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‘Lanche Lead Lightning (2-0) After Dominant (7-0) Game 2, Home Win

The Colorado Avalanche, (2-0) in previous NHL final round play, eased to a (7-0) win over the two time defending champion, Tampa Bay Lightning in game 2, to take a (2-0) lead in the 2022 NHL final round series.

Valeri Nichushkin, who had the big assist on what likely will be the series most important play, the Andre Borakovsky Overtime goal in game 1, had 2 goals in #2, “opening” early, with Borakovsky getting an assist.

Again the Avalanche had 3 first period goals and this time there was no “T.B.” comeback.

In the game 2 rout, “Col,” winners of 7 straight games, (14-2) in the ‘offs, (Pk in #3 in a bid to be (6-0) on the road in these ‘offs and now over 5 to 1 series favorites–the “Col” beats T.B. “exact result” was plus 270 when Col led Edmonton (3-0) and the Rangers led T.B. (2-1) in the semis–mirrors, tooth pain and missed “opps”) also got goals from Josh Manson (made it (2-0) and he has had some big Avs goals in these ‘offs), Borakovsky (3-0), Darren Helm (5-0) and “see” his “qtr” series clincher vs the Blues, the ’19 champs, who have handed the very likely 2022 champions their only 2 losses of these ‘offs and then 2 “garbage time” tallies from Cale Makar.

Meanwhile Darcy Kuemper needed only 16 saves to record his first shutout of these playoffs.

 

Valeri Nichushkin, pictured above. 

 

 

 

 

NHL Update And Notes

Tonight is game 2 of the 2022 NHL final with the home team, Colorado Avalanche seeking a “hold serve” (2-0) series lead vs the two time champion Tampa Bay Lightning. 

The ‘Lanche rode Andre Burakovsky’s overtime goal, scored within 2 minutes of overtime (they had to get the affiliates to the “bleed it leads” local news) to a (4-3) series opener win.

I will have more but for now it is safe to say that a game 1/Cup final overtime win augurs well for the Avalanche, at least historically, as almost every team that won a best of 7 final round opener in overtime prevailed in the series to take the crown.

 

Andre Burakovsky playing with the Avalanche vs Islanders on January 6, 2020 (Quintin Soloviev).jpg

Andre Burakovsky, pictured above, also had goals 2 and 3 for the eventual champion Washington Capitals in game 7/semis, also vs Tampa Bay (Lightning).

What a great run and it continued this season with at least a final round appearance, this has been for the Lightning!

Warriors Win Their 4th Title In 8 Seasons, Steph Curry Is Series MVP

The Golden State Warriors won their fourth NBA title in the last eight seasons, completing a 6 game triumph, vs the Boston Celtics with a (103-90) win at Boston last night.

The great player, Steph Curry hit for 34 points (his “reverse the digits,” 43 points in #4 was the series defining moment) in the clincher and was named Final Round Series MVP for the first time.

Andrew (for the second time, this Andrew watched most, even any of the game and was pretty much “ok,” with lead announcer, Mike Breen except when he said “a long way to go or was it plenty of time?” with G.S. up 12 points with 2 minutes to play) Wiggins had another good game, scoring 18 points while Jordan Poole added 15.

It is the 7th title for the Warriors franchise, moving past the Bulls (6-0) in final rounds– (seems they had a player named Jordan, but unlike Poole and Baker in “Gatsby,” I “think” Jordan is his last name) for third place, behind the Celtics and Lakers, who remain tied with 17 crowns apiece.

G.S. went on a (21-0) run to lead by 15 in the second quarter and the closest Boston (now (17-5) in title rounds, got was behind 8 points.

The Warriors are (7-5) and the Celtics are (17-5) in final round play. However, Boston which once had 16 of the NBA’s 40 crowns, have won but one in 36 seasons, the drought sadly related to the tragic death of Len Bias, a Celtics draft pick with great ability, who died just after the ’86 Boston title.

The one and only Al “Grampa” Lewis pointed out on my show within a few years later, that Bias’ death was a “death blow” to Celtics’ success, but this title drought, which when related to loss of life, is in perspective, however, also in diametric opposition to past Celtics’ greatness.

