What a wild night of playoffs in the NBA and NHL. Two blowouts and two overtime games, one in each league. The Stack is here to talk about it all so let's get right to it and see what made "the stack" for today, Tuesday, May 14:
Bruins, Rangers advance past first round
There is nothing better in sports than game seven playoff overtime hockey and that is what we had in Boston last night where the Bruins remarkably advanced out of the first round to the eastern conference semi-finals with a 5-4 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. What makes this so amazing is the fact that the Bruins were trailing 4-1 with a little more than ten minutes remaining in the third period. The Maple Leafs came crashing out of the gates in the third period leading 2-1. Five-and-a-half minutes into the period and Toronto had a 4-1 lead. Fans were heading for the exits. All seemed lost for the Bruins. Heck, it was still 4-2 with two minutes left. What chance did the Bruins have of winning this game? Probably leses than two percent. Funny thing about the playoffs though. Anything can happen. Milan Lucic cleaned up a loose puck and put it in the back of the net to make it 4-3 with a minute-and-a-half to go. And then with under a minute to go, thanks to a screen thanks Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron's slap shot got through traffic and the Bruins tied the game 4-4. Both goals came with an extra attacker. Miraculous. Simply astounding! How did they do it? In a game seven no less. Riveting. And that man Bergeron would do it again in overtime after a scrum in front of the net, a rebound came to Bergeron and he put it home and the Bruins capped off a comeback for the ages with a 5-4 win. Did you see the crowd in Toronto? They were pumped up throughout the game and like air coming out of a balloon, they were deflated when it was over. What a win for the Bruins. How can you not love this drama in sports? Absolutely great.
The other game had less drama. Much less. The home team had won every game in the series...until last night. The New York Rangers crushed the Washington Capitals 5-0. It's their first game seven road win in franchse history. Henrik Lundqvist made 35 saves for his second straight shutout. The big storyline in this game was the comments afterward by Alex Ovechkin who thinks there is a conspiracy by the NHL to have the Rangers go deep in the playoffs. Here are his comments:
"The refereeing ... You understand it yourself," Ovechkin told reporter Slava Malamud, who translated his interview from Russian to English. "How can there be no penalties at all (on one team) during the playoffs?
"I am not saying there was a phone call from (the league), but someone just wanted Game 7. For the ratings. You know, the lockout, escrow, the league needs to make profit. ... I don't know whether the refs were predisposed against us or the league. But to not give obvious penalties (in the Capitals' favor), while for us any little thing was immediately penalized..."
Can you say fine? Big fine if I were a betting man. The second round stars tonight. Here are the two games on the schedule:
#7 Ottawa Senators @ #1 Pittsburgh Penguins 7:30 PM ET NBCSN
#6 San Jose Sharks @ #5 Los Angeles Kings 10 PM ET NBCSN
Heat dominate Bulls, Grizzlies beat Thunder in OT
The Miami Heat-Chicago Bulls is over. Ok, maybe not actually over, but the series is over. You can't kid yourself on this one. The Bulls are done. They got run out of their own building last night in an 88-65 loss to the Heat. Fact of the matter is that Chicago is very under-manned in this series. They just don't have the talent or the roster to match the Heat. This series, in my opinion, has been largely unwatchable with the number of fouls and dumb play by the Bulls, but last night was unwatchable by from the standalone reason that the Bulls couldn't buy a basket. The Heat dominated this game. They'll dispose of the Bulls in game 5 in Miami and then wait for the winner of the Knicks-Pacers series.
The other game last night was much better. The Oklahoma City Thunder and Memphis Grizzlies went to overtime where the Grizzlies pulled away from the Thunder with a 103-97 win. Once again Kevin Durant faded down the stretch. He scored just three points over a sixteen minute span in the second half, but who can blame him when the team's success is all on his shoulders? He can't do it all himself and he has to with the injury to Russell Westbrook. Physically, it has to be draining. It's just not the Thunder's year, but they'll be back next year. The Grizzlies look like the western conference's best team and will represent the western conference in the NBA Finals I feel.
Tonight's two NBA playoff games include...
New York Knicks @ Indiana Pacers 7 PM ET TNT (Pacers lead series 2-1)
Golden State Warriors @ San Antonio Spurs 9:30 PM ET TNT (Series tied 2-2)
And the Minnesota Vikings finally unveiled to the public their new stadium design. Groundbreaking is scheduled for October 2013. Looks pretty awesome and as a Vikings fan, I like what the stadium is going to have.
Coming up Wednesday: NBA and NHL playoff reaction