"The Stack" 5-24-18

The Washington Capitals are going to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in two decades following their 4-0 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning in game seven last night.

The Stack is back on this Thursday and we missed the big upset win by the Houston Rockets Tuesday night, but we’re back today with a big win for the Caps (DC rejoices) and LeBron and company are one loss away from the end of the season. That and more in “the stack” so let’s get right to it for today, Thursday, May 25th:

Capitals advance to Stanley Cup Final

For the first time in two decades and for the first time in Alex Ovechkin’s career, the Washington Capitals are headed to the Stanley Cup Final following their 4-0 game seven win over the Tampa Bay Lightning to win the series 4-3. Ovechkin was fantastic in game six and he was just as good in game seven. Just over a minute into the game off of a turnover Ovechkin scored on a slapshot to make it 1-0 Capitals. It wouldn’t be all great news for the Capitals in the period. Devante Smith-Pelley took a puck to the back of the neck. OUCH! He left the game. Then Tom Wilson got in a fight with Braydon Coburn and they went to the box with matching minor penalties. As soon as they got out of the penalty box they were back at it and this time they would get five minute majors. The Capitals were down two defenseman. No problem. Goalie Braden Holtby was sensational. He made save after big save. The Lightning had a chance to tie the game, but Dan Girardi inexplicably missed the puck in the crease in front of a wide open net. That was a momentum shifter. The Lightning would never come close to having a better opportunity than that. They would turn the puck over later in the second period and Andrei Burakovsky would score to make it 2-0. He would add his second goal of the game (and of the playoffs) with minutes to go in the third period to make it 3-0. That was it. The Capitals won 4-0 and advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1998 where they will face the Vegas Golden Knights who are in their inaugural season (in case you just came to planet Earth yesterday). This series is dripping with storylines. It is going to be a great series and we’ll be talking about it on Monday.

Celtics win tenth playoff home game, lead series 3-2

LeBron James can’t do it all and finally it caught up to him and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Despite scoring 26 points and outscoring the rest of his supporting starting cast combined, James missed plenty of shots he normally doesn’t and looked run down as the Cavaliers lost to the Boston Celtics 96-83. I’m sure James and company will be more energized for Friday’s game, but this is still slightly alarming though not all that surprising. James is receiving very little help if he is getting any help at all. In game five for the Celtics, it was Jayson Tatum who helped push the Celtics to victory with 24 points. The Celtics defense was great as well. Too bad they suck on the road. They better put forth a huge effort because as tired as LeBron is, do you really want to test him in a game seven? I didn’t think so either.

Game five between the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets is tonight at 9 PM ET on TNT. The Warriors really wet their pants and shat the proverbial bed in the fourth quarter in game four. They better put up a better effort if they want to beat the Rockets tonight.

NFL comes out with new anthem policy

In an effort to try and stop the national anthem debate (it won’t), the NFL passed a new policy at the owner meetings in Atlanta Wednesday. All players and personnel on the field will be required to stand for the anthem. If players prefer, they can stay in the locker room for the singing of the national anthem. It sounds fair, but the owners didn’t talk with the players or the NFLPA. It’s hard to have a “compromise” when only one side makes a decision unless the compromise was among the NFL owners. If players do not stand for the national anthem, the team will be subject to a fine and perhaps other penalties. Will this mean that Colin Kaepernick and/or Eric Reid get signed anytime soon? Most likely not and that’s a shame, because they are both above average players who can help a team in a heartbeat. What’s even worse is that the people who are so against Kaepernick and Reid getting signed by a team probably don’t give a shit at all that Milwaukee police brutalized Milwaukee Bucks guard Sterling Brown by tasing him during a stop on January 26th. Video was just released on Wednesday. Brown did nothing confrontational. This is the type of garbage that Kaepernick is trying to make folks aware of and he gets run out of town for it. Not right America. Not right. The police officers involved in that incident with Mr. Brown deserved to be fired. The NFL continues to get this issue wrong, but at least they are giving the players the option to stay in the tunnel. Hoping that players take the league up on that offer if they so choose.

Coming up Friday: Warriors-Rockets reaction plus other top stories in sports