Speaking of loss of life, success, title success and perspective–hail Warriors coach, Steve Kerr who now has 9 NBA titles (5 as a player, 4 as a head coach-credit his assistant Mike Brown for the overall season and stepping in as head coach), spoke out vs senseless gun violence, up (3-0) vs Dallas in the semis and surely has much, if not all of this in perspective, with all he has experienced both good and bad on this planet.

Only Bill Russell, Sam Jones and Phil Jackson have more than 9 combined player/head coach NBA titles while Arnold “Red” Auerbach, involved in all 17 Celtics’ crown has 9 (all as a head coach) as well.

Finally, “only me,” as I cite no game was decided by less than 10points in the final round, it “cost” but a 7th game is avoided and the road/home/home/road/home/road configuration that manifested in the 2022 NBA final is the first such in the final round in NBA history.

 

Steve Kerr played on 3 straight title teams with the Bulls (’96-’98) and 2 with the Spurs in addition to now 4 coaching titles with the Warriors, who technically won their first San Francisco title last night.

Seven of the last 8 (the one other West Coast Warriors final ended with the Celtics home clincher in 5 vs the Warriors in ’64) Warriors’ final rounds, were clinched with road team victories, 5 by the Warriors and one each by the Cavs and Raptors. 

Bidding/Winning 3 Consecutive Titles Notes

The 2022 NHL Final, the first whose entirety will be telecast on over the air United States television (ABC, of course almost all the rest of both the NHL and NBA playoffs were NOT telecast over the air, in other words sans charge), begins tonight in Colorado with the home team Avalanche hosting the two time defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning.

This is I believe, the 26th time in baseball, NFL, NBA and NHL annals that a 2 time defending champion has made the league final in a bid for a third straight crown. (Maybe a chart when the series is over. At this point noting 15 times, actually only 9 teams/franchises won a third straight title while 9 were denied in the final round).

The Yankees have thrice won as many as 3 straight titles, winning 5 straight (1949-1953, thus winning a third straight in ’51), 4 straight (1936-1939) and 3 straight (1998-2000).

Only one other baseball team and just one NFL team has won 3 straight titles. The Oakland Athletics won 3 straight titles (1972-1974) while the Green Bay Packers, the only NFL team to do so, by winning title games, did so from (1965-1967).

Five times in both NBA and NHL annals a team won 3 straight titles.

The Celtics, a current final round participant, (behind 3 games to 2 vs Golden State (Warriors) (17-4) in previous final rounds, won a major North American sports league 8 straight titles from (1959-1976).

Both the Lakers and Bulls have twice won 3 straight titles, (credit must go to Phil Jackson the only coach or manager to title 3 straight years more than once and he did so thrice).

The Minneapolis Lakers won 3 straight titles from (’52-’54) while Jackson guided the L.A. “version” to that feat from (2000-2002). Jackson guided the Bulls to 3 straight titles from (’91-’93) and then again from (’96-’98).

In the NHL, the Montreal Canadiens won 5 straight titles from (’56-’60) and 4 straight from (’76-’79).

The New York Islanders won 4 straight crowns from (’80-’83) while the Toronto Maple Leafs, currently without even a final round appearance for 54 completed NHL seasons (’68-2022 with no season in 2005) twice won 3 straight Cup crowns, doing so from (’47-’49) and again from (’62-’64).

I cited the 13 years apart teams the ’63 Yankees, ’76 Philadelphia Flyers and ’89 L.A. Lakers that were swept in final round play as they bid for a third straight crown.

7 other teams/times a team was denied in final round play, seeking a third straight title.

In baseball, it happened forty years before the Yankees failed in ’63, when in 1923 the Giants were beaten by the first of 27 Yankees’ title teams, in the first year of play at Yankee Stadium.

The Detroit Lions were denied by the Cleveland Browns in 1954 after winning the NFL title game vs those Browns in both ’52 and ’53.

