Every pro hockey player, every coach, even some fans, if they're honest, will tell you that to win playoff hockey, you have to have a little good luck along the way, and such fortune was on the side of the NY Rangers in their 3-2 overtime win against the Montreal Canadiens last night at the Bell Centre.
Tied at 2, the Rangers' Chris Kreider raced down the left wing and went to put a shot on Montreal goalie Carey Price's net. Montreal defenseman Alexei Emelin did exactly what he was supposed to do, getting his stick on Kreider's shot to deflect it away. The only problem was the deflection went straight to the stick of New York forward Mika Zibanejad, camped at the right side of the net, and he one-timed it home past a helpless Carey Price for the win. Kreider could not have put the puck more squarely on his teammate's stick if he had passed it there on purpose, and the Hockey Gods must have been smiling on Kreider because he could have ended the game in earlier when he did get a pass at almost the exact spot Zibenajad was, but whiffed on the attempt. But now the Rangers, who trailed the series two games to one, find themselves needing just one more win to eliminate the Canadiens in game six when they return home to Madison Square Garden on Saturday.
The Columbus Blue Jackets are out after five games, eliminated with a 5-2 loss against the Penguins in Pittsburgh last night.
More surprising by far is the ouster of the Chicago Blackhawks in four straight games by the Nashville Predators, who beat the Hawks 4-1 last night to complete the sweep. The Blackhawks were the top seed in the western conference and the Preds decided underdogs when the series began. It's the first ever playoff sweep for Nashville and the first time a number one seed has been swept in the playoffs since the NHL adopted its current post-season format in 1994.
The San Jose Sharks had the Edmonton Oilers just where they wanted them, leading 3-1 in pivotal game five in Edmonton last night, but the Oilers stormed back to tie the game and send it to overtime, and completed the comeback when former Montreal Canadiens forward David Deharnais potted the game winner in a 4-3 Edmonton victory. The Oilers now have a chance to finish off the Sharks when they head to San Jose for game six.
The Boston Bruins will be fighting for their playoff lives in Ottawa tonight. No room for error as they trail the Senators three games to one, and in Washington D.C. the Capitals will try to go up a game on the upstart Toronto Maple Leafs with that series tied at two games apiece.
In the NBA playoffs the Boston Celtics must find a way to win tonight in Chicago, already trailing the Bulls two games to none as the eighth seeded Bulls smell upset over top-seeded Boston.
Last night in Indianapolis, Lebron James let everyone know he's still the best basketball player on earth, just in case anyone had forgotten. King James led the Cleveland Cavaliers to the greatest second half comeback in NBA playoff history, finishing the game with a triple double of 41 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists, as the Cavs overcame a 26-point deficit to shock the Pacers 119-114. They're now up three games to none.
To Major League Baseball, and Chris Sale has made five starts this season for the Boston Red Sox with just a 1-1 record to show for it. Are the Sox having doubts about trading away top prospects for the former White Sox lefty? Not even a little bit. One look at Sale's earned run average of 0.91 shows that the record is meaningless. His teammates just haven't scored many runs for him in the games he's started. That was the case yesterday when Sale struck out 13 Toronto Blue Jays but left in the eighth inning with the game tied at one, so he did not factor in the decision. The Red Sox scored the final three runs of the game in the top of the tenth inning when Mookie Betts smacked a double down the left field line with the bases loaded, moving all those ducks off the pond in a 4-1 Red Sox win. The Blue Jays are now 3-12 to start the year, the worst start in their franchise history, and even though it's still just April, it's hard to see how they can recover from that kind of start.
The Philadlephia Phillies won the rubber game of a three game set against the Mets in New York, winning 6-4 off Mets ace Noah Syndergaard. Maikel Franco homered for the Phils and doubled home the game winning run in the eighth. Mets slugger Yoenis Cespedes left the game with a pulled hamstring and he's expected to miss at least a couple of games.
The NY Yankees were idle. They take on the Pirates in Pittsburgh tonight.
Locally in high school baseball, chalk up a no-hitter for Anthony Hope of Essex, who struck out eight against Missisquoi in a 3-0 win yesterday. Historic enough to hurl a no-no, but to put an exclamation point on the feat, it was Hope's first career start and what a debut it was.
In college baseball, Sam Graf hit two home runs in Middlebury's 8-1 win over St. Michael's, and Union topped Castleton 4-2.
In men's college lacrosse, Castleton started slow and then poured it on against Johnson State, scoring ten unanswered goals in an 11-2 win over the Badgers. Kyle Lutinski led the Spartans with four goals.
It was an even more lopsided decision for the Castleton women against their Johnson State counterparts, the Lady Spartans walloping the Badgers 24-2, and Stonehill defeated St. Michael's 12-8 in Massachusetts.