Not a ton to talk about in "the stack" today with no basketball last night, but there was playoff hockey. The Stack has found a few topics so let's get right to it and find out what's in "the stack" for today, Friday, May 10:
Senators, Blackhawks clinch series
Unlike almost every othr night of the NHL plyoffs, last night was a bit of a snoozer with no game closer than four goals and two teams clinched. The Ottawa Senators are moving on to the second round after routing the injury-riddled Montreal Canadiens 6-1 to win the series 4-1. The Canadiens came out and applied a lot of pressure early on, but Ottawa weathered the storm and got the first couple of goals of the game. Montreal made it 2-1, but that's as close as they got. Senators may be the seven seed, but this didn't feel like an upset. They have a likely matchup with the Pittsburgh Penguins coming up. That isn't going to be easy.
The Chicago Blackhawks also are moving on following their 5-1 win over the Minnesota Wild. The Blackhawks turned this game around in the second period, scoring three goals and forcing Minnesota to take Josh Harding out of the net and put in rookie goalie Darcy Kuemper. By that point it was too late. The Blackhawks were fantastic in this series. The blocked a ton of shots, they have a great goalie in net in Corey Crawford and they have a ton of depth, something the Wild do not. The Wild had high expectations coming into the year after signing Zach Parise and Ryan Suter in the offseason. Definitely thought I'd see more of a fight against the Blackhawks and the first line was terrible especially Mikko Koivu. He was awful. The Wild have some things to think about this offseason and I bet they come back ready to go next season and will be one of the best teams in the NHL. Just a guess. The Blackhawks are the best team in the NHL, at least the western conference.
And in the other game, a change in net was all the Pittsburgh Penguins needed to send a statement not just to the New York Islanders, but to the eastern conference in general. Tomas Vokoun played outstanding, posting a shutout in the Penguins 4-0 win over the Islanders and taking a 3-2 series lead. The Islanders got 31 shots on Vokoun, but he was sound in net, a welcome site for Penguins fans. And Sidney Crosby had one of the best goals of the postseason so far. Penguins will win this series. They're the better team.
Four playoff games tonight...
Toronto Maple Leafs @ Boston Bruins 7 PM ET NHL Network (Bruins lead series 3-1)
NY Rangers @ Washington Capitals 7:30 PM ET NBCSN (Series tied 2-2)
Anaheim Ducks @ Detroit Red Wings 8 PM ET CNBC (Ducks lead series 3-2)
St. Louis Blues @ Los Angeles Kings 10 PM ET NBCSN (Kings lead series 3-2)
A's-Indians game Wednesday night stands as final
Baseball could have done the right thing. They could have made a justified decision that would have been fair and they didn't. It happened Wednesday night in the Oakland A's-Cleveland Indians game. Oakland hit what looked to be the game-tying homerun in the ninth to tie the game 4-4. You can see the video here. The umpires called it a double because it was a close call. They went into the dugout to take a closer look as instant replay states and Angel Hernandez, the crew lead, said that evidence was inconclusive even though everyone else could tell that the ball cleared the wall and was a homerun. Instead, the A's were awarded a double and lost the game 4-3. MLB had a chance yesterday to decide that hey, it was a homerun and start the game up tied 4-4 and just resume play. There is precedent for this as evidenced by the "Pine Tar" game with George Brett. Instead, baseball said that the game stands as final, but that officials made the wrong call. Oh really? Thanks for that MLB. Didn't know that Hernandez and company botched this one. Everyone knew it was a homerun except for this crew. If the A's miss the playoffs by one game, there will be an uproar from a lot of people. Terrible decision by baseball. The A's and Indians played a noon game Thursday. Don't tell me they couldn't have finished Wednesday's game Thursday, because they could have. Really disagree with MLB on this one.
Tonight's NBA playoff games...
Miami Heat @ Chicago Bulls 8 PM ET ESPN (Series tied 1-1)
San Antonio Spurs @ Golden State Warriors 10:30 PM ET ESPN (Series tied 1-1)
Coming up Monday: NBA and NHL playoff reaction plus other top stories from the weekend