Additionally, the Chicago Bears, who went on to win 4 titles in 6 seasons (’40-’46) playing in all but one of the 7 title games during that span, were denied by the Washington franchise in their bid for 3 straight titles in the 1942 title tilt. (“Chi” had annihilated “Wash” (73-0) in the ’40 title game). 

In the NBA, the Spurs 5’d the two time champion Heat in the 2014 final. Also the Raptors denied the Warriors, a current final round participant in a 6 game final in 2019 after Golden State (Warriors) had titled in both 2017 and 2018.

 

A la the Browns/Lions, Montreal had lost a final to a Detroit team, the Red Wings 2 straight seasons, ’54 and ’55, however it was Montreal in 5 games in the ’56 final denying Detroit.

Meanwhile in 1967, the last Toronto Maple Leafs title team 6’d Montreal’s bid for a third straight crown in the final round.

Warriors Lead (3-2), Bidding For A 4th Title In 8 Seasons

Andrew Wiggins (This Andrew again watched none and fervently hopes there is no 7th, not because I want “G.S.” but because I do not want the hype. All my life, vs windmills and not good, smart or perhaps not even noble) had 26 points while Klay Thompson added 21, more than compensating for a Curry off night (just 16 points and 0 for 9 on those “ruined the game” 3’s) as Golden State (-3 plus) (104-94–all 5 have been decided by 10 points or more) vs Boston to lead the final, 3 games to 2.

The Warriors, who have won their last 2 potential title clinching games, however, doing so up (3-1) in ’17 and (3-0) in ’18 after failing in 4 straight, including 3 to lose the ’16 final after Silver, (now in protocol), in a horrible decision but what do you expect from a man encouraging gambling big time, suspended Dray Green.

The Warriors are (6-5) in potential title clinching games. Boston is a 4 point “fave” to force a 7th, which would be on a Sunday night in the Bay Area, a la the ’16 horror that cemented the greatness of the over rated Leb James, who watched all these playoffs as a BILLIONAIRE non participant. (Of course few cite THE SHOT by Kyrie Irving and the keep the Cavs in it #7 play of J.R. Smith).

#6 is a Thursday road tilt for the Warriors as was the case in ’16.

 

Andrew Wiggins 2022.jpg

Andrew Wiggins, pictured above.

Only the ’85 Lakers have clinched a title as a road team, in Boston. 

13 Years Apart Note

There will be other notes regarding the NHL Final in which the Tampa Bay Lightning are bidding for a third straight title.

I believe 15 times a team has won three straight crowns.

Surely I do not have all the times a team with two straight titles made the final in a bid for a third straight title, as is the case now with Tampa Bay, an underdog to the home advantage/Colorado Avalanche.

Thirteen years apart, three different two time champions, not only lost a final round entity in a bid for a third straight but were swept out in 4 straight games.

In 1963 the Los Angeles Dodgers, who would “title” again in 1965, denied the New York Yankees, by the way (44-16) (of the Roy and Brad’s once #), so far this season, a third straight title sweeping them in the World Series.

13 years later in ’76 the Montreal Canadiens won the first of four straight titles, denying the two time champion Philadelphia Flyers, sweeping them in the final series.

Another 13 years passed and in the ’89 NBA final, the Detroit Pistons won the first of their 2 straight titles denying the two time champion Lakers, sweeping the final in 4 straight games.

 

Isiah Thomas, pictured above, led the Pistons to 2 titles and 5 straight semis appearances from 1987-1991.

‘Lanche/Lightning Final As Steven Stamkos Scores Both, T.B. (2-1) In 6th– To Third Straight Final

Steven Stamkos had both goals, the third period game winner just 21 seconds after the Rangers tied the score, as the two time champion Tampa Bay Lightning advanced to their third straight NHL final, winning (2-1) vs the Rangers in game 6.

Series star, Ondrej Palat (I had limited coverage of this series), who had last 90 seconds goals to win #’s 3 and 5 for “T.B.” had both secondary assists on the Stamkos goals.

The Lightning have now won 11 consecutive playoff series and will bid to become the first NHL team to win 3 straight titles since the New York Islanders won 4 straight from (1980-1983).

It will be, at least is “considered,” a tough task, as Colorado (Avalanche) is roughly a 2 to 1 series favorite.

