons to last year, when the Bruins also took a 3-0 series lead in the second round over the Flyers, most observers insist this is a different Bruins team, which will not allow a repeat of last year. Get all the coverage at BruinsLinks.com.

Here’s a history lesson: This series is over - DJ Bean doesn’t want to sound like a Bruins butt-kisser, but he insists this series is over. Douglas Flynn has the Bruins determined to prove that this year is different. Amanda Bruno says that the Bruins clearly have revenge and payback on their minds. Joe McDonald though, says that the Bruins are focused on this year, not what happened last year. Mick Colageo says that the toughest win still awaits.

Quick start brought the house down - Kevin Paul Dupont has the Bruins stunning the Flyers with the quick start.

Captain Zdeno Chara anchors Bruins’ win - Stephen Harris has the Bruins Captain setting the tone early and all night long for the Bruins. Barbara Matson has more on the star turn for Chara. Eric McHugh says that it appears that the Big Fella is fully hydrated. James Murphy has Chara focusing on offense last night.

Power play breaks out of 0-for-30 slide - Steve Conroy has the Bruins finally getting that elusive power play goal. The CSNNE notes from Joe Haggerty has the power play slide ending, thanks to Chara. The Globe notebook from Fluto Shinzawa has Shane Hnidy getting the call in place of Adam McQuaid last night. The Bruins Journal from Dan Hickling has the line of Peverley, Ryder and Kelly proving their worth. The E-T notebook from Jeff Hamrick has more on Chara.

Thanks to a rain delay and extra innings, the Red Sox and Angels played until 2:45 this morning, with the Angels pulling out a 5-3 over the Red Sox. The two teams get less than 12 hours rest before playing this afternoon at 1:35. Get all the coverage at RedSoxLinks.com.

Matsuzaka, Red Sox fall to Angels in 13 innings - Michael Vega has Daisuke Matsuzaka giving up two runs in the 13th inning to finally end things.

What the Red Sox did (and didn’t do) while you were sleeping - Rob Bradford catches you up on things.

Cloud burst drowns Sox - Scott Lauber has the Red Sox emptying their bench and bullpen, and even dipping into their starting rotation after the rain delay.

A second-guesser’s delight - Sean McAdam says there were plenty of decisions to second-guess last night, but narrows it to three.

Lowrie stays in lineup - Eric Avidon’s notebook has Lowrie sticking in the lineup on a regular basis. The Globe notebook from Michael Vega has JD Drew sitting this one out. The Herald notebook from Scott Lauber has almost everyone else chipping in last night.

Hub to honor Russell with statue - Julian Benbow reports on the announcement that a statue of the Celtics Hall of Famer will be commissioned.

Don’t blame the Kendrick Perkins trade for 2-0 hole and other off-day thoughts - Kirk Minihane sent me a note joking that he and I might be the only people left who support the Perkins trade. He may not be far off.

Celtics need Ticket to ride - Steve Bulpett says that the Celtics need Kevin Garnett to step up his game if they are going to have any chance of extending this series beyond four games.

West expresses himself through art - Jessica Camerato with a mini-feature on how Delonte West uses art as an outlet.

No Psychologist Needed To See Difference In Bruins, Celtics - Jeff Jacobs compares the mindset of the two Boston winter teams right now.

Virginia defensive coordinator says Patriots got a winner in Ras-I Dowling - Christopher Price has a former coach raving about the Patriots second round draft pick.

Popularity: 1% [?]

For the first time in the KG era, the Celtics find themselves trailing 0-2 in a playoff series. The Celtics kept things close most of the night, but the Heat closed every single period on a run, and ended up winning the game 102-91. It is close to desperation time for the Celtics, who have looked extremely old and vulnerable in the two games thus far. Are we in the last days of this era for the Celtics? It feels like it.  Check all the coverage at CelticsLinks.com.

Get up off the floor now - Steve Bulpett says that last night was like watching “an aging boxer in an ill-advised comeback.” Bulpett insists though, that the Celtics are not too old to take this series.

Do the Celtics have enough left? - Paul Flannery questions whether the Celtics have what it takes to make this a series.

Celtics have time to lick wounds - Chris Forsberg says that even with the time off, the Celtics aren’t likely to get any rest.

Pierce and Allen need to fire it up - Gary Washburn says that the Celtics need more from their two wing stars.

Battered and bruised - Mark Murphy’s notebook has the Celtics getting a much-needed three-day break. The ESPN Boston notebook from Chris Forsberg has injury updates for Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo. The Celtics Journal has the Celtics big men not getting the job done. The Globe notebook from Julian Benbow has more on the Celtics time off.

