Hello everyone, I hope you all had a wonderful Fourth of July weekend. It was cold and raining here in Boston, but I still made the most of it and had a good time with family and friends.
I am now getting ready for a two-week Hawaii vacation, but don’t worry, I’ll still be bringing you the newsletter a few of those days — I’ll just have palm trees as my backdrop. I went to Hawaii when I was 12, but it’s been a minute and this time I’m going to Maui, an island I’ve never been to. Message me on Twitter and let me know your favorite place to travel.
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Today we will be discussing the NBA Finals, Stanley Cup Final and much more.
Let’s get started.
📰 What you need to know
1. Canadiens force Game 5 with thrilling win in overtime 🏒
Put those brooms away. The Lightning had a chance to sweep the Canadiens in the Stanley Cup Final on Monday night, but they blew it. Instead, the Habs live to see another day thanks to Josh Anderson, who netted a rebound in overtime to give Montreal a 3-2 win and push the series to Game 5.
One of the biggest differences in the contest, for the Canadiens is that their defense stepped up:
- Carey Price was excellent all night, stopping 32 of the 34 shots he faced
- Montreal killed off all five penalties they faced on their way to the win
One of those penalties the Habs killed off came late and was crucial. It came with just minutes left in the third period, and stretched into the opening minutes of overtime. Making it an even bigger opportunity for Tampa was the fact that Shea Weber, one of Montreal’s best players, was the man off the ice for four minutes.
But Tampa blew that chance, and moments after Weber got out of the penalty box, Anderson scored the game-winning goal.
The series now heads back to Tampa for Game 5 on Wednesday night.
2. Expert predictions for Suns vs. Bucks in the NBA Finals 🏀
The NBA Finals kick off tonight, and it’s going to feature a matchup that not many could have predicted when the season started. The Suns are the last team standing in the West, while the Bucks are representing the East. It’s shaping up to be a great series, though, so who cares if it was hard to predict?
History of sorts will be made, regardless of who wins the title. The Suns have never won a championship in their 53 years of existence, while the Bucks won their one and only championship back in 1971. A long title drought will be coming to an end.
Looking deeper at individual achievements, either Chris Paul or Giannis Antetokounmpo will win their first ever NBA Finals.
But enough about storylines. Let’s go down the list and look at who all of our NBA scribes think will win the series:
- Bill Reiter: Suns
- Brad Botkin: Bucks
- James Herbert: Suns
- Colin Ward-Henninger: Suns
- Sam Quinn: Suns
- Jack Maloney: Bucks
- Michael Kaskey-Blomain: Bucks
- Jasmyn Wimbish: Suns
If you’re keeping count, that’s five votes for the Suns and three for the Bucks. It’s going to be a close one. The action kicks off tonight at 9 p.m.
3. Our latest MLB power rankings: Yankees keep sliding ⚾
We are right around the halfway point of the 2021 MLB season and, while some teams are surprising, others, like the New York Yankees, are definitely not in good shape.
The Yankees started 5-10, then ran their record to 28-19, and now have slid all the way to 42-41. New York isn’t the only team having an up and down season, though.
After getting the top space in the CBS Sports rankings, The Milwaukee Brewers lost 13 of 17 games and then went on to win 27 of 36 games most recently. The Royals started strong, but have gone 6-22 since early June.
It’s been craziness, but hey, that’s sports.
Anyways, here’s a look at the current power rankings:
- Red Sox
- White Sox
- Blue Jays
My biggest takeaway from all of this: how ’bout those Red Sox, huh?
As a Bostonian it’s nice to see the Sox near the top of the list here after some disappointing seasons. While some said their winning would’t last, the team has prevailed and are on top of the American League.
4. NFL stars who could bounce back in 2021 🏈
I am once again going to discuss the NFL, who’s surprised? This time, let’s look at players whose production and/or durability didn’t exactly match up with the expectation of their big names the last time they played.
Here’s a look at CBS Sports’ Cody Benjamin’s list:
- Odell Beckham Jr., Browns, WR
- Danielle Hunger, Vikings, DE
- Julio Jones, Titans, WR
- Christian McCaffrey, Panthers, RB
- Nick Bosa, 49ers, DE
- Carson Wentz, Colts, QB
- Joe Mixon, Bengals, RB
- Saquon Barkley, Giants, RB
- Dak Prescott, Cowboys, QB
- Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers, QB
For full commentary on each player, click here.
McCaffrey and Beckham Jr. are two players I’m particularly excited to watch this season. I think the Browns will be even more successful than last year with the players they acquired in the offseason, as well as the return of OBJ. I’m rooting for CMC as well, who missed significant time due to injury following a stand-out season.
On the other end, Garoppolo is a big question mark for me. A lot of his prior success has come from the core around him. I’m curious to see if he can play well enough to be in the same conversation as the top quarterbacks of the year.
📝 Odds & Ends
📺 What to watch tonight
⚾ Athletics vs. Astros, 8:10 p.m. I HOU -145 | TV: MLB.TV
🏀 Bucks vs. Suns, 9 p.m. I PHO -5.5 I TV: ABC
⚾ Yankees vs. Mariners, 10:10 p.m. I SEA +135 I TV: ESPN
🥇 Best thing I saw on the internet
They live to see another day! As we mentioned earlier, the Montreal Canadiens beat the Lightning to force a Game 5 in Tampa. Take a look at the goal that won it and kept Montreal in the Stanley Cup Final.