Game 1 is Wednesday night in Colorado.

 

Steve Stamkos - Tampa Bay Lightning.jpg

Steven Stamkos, pictured above.

 

 

Steph Curry (43), Golden State Even

The superb player, Steph Curry hit for 43 points, leading 4 point underdog, Golden State (Warriors) (107-97) at Boston, to square the 76th NBA final series at 2 games apiece.

It is only the second of the twelve Warriors’ final round series (the first three as Philly), that stands at two games apiece.

I actually watched most of it (John Most was biased but paradise by comparison to coverage that actually shrinks the screen to show vapid interviews with each team’s coach while the game, even in the 4th quarter proceeds), but am appalled that there was a sequence of say 4 minute unrealistic commercials promoting the mindless, followed by Steph bringing the ball up for seconds and then 4 more minutes of ads.

Game 5 is Monday night in San Francisco.

Steph Curry, pictured above.

NBA Final Update: Celtics up (2-1)

The Boston Celtics bounced back from a (107-88) road loss in #2 and won (116-100) at home in game 3, to take a (2-1) NBA final round lead vs the Golden State Warriors.

Again no close game and I watched none. Boston led by 12 at the half, again got outscored in the third quarter and as was the case in their game 1 road win, outscored “G.S.” decisively, (not as much as in game 1 when they trailed entering the “4th,” but did so by 13 points to win by 16, the # of points the Warriors had in the “4th” of game 1. Last night the Warriors had a pitiful 11), in the fourth quarter.

“Jay”len Brown led Boston with 27, “Jay”son Tatum had 26 while Marcus Smart added 24 for the Celtics, who had already achieved a road win in a final round series for the 21st time in 22 such entities. (Only in ’87 when L.A. took all 3 of their home tilts did Boston fail to win a road final round game).

It was a third straight game in which Steph Curry led all scorers, but it was not a win. Additionally Curry was injured, though likely and hopefully, will play in #4 on Friday night.

Click above for some highlights from what appears to be the Celtics’ game 5 title clinching win vs the Warriors in 1964. Then it was a 6th consecutive title.

If Boston, now over a 2 to 1 series favorite and (-4) in #4, prevails it would be just the Celtics’ second title in 36 seasons, (1/18) but a record 18th, one more than the Lakers, as the Celtics once had 16 of the NBA’s 40 crowns (’47-’86) (2/5 or 40 percent) and nearly half (11) of the first 23 NBA crowns (’47-’69) as they won an incredible 11 titles in 13 seasons (’57-’69).

This series is far from over!

 

‘Lanche/Lehkonen Sweep The Oilers To Advance To The NHL Final

Artturi Lehkonen scored an overtime, semi-final series clinching goal for the second straight season, lifting the Colorado Avalanche (6-5) OVER (I’ll say, but after (8-6), two “unders,” then this) the Edmonton Oilers to complete a 4 game sweep, that sends the Avalanche to their first Stanley Cup Final since 2001.

Last year, Lehkonen scored in overtime of game 6, lifting Montreal to a big upset semi-final series win vs Las Vegas. This year his goal sends big series favorite Colorado to the final. 

Tampa Bay (Lightning) beat the Canadiens in the subsequent, 2021 final. Right now, the New York Rangers lead the Lightning two game to one, in their semi-final series. That winner will face the ‘Lanche in the final, beginning who knows when (possible rust factor for Colorado, which will be the series favorite and they also have injuries).

 

Artturi Lehkonen - 51707626360 (cropped).jpg

Artturi Lehkonen, pictured above with the Habs (by the way, for a 28th consecutive season, there will be no Canada team Cup crown), scored at 1:39 of overtime last year and 1:19 of it this year to send the Habs and Avs respectively to the final round. 

Below a good note transmitted on ESPN.com, however it ought to read Gordie did so in both the 1938 and 1939 semi-final round.

Lehkonen becomes the second player in NHL history, and first in 83 years, to score an overtime goal to send his club into the championship series more than once in his career. Toronto’s Gordie Drillon accomplished the feat in 1938-39.