Lester and Red Sox come up aces - Peter Abraham has the Red Sox beating their third elite starter in a row. Michael Silverman explains why this is not your average three-game winning streak.

Adrian Gonzalez makes himself at home - Alex Speier has the Red Sox first baseman starting to feel comfortable at Fenway. Nick Cafardo has Gonzalez turning things around.

After pursuing Downs, Sox built bullpen a different way - Brian MacPherson looks at how the Red Sox fell back on plan “B” in building their relief corps, and how it has worked out thus far.

Pedroia’s will is just his way - Tim Britton’s Red Sox Journal has the second baseman adamantly refusing an offered day off from his manager. The Herald notebook from Scott Lauber has Gonzalez getting his first Fenway homer. The Globe notebook from Peter Abraham has Dan Wheeler throwing strikes but still getting hit.  The Patriot Ledger notebook from Mike Fine has more on Wheeler and Bobby Jenks. The CSNNE notes from Sean McAdam and Maureen Mullen have more on Gonzalez going deep for the first time at home, while the Pitching notes from Mullen have Jenks feeling “cured.”

No time for a letdown - Stephen Harris states the obvious for the Bruins.

Overtime has really paid off - Fluto Shinzawa says that the Bruins have been money when it counts.

Dennis Seidenberg makes up for lost time - Steve Conroy’s notebook has the defenseman making the most of the postseason after missing the playoffs last year with an injury. The Globe notebook from Barbara Matson has an update on Adam McQuaid. Mick Colageo has more on the injury to McQuaid, and who will take his place tonight. The CSNNE notes from Joe Haggerty say that the Bruins aren’t taking the Flyers lightly.

Patriots Daily Q&A With Stevan Ridley - Chris Warner talks with the Patriots third round pick out of LSU.

Overanalyzing NFL draft can drive one mad - Mark Farinella urges patience in judging draft picks.

Bill Belichick Didn’t See Many Quality Players in Draft and 19 Other Patriots Thoughts - Jeff Howe with 20 thoughts on the draft.

Can’t fault Patriots’ pick of Solder - Karen Guregian can’t find anyone with something negative to say about the Patriots top pick.

Head to the Rap Sheet for Ian Rapoport’s series The Making of Mallett as he goes to the QB’s home town to learn more about him.

Popularity: 2% [?]

Wait. I thought I was told that Tim Thomas could never steal a playoff game?

After giving up two early goals, Tim Thomas was spectacular in shutting out the Flyers the rest of the way and into overtime, where the Bruins pulled out a 3-2 win to take a 2-0 lead in their second round series. Thomas made 52 saves on the night. Get all the coverage at BruinsLinks.com.

Thomas still proving people wrong - Joe Haggerty has the Bruins goaltender proving the likes of Mike Felger wrong. More on Thomas from Stephen Harris | Joe McDonald | Christopher L. Gasper | Matt Kalman | Douglas Flynn

Standing tall, sitting pretty - Kevin Paul Dupont says that the Bruins were not the better team last night, but they got the win.

Overtime a common (and good) thing for Bruins this postseason - DJ Bean looks at the Bruins success in OT this postseason, a topic also explored by James Murphy.

McQuaid joins team for flight - Fluto Shinzawa’s notebook has the Bruins defenseman returning home with the team after being sent to the hospital after banging head first into the boards in the first period. The Herald notebook from Steve Conroy has Chris Kelly continuing his red-hot play. The CSNNE notes from Joe Haggerty have more on the Bruins overtime success. The ESPN Boston Rapid reaction has this Bruins team looking like the 1993 Montreal Canadiens. The HockeyJournal.com notes from Jesse Connolly have Connolly’s Commendations and more.

The Red Sox were able to wear down the previously unbeaten (6-0 coming in) Jered Weaver, and then light up the Angels bullpen in posting a 9-5 win at Fenway Park last night.  Get the complete coverage at RedSoxLinks.com.

An epic grind: Breaking down how Red Sox beat Jered Weaver - Alex Speier examines how the Red Sox handed Weaver his first loss of the season. More on this from Nick Cafardo.

Dustin Pedroia’s one tough act - John Tomase looks at how one at-bat from Pedroia shaped the night for the Red Sox. Danny Picard has more on the spark from Pedroia, and Mike Fine has Pedroia showing why he is one of the toughest players in the game. Rob Bradford has Pedroia and Adrian Gonzalez feeling healthy and strong.

