"The Stack" 4-18-18
The Vegas Golden Knights made history last night with their 1-0 game four win which meant a sweep of the Los Angeles Kings. Absolutely incredible and impressive.
The Stack is back on this Wednesday and you guessed it, we have more reaction to last night’s NBA and NHL Playoff action so why waste any time? Let’s get right to “the stack” for today, Wednesday, April 18th:
Raptors, Celtics, Pelicans all take 2-0 series leads
After looking really crappy in game one, the Toronto Raptors jumped all over the Washington Wizards early in the game and coasted to a 118-101 victory. The Raptors were up 37-15 in the first quarter. How bad has it gotten for the Wizards? They are absolutely pathetic. I feel bad for head coach Scott Brooks, because he is going to get canned if the effort doesn’t show up for the remainder this series. Demar DeRozan was sensational for the Raptors scoring 37 points. The Raptors will win this series. I feel comfortable in saying that.
In Boston, the Celtics jumped out to a big first quarter lead (11) and actually kept it throughout the game. Unlike in game one, the Celtics were able to lead throughout and put the Milwaukee Bucks away comfortably despite the Greek Freak scoring 30 points. It was rookie Jaylon Brown’s night and show. He matched Giannis with 30 points and was the aggressive one on offense for the Celtics. He had the most shots. He was great. The Bucks can still get back in this series no question about it, but for now the Celtics are up comfortable in the series 2-0.
The New Orleans Pelicans are squarely in the driver seat in their series with the Portland Trailblazers following their game two win 111-102 to take a 2-0 series lead. Both wins of course have come in Portland. Jrue Holiday scored a career high 33 points and the team overall shot 50 percent from three point land. Damian Lillard struggled once again with only 17 points and between him and C.J. McCollum, they combined to only score 39 points (obviously that means McCollum had 22 last night). The Trailblazers can still come back in this series, but Lillard and McCollum must get hot and quickly or the Trailblazers may not last much longer.
Wednesday’s NBA Playoff games
Indiana Pacers @ Cleveland Cavaliers 7 PM ET TNT (Pacers lead series 1-0)
Utah Jazz @ Oklahoma City Thunder 8 PM ET NBA TV (Thunder lead series 1-0)
Minnesota Timberwolves @ Houston Rockets 9:30 PM ET TNT (Rockets lead series 1-0)
Night on the ice
For the third straight game, the Washington Capitals and Columbus Blue Jackets went to overtime. Unlike the first two games, this time the Washington Capitals emerged victorious. The Capitals got on the board with a goal by Tom Watson in the second period to go up 1-0 and they appeared to have another goal after a scrum in front of the nets and multiple shots resulted in Brett Connolly finding the back of the net, but the Blue Jackets challenged saying the play was offsides and after review, the officials and the replay group in Toronto agreed. No goal. Columbus would tie it, but Washington would regain the lead 2-1 only to see Columbus tie it in the third. To overtime we went and each team had plenty of chances, but could not cash in. Finally in the second overtime, the Capitals got some puck luck when a shot went off a Blue Jackets player and then Lars Eller and past Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky. 3-2 Capitals win and they are back in this series. Quite the game.
Controversy was the name of the game in St. Paul where the Minnesota Wild lost to the Winnipeg Jets 2-0 and now are in a 3-1 series hole, but it was what happened in the first period that has everyone talking. With the Wild on a power play, Eric Staal was checked in the head by Jets defenseman Josh Morrissey. No penalty was called. One should have been and Morrissey should have gotten a game misconduct and gotten ejected. How the officials missed that I have no idea. A few minutes later Morrissey assisted on a goal by Mark Scheifele and that would prove to be the game-winner. Scheifele added an empty net goal as well, but the non-call is ridiculous. It completely changed momentum in the game. Hopefully the NHL will do what is right and suspend Morrissey at least two or three games. No excuse for what he did.
History was made in Los Angeles and the Vegas Golden Knights continue to surprise and impress. The Golden Knights beat the Kings 1-0 to sweep the series and advance to the second round where, barring a miracle and more history, they will face the San Jose Sharks. Former King Brayden McNabb stuck the knife in his former team with the lone goal of the game in the second period and that goal stood, because Golden Knights goalie Marc Andre-Fleury stood on his head with some huge saves including late when the Kings were really applying pressure. He got the top of his glove on a puck that kept a goal from happening with 14 seconds left. For Vegas to win is historical, amazing, whatever other superlative you want to state. It’s absolutely incredible. Congrats to Vegas. Keep it up.
Wednesday’s NHL Playoff games
Pittsburgh Penguins @ Philadelphia Flyers 7 PM ET NBCSN (Penguins lead series 2-1)
Tampa Bay Lightning @ New Jersey Devils 7:30 PM ET Golf Channel (Yes, that’s right the Golf Channel) (Lightning lead series 2-1)
Nashville Predators @ Colorado Avalanche 10 PM ET NBCSN (Predators lead series 2-1)
Anaheim Ducks @ San Jose Sharks 10:30 PM ET Golf Channel (Yes, again the Golf Channel) (Sharks lead series 3-0)
Coming up Thursday: Brief NBA and NHL Playoff reaction plus some predictions on the upcoming NFL schedule