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Mitch's Sports Report: Cubs Are Destined; Bergeron Nets Game-Winner For Bruins In Home Opener

Goat curses be damned. There will be no black cats in the on-deck circle. Steve Bartman, it was never your fault to begin with, but it's almost time to come out of hiding. The Chicago Cubs beat the L.A. Dodgers 8-4 last night and are now just one win away from reaching their first World Series since 1945, and they're heading back to the friendly confines of Wrigley Field with not one, but two chances to make it happen.

Jon Lester pitched seven strong innings, Addison Russell hit a tie-breaking homer for the second consecutive game, breaking things open for Chicago in a 5-run eighth inning and the Cubs are up three games to two in the National League Championship series, with another long-beleaguered franchise waiting in the wings to meet them in the Fall Classic.

Cubs fans, if I sound like I'm getting ahead of myself, well, I apologize. I realize it's easy to make these kinds of predictions when it's not my team I could be potentially jinxing, but the simple fact is the Cubs had the best record in baseball this season for a reason. They were also constructed by the same man who put together the team that ended a so-called 86-year old curse in Boston, and these 2016 Cubs are a perfect mix of athletic, young rookies and savvy, been-there-before-we-got-this veterans, and to top it all off, the Baseball Gods, if they do indeed exist, are not going to let a Cubs-Indians World Series not happen when it's this close.

To be fair to the Dodgers, they do have perhaps the best pitcher in baseball going for them in game six in Clayton Kershaw, and he's really the only reason L.A. is still even in the tournament at this point, but even if he wins on Saturday against Kyle Hendricks, the Dodgers will be sitting ducks in a winner take all game seven, but I don't think it's even going to get that far. The Cubs are hungry, their fans are rabid, and the time has come for the next great sports redemption story to be told. Game six on the North Side of Chicago is Saturday night.

To the NHL, and the Boston Bruins played their home opener at TD Garden last night, and the start of the game featured two living legends making their way out to center ice to make the ceremonial puck drop. The greatest NHL player of all time, the now 68-year old Bobby Orr, led Milt Schmidt, now in his 98th year, out to the spoked B in a wheelchair to make the puck drop. Schmidt was one of the great centers of all time, also coached and managed the Bruins throughout his Hall of Fame career, and even scouted Bobby Orr when Orr was a skinny kid turning heads out in Parry Sound, Ontario. It was quite a sight to see those two living legends and lifelong friends together to open Boston's season at home.

As for the game, what a difference having the best player on your team on the ice makes. The Bruins took a 2-1 record into their game against the New Jersey Devils, and they played those first three games without Patrice Bergeron, one of the best two-way centers in hockey, who was nursing an undisclosed injury. But Bergeron was back in the line-up last night, and wouldn't you know it, he scored the game winning goal with just a minute and fifteen seconds left in regulation to lift the Bruins to a 2-1 win over the New Jersey Devils. He was assisted on the goal by his linemate Brad Marchand, who tied the game at one late in the third period on a laser beam wrist shot that clanged off the crossbar and into the net on a night up to that point when Devils goalie Corey Schneider had given the Bruins fits and looked like he would steal this one for Jersey. But Marchand and Bergeron kept that from happening.

The Montreal Canadiens had their best player back on the ice for the first time last night also. After missing the first three games of the season with the flu goalie Carey Price was back in net, and led the Habs to a 5-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes at the Bell Centre. Price made 27 saves in his season debut and Shea Weber scored his first goal in a Canadiens uniform. Yes, fans may miss P.K. Subban, who went to Nashville in the trade for Weber, but it's almost a wash because Weber is as good as they come on the blue line. Montreal has yet to lose a game in regulation this season.

One other hockey note, the age is just a number poster boy Jaromir Jagr scored his 750th career goal in the Florida Panthers 4-2 loss to to the Washington Capitals last night, joining Gordie Howe and Wayne Gretzky as the only other players to reach that mark in NHL history.

Thursday night NFL action, Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rogers threw three touchdown passes and set a packers franchise record for completions in the Pack's 26-10 win over the Chicago Bears. Rogers was 39 of 56 on pass completions to set the new mark and the nightmare season for the Bears continues. They lost yet another quarterback to injury when Brian Hoyer broke his arm in the second quarter. Starter Jay Cutler is already on injured reserve with a thumb injury and the Bears are now 1-6 on the season.

Locally in womens' soccer Hartford got by UVM 1-0 yesterday. On the mens' pitch, Luke Gleadle led the way for the Norwich cadets, scoring two goals in a 4-0 win over Rivier. The Cadets are now riding a 5-game unbeaten streak, and in college field hockey action the Castleton Spartans fell to Fitchburg State 2-0.

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 WBUR...as 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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