The Viral Roundup – Crushed Crown Edition
Howdy! Welcome to a special TGIF edition (shout-out to Cory and Topanga) of The Viral Roundup. We’re that friendly place where you can get caught up on all the big news, big buzz and big developments in the world of sports. In today’s edition: The NHL playoff race goes full Hunger Games, the Heat aim not burn out versus the Bulls and the Steelers are losing Le’Veon for a while.
Did You Hear?
The Calgary Flames committed regicide on Thursday night and Canada has two newly confirmed playoff squads as a result. The 2014 Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings have been eliminated from the postseason picture courtesy of a devastating 3-1 loss to Calgary. The dagger of an L has pushed both the Flames and the Winnipeg Jets (who suffered a 1-0 shootout loss to Colorado last night) into the playoffs. Flames forward Jiri Hudller scored twice (improving his goal total this season to 31) and Jonas Hiller made 33 saves in the win. The Western Conference’s playoff dance card is officially full with only seeding still to be determined.
Did You See?
A collection of this year’s Stanley Cup hopefuls received some ribbing courtesy of The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. It’s not exactly as glamourous as popping up in “Tight Pants” or co-starring in a dance sequence with Justin Timberlake, but there are worse things in this world than appearing as a Tonight Show Superlative. (Well, maybe not for everybody. You’ll see.) Hit play and discover which NHL blueliner you will now forever associate with a Pez dispenser.
Did You Know?
- The Hamburglar strikes again! The Rangers were served up a 26 save 3-0 blanking courtesy of Senators keeper Andrew Hammond. Clarke MacArthur, Kyle Turris and Jean-Gabriel Pageau all put pucks by Henrik Lundqvist on Thursday night. The W gives the Sens a valuable two points and allows Ottawa’s professional ice hockey club to leapfrog an idle Penguins for the top spot in the Wildcard race.
- The Bruins are now on the outside looking in. Boston dropped out of playoff position thanks to a 4-2 soulcrushing loss to Florida and will require a win and some help if they want to extend their campaign. Roberto Luongo stood tall stopping 34 shots over 60 minutes and the Panthers put up a backbreaking three goals in the third for the W. The Bruins wrap up the regular season in Tampa Bay on Saturday night. April 11 is going to be a wild date on the hockey calendar.
- The Red Wings lost their Original 6 clash on Thursday, but they’re still playoff bound. The charity point from a 4-3 OT loss to the Canadiens punches Detroit’s postseason ticket. Lars Eller notched the OT winner for the Habs and his team will look to lock down the Atlantic Division crown on Saturday against the Maple Leafs. There’s the possibility that Montreal star Max Pacioretty may return to the lineup at the start of the playoffs.
- The Blues have wrapped up the Central Division. St. Louis nabbed the peak position in style with a 2-1 triumph over their rivals from Chicago. Paul Stastny put in the game winning goal and Jake Allen turned away 21 shots for the win. The Blackhawks are currently on a three game losing skid with only one regular season game left on the schedule.
- The Reds and Pirates exit their season starting NL Central series with different levels of cheer. Cincinnati earned their third straight win over Pittsburgh, this go-around being a tightly contested 3-2 victory. A costly fielding error from Gregory Polanco in the bottom of the 9th allowed Todd Frazier to score the clinching run for the Reds. Cincy slugger Joey Votto whacked a round-tripper earlier in the game.
- Matt Harvey’s return following Tommy John surgery was an impressive one. The Mets starter tamed the Nats bats and pitched six innings of run-free baseball with nine Ks to boot in a 6-3 victory. Stephen Strasburg had a decidedly more difficult time on the mound, giving up nine hits and six runs to New York in a hair over five innings. The Mets are currently slated as a 33/1 shot to win the World Series.
- The Texas Rangers entered Thursday’s matinee clash with the A’s favoured by 1 1/2 on the runline, but they exited with a much wider margin of victory. Dingers from Moreland, Choo, Beltre and Odor powered Texas to 10-1 road win. Athletics hurler Kendall Graveman got the hook in the 4th after giving up eight runs and seven hits. Things were far rosier for Texas starter Nick Martinez as he pitched shutout ball in a seven inning performance.
- What World Series hangover? The reigning AL champs from Kansas City have opened up their 2015 campaign with three straight wins. Stellar defense and an excellent showing from Edinson Volquez propelled the Royals to a 4-1 victory over the visiting White Sox. Next up for Kansas City: A trip to the left coast to face the Angels.
- Chicago extinguished a 19 point Miami lead to emerge victorious on the road and batter Dwayne Wade’s hopes of making a follow-up trip to the NBA Finals. Bulls forward Pau Gasol racked up 16 points and 15 rebounds in the 89-78 comeback triumph while Derrick Rose provided 12 points in 20 minutes. The Heat sink to a game and a half back of a postseason position in the Eastern Conference.
- Here’s some good news for the defenses facing the Steelers in Weeks 1 through 3: Pittsburgh’s star rusher Le’Veon Bell will be missing the first three games of the season thanks to a violation of the National Football League’s substance abuse policy. Bell and former Steelers teammate LeGarrette Blount were arrested in 2014 on marijuana possession and DUI charges. The tailback will be appealing the suspension. Bell provided Pittsburgh with 11 touchdowns and 2215 yards from scrimmage last season.
- Elsewhere in Steelers news, likely Hall of Famer Troy Polamalu and his guaranteed Hall of Fame mane are reportedly calling it a career. The retirement comes after an injury hampered 2014 campaign. #43 earned two Super Bowl rings with Pittsburgh and can boast eight Pro Bowl selections to his name.
- Jordan Spieth is now the man to beat at the Masters. The 21-year-old Texan shot 64 in the opening round, the best first round score since Greg Norman turned in a 63 stroke performance in 1996. It’s a four way tie for the #2 spot with Jason Day, Justin Rose, Charley Hoffman and Ernie Els all three strokes back. How’s Rory McIlroy doing? Glad you asked. He’s tied for 18th at one under par and seven strokes back. Tiger Woods wrapped up Thursday one over par and knotted up in the 41st spot.
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