Fool me once, shame on you.
Fool me four times, and…well, now we’re talking.
The pranks of April Fool’s Day took a back seat to improbability Friday night, with the New England Revolution earning their first victory of the season, 1-0, over the New York Red Bulls. The Boston Red Sox beat the Toronto Blue Jays, 4-2, in a dazzling exhibition game north of the border in Montreal.
But the real drama was reserved for west of the Mississippi, where the foundering Boston Bruins came away from St. Louis with a rousing, 6-5 victory over the Blues. A penthouse resident in the Western Conference, the Blues came into the game every bit as sizzling as the Bruins have been cold.
And the Celtics only managed to derail history by delivering the Golden State Warriors their first loss at home this season, snapping their NBA-record, 54-game home win streak with a 109-106 win over the defending league champions in Oakland.
Not a bad evening to be a Boston sports fan, eh?
These certainly weren’t the expected outcomes for the Bruins and Celtics as both try their best to secure playoff positioning down the stretch. The Bruins were coming off a lackluster loss at the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday, hanging on by a thread to their postseason spot with a week, not to mention the Blues, Chicago Blackhawks, and Detroit Red Wings — whose victory over the Minnesota Wild Friday night temporally had them ahead of the Bruins in the standings until Boston kept pace — standing in the way.
Meanwhile, St. Louis came into the game having only allowed one goal over its last five. The Bruins had scored only 10 over their last seven.
So, naturally, they would explode for six on Friday night. Fool’s gold.
“It’s good to see that the puck went in the net for us,” said Bruins forward David Krejci, who ceased his recent disappearance with his first career four-point night. “Six goals. We’ve been kind of struggling the last few games. So hopefully we can build some confidence for the next games.”
Not like it was easy. These are the 2015-16 Bruins, after all.
After falling behind by three goals in the second period, the Blues fought back in the third, prompting Bruins fans to fear the worst for a team that has given them palpitations all year long. As it turned out, Patrice Bergeron’s power play goal with only a few minutes remaining was even more important than it seemed at the time, building a two-goal lead against a Blues team that would add one more to their total when Kevin Shattenkirk scored with a mere 20.7 seconds remaining.
Two points, on a weekend when the Bruins might have been realistically happy to escape from the midwest with a pair of them altogether.
“They’re huge,” Julien said. “You see that Detroit won their game as well. We don’t want to wait util the last minute, so hopefully this gets us back on track here. We’ve got another big game against Chicago. They’re not easy games. But, as I told the players before the game, anybody can win in this league on any given night. Why not us?”
It gave the Bruins 90 points on the season, one more than the Wings and the Philadelphia Flyers. They still sit in third place in the Atlantic Division, three points behind Tampa Bay.
Nothing is secure.
It was the Celtics, meanwhile, who were coming off their own “blah” performance on the West Coast, a 116-109 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers that didn’t set up their appearance in Golden State with any certain promise. But this was also a team Boston nearly gave its first loss to the 23-0 Warriors back in December during a double overtime thriller at TD Garden. This time around, they didn’t have Jae Crowder, who sat with soreness after returning to the lineup on Thursday night, an absence that truly seemed to tip the scales in Golden State’s favor.
But hell, why not us, right?
“We knew,” Avery Bradley said. “Ask Isaiah [Thomas]. He’ll tell you. I mean, we literally went in the huddle like, ‘We’re gonna win this game no matter what,’ from the beginning of the game.”
It was the first home loss since Jan. 27, 2015 for the Warriors, still chasing the Chicago Bulls’ record for most wins in a single season. It was a victory for the Celtics that firmly announced the swagger of this team to those who might not yet have been in the know. Brad Stevens’ Celtics are scrappy, they’re tough, and they’re resilient.
They also have every reason to feel very confident heading into Sunday night’s game at the Los Angeles Lakers.
“We know we can compete,” Thomas said. “And we know we’re a team that guys don’t really want to play when it comes to the playoffs.”
Let’s be real, the Celtics — still slotted as the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference — aren’t going to be celebrating the NBA title come June, but it’s performances like Friday night that suggest they can last more than a round come playoff time. Maybe they aren’t getting past the Cleveland Cavaliers, though perhaps there’s more to suggest as this season rolls on that such a thought isn’t only plain lunacy.
Warriors superstar Stephen Curry missed a three-pointer with 5.3 seconds remaining, and the Celtics, much like the Bruins, survived the last-second anxieties.
“It sucks to lose because we haven’t had this feeling at home in a while,” Curry said after the game. “We had a good fight tonight. We overcame sloppy play in the first half, especially with the turnovers, gave ourselves a chance to win. But the Celtics played well down the stretch, made shots in the fourth quarter.”
Bruins-Blackhawks and Celtics-Lakers Sunday. Baseball’s Opening Day is Monday. The New England Patriots just built one of the NFL’s most dangerous defenses with the addition of Terrance “Pot Roast” Knighton.
It’s days like Friday that remind you how damned good it is to be a Boston sports fan.
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