The Viral Roundup – Keepers Of The Crown Edition
Happy Wednesday! Welcome to the latest go-around of The Viral Roundup. We’re the sparkly one stop shop where you can get caught up on all the big news, big buzz and big developments that are the talk of the sports world on the morning of March 25, 2015. In today’s edition: The Kings emerge victorious in a Stanley Cup rematch, Price and Rinne go mask-to-mask in Tennessee and Brock Lesnar announces he won’t be returning to the Octagon.
Did You Hear?
There was a Stanley Cup Finals rematch last night at MSG and the outcome was a bit too familiar for Rangers fans. Jonathan Quick turned in a 34 save performance and Anze Kopitar provided two assists as the defending Cup champs cruised to a 4-2 victory in Manhattan. The win provided additional fuel for L.A.’s playoff push, pulling the club into a tie with Calgary for the final Pacific Division playoff spot while shrinking the gap with Winnipeg for the final Wildcard position. Rangers goalie Cam Talbot allowed more than two goals for the first time in 10 games, including Jeff Carter’s 26th of the season. The Kings forge ahead with their road trip tomorrow versus the New York Islanders.
Did You See?
It looks like Simona Halep might need a forklift to place her newly acquired BNP Paribas Open trophy onto the mantle. (After it’s up there, it will promptly crash through said mantle.) The Romanian tennis star captured this heavy new piece of hardware after beating Jelena Jankovic in the finals. Here’s some video of Halep struggling to lift her new prize. “How many kilos?” quips Halep.
Did You Know?
- Tennessee played host to a showdown between two of the best goaltenders in the National Hockey League. Pekka Rinne’s 27 saves and Filip Forsberg’s extra time heroics had the Nashville Predators tasting the glory of a 3-2 home win over the Montreal Canadiens. Carey Price made 28 stops in the loss, although Montreal did reach the century mark with 100 points thanks to the charity single that comes with an OT loss. The Preds are hoping the victory means they’ve turned around their recent sour fortunes. Nashville’s W marks the first time the club has won two games in a row since late February. Both the Preds and Habs are listed as 10/1 shots to win the Stanley Cup in 2015.
- Alex Steen provided the OT heroics in Pittsburgh as the St. Louis Blues needed to go beyond regulation time to bump off the Penguins. Robert Bortuzzo and Marcel Goc also provided markers in the 3-2 Blues victory, while Pittsburgh have to sort out why they’ve lost five of their last six games. St. Louis currently holds a single point lead over Nashville for peak position in the Central Division.
- The Wild continue to devour teams on the road. Minnesota pulled out of Uniondale with a 2-1 shootout win and the glow that comes from winning 10 straight on the road. Zach Parise tallied his 29th marker of the season and provided the solitary SO goal to give the Wild the win over the Isles. Devan Dubnyk turned in another stellar performance, making 37 saves for his club. Islanders star John Tavares potted his 34th of the campaign in a losing cause in last night’s Vanek Bowl.
- Winnipeg saw a two goal lead crumble in Vancouver to the tune of five unanswered goals as the Canucks pummeled the Jets 5-2. Vancouver picked up a valuable two points in the standings courtesy of an offensive explosion that left their Western Conference rival reeling. Radim Vrbata notched two goals and one helper for the Canucks as they strengthen their grip on the #2 spot in the Pacific Division. The L busts up Winnipeg’s five game win streak and puts a dent in their Wildcard lead on the rising Kings. Both Bryan Little and Dustin Byfuglien remained out of the lineup courtesy of injury woes.
- Here’s something no one has said since Gerald Ford was U.S. President: The Golden State Warriors are the NBA’s Pacific Division champs. For the first time since 1976, Golden State clinched the Division title and they did so in style. Stephen Curry put up 33 points and provided 10 assists in the Warriors’ 122-108 thumping of the Portland Trail Blazers. It was another tough night for the Blazers. The club gifted Golden State with 8 turnovers in the second half and has sunk deeper into a losing streak that’s now reached five straight games. Portland will try to shake out of that funk tonight against the Utah Jazz.
- The Raptors continue to underwhelm in their post All-Star Break state. Toronto, a three point road favourite, fell 108-104 to the Pistons at The Palace of Auburn Hills. The Raptors also saw Kyle Lowry make an early exit in the 2nd quarter thanks to back spasms. Reggie Jackson put in 28 points and nabbed 9 rebounds to help pull Detroit to victory. DeMar DeRozan racked up a double-double (22 points/10 rebounds) in a losing cause.
- The Mavs were a four point home underdog going into their Southwest Division showdown against a San Antonio Spurs squad that’s won 10 of their last 12 games, but they emerged with an impressive 101-94 win over the defending NBA titleholders. Monta Ellis put up 38 points and Dirk Nowitzki added 15 points and 13 rebounds in the Dallas victory. The two Texas teams will meet again on Friday night in San Antonio.
- Milwaukee played host to some heart-stopping hardwood drama. Khris Middleton’s buzzer-beating trey gave the Bucks an 89-88 victory over the Heat. In the crowded Eastern Conference playoff picture, the W gives #6 Milwaukee a two and a half game cushion over #7 Miami. Turkish forward Ersan Ilyasova contributed 19 points and 11 boards in the Bucks win that snapped a troubling six game losing streak.
- Russell Westbrook continues to pad his MVP credentials. The box score of last night’s Thunder/Lakers game shows #0 put up 27 points and dished off 11 assists in the 127-117 home triumph. (Oklahoma City were favoured by 10 going in.) Thunder center Enes Kanter also exited the game with a handsome stat line. The Kentucky alum provided 25 points and collected 16 rebounds for OKC. The Thunder are currently listed as a 16/1 shot to win it all this summer.
- Herb Sendek is done at Arizona State. The school’s men’s basketball coach has been fired after nine seasons of coaching the Sun Devils. The ax fell not long after Arizona State was bounced out of the NIT tournament. Under Sendek’s watch, the Pac-12 school made it to two NCAA tournaments (2009, 2014) and enjoyed two years with future Rockets superstar James Harden on the roster.
- Just when you thought the Dodgers were on a break from shelling out mountains of cash… Cuban infielder Hector Olivera has signed a six year deal with Los Angeles worth a handsome $62.5 million. Could the 29-year-old addition give the Dodgers another Yasiel Puig level weapon? Maybe not, but he adds depth to an infield that boasts new faces like Howie Kendrick and Jimmy Rollins. Olivera might be a candidate to replace Juan Uribe at third base. (Reports of a damaged UCL in Olivera’s throwing arm might provide L.A. baseball fans with a touch of worry.) The Dodgers are currently positioned as a 17/2 shot to win the World Series this fall.
- Brock Lesnar will be not returning to the UFC. The reigning WWE champ revealed the news on SportsCenter and confirmed he’s signed a deal to stay in the pro graps biz. The former UFC heavyweight titleholder is currently plunked in the headline spot at WrestleMania 31 and will be facing off against lukewarmly received muscledude Roman Reigns.
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