The first round of the NHL playoffs isn’t over quite yet, thanks to a pair of Game 7s tonight. But since one of those games involves the Toronto Maple Leafs, I’ll be completely incapable of even basic human function all day long so we better just go ahead and do this now.
Let’s take a look back at the past two weeks of action, and hand out a few awards to the best and worst of (almost) the entire first round.
The Kings home ice is across the street from Grantland HQ, so naturally, we're thrilled about this victory, which was a long time coming. Thank you for not burning down our Starbucks on Monday night.
After L.A. made the Stanley Cup finals late last month, Grantland editor-in-chief Bill Simmons sat down with Kings forward Dustin Penner to discuss the team's playoff run. You'll find links to the pod after the jump.
In case you were out living a life of leisure, here's what you missed in sports on Thursday.
Ryan Braun's 50-game suspension for violating MLB's drug policy has been overturned on appeal. Details from the meeting are still foggy, but sources indicate that Braun demanded a trial by combat, and got all hyped up on testosterone before defeating one of Bud Selig's 16 bastard sons.
Linsanity is over forever. Jeremy Lin scored eight points on 1-11 shooting and turned the ball over eight times as the Knicks fell to the Miami Heat 102-88. The time has come TO BURN HIM! BURN THE UPSTART! THIS IS AMERICA, JEREMY, WE CREATED YOU AND NOW WE WILL DESTROY YOU! THAT PEDESTAL YOU SEE BENEATH YOU DOUBLES AS A FUNERAL PYRE! WE ARE THE FICKLE PRINCES OF THE UNITED 50, AND WE SHALL NOT SPARE YOU THE FLAMES!
In his 42 starts, Jonathan Quick has given up an average of 1.93 goals per game, making him one of just four NHL goaltenders with a GAA below two. Unfortunately, he's been having this All-Star season behind the league's lowest-scoring team, the L.A. Kings. Quick leads all netminders in shutouts, blanking his opponents six times. In the other 36 games he's played, though, the ones where he's let even just one measly goal trickle past, Quick has come away with a loss 21 times.
Last week, I watched losses no. 20 and no. 21 at Staples Center, where the atmosphere remains vibrant even as the team's offense has not been. The two games were like so many others the Kings have played this year: On Thursday they lost 2-1 in a shootout to the Calgary Flames, and on Saturday they fell 3-1 to the Colorado Avalanche. In both games, the Kings scored first but were unable to either add insurance goals or regain the lead after their opponents tied the game.