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Mitch's Sports Report: Kershaw Saves Dodgers; Bruins Ugly Early, But Rally For Win In Opener

You have to go back seven years to find the last time starting pitcher, Cy Young award winner, and Dodgers ace Clayton Kerhsaw pitched in relief, but in the major league baseball playoffs, the normal rules don't apply. That's why Dodgers manager Dave Roberts called upon Kershaw to nail down the final two outs in the bottom of the ninth last night to preserve a 4-3 lead and send the Dodgers on to play for the National League pennant.

This deciding game five of the NLDS had everything you could ask for: stellar starting pitching, a late inning surge by one team nearly countered by the other, and ninth inning drama that necessitated a desperation move that worked.

Early on it looked like a 1-0 Nationals lead would hold up with flame thrower Max Scherzer on the mound, taking a no-hitter into the fifth inning and a shut-out into the seventh. But in the seventh, Joc Pederson hit a solo home run off Scherzer and his night was done, a decision that went south on Nats manager Dusty Baker when the Dodgers scored three more runs, knocking around six different relievers to take a 4-1 lead. But the seesaw went the other way in the bottom of the frame as the Nationals got two back to make it 4-3 and then in the 9th it looked like they would break through again when Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen threw a career-high 51 pitches and issued a pair of walks. Roberts had seen enough and called on his ace lefty to get the last two outs, just two days after he'd gone six and two thirds and thrown 110 pitches in game four. For Washington, it's another disappointing playoff end to a great regular season. The franchise has won three National League East division titles, but has yet to win a post-season series. The Dodgers move on now to face the Chicago Cubs for the National League pennant and Kershaw will not be starting game one for L.A. It's been a nice run for the Dodgers, but the well rested Cubs are going to pick their bones clean in this one. Prediction here is Chicago in five.

To the NHL, and things looked bleak early on for the Boston Bruins in their season opener against the Blue Jackets in Columbus. The Jackets built up leads of 2-0 and 3-1, and Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask looked shaky in net, letting in a long wrister by Alexander Wennberg on the first shot he saw, but Rask settled down the rest of the way and the Bruins battled back, scoring five unanswered goals in a 6-3 victory. The comeback was due to the efforts of the number one line of Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak and the newly acquired David Backes, which was cobbled together only because Bruins star center Patrice Bergeron is out for the start of the season with an injury. But Backes can play wing or center, and he knocked in two goals in his Bruins debut, one as he anchored himself in the crease in front of Sergei Bobrovsky and tipped in a long slap shot by Pastrnak, who also tallied two goals. Brad Marchand was also outstanding, following up his MVP performance for Canada in the world cup by putting home two goals of his own, one on an individual effort deke move off the boards, threading the puck through the defenseman's legs before cutting to the high slot and ripping home a wicked wrist-ah. Nice win for the B's to start the season.

The Montreal Canadiens also debuted on the road and were winners as well, topping the Buffalo Sabres 4-1 on the strength of two goals by Brendan Gallagher, and Shea Weber got on the score sheet as well in his first game as a Canadien, following the trade that sent P.K. Subban to Nashville. Weber tallied an assist and played strong defense all night, which is no surprise. Habs fans are still smarting over the loss of Subban, a mercurial talent if ever there was one, but Weber, while less flashy, is also as good as they come on the blue line.

At Madison Square Garden the NY Rangers beat their crosstown Brooklyn rivals the NY Islanders 5-3, scoring three goals in an eight minute span to make a winner of Henrik Lundqvist, who stopped 25 shots. Chris Kreider got the eventual game winner for the Rangers, midway through the third period.

In NFL action, Philip Rivers is now the all-time career passing yards leader for the San Diego Chargers, who took down the defending Superbowl champion Denver Broncos 21-13 in southern Cal last night. Rivers threw for 178 yards and a touchdown to pass Dan Fouts on the all time list, but most important for the Bolts, they didn't blow a lead with less than two minutes to go as they have three times already this season. The Chargers are now 2-4 on the year but they easily could be 5-1 if not for those defensive meltdowns, and this win over the now 4-2 Broncos could have saved San Diego head coach Mike McCoy's job.

Locally in womens' college soccer, the UVM Catamounts got a late, dramatic goal from Sarah Martin in the 79th minute to gain a 1-1 tie with UMBC at Virtue Field. The double overtime draw puts UVM's record for the year at 6-5-3 overall and 1-2-2 in America East play.

A graduate of NYU with a Master's Degree in journalism, Mitch has more than 20 years experience in radio news. He got his start as news director at NYU's college station, and moved on to a news director (and part-time DJ position) for commercial radio station WMVY on Martha's Vineyard. But public radio was where Mitch wanted to be and he eventually moved on to Boston where he worked for six years in a number of different capacities at member station a Senior Producer, Editor, and fill-in co-host of the nationally distributed Here and Now. Mitch has been a guest host of the national NPR sports program "Only A Game". He's also worked as an editor and producer for international news coverage with Monitor Radio in Boston.
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