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NBA ‘offs Update

Seven and eleven are Las Vegas numbers and with first year Las Vegas in the NHL Final vs Washington and Justify to bid for the horse racing Triple Crown, surely NBC is happy.

Ah but the 7-11 does not stop there. If 7 point favorite Cleveland wins game 6 at home, in what has been an all home Boston/Cleveland NBA “semi” through 5 games, then there will be a game 7, Sunday night in Boston.

Add to that, if 11 point favorite Golden State (I guess the line people feel Chris Paul will not play for Houston), wins #6 at home Saturday night, there will be a game 7 Monday night, opposite the NHL final opener as was the case involving “G.S.” two years ago, in Houston on Monday night.

If both semis go to a seventh game, it will be the first time that has happened since 1979, which has the same calendar as this year.

Only twice in 60 previous possibilities (1958-2017, the other time 1963), have both NBA semis gone to a decisive seventh game.

 

 

“Capital Defense,” “Wash” To Just Its Second NHL Final, Recording Shutouts In Games 6 And 7 Vs Tampa Bay

The Washington Capitals shut out the Tampa Bay Lightning for the second straight game, (goaltender,Braden Holtby did not allow a goal for just 33 seconds shy of 8  periods, including the loss in game 5) and advanced to their first NHL final in 20 years, with a (4-0), game 7 win in Tampa, vs the Lightning.

Alex Ovechkin opened the scoring just one minute and two seconds into the contest, while Andre Borakovsky added two second period goals.

“Wash” improved to (8-2) on the road in these playoffs and have won 6 of their last 7 road “semis” games.

The Lightning have lost 7 of their last 9 home “semis” games and lost in a home game 7, for the first time.

They were (3-0) in home #7’s, including semis (vs the Flyers) and final triumphs (vs the Flames) to win it all in 2004. However, despite fine seasons, (three “semis” appearances in 4 seasons and four in the past 8), “T.B.” is denied the big prize again.

However, their frustration pales to that of the Caps, who now are roughly 7 to 5 series underdogs, vs the first year Las Vegas Golden Knights in the NHL final, which begins in “Sin City,” on Monday night.

The series winner will “reign” as its league’s champion, making 3 of the four current major pro sports champions first time winners, if you say Super Bowl crown and not NFL crown for the Philadelphia Eagles.(Philly won NFL crowns in ’48, ’49 and 1960, but the 2017 title win was their first Super Bowl win. “Supe” play began with the 1966 season).

The baseball champion Houston Astros won their first “all the way” crown and either first year Las Vegas or 43rd completed year Washington will join them.

Additionally, now for the second time 11 years apart and before that at least 60 or so years, the NHL final will match two teams, sans even a final series game victory.

The repeat champion Detroit Red Wings swept the Capitals in their only previous NHL final appearance in 1998. Again, incredibly, Las Vegas in its first season, is the final series “fave” and obviously is sans a final series win.

In 1996, the Colorado Avalanche swept the Florida Panthers, who are one of 5 other current NHL teams (there are 31 teams, the Blue Jackets, who won the first two of their first round series at “Wash,” Wild and both incarnations of the Winnipeg Jets, the current Jets, semis losers to Las Vegas and the original Jets now the Phoenix Coyotes, are the others) without a final series win. Then 11 years later in 2007, Anaheim 5’d the Ottawa Senators, in another battle of teams sans a final win going into the NHL final.

 

Both NBA “Semis” Are Tied At Two Games Apiece

Both NBA semi-final series are tied at two games apiece after the Houston Rockets won the first competitive game of the eight, at Golden State last night.

Meanwhile, for the third time in their playoff history, the Celtics and Cavaliers have played an all home team victories series, through four games.

In the eighth and as stated first competitive semi tilt, 8 point underdog Houston ended Golden State’s record 16 game playoffs home win skein.

16 is twice 8 and 32 is twice 16. The other two Celts/Cavs all home through 4 games series, were 32 years apart, in 1976 and 2008.

Boston won at home in #5 in the ’76 semis, before winning at Cleveland in game 6. In the ’08 “quarters,” it was an all home series, that Boston won in 7 games.

In both of those seasons, the Celtics went on to win the NBA title.

 

NHL: Capitals over Lightning in Game 6

Last night, the Washington Capitals beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-0, making NBC happy by getting a fourth straight game 7 in the Eastern Conference finals (2015-2018).

The physical Capitals played with passion and gave an all-around effort in game 6, forcing the decisive game 7 Eastern Conference Final,  to be held Wednesday night at Tampa.

Game 7 will determine who will meet the Vegas Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup Final, which will begin Monday, May 28th.

 

 

 

 

Las Vegas (Golden Knights) To The NHL Final In Its First Season

Incredibly and with extraordinary play, (12-3) thus far in the 2018 NHL playoffs, the first year Las Vegas Golden Knights have advanced to the Stanley Cup Final.

Ryan Reaves, a Winnipeg Manitoba native scored the tie breaking, winning goal in the second period lifting “Vegas” (2-1) at Winnipeg in #5, which gave the Golden Knights a 4 games to 1 semi triumph vs the Jets.

Mark Andre Fleury the exclusive ‘offs goaltender on Pittsburgh Penguins’ teams that split Final series vs the Detroit Red Wings losing in ’08 and winning ’09 and a small contributor in ’16, a bigger one  in ’17 for Pens’ title teams, was again victorious and excellent in goal, making 31 saves.

 

Mickey Mantle on “What’s My Line”

The great player, Mickey Mantle was not all that far into his great career when he appeared on the iconic show, “What’s My Line,” in 1953.

Great feats such as 18 World Series home runs (still a record) and the 1956 batting triple crown (batting average, home runs and runs batted in) and other great feats were in the future.

Click below to enjoy #7 on “What’s My Line.”

What’s My Line? – Mickey Mantle (May 17, 1953)

 

Lightning/Road Team/(4-2) Score “Strikes” Again

I warned, regarding the Caps’ home record in “semis” and now after the 5th (4-2) game in the first 7 semis, a Tampa Bay Lightning semis series squaring win, the Caps are (1-6) in home semis.

Alex Killorn had the game winner, while Andrei Vasilevskiy was brilliant in goal for the Lightning, who are (7-3) in their last 10 “semis” road games.

“T.B.” has won 5 straight road games in these ‘offs, after losing an aberration third game, in the opening round, at the New Jersey Devils.

No matter what happens the rest of the way, (the Caps (7-1) on the road in these ‘offs and winners of 5 straight road semis games, hope to win again, in a pivotal #5/Saturday night game after a Triple Crown race on NBC. They did so vs the Pens two weeks ago.) the road team will have won more games in a Lightning semi, for the third straight time, all in the past four seasons, ’15 and ’16 the others.

Only one more, I promise. This is the second time (’15 in the Lightning’s 7 game triumph vs the New York Rangers and a number of current Lightning players) the road team has won 4 straight games within a Lightning “semi.” Then it was the last four to decide the series, we shall see what transpires in this one.

 

The road looks pretty good above and has been perfect for its teams, thus far in the T.B. vs “Wash” NHL semi-final series.