Posts Tagged ‘Playoff Elimination’

Quarterback Josh Allen hasn’t moved on from the Buffalo Bills‘ dramatic playoff loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

During an appearance on the “Bussin with the Boys” podcast, Allen said that losing the overtime coin toss affected him more than losing the divisional-round game, according to Pro Football Talk’s Michael David Smith.

The 26-year-old signal-caller and Patrick Mahomes went back and forth throughout the contest to send the game to overtime tied at 36. However, Allen didn’t call the coin toss correctly and had to watch from the sideline as Mahomes drove down for a walk-off touchdown.

Allen blamed a production meeting prior to the matchup for jinxing his winning ways in the coin toss.

“Up to that point, I think I was 9-0 throughout the season. In our production meeting, it was jinxed, and I was 0-for-2 in that game,” Allen said. “They brought up that stat, you’re 9-0 … I go 0-2 on coin tosses that game.”

He added: “I switched it up, I went heads first, and then I went tails at the end, and it was obviously flip-flopped.”

Allen threw for 329 yards with four touchdowns in the contest. The 42-36 shootout will forever be remembered as a postseason classic, but Allen isn’t taking much satisfaction in its meaning.

“People still come up to me and talk about it. That’s the game people talk about,” Allen said. “To be a part of it is great, but to be on the losing end of it is not so great. It doesn’t make me feel any better when someone comes up and says, ‘That was the greatest game I’ve ever seen.’ It’s like, we lost.”

The NFL later updated its postseason overtime rules by guaranteeing both teams at least one possession in response to the Chiefs-Bills matchup.

The Colorado Avalanche dashed the Tampa Bay Lightning‘s hopes of a three-peat, prevailing 2-1 in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final on Sunday to win their first championship in over two decades.

Artturi Lehkonen scored the eventual winner in the second period, giving the Avalanche their first regulation lead since early in Game 3.

Nathan MacKinnon provided Colorado’s first tally earlier in the second frame, tying the contest after Steven Stamkos opened the scoring in the first.

The Avalanche outshot the Lightning 30-23. Colorado goaltender Darcy Kuemper stopped 22 of the 23 shots he faced. His counterpart, Andrei Vasilevskiy, made 28 stops in the defeat.

Colorado defenseman Cale Makar won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP after claiming the Norris Trophy earlier this week. He racked up 29 points over 20 games to lead all blue-liners and rank third among all skaters behind Edmonton Oilers superstars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.

The Avalanche swept the Oilers in the Western Conference Final.

Colorado went 16-4 in the postseason and never trailed in a series.

Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar became the first bench boss to win the Stanley Cup, the AHL’s Calder Cup, and the ECHL’s Kelly Cup. The 50-year-old captured the other trophies with the Lake Erie Monsters in 2015-16 and the South Carolina Stingrays in 2008-09. Colorado hired him in August 2016.

The Birmingham Stallions left town for the first time on Saturday night, after playing all 10 regular-season games in the town for which they’re named. And they managed to win their first ever game in Canton, Ohio.

The Stallions beat the New Orleans Breakers, 31-17, in the second of two semifinal contests.

Quarterback J’Mar Smith completed 17 of 27 passes for 190 yards and a touchdown. He rushed for 48 yards and a touchdown, on seven attempts.

The game was in doubt until the Stallions scored a late touchdown to extend the lead to 14. After scoring the first touchdown of the game, New Orleans led 7-0. The game was tied at 14 in the first half.

For the Breakers, quarterback Kyle Sloter completed 22 of 40 passes for 327 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. Tight end Sal Canella caught 12 passes for 154 yards.

The Stallions face the Philadelphia Stars next Sunday, July 3, at 7:30 p.m. ET.

The Philadelphia Stars were the best team in the first iteration of the USFL, winning the league championship in two of the USFL’s three seasons. And now the Stars may win the title in the USFL 2.0 as well.

Philadelphia beat the New Jersey Generals 19-14 today to advance to next week’s USFL championship game.

Although the USFL hasn’t really caught on with football fans, averaging just 715,000 viewers per game on TV and playing in front of largely empty stands in Birmingham, the quality of play has been solid. Today’s game was an exciting, back-and-forth battle that was in doubt until the final minute.

Unlike the regular season, in which every game was played in Birmingham, the playoffs are in Canton, Ohio, which appeared to have a slightly larger crowd than the typical regular-season USFL games.