Side order of Beckett a hit with brass - Peter Abraham’s notebook has the Red Sox being extra cautious with Josh Beckett after his 125 pitch outing. The Herald notebook from Scott Lauber has more on Beckett, who will start tomorrow. The ProJo Red Sox journal has still more on Beckett’s throwing session. The CSNNE notes have Clay Buchholz picking up his second win, and Jacob Ellsbury leaving the game with an injury.

The Celtics look to even up their second round series against the Miami Heat tonight down in Miami.  The NBA yesterday downgraded the flagrant foul that had been given to Jermaine O’Neal for setting a screen. The foul, which game Miami two free throws, and the ball back, which resulted in a three-pointer and a five-point possession for Miami, essentially killed a third-quarter Celtics rally. Thanks for nothing, NBA.

Language foul - Gerry Callahan is fired up over the technical given to Paul Pierce which resulted in his ejection from the game. Julian Benbow has Pierce glad he didn’t get a suspension from the league.

It happens lickety-split - Steve Bulpett has LeBron James wary of a repeat of last year’s round two, but he feels confident this is a different team and situation.

Garnett vows to be aggressive - Gary Washburn has KG ready to turn things up a notch tonight.

Doc sees loss in new light - Mark Murphy’s notebook has the news of Osama Bin Laden’s death changing River’s perspective on the game one loss. The Globe notebook from Monique Walker has the Celtics looking to avoid giving up uncontested shots tonight. The Celtics journal from Kevin McNamara has the Celtics looking for more shots from KG.

A few ratings notes from Celtics/Heat game one:

  • On ABC, the 7.0 metered market rating ranks as the highest-rated NBA Playoff game (excluding Finals) since 5/13/04 (LA Lakers/Spurs, Conf Semi, Game 5, 7.1 mtrd mkt rtg). 
  • In Boston, the 13.9 mtrd mkt rtg ranks as ABC’s highest-rated NBA Playoff game (excluding Finals) in this market since 5/18/08 (Cleveland/Boston, Conf Semi, Game 7, 18.7 mtrd mkt rtg). 
  • In Miami, the 18.4 mtrd mkt rtg ranks as ABC’s highest-rated NBA Playoff game (excluding Finals) in this market since 5/29/06 (Detroit/Miami, Conf Final, Game 4, 18.7 mtrd mkt rtg).

Patriots’ draft had key purposes - Karen Guregian says that the Patriots may be better equipped to deal with the Jets after this draft.

Don’t rush to judge Patriots’ draft - Chad Finn attempts to reason with the foaming-at-the-mouth Patriots fans who demanded a pass-rusher out of this draft.

Popularity: 3% [?]

Celtics Meltdown In Miami Heat

Understandably, most people are focused on something other than sports today. Normally this would be a huge sports talk day, with the Celtics and Bruins playoff games this weekend, the Patriots draft, and Carl Crawford giving the Red Sox a walk-off win yesterday at Fenway. But none of that is too important today. Therefore, I’ll keep things brief.

I don’t know if it was rust from a week’s layoff, or if the Celtics just didn’t come ready to play yesterday. They made a couple runs during the course of the game, but never seriously challenged the Miami Heat in losing game one 99-90 down in South Florida. Get the complete coverage at CelticsLinks.com.

After Game 1 loss, Celtics face toughest test - Paul Flannery says we’ll find out what this Celtics team is really made of this week.

Paul Pierce should know better - Jackie MacMullan chides Paul Pierce for losing his cool and getting ejected from yesterday’s game. Can you imagine how hard she’d be on him if he did something like get in a bar fight during the playoffs and injure himself to the point that his shooting would be messed up for the remainder of the playoffs? Oh right.

Red Sox Game 27 (@Sox 3, Sea 2) Reloaded - I’m pleased that Jon Couture has been able to continue this feature on his blog, which is simply the most complete game wrap-up you’re going to find online anywhere.

Crawford hit signals a fresh start - Sean McAdam has Carl Crawford hoping that a new month means a fresh start.

Lucic ready to break through vs. Flyers - Joe Haggerty has the big forward hoping he’s close to breaking his scoreless playoffs thus far.

Boxed in by power play - Kevin Paul Dupont says that there is simply no attack in the Bruins power play.

Expect Philly to fight back - Stephen Harris has the Bruins expecting to have their hands full tonight.

The Patriots draft has received decidedly mixed reviews.

Love Pats’ picks, just wanted more of them - At least one local reporter loves the Patriots picks. Hector Longo just wishes there were more of them.

Don’t expect much shuffle - Greg A Bedard says that the AFC East will once again come down to the Patriots and Jets.

Analyzing 2011 Patriots roster - Mike Reiss looks at the Patriots depth charts following the draft.

Popularity: 4% [?]

What? You were expecting Bill Belichick to do something sexy and unexpected last night?

The Patriots used the 17th pick in the first round last night to select massive Colorado tackle Nate Solder. By all accounts he’s a “Patriots type” of guy – smart, versatile, athletic, and of good character. The Patriots then traded their second first round pick to New Orleans for a first rounder next season and a second rounder today (#56 overall).

The moves didn’t quite generate the outrage and headscratching among fans and media that we saw last year, when the Patriots traded down twice and then drafted Devin McCourty, but there still seems to be a bit of disappointment out there. Let’s see how the rest of the draft goes, OK?

Sold on Solder - Shalise Manza Young with a look at the newest Patriot, and for those wondering why the Patriots didn’t select Anthony Castonzo of Boston College instead, Young notes “it’s interesting to note that Scarnecchia ran the position drills at BC’s pro day, so he got an up-close look at Castonzo.” More on Solder from: Mike Reiss | Ian R. Rapoport | Jim Donaldson | Christopher Price | Tom E. Curran | Tim Whelan Jr. | Jeff Howe | Mark Farinella | Jennifer Toland | Hector Longo | Nick Underhill | Glen Farley  (Did I get everybody?)

Every second counts - Greg A Bedard says that today is when the Patriots need to make their hay on defense.

Day 2 picks are key to Patriots’ draft - Mike Reiss agrees that these picks tonight are crucial.

Bill Belichick Passionately Defends Drafting Philosophy, Sticking to What He Believes In - Jeff Howe notes that the Patriots head coach is used to hearing negative feedback about his draft-day performances.

League tells teams to open doors - Ian Rapoport’s notebook has the NFL opening for business at 8:00 am this morning. The Globe Patriots notebook has more on this, and a look at the trade with the Saints.

Boston Celtics vs. Miami Heat series preview: In-depth statistical breakdown - Tom King with a detailed look at the upcoming series.

Legacies on the line: Paul Pierce and LeBron James - Paul Flannery looks at what is on the line for both teams.

Green’s turn has come - Amalie Benjamin has the young forward feeling more at ease and ready to contribute.

Smooth C’s lie ahead - Steve Bulpett says that the Celtics can beat the Heat if they stick to their plan. Scott Souza says that planning and execution are key for the Celtics, as opposed to the Heat, who can win on talent.

Adrian Gonzalez: Home runs will come - Gordon Edes talks to the Red Sox first baseman about his home run draught thus far this season.

Reddick is unfazed by crowded outfield - Michael Vega’s minor league notebook has the Pawtucket outfielder staying positive.

Bruins vs. Flyers matchups: Who has the edge? - DJ Bean previews the next round.

Series has redeeming quality - Fluto Shinzawa has the Bruins looking for payback.

Edwards passion is undeniable - Chad Finn’s media column has the Bruins voice defending his on-air style.

Boston Bruins Madness Hits Boston - My SB Nation Boston media column looks at the TV schedule for the next rounds for the Bruins and Celtics.

Popularity: 6% [?]

From NESN:

NESN set a new single-game ratings record for Bruins hockey last night with a 17.7 average household rating in the Boston DMA.

The game peaked at a 26.6 rating during the 10:00 PM quarter hour as Nathan Horton scored the game winner in overtime to propel the Bruins into the Eastern Conference Semifinals. NESN’s previous best-ever single-game hockey rating was a 14.1, set two years ago on May 14, 2009 in a Game 7 against the Carolina Hurricanes.

 NESN’s ratings numbers in most of the key demographic categories also set new network records, including a 21.5 in Men 25-54, 18.3 in Men 18-49, and 15.6 in Adults 25-54.

Best Playoff Series in NESN History

NESN’s coverage of the Bruins-Montreal first round playoff series dominated the Boston television market over the past 2 weeks.  NESN’s 7 telecasts averaged an 11.9 household rating, which made it the highest-rated Bruins playoff series in network history. NESN’s Bruins coverage was the top-rated program in the Boston DMA on 4 of the 7 nights. The previous ratings record for a series was set in 2009, when NESN garnered a 9.9 average household rating for the Eastern Conference Semifinal series against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Playoff Pre and Post-Game Shows Also Enjoy Ratings Success

NESN’s ratings success extended beyond the games with impressive pre and post-game ratings throughout the series. Bruins FaceOff LIVE presented by Hess expanded to 60 minutes for the first round of the playoffs and averaged a 2.1 household rating during the series, including a 2.7 before last night’s deciding game. NESN’s post-game show, Ace Ticket Bruins Overtime LIVE, averaged a 4.1 household rating that was highlighted by an 8.4 after the Bruins’ exciting Game 7 victory.

Popularity: 6% [?]

The Bruins jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead last night, only to see Montreal tie things up and send the game to overtime, tied at 3. Nathan Horton, who had been one of the Bruins big offseason acquisitions last year did what the Bruins got him to do, putting the puck in the net 5:43 into overtime, to give the Bruins a 4-3 win which clinched the series, and saved the jobs of many of the Bruins – at least for the moment. Get all the coverage at BruinsLinks.com.

Bruins break from losing script - Mick Colageo has the Bruins finally breaking through in a game 7. Kevin Paul Dupont has more on the Bruins getting their first game 7 win since 1994. Stephen Harris says that the Bruins just never make it easy.

Victorious Bruins benefit from Julien doing things ‘My Way’ - Matt Kalman has the Bruins coach rewarded for doing things his way, and sticking with the players he has confidence in.

Nathan Horton, instant hero - Rich Thompson has Horton getting his second OT goal of the series, in what was his only shot of the game. More on Horton from: Michael Whitmer | Jeff Hamrick | Amanda Bruno | Mike Petraglia | Danny Picard | James Murphy | Steve Conroy

After sensational series, Kelly’s critics now singing a different tune - Jesse Connolly has Chris Kelly (six points in seven games) proving to be a good midseason pickup for the Bruins.

After changing Game 7 history, Bruins must now change history vs. Flyers - DJ Bean looks at what is next on the redemption tour for the Bruins. Joe McDonald says that the Bruins know that the Flyers are the real target right now.

Recchi an old pro at playoffs - Barbara Matson has the 43-year-old winger notching his 57th career playoff goal last night.

Final count 0 for 21 on power play - The Globe notebook from Fluto Shinzawa has the gruesome final tally for the series. The Bruins Notebook from Conroy has more on the contributions of Chris Kelly. The ESPN Boston postgame notes from Brendan Hall have more on the hustle of Kelly.

Patriots should go rushing after Quinn - Greg A Bedard thinks that the Patriots should move up and select Robert Quinn of North Carolina. Karen Guregian agrees that the Patriots need to grab a game-changer.

Patterns emerge in Pats’ draft-day trade plans - Tom E Curran attempts to find the method in the madness.

Humble draft suggestions for Patriots - Jonathan Comey has a few suggestions for the Pats.

Open to all options - Ian Rapoport says that the Patriots are ready for any scenario that may present itself.

Next step for some is limbo - Shalise Manza Young looks at the uncertain situation for those who would normally be undrafted free agents.

It was Giveaway Night for the Sox - Sean McAdam has the Red Sox giving one away last night in a 5-4 loss to the Orioles. Check RedSoxLinks.com for all the coverage.

Head-scratching: For now, parts not adding up for Sox - Alex Speier has the Sox stumbling after seemingly righting themselves on the West coast.

It had to happen: Breaking down Celtics series with Miami - Paul Flannery previews the second round.

Celtics counting on Green to help defend LeBron - Tim Britton has the Celtics reserve being counted on in this series. Amalie Benjamin has the entire bench looking to elevate their play. Scott Souza notes that the team is feeling comfortable with the new pieces.

Popularity: 7% [?]

Three Wednesday Afternoon Items

Just three media-related items that I thought I would pass along…

Sports coverage overdose - Emerson College journalism professor Mark Leccese writes the “Gatekeeper” blog for Boston.com. He touches on a lot of media items, and today his focus is on the saturation of sports media coverage in this area.

I agree with much of what he has to say. Part of what I try to do here is sift through some of that noise and get you the good stuff.

Robert Lee leaves ProJo sports department - I’m not saying this has anything to do with my blind item in yesterday’s post. Nope. Not saying that. But someone might.

The Enterprise mourns passing of former sports writer Win Bates - Longtime (1973-2008) Brockton Enterprise sports writer Win Bates passed away on Tuesday. Bates had covered the Red Sox, Celtics and Bruins in addition to high school and college sports.

Popularity: 7% [?]

As we get closer to tonight’s game seven, the amount of tickets available is dropping, but so are the prices. Click the image to check for last-minute deals.

Popularity: 7% [?]