There is absolutely no way that any one with an objective opinion would disagree that the better team was finally rewarded in double overtime of Game Seven last night in St. Louis. The Blues edged the Dallas Stars 2-1 to move on to the Western Final against San Jose or Colorado. And to make for even more of a storybook type finish, it was native St. Louisan Patrick Maroon who was the hero, poking in a rebound at 5:50 of the second extra period for the game-winning, series-clinching goal.
Maroon was first to a rebound off a Robert-Thomas shot that beat Dallas goalie Ben Bishop over the left shoulder, but not the confluence of the goal post and cross bar. And what a heroic effort by Bishop, who is also a St. Louis native. He made 52 saves for the fifth-most by a goalie in a Game Seven. During the final 40 minutes of regulation, the shots were 31-4 St. Louis — reminiscent of the first two periods of the Blues closeout game vs the Jets in round one.
An interesting first day on the job for Ken Holland as GM of the Edmonton Oilers. The former Detroit Red Wing hockey boss says creating stability was one of the keys to his success in the Motor City, and will be in Edmonton as well. And yet, the first thing he did in his new capacity was to tell Ken Hitchcock he won’t be back. So whoever Holland hires, that individual will be the Oilers eighth coach in the last 11 seasons.
The Prince Albert Raiders — with Manitobans Max Martin (Winnipeg), Justin Nachbaur (Cross Lake), and Jakob Brook (Roblin) in the lineup — exploded for seven first period goals enroute to an 8-2 blowout of the Vancouver Giants in Langley, BC last night to take a 2-1 lead in the WHL Final.
The Toronto Raptors managed to overcome their reliance on Kawhi Leonard in Game 5 versus Philadelphia last night. But it also helped that the 76ers didn’t show up in getting humiliated 125-89. Pascal Siakam had a game-high 25 points while Leonard had 21 and 13 rebounds in his 36 minutes of play. Besides seeing six different players hit double figures, Raptors Coach Nick Nurse also felt hitting 16 buckets from beyond the arch was a significant factor in the final result being as lopsided as it was:
It was also a Game Five “demolition in Denver,” as the Nuggets pounded Portland 124-98 to go up 3-2 in that series.
Mike Fiers of Oakland became the first pitcher this season to toss a no-hitter. And the veteran righthander is now the 35th in major league history to throw two or more no-no’s, following the A’s 2-0 win over Cincinnati. The 33-year-old said afterwards, he’s just grateful to still be a major leaguer:
Fiers first no-hitter came back in August of 2015, when he threw 134 pitches in a 3-0 win for the Houston Astros over the LA Dodgers. Last night his pitch count was 131.
The Dodgers Justin Turner – who just happened to be the final out in Fiers first no-hitter – joined the Yankees Gary Sanchez, Paul Goldschmidt of St. Louis. and Milwaukee’s Christian Yelich in this season’s “homerun hat trick club” – as he went yard three times and drove in six runs in LA’s 9-0 rout of Atlanta.
Bryce Harper hit his first grand slam for the Phillies in an 11-1 crushing of the Cardinals. Make it 20-straight scoreless innings for the Toronto Blue Jays following a 3-0 loss to Minnesota.
The Winnipeg Goldeyes open their exhibition season tonight at 6 p.m. at Shaw Park versus Fargo.
And Valour FC has signed Winnipegger Marco Bustos to fill one of their two remaining roster spots. The former Vancouver Whitecap forward returns home after playing for the Oklahoma City Energy of the United Soccer League. Valour is in Calgary tonight to take on Cavalry FC in a week two matchup of the Canadian Premier League’s Spring Season.