Mitch's Sports Report: Who's Playing Who? Eastern Conference NHL Playoffs Still Undecided

Apr 7, 2017

In what could be an opening round NHL playoff series preview, the Boston Bruins and Ottawa Senators skated to a 1-1 regulation tie before the Sens won the game 2-1 in an overtime shootout.

Both teams had already secured a playoff spot, but the playoff match-ups in the east are still undecided even with just a couple of games left in the regular season. The Bruins, unlike Ottawa, have just one game left on the regular season docket, and if they want to avoid facing the team with the NHL's best record in the first round they would do well to win that game, which just happens to be against the team with the NHL's best record, the Washington Capitals.

The Bruins are a mere two points ahead of the Toronto Maple Leafs, who failed to clinch a spot last night to one of the teams with still an outside chance to catch them, the Tampa Bay Lightning. Brayden Point scored twice to keep the Lightning's hopes alive in a 4-1 win. However, for Tampa to get in, they'd have to win their last two games while Toronto would have to lose their last two. The NY Islanders are also on the same path as Tampa, needing to win two and hope the Leafs don't gain even a point along the way.

The Bruins have a stake in all this as well, because with 95 points, the Leafs could still leapfrog the Bruins and finish in third place in the Atlantic instead of nailing down the last wild card berth and a date with those scary good Capitals.

It would have been nice for the Bruins to have their leading goal scorer Brad Marchand available for last night's game, but he was serving the first of a much-deserved two-game suspension for spearing Tampa Bay's Jake Dotchin in a sensitive region of the male anatomy. Marchand is lucky the suspension didn't extend to the post-season, and he'll need to show more discipline when the playoffs start, no matter who the first round opponent is.

One series that is set in stone will feature the Montreal Canadiens against the NY Rangers in round one, and what a series that should be. Both teams feature two of the best goaltenders on planet earth in Carey Price for Montreal and Henrik Lundvist for New York. The Habs will have home ice advantage, but these teams are both so good and well balanced that predicting a winner is a very tough call. It seems destined for going seven, though, and I'll take Montreal at home in a game seven if it comes to that. Tough draw for both teams right out of the gate after having such great regular seasons.

In their opening contest at the Tier II 16-and-under girl's hockey national championships yesterday, the Vermont Shamrocks skated to a 1-0 win over the Anchorage North Stars.  The Shamrocks are a team of girls from across Vermont and the only goal of the game was scored by Elizabeth Hill with less than three minutes to go in regulation. Alexis Bartlett and Angelina Tommola assisted on Hill's goal. The tournament continues today with the Shamrocks facing off against the Livonia Knights of Michigan.

The NY Yankees were idle yesterday and the Boston Red Sox were rained out at Fenway against the Pirates. The Yanks open up a series in Baltimore against the Orioles tonight and the Red Sox are in Detroit to take on the Tigers.

Fans of the NY Mets know that Matt Harvey, had a rough season last year, but he had a good reason. Harvey had to undergo surgery last July for something called Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, caused by the compression of nerves and blood vessels in an area between the neck and armpit. But in his first start of the 2017 season at Citi Field, he stifled the Atlanta Braves, giving up just three hits in a 6-2 Mets victory. Travis D'Arnaud hit a go-ahead two run double for the Mets and Wilmer Flores added a two-run homer.

The Toronto Blue Jays got off the schneide, winning their first game of the season 5-2 over the Tampa Bay Rays on the strength of a Kendrys Morales grand slam.  

In the NBA the Boston Celtics have now lost two in a row, falling to the Atlanta Hawks 123-116 despite 35 points from Isaiah Thomas. The usually stingy Celtics defense had trouble stopping Paul Millsap, who scored 26 off the bench. Tough night for former Hawk and current Celtic Al Horford, who got into early foul trouble and finished with just four points on the night.

At the Masters Golf tournament, Charley Hoffman leads the field after one day of play, shooting a 7-under 65 yesterday under difficult conditions that included strong winds, and has built up a four shot lead over the rest of the field. Rough day for Jordan Spieth who quadruple bogeyed on the 12th, but still not as bad as the world's number one ranked player Dustin Johnson, who had to pull out of the tournament after injuring his back falling down a flight of stairs.  

 

Tags: