What To Watch For In Sports This Week (6/6)
Sports |  Source: usatoday.com

What To Watch For In Sports This Week (6/6)

Other than the NBA Finals, of course.

Don't act like you don't know what's in store for this week.

Already down 2-0 to Golden State, LeBron James is two losses away from a 2-5 NBA Finals record -- which would make him just the second player in history to lose five finals next to Lakers legend Jerry West (1-8).

Meanwhile, Pittsburgh holds a 2-1 lead heading into a pivotal Game 4 at San Jose. The Penguins have an opportunity to steal another on the road before heading back home to close things out for their first Stanley Cup since 2009.

This is the only time out of the year where the absolute best basketball and hockey in the world is being played. Why miss out on that kind of opportunity?

Monday, June 6

NHL: Pittsburgh at San Jose, Game 4 (8 p.m. ET, NBC)
"We've battled through a lot this season,"San Jose forward Logan Couture told SI.com. "When we're pushed, we've pushed back. We know in our room we didn't play well at all last [game]. We made a lot of mistakes that we haven't been making throughout these playoffs. But Game 5 is a new opportunity for us."

Sustaining longer possessions and avoiding turnovers will be key for the Sharks in tonight's Game 5. Can they even the series out before heading back to Pittsburgh?

Wednesday, June 8

NBA: Golden State at Cleveland, Game 3 (9 p.m. ET, ABC)
Even if you predicted Golden State to win the first two games of the NBA Finals, it's unlikely you saw two blowouts like that coming. Cleveland followed up its 15-point loss in Game 1 by getting embarrassed, 110-77, on Sunday night.

Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, who did not play in last year's finals, have combined to shoot 35 percent. LeBron James is 16-of-38 (42.1 percent) thus far. The Cavaliers are shooting 36.8 percent as a team, and less than 28 percent from the 3-point line. That's not a winning recipe; especially against a Warriors team that won an NBA record 73 games during the regular season.

Cleveland needs to not only win Game 3, but win with confidence. Leaving Quicken Loans Arena without tying this series up will all but guarantee a second straight title for the Warriors.

Thursday, June 9

NHL: San Jose at Pittsburgh, Game 5 (8 p.m. ET, NBC)
Will Pittsburgh have the opportunity to finish things off in front of their own crowd, or will San Jose even the series at 2-2 in Game 4? Either way, the intensity and severity of the moment should be enough for you to have this on your TV during your Thirsty Thursday festivities.

Friday, June 10

NBA: Golden State at Cleveland, Game 4 (9 p.m. ET, ABC)
No team in NBA history that trailed 3-0 has ever won a four-game series. Even with one of the greatest players of all time in James, that's a statistic that wouldn't bode well for the Cavs.

Sunday, June 12

NASCAR: Sprint Cup Series at Michigan (1 p.m. ET, FS1)

NHL: Pittsburgh at San Jose, Game 6 (8 p.m. ET, NBC)*

*If necessary

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Sports |  Source: washingtontimes.com

The Bolts Answered in Game Three

An overtime winner is the way to go.

On Tuesday night, Thomas Hickey and they New York Islanders welcomed Jonathan Drouin and the Tampa Bay Lightning to Brooklyn for some playoff hockey. This game once again proved to be a physical battle between north vs. south.

Tensions were high even before the drop of the puck, as Tampa's Brian Boyle and New York's Travis Hamonick exchange words after an "accidental" bump at center ice during the Pregame skate.

"Just boys being boys," according to Boyle...

The opening minutes were back and forth, but the Islanders would jump out to an early 1-0 lead in game three, when a bouncing puck found Josh Bailey open in front...Bailey would not disappoint.

Their lead would be short lived, as Ryan Callahan would tie things up with a tip in from point blank on Ben Bishop, sending the teams into their dressing rooms tied at one after the first period.

The Bolts would build off of the momentum from Callahan's late tally, and 8:10 into the second period, Victor Hedman beat Bishop on a laser slap shot from the point to make it 2-1 Lighting.

The Islanders would not go away quietly. After pinning Tampa in their own zone, the New York fourth liners were able to find Nick Leddy at the point to clap home the equalizer to close out the scoring in the second.

The third period started similar to the first, when Josh Bailey one-timed home his second goal of the night, but again Tampa would quickly find an answer. Less than a minute later, Vladislav Namestnikov knotted things up with just over 16 minutes to go in game three.

Following the back and forth theme, Cal Clutterbuck would allow New York to re-gain the lead with a bar down snipe from the slot.

The Pressure was on for Tampa, after pulling their goaltender they would answer yet again when Nikita Kucherov found the loose puck and tied the game at four with 39 seconds to play in the third period.

Kucherov's late goal would send this one to OT...

Just 2:48 into overtime Brian Boyle collected a bank shot off of the end boards from Victor Hedman and stuffed home the game winning goal and giving Tampa a 2-1 series lead over the Islanders.

Despite their physical dominance the Islander's were not able to hold off Tampa's late offensive push.

The action resumes in Brooklyn on Friday at 7 p.m.

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Sports |  Source: o.canada.com

What To Watch For In Sports This Week (5/23)

Playoff sports are not something you should miss.

The NBA Playoffs got a little weird over the weekend, so trust me when I say you need to clear your evening schedule for the rest of the week (and then likely the first half of June as well).

Here are the can't-miss games and for Monday, May 23 and beyond:

Monday, May 23

NHL: San Jose at St. Louis, Game 5 (8 p.m. ET, NBC)
Locked up at an even 2-2, this pivotal Game 5 could likely determine the outcome of the series and ultimately decides which team gets to compete for the Stanley Cup next week.

Luckily for San Jose, they finished with the NHL's best road record (28-10-3) during the regular season. The Sharks will be hungry to take this one before for a potential clinch in front of the home crowd.

NBA: Cleveland at Toronto, Game 4 (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)
If you're like me, you had a feeling that Toronto was going to show out for their fans in what was the organization's first ever Eastern Conference Finals home game. It wasn't all too surprising that the Raptors were able to hold onto a late lead and capitalize on Cleveland's poor shooting.

However, unless they're able to repeat the same performance on Tuesday, this one will likely be wrapped up in five on the Cavs' court later this week.

Tuesday, May 24

Pittsburgh at Tampa Bay, Game 6 (8 p.m. ET, NBC)
Tampa's Nikita Kucherov scored the tying goal with 16:44 in the third period before Tyler Johnson put in the game-winning goal in overtime to help the Lightning steal Game 5 on the road Sunday evening. Now the Penguins must avoid elimination on the road, where Tampa is 6-2 this postseason.

Golden State at Oklahoma City, Game 4 (9 p.m. ET, TNT)
Yes, the best regular season team in NBA history now finds itself in a pretty difficult predicament heading into a vital, must-win Game 4 road matchup. In their two losses against the Thunder thus far (down 2-1), the Warriors went 21-of-63 (33.3 percent) from the 3-point line, which is well below their average of 41.6 percent from the regular season.

Meanwhile, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook have averaged 58.0 combined points in both wins, including 33 and 30 in Game 3, respectively.

It's weird to say, but Golden State is in serious trouble of missing out on the NBA Finals. Losing here wouldn't guarantee that, but it's not ideal to go down 3-1.

Wednesday, May 25

Toronto at Cleveland, Game 5 (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)
If the Cavaliers are able to take Monday's game in Toronto, the train stops here. There's no way that they don't close this series out in five if they're already up 3-1.

St. Louis at San Jose, Game 6 (9 p.m. ET, NBC)
Depending on what the Cleveland Cavaliers do in Game 4, this might be what you want on your TV Wednesday night.

Thursday, May 26

Tampa Bay at Pittsburgh, Game 7 (8 p.m. ET, NBC)*

Oklahoma City at Golden State, Game 5 (9 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Keep this one circled on your calendar. Whether Golden State ties the series at 2-2 or digs itself deeper at 3-1, this should be on every TV in America. It would be a shock to see Oklahoma City vs. Cleveland (probably) in the NBA Finals, but the Thunder seem to be on a mission.

Friday, May 27

San Jose at St. Louis, Game 7 (8 p.m. ET, NBC)*

Cleveland at Toronto, Game 6 (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)*

Saturday, May 28

Golden State at Oklahoma City, Game 6 (9 p.m. ET, TNT)*

Sunday, May 29

MLB: Los Angeles at NY Mets (8 p.m. ET, ESPN2)
Clayton Kershaw against Bartolo Colon on Sunday night baseball? Yeah. Count me in.

Toronto at Cleveland, Game 7 (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)*

*If necessary

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Sports |  Source: ultimatecapper.com

Dallas Self Destructed in the Playoffs, Again

Seems like a theme in Dallas, huh?

Imagine looking at your final grades for the semester and seeing an 89.4 in a class you thought you'd ace. Now multiply that feeling by a million, and that's what it must be like to lose in a game seven. Unfortunately for the Stars, they didn't even give themselves a chance.

In a 6-1 blowout at the hands of the St. Louis Blues, a team with playoff demons of its own, the Dallas Stars were dominated in every aspect of the game. The only thing missing was a string of Tony Romo interceptions for touchdowns and memes of Jason Garrett looking dumbfounded on the sideline -- what has become the custom for playoff season in Dallas.

In the final and decisive game of the series, played at American Airlines Center in Dallas, the Stars did everything wrong and the Blues did everything right. Goaltender Kari Lehtonen, who's been reliable all year, made only five saves on eight shots, and didn't even last into the second period.

After 20 minutes, the Stars were in a 3-0 hole before they could even blink. It could have even been 4-0, but a Blues goal was overturned after a review confirmed a player was offsides. On the offensive side, it seemed like Dallas had endless opportunities in the early going at a gaping net, but couldn't seem to pull the trigger.

What is it with Dallas-based teams in the postseason? The Cowboys have enough money to put together the type of franchise you'd see in Madden, yet they haven't made it close to a championship in the Tony Romo era. Two years later, their fans are still crying out: "Dez caught that ball!"

Then you have the Texas Rangers, who, in recent years, have had more problems finishing than a frat boy who's had too much to drink. They lost the World Series in 2010 to the Giants, and then went back in 2011. They were one strike away from winning it all in game six, and eventually lost in seven.

I actually picked the Stars to win the Stanley Cup this season, but I guess I forgot they play in the city of Dallas, where playoff time is a time to mourn.

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Sports | 

The Flyers Season As Told By It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

What a ride it was.

After a disappointing conclusion to the 2014-15 regular season and quite the active off-season, the Philadelphia Flyers needed to come up big this year. The fans, and the rest of the league were expecting big things outta Hexy, Hak and the FlyGuys. Here's how it all went down.

Hakstol and the Flyers dropped the ball, or in this case, the condom. Losing six of their first 10 games, they were not off to the fast start the organization was hoping for. The seeds that Ron Hextall had spent the off-season planting now seemed obsolete.

November 2015 was a shitty time to be a Philadelphia sports fan. The Eagles went 1-for-3, Jahlil Okafor was involved in street fights, and the Flyers lost nine of their next 12 games. With the first quarter of the season in the books the Flyers chances of making the playoffs was a minuscule 5 percent. Philadelphia needed a savior...

The Flyers called up Rookie Shayne Gostisbehere to fill a gap on the blue line in December. Ghost did that and more as he provided the offensive spark Philadelphia was looking for. The Flyers wrapped up the month of December with six wins and six loses, and one of the hottest rookies in the league leading the charge for the orange and black.

With the New Year came new hope for the Philadelphia faithful. While the rest of the league counted them out, the Flyers took matters into their own hands, and strung together a five game win streak, knocking off some of the NHL's top teams. The Flyers were able to come out of January with a winning record and a real shot at the post season. January proved to everyone that Philadelphia had what it takes to make a playoff push.

As the weather got colder, the Flyers got hotter. They won eight games in February and picked up key points in overtime/shootout losses as the race for the playoffs got tighter and tighter. There was a buzz around Philadelphia; the city was excited at the mere thought of playoff hockey at the Wells Fargo.

Remarkably, the Flyers managed nine wins to just five losses in March. They earned 20 of the possible 28 points in the month, moving them into the final wild card spot, two points ahead of the Detroit Red Wings. The Flyers could taste the rum ham... the fate of their season did not depend on anyone but themselves.

April 2016... What a time to be a Philly sports fan. Villanova won the national championship and the city of brotherly love was buzzing. The Flyers kept the party going in spectacular fashion by defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second to last game of the regular season to clinch the second wild card spot in the 2016 Stanley Cup playoffs.

After an easy W in New York, the stage is set and the city is ready for another parade, this time down Broad Street. The Flyers are heading into the playoffs hot, trying to win the cup for founder Ed Snider, who passed away on Monday.

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Sports |  Source: streamable.com

Even Metallica Couldn't Will The Sharks To a Win

Sad but True...

Game 4 had all the potential for a monumental momentum shift in the Sharks favors. San Jose was playing on home ice after mounting a comeback in Game 3 despite trailing at the end of the second period. With the puck primed to drop, the home crowd was roaring after Metallica's rendition of the national anthem.

Apparently the Shark's aren't a fan of the sandman because the next 30 minutes were all Pens. Not even the slushy conditions of the SAP center could slow them down. The Sharks brought the physicality to the game winning the hit war 46-31.

In fact despite the end result of 3-1 Pittsburgh, the Sharks led not only in hits but shots (24-20) and face-off wins (37-30). The later fueling a surge in the 3rd period. This discrepancy will be quickly forgotten in large part to the performance of the Pen's X-factors, Murray and Malkin.

Murray exhibited perhaps the greatest assets a goalie can have, short term memory. Bouncing back from a mediocre Game 3, Murray was a wall shutting down a number of golden San Jose opportunities. His performance tonight was bolstered by solid team defense, including one example of Hornqvist putting his money-maker on the line.

It's unfair to call one of the top 10 players in the league an x-factor. However, Malkin entered Game 4 with no points and the presence of tinder match who hasn't sent a message in days. Apparently, Malkin is a fan of making a fashionably late entrance.

Much akin to the Lightning series, Malkin arrived late in stellar fashion. It wasn't only his one timer off a slick Kessler dish, but his overall presence. He was a terror in the neutral zone initiating one counter attack after another.

Leading the series 3-1, Pittsburgh will have a chance to close out in front of the hometown crowd in Game 5. The odds are in their favor and they are incredibly close to finally fulfilling the long held expectations that come with possessing two generational talents. Then again, this is playoff hockey.