In next week’s championship game, Philadelphia will play the winner of tonight’s game between the New Orleans Breakers and Birmingham Stallions. Breakers-Stallions kicks off at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.

The championship game kicks off at 7:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, July 3, on Fox.

The Golden State Warriors are on top of the basketball world once again.

Stephen Curry finished with 34 points and seven assists to help the Warriors edge the Boston Celtics 103-90 in Game 6 of the NBA Finals at TD Garden. The win secured Golden State’s fourth title in eight seasons and the team’s first since 2018.

This marks Curry’s fourth championship and first Finals MVP award after averaging 31.2 points, five assists, and two steals in the six-game series. Meanwhile, Steve Kerr won his fourth title as Warriors head coach and his ninth overall after winning five championships during his playing career with the Chicago Bulls and San Antonio Spurs.

Golden State’s title completes an incredible two-year turnaround for the franchise after finishing the 2019-20 season with the NBA’s worst record, then losing in the Western Conference play-in tournament in 2020-21. The journey has been a particularly personal one for Warriors guard Klay Thompson, who missed two full campaigns because of a torn ACL and torn Achilles before returning in January.

Draymond Green played a tremendous game with 12 points, 12 rebounds, eight assists, two steals, and two blocks while knocking down a pair of 3-pointers in 42 minutes.

Andrew Wiggins was once again brilliant for Golden State with one of his most complete two-way performances in the Finals. The Canadian flirted with a 5×5 game with 18 points, six rebounds, five assists, four steals, and three blocks. Wiggins also played a pivotal role in limiting star Jayson Tatum to 13 points on 6-of-18 shooting.

The Warriors dominated to close the first half with a 52-25 run after beginning the game down 14-2. Golden State shot an identical 41.3% on field goals and 3-pointers and was a perfect 8-of-8 from the free-throw line.

Warriors reserve Gary Payton II and Hall of Famer Gary Payton became the fifth father-son duo in league history to each win a championship during their playing careers, according to SB Nation.

Jaylen Brown led Boston with 34 points on 12-of-23 shooting in the loss. The Celtics committed 22 turnovers, which marked a new high for the team this series. This marked the Celtics’ first three-game losing streak since December 2021.

The Tampa Bay Lightning eliminated the New York Rangers with a 2-1 victory in Game 6 on Saturday to reach the Stanley Cup Final for the third consecutive season.

Tampa Bay will take on the Colorado Avalanche in the final looking to become the first NHL team to three-peat since the New York Islanders’ dynasty of the early 1980s.

Lightning captain Steven Stamkos scored both goals in the dramatic win. His second came 21 seconds after the Rangers’ Frank Vatrano tied the contest with 6:53 remaining in the third period.

“It’s just going out and just playing as hard as you can for the next guy that sits beside you in that locker room,” Stamkos said, per NHL.com’s Chris Krenn. “That’s why this group is so special.”

Stamkos added: “We trust every guy that goes over those boards to do his job. Whether you score a goal or not, it’s the little things that you do. It’s the defending. It’s the blocked shots. It’s the sacrifice. It’s not complaining about your role.”

Superstar goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy made 20 stops in the win to continue his postseason dominance. In his last eight series-clinching games, the reigning Conn Smythe winner has a .991 save percentage along with a 0.25 goals-against average and six shutouts.

The Lightning became just the third team in league history to win at least 11 consecutive playoff series. The Islanders (19 from 1980-83) and Montreal Canadiens (13 from 1976-79) are the only teams to have won more.

The Stanley Cup Final is set to begin Wednesday in Denver.

Colorado finished the regular season as the top team in the Western Conference with 119 points. The club is 12-2 so far in the playoffs.

“Probably the best team in the league,” Stamkos said of the Avalanche, according to The Athletic’s Joe Smith. “We’re going to have our hands full.”

The Colorado Avalanche are off to the Stanley Cup Final after completing a sweep of the Edmonton Oilers with a 6-5 overtime win Monday night.

Artturi Lehkonen scored the goal that sent Colorado to its first final since 2001. Remarkably, it’s the second year in a row Lehkonen’s been the hero in Round 3. He scored the overtime winner as a member of the Montreal Canadiens to send the Habs to the championship series last spring.

“I’d trade 10 first-rounders for him right now,” teammate Nathan MacKinnon said of Lehkonen, who Colorado acquired at the trade deadline in March.

Monday’s contest was an instant classic. Cale Makar opened the scoring in the first period, but the Oilers answered back with three consecutive goals in the middle frame.

Chaos ensued in the third, as the teams combined for six tallies. Mikko Rantanen put the Avalanche up 5-4 with just over five minutes to go, but Zack Kassian answered back less than two minutes later to send the high-octane contest to overtime.

Lehkonen’s winner came at 1:19 of the extra stanza.

Colorado will now await the winner of the New York Rangers-Tampa Bay Lightning series, which New York currently leads 2-1.

Nothing is fazing these New York Rangers, not multi-game series deficit nor playing in a building where no road team has won in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Instead, this resilient bunch is carrying an ever-growing confidence straight into the Eastern Conference finals, thanks to another Game 7 win and the latest strong performance from possibly the game’s best goaltender.

Chris Kreider scored twice, Igor Shesterkin was strong in net again and the Rangers ended Carolina’s perfect postseason run at home, beating the Hurricanes 6-2 in the decisive Game 7 of their second-round playoff series Monday night.

Kreider and Adam Fox had first-period power-play goals as the Rangers raced to a quick lead. The Rangers then rode Shesterkin’s latest offense-stymieing performance to win a fifth straight elimination game win in these playoffs.

“Backs against the wall five times now,” Fox said, “and we’ve come through all five.”

Shesterkin — a finalist for both the Vezina Trophy for the league’s top goalie and Hart Trophy for most valuable player — finished with 36 saves and carried the shutout well into the third period.

Now the Rangers are off to a conference final for the first time since 2015, earning a matchup with two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay. New York will host Game 1 of that series Wednesday night.

Ryan Strome and Filip Chytil also scored in what became an unexpected rout, with Andrew Copp adding a late empty-netter. More impressively, the Rangers’ win came in an arena where the Hurricanes had gone 7-0 in the playoffs, including a Game 7 victory to beat Boston in the first round and three meetings in this series.

New York coach Gerard Gallant said Sunday he had a group of players who “have a lot of fun and they believe in themselves.” They looked as if they were doing plenty of both Monday in capping a second straight comeback win from a multi-game deficit.

First, they rallied from a 3-1 down to beat Pittsburgh in a seven-game series. Then, after falling in an 0-2 hole against Carolina, New York responded with more resilience, even a stubborn refusal to fade out when down.

Kreider went as far as to throw in a comparison to “cockroaches.”

“We don’t go away, regardless of the score, regardless of where our game is at,” Kreider said.

There were no questions about that Monday night, particularly with Shesterkin holding up against 17 first-period shots. That included one stop from flat on his back on Sebastian Aho near the right post, with Shesterkin snagging the puck between his legs flailing, as if trying to make a snow angel late in the first period.

The Rangers also helped by blocking 25 shots in front of him.

“You’ve got to pay a price to win games in this league, especially against real good teams like that,” Gallant said. ” I love the way our guys are competing and battling. I’ve said 100 times this year, we’re not perfect but we find ways to win.”

Tony DeAngelo finally beat Shesterkin midway through the third period, only to see the Rangers follow with Chytil’s goal just 40 seconds later to push the margin to 5-1.

Max Domi also scored a late goal for the Hurricanes.

But Carolina lost top-line rookie forward Seth Jarvis to a first-period injury after a jarring high hit from Jacob Trouba, and then lost goaltender Antti Raanta to an apparent right-leg injury in the second period in an all-around rough night. Raanta had 16 saves before his injury, while rookie Pyotr Kochetkov allowed three goals on 12 shots in relief.

“Tonight was kind of just some bounces, everyone wasn’t quite there, including myself,” Carolina captain Jordan Staal said. “An unfortunate way to end the series — season.”

Carolina’s playoff success had leaned on its home-ice advantage, backed by a rowdy crowd. But its inability to win a single road game in the postseason only shrunk the Hurricanes’ margin for error and turned winning at home into an absolute necessity to keep playing.

As a result, the first and only home stumble proved fatal, a crushing end to a season that saw the division winner, with the third-best record in the NHL, set franchise records for regular-season wins (54) and points (116) with aspirations of winning its second Cup.

“It’s definitely a bummer to have the team — the caliber of team — that we did,” Carolina defenseman Jaccob Slavin said, “and not go farther.”

NO FIRSTS

The Hurricanes were 6-0 in Game 7s since the former Hartford Whalers relocated to North Carolina in 1997. They were trying to become the first team in NHL history to win seven straight Game 7s.

Carolina was also trying to become the first to win multiple best-of-seven series in the same postseason with zero road wins.

ELIMINATION-GAME PRODUCTION

When Fox scored and assisted on Kreider’s first goal, that pushed him to 10 points in elimination games during this postseason.

According to ESPN Stats & Info, that marks the most by a defenseman in a single postseason, surpassing Ray Bourque in 1980, Ian Turnbull in 1976 and Denis Potvin in 1975.

INJURED CANES

Jarvis was knocked from the game on Trouba’s hit, which sent him sprawling to the ice and left him able only to crawl back to the bench. When he made it there, he was too wobbly to sit on the bench and needed assistance from teammates to get directed into the locker room.

Making matters worse, the Hurricanes took a penalty for too many men on the ice while trying to sub for Jarvis, leading to Kreider’s first goal.

Ranta went down with 4:23 left in the second period when he extended his right leg in a split to make a stop on Mika Zibanejad. He almost went forward and landed face down on the ice. He was eventually helped off the ice by teammates Vincent Trocheck and Nino Niederreiter, not putting any weight on his right leg.

Afterward, coach Rod Brind’Amour said Raanta’s injury would have prevented him from playing the next series, had Carolina won.

The Boston Celtics booked their ticket to the NBA Finals by holding off the Miami Heat 100-96 in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals on Sunday.

Boston will take on the Golden State Warriors in hopes of winning its first championship since 2008.

The Celtics led by as many as 17 points in the contest before Miami cut the lead to two with under a minute to play. Crucial Heat misses down the stretch helped Boston hold on.

“Credit to our guys for bouncing back, keeping our composure, and finding a way to win it,” Boston head coach Ime Udoka said after the victory.

Jayson Tatum led the way for the winning side with 26 points, while Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart scored 24 apiece. Grant Williams was the only other Celtic to reach double figures with 11 points of his own.

Meanwhile, Jimmy Butler dropped a game-high 35 points while playing all 48 minutes in the contest. He and Bam Adebayo (25 points) accounted for 60 of his team’s 96 total points.

Despite Butler’s brilliance, he squandered an opportunity to pull off a miraculous late-game comeback by falling short on a transition 3-pointer that would have given Miami the lead with 16 seconds remaining. He finished just 1-of-4 from beyond the arc.

“My thought process was: Go for the win,” Butler said postgame. “My teammates like the shot that I took, so I’m living with it.”

“That was the right look,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said of his star’s shot selection. “When it left his hand, I thought it was going down.”

Missed jumpers were a theme for the Heat, who shot just 6-for-30 from deep, tied for their second-worst percentage all season. Each of Miami’s three worst 3-point shooting performances this season came in the playoffs.

On the other side, Boston will have four days to regroup before taking on the Warriors after Brown, Tatum, Smart, and Al Horford all topped 40 minutes in Game 7.

The full schedule for the NBA Finals is as follows:

GAMEDATEAWAYHOMETIME (ET)TV
1June 2BostonGolden State9 p.m.ABC/TSN
2June 5BostonGolden State8 p.m.ABC/SN
3June 8Golden StateBoston9 p.m.ABC/TSN
4June 10Golden StateBoston9 p.m.ABC/TSN
5*June 13BostonGolden State9 p.m.ABC/SN
6*June 16Golden StateBoston9 p.m.ABC/SN
7*June 19BostonGolden State8 p.m.ABC/TSN

* if necessary

Darren Helm scored the winner in the final seconds of regulation, lifting the Colorado Avalanche to a 3-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues in Game 6 on Friday night.

The Avalanche advanced to the Western Conference Final against the Edmonton Oilers, who ended the Calgary Flames’ season Thursday.

Colorado superstar Nathan MacKinnon acknowledged the Avalanche have a difficult task ahead of them in containing the Oilers’ dynamic duo of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.

“It’s going to be tough,” the center told TNT postgame, according to the Denver Post’s Ryan O’Halloran. “I’ve been watching like everybody else. … Probably the two best players in the world right now. It’s going to (require) a full team effort to stop them.”

Colorado will play in the Western Conference Final for the first time since 2001-02, when the club lost to the Detroit Red Wings in seven games.

The Avalanche won the Stanley Cup the season before that but have since lost four times in the first round and six times in the second round – including in each of the previous three campaigns.

Helm’s clincher Friday came 13 years to the day after he buried a winner in overtime while with the Red Wings to send Detroit to the Stanley Cup Final.