The Viral Roundup – Sen City Edition
Good morning! We’d like to welcome you to the latest edition of The Viral Roundup. If something big, bad or buzzworthy goes down in the world of sports, we’ve got it covered just in time for your morning coffee. (Or whatever your morning beverage is. We don’t judge.) In today’s go-around: The Sens slay the Sharks, the Pacers can’t keep up with the Rockets and a certain Russian megastar might have a second act back in the NHL.
Did You Hear?
This is really happening, eh? Ottawa’s miracle run rolls on with NHL club after NHL club getting served by this Sens squad. Last night it was San Jose’s turn to make an unsuccessful bid at tarnishing the legacy of the Hamburglar. Andrew Hammond stopped 29 shots and Mike Zibanejad scored twice as the Senators clobbered the Sharks 5-2. Bobby Ryan racked up three helpers in the win that now places Ottawa in the coveted #8 spot in the Eastern Conference. Hammond improves to 14-0-1 since arriving from the AHL and the Sens are on a wild 17-2-2 run that’s bumped the Bruins out of the final Wildcard spot. If you think Ottawa can keep this magic going, you should know they’re listed as a 28/1 shot to win the Stanley Cup this summer.
Did You See?
Zamboni fumes have gotten slightly more delicious and seasonal! (Legal Note: Do not inhale Zamboni fumes.)
Peep this, uh, Peeps Zamboni cleaning the ice at a Lehigh Valley Phantoms game. The Philly AHL affiliate can boast the most marshmallow-y ice resurfacer in North America. By the way, Just Born (the company that makes Peeps) operates out of the Lehigh Valley city of Bethlehem and the Phantoms play in nearby Allentown.
Did You Know?
- The Hamburglar isn’t the only surprise superstar to emerge between the pipes in 2014-2015. Devan Dubnyk continues to be a revelation in Minnesota, going from multi-team castoff to key figure. Dubnyk’s 32 straight start featured the keeper stopping 35 shots in a tight 2-1 victory over a surprisingly difficult Maple Leafs team. The valuable win keeps the Wild glued into the top Wildcard spot in the Western Conference with a tough test is on its way tonight as Dubnyk & Co. head to Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum to battle the New York Islanders. Reminder: The Wild boast the best penalty killing percentage in the NHL.
- Injuries haven’t hampered Winnipeg’s ability to take flight of late. Even with Bryan Little, Dustin Byfuglien and Matthieu Perreault out of the lineup, the Jets improved to five straight wins thanks to a 4-1 drubbing of the lowly Edmonton Oilers. Ondrej Pavelec turned in another stellar performance making 33 saves and new additions Drew Stafford, Tyler Myers and Lee Stempniak all lit the lamp in this road victory. Winnipeg currently holds a four point lead over Los Angeles for the final playoff spot in the West. Next up for Paul Maurice’s club is a showdown tonight with the Vancouver Canucks.
- The Flames continue to have their nails dug into the #3 slot in the Pacific Division and they kept their place on Monday with by squeaking past the Colorado Avalanche. Jiri Hudler potted his 27th goal of the season in the 3-2 home win and the Flames PK unit extinguished all three power play opportunities held by the Avs. Kari Ramo turned aside 25 shots to collect the W.
- Los Angeles continues to be edged out of a possible spot in the West, but they’re still fighting to return to some more favourable real estate. Anze Kopitar provide a goal and two assists to help propel the Kings to a 3-1 road win in New Jersey. The game also marked the return of Kings forward Mike Richards from the AHL and his play was met with warm reviews from the press even if his name did not appear on the scoresheet.
- Could the NHL be reunited with Ilya Kovalchuk? Finnish newspaper Illtalehti says they’ve spoken with a source that claims the Russian talent is considering a North American return in time for the 2016-17 season. Kovalchuk’s exit from the NHL in 2013 was a messy one, although it did solve New Jersey’s possible cap crisis in the process. The 31-year-old has tallied 137 points in 135 games as a KHL player and might be the biggest star in hockey not playing in the National Hockey League. All 30 franchises would have to approve Kovalchuk’s return, otherwise he wouldn’t be eligible to play in the league until the 2018-2019 season.
- Fear the beard. James Harden dropped a piledriver on the reeling Indiana Pacers, dropping 44 points in a 110-100 Houston road victory. It’s been a miserable stretch for Indiana and the Rockets added to that providing the Pacers with their sixth straight loss. The freefall has done some serious damage to Indiana’s playoff hopes in the admittedly soft Eastern Conference standings. Houston’s on a much better run, winning four of their last five.
- The Pacers continue to rack up Ls, but fellow playoff hopefuls the Boston Celtics have shaken out of their losing daze. The four and a half point underdog emerged with a win in Brooklyn, snapping a three game losing streak courtesy of a 110-91 pummeling of the Nets. Evan Turner’s 19 point, 12 assist and 10 rebound performance has Boston seated in the last playoff spot in the East. Avery Bradley also contributed 20 points in the victory.
- Memphis made mincemeat out of New York at Madison Square Garden. The sneaky good Grizzlies bested the 13 point favourite status they had going in and battered the Knicks 103-82. The Southwest Division leading Grizz went 7-12 from 3 point land and enjoyed 20+ point performances from Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. Memphis are currently a 10-1 bet to win it all in 2015.
- Vegas currently has the Kentucky Wildcats as the even money favourite to walk away with the NCAA Men’s Basketball crown. The even odds come as UK continue their undefeated run and a date with West Virginia is the next stop on the bracket. As for a school that hasn’t garnered the faith of oddsmakers, how about UCLA? The unlikely Sweet Sixteen team is listed as a 100/1 shot with multiple sportsbooks.
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