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Elias Says: April 13, 2017

“Elias Says” for April 13, 2017

Information researched by Elias Sports Bureau, Inc.

Bruins take Game 1 with late comeback

The Bruins trailed, 1–0, heading into the third period of their series opener in Ottawa, but they tied the score on a goal by Frank Vatrano and won the game, 2–1, on Brad Marchand’s goal with just over two-and-a-half minutes left on the clock. Only twice before in the last 75 years had the Bruins won a playoff game in regulation time in which they trailed and were being shut out in the third period. Those comeback victories were against the Hartford Whalers in 1991 (6–1 in Game 5 of a first-round series) and the Rangers in 2013 (2–1 in Game 3 of a second-round series).

Brad Marchand’s goal with 2:33 remaining in the third period broke a 1–1 tie. This was the first go-ahead goal by a Bruins player in the final three minutes of regulation time in a playoff game since 2012, when Zdeno Chara broke a 3–3 deadlock with 1:53 left to play in the third period of Game 3 in Boston’s first-round series against the Capitals. The Bruins won that game, 4–3, but lost the series in seven games.

Lundqvist blanks Habs in Game 1

Henrik Lundqvist made 31 saves as the Rangers began the 2017 playoffs with a 2–0 win against the Canadiens in Montreal. It was the 10th shutout of Lundqvist’s Stanley Cup playoff career (the most among active NHL goaltenders) and his second shutout in the first game of a postseason series. He blanked the Devils by a 3–0 score in Game 1 of the 2012 Eastern Conference Final.

In the last 75 years only two other Rangers goaltenders recorded a shutout in a playoff series opener: John Vanbiesbrouck at Philadelphia in a first-round series in 1987 and Mike Richter in the first round versus the Islanders in 1994 (which, of course, is the last year in which the Rangers won the Stanley Cup).

Kessel leads Penguins to Game 1 win

Phil Kessel scored the winning goal for the Penguins in Game 1 of their series against the Blue Jackets. Kessel, who is in his second season with Pittsburgh, was the Penguins’ leading goal scorer in their Stanley Cup-winning playoff run in 2016, scoring 10 times while playing in all 24 of the team’s postseason games. Kessel’s two-year total of 11 postseason goals for the Penguins ties him with Petr Nedved for fifth-most by a player in his first 25 playoff games with the club. The top four names on that list are Mario Lemieux (19 goals), Kevin Stevens (12), Rick Tocchet (12) and Marian Hossa (12).

Allen saves Blues

Jake Allen made 51 saves in the Blues’ 2–1 overtime win over the Wild on Wednesday. He’s the second Blues goaltender to make 50 or more saves in a postseason win, joining Curtis Joseph, who made 57 saves in a double-OT win over the Maple Leafs in 1993.