Our event of the day is the NHL second round playoff fixture between the Boston Bruins and the Columbus Blue Jackets at the TD Garden. The Bruins came from behind to win game one as they look to overcome the surprise contender Blue Jackets. Boston will look to take a firm lead tonight while Columbus aim to even the series in this unmissable match. Boston, hunting for their first finals appearance since 2013 and their first championship since 2010, set the tone for the second round with a rousing Game 1 win on Thursday night. Native son Charlie Coyle was the hero for Boston. Hailing from a town just sixteen miles south-east of the TD Garden, the mid-season trade acquisition forced overtime with a goal late in the third period after Columbus had scored two goals in thirteen seconds earlier in the period. He then tapped in a slick pass from Marcus Johansson five minutes into overtime to give Boston the win. This is exactly the sort of performance Boston was looking for from the twenty-seven year old center, who came to Boston from Minnesota in February in exchange for the under-performing Ryan Donato and a fifth-round draft pick. The win is also a testament to the desire to win found in the Boston team. While the Blue Jackets have had over a week’s rest, the Bruins went into game one of the second round only two days after their first round series ended.
However, no matter the conditions or the amount of rest, the Bruins are here to win. That said, the Blue Jackets are a team everyone is now much more wary of. A 47-win team in the regular season, the team swept the NHL’s best team, the 62-win Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round of the playoffs. This not only marked the first time a President’s Trophy winning team had been swept in the first round, it was also the first playoff series win for the Blue Jackets in their 19-year franchise history. Throughout the season, Columbus have deployed a heavy ‘win now’ strategy, trading away nine draft picks and a number of young prospects to acquire older, established talent like Matt Duchene, Ryan Dzingel, Keith Kincaid and Adam McQuaid. For all intents and purposes, 2019 is their year in the minds of the Blue Jackets. Columbus have a chance to even the series tonight so be sure you don’t miss what is sure to be an exciting playoff match.
Honourable mentions around the globe go to the NBA, where the Denver Nuggets host the San Antonio Spurs at the Pepsi Center for the decisive game seven of their first round series. The Nuggets had a chance to end the series on Thursday but a 43-point game from Nikola Jokić was not enough to overcome a strong overall performance from the Spurs, who won 120-103, forcing a game seven in Denver. In a postseason with so many series going in favour of the higher seed, Denver’s struggle against the seventh seed Spurs is a completely different narrative. To see who will face the Portland Trail Blazers in the second round, be sure to watch tonight’s game. Elsewhere, in Premiership Rugby, Wasps host Saracens at the Ricoh Arena. Wasps, currently fifth in the league, are fighting for a play-off place and sit three points behind fourth place Harlequins. Meanwhile, Saracens, in second, continue to chase first place Exeter Chiefs. With three games left in the season, this is sure to be an exciting match. On the LPGA Tour, the Hugel-Air Premia LA Open continues at the Wiltshire Country Club in Los Angeles. In the Bundesliga, VfB Stuttgart host Borussia Mönchengladbach at the Mercedes-Benz Arena. The World Snooker Championship continues at the Crucible in Sheffield, England. On the ATP Tour, the Barcelona Open continues at the Real Club de Tenis Barcelona.
Whatever you’re watching, enjoy!
Photos by NHL; Blue Jackets
See what else is happening in the world of sport