The Viral Roundup – Ride The Lightning Edition
Hello! Welcome to another gently massaged go-around of The Viral Roundup. We’re your one-stop shop for all the big news, big buzz and big developments in the world of sports. If it’s worth talking, tweeting or texting about, we’ve got it tucked into this thing. In today’s edition: The Bolts send the Habs packing, Houston staves off elimination and Monty Williams gets the axe.
Did You Hear?
The Canadiens comeback ends here. With two straight wins and a healthy dollop of momentum on their side Montreal looked like they could have pushed the series to 3-3, but the Bolts had other plans. Nikita Kucherov lit the lamp twice and Steven Stamkos notched a marker in a 4-1 home win that propels the Lightning into the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 2011. Tampa pulled out the win even with Ryan Callahan sidelined with an emergency appendectomy. Tonight’s Rangers/Capitals Game 7 showdown will determine the Lightning’s opponent.
Did You See?
You’d likely never be able to return a blistering serve from the elite players in women’s tennis, but maybe you can out emoji-face them? The WTA has knocked out an incredibly charming video featuring the game’s best players (Serena Williams! Maria Sharapova! Ana Ivanovic!) trying to replicate some emoji magic. The winky tongue out emoji that channels Miley Cyrus appears to be the most difficult setting.
Did You Know?
- It looks like Josh Harding’s NHL career has come to an end. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that the Minnesota Wild goaltender will likely retire due to complications from multiple sclerosis. The 30-year-old netminder collected 60 wins and 10 shutouts in the National Hockey League, as well as earning the Bill Masterson Memorial Trophy in 2013.
- The Cavaliers are now one win away from an Eastern Conference Finals invite. LeBron James went off on the Bulls for 38 points, 12 rebounds and 6 assists in a 106-101 Game 5 win. (The Cavs were a five point home fave going in.) Chicago power forward Taj Gibson didn’t stick around for the whole thing. He was tossed in the 4th quarter for kicking Matthew Dellavedova. The Bulls were also without Pau Gasol for another game due to a hamstring strain. Cleveland can wrap the series up on Thursday night in the Windy City.
- The Lone Star State’s King James wasn’t half bad either. The Rockets (+130 home underdog) shrunk their Round 2 deficit to 3-2 thanks to a victory and a James Harden triple-double. #13 scored 26 points, nabbed 10 boards and provided 10 assists versus the Clippers, but did leave with under two minutes remaining with an undisclosed ailment. Houston big man Dwight Howard exited with 20 points and 15 rebounds. The Clippers can still close out the series in Los Angeles tomorrow. Remember: The Clips have never made it to the Conference Finals in their entire franchise history.
- A postseason berth wasn’t enough to spare Monty Williams from getting sacked. The Pelicans head coach has been fired following five seasons of service, sporting a 173-221 record and two playoff appearances. New Orleans was swept in the first round this year courtesy of the Western Conference’s top seed Golden State. The decision on who will coach the club should be interesting. After all, superstar Anthony Davis has only played for Williams since joining the NBA.
- Encarnacion! It’s a great name to shout out loud isn’t it? The Jays infielder had a magnificent showing on Tuesday night, socking two dingers as Toronto (a +110 road underdog) crushed Baltimore 10-2. The victory also provided Jays starter Mark Buehrle with his fifth win of 2015 and his third (THIRD!) triumph over Baltimore this season. The two clubs will do battle once again tonight.
- The Tigers enjoyed the sweet sweet thrill of a walkoff victory in yesterday’s action. Ian Kinsler’s single in the bottom of the 10th sent Anthony Gose home and clinched a tight 2-1 W over the Minnesota Twins. One inning of work was enough for Tigers relief hurler Angel Nesbitt to earn his first credited win of the season.
- A.J. Burnett turned in a solid performance over seven innings to lead Pittsburgh to a 7-2 victory over Keystone State rivals Philadelphia. The Buccos pulled away in the 7th frame, adding four runs to a once slim 3-2 lead. Andrew McCutchen and Josh Harrison both went yard for Pittsburgh and return to the sunnier side of .500 improving to 17-16 on the season. Meanwhile, the Phillies continue to flounder at the bottom of the NL East.
- Dodgers fans might want to keep an eye on a piece of health news swirling around superstar outfielder Yasiel Puig. The franchise has shut down Puig’s minor league rehab assignment following an MRI on the athlete’s hamstring. It’s still a bit fuzzy on when Puig will return to the big club’s lineup.
- Deflategate has led to some readjusting in Sin City. The New England Patriots have been saddled with longer odds in Vegas thanks to the four game suspension facing superstar QB Tom Brady. The Pats have seen their opening game point spread versus the Steelers trimmed by as much as four points in some sportsbooks, although the defending Super Bowl champs are still listed as a favourite in Week 1. In an intriguing twist, the Denver Broncos have morphed from a 12-1 pick to win the NFL title, to an 8-1 shot in the eyes of William Hill.
- Say hello to the first overall pick of the CFL Draft. The Ottawa Redblacks used the #1 spot to select University of Connecticut offensive lineman Alex Mateas. Winnipeg and Toronto also used the top of the draft to improve their offensive line with University of Calgary alums. The Blue Bombers chose CIS All-Canadian Sukh Chungh with the #2 overall pick and the Argos grabbed Sean McEwen at #3. At the moment, the Calgary Stampeders are listed as 10/3 league favourites to win the Grey Cup.
- Extra time was necessary in a handful of exciting IIHF Hockey Championship contests that took place on Tuesday. The United States was able to squeak out a 5-4 OT victory over Slovakia thanks to the heroics of drooled over prospect Jack Eichel. Elsewhere, a shootout was required to sort out a winner between Finland and Russia. The Finns squeezed by Russia in the skills competition to earn a 3-2 win. Canada was content sorting out their Tuesday showdown within the confines of regulation time. The hoser hockey squad pummeled Austria 10-1 and earn themselves a date with Belarus as the action shifts into playoff mode.
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