The beauty of sports has been on display throughout the NHL and NBA playoffs, and it was highlighted last night with three Game 7s in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
These playoffs are the reason it is so difficult to predict what teams will do in the post season.
The L.A. Kings looked over-matched and over-whelmed by the San Jose Sharks in the first three games of their first round playoff series, only to come back and win the final four games, outscoring the Sharks 18-5 in the last three games. The Kings became just the fourth team in history to bounce back from an 0-3 hole and advance. San Jose continues to carry the label of "underachiever."
Colorado and Minnesota had held serve throughout their first round series, and the Avs, winners of the Central by tying a franchise record with 52 wins, led the deciding game four times! The Wild never surrendered, kept pushing and won the game in overtime, thanks to Nino Niederreiter's first two career playoff goals.
The Rangers held on to beat the Flyers 2-1. Former Flyer Dan Carcillo scored for New York and Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist notched his 29th career playoff win and improved to 4-1 in career Game 7s. The game ended in regulation, which is worth noting since it's the only series that didn't require at least one overtime game.
The NHL playoffs have given us 25 one-goal games and 14 overtime thrillers! The six game set between the Penguins and Blue Jackets gave us five one-goal battles, four that ended in a 4-3 final and two overtime showdowns. It doesn't get any better than that.
We get treated to more NHL action tonight.
We also get to see if the #1 seed in the NBA's Eastern Conference can stay alive on the road. Indiana is at Atlanta.
We will also find out whether or not Oklahoma City, the 2 seed in the Western Conference, can stave off elimination at Memphis. Think about that. The Pacers had the best home mark in the league (35-6) and have already lost twice in three games there in the post season. They could easily go home after just six playoff games, losing to the 8th seeded Hawks: a team that finished 38-44 and was 13 games under five hundred on the road this year!
This would be the biggest playoff upset in NBA post season history.
The Thunder were a chic pick to win the West because of their 59 wins, but the Grizzlies are no slouch as a 7 seed. They did win 50 games this year, ending the year on a five game roll. And they did beat the Spurs a few years ago in a massive playoff upset.
I'm as disappointed as anyone else that the Red Wings were quickly eliminated and the Pistons didn't qualify for the NBA playoffs, but I'm thankful other teams are providing us with thrilling moments.
It keeps our interest peaked and gives us a better understanding of sports unpredictability -- if there is such a thing.
Matt Shepard is the play-by-play voice of University of Michigan basketball, Eastern Michigan University football and the Detroit Lions television network. He can also be found on TV locally on Fox Sports Detroit and nationally on the Big Ten Network for college hockey and baseball.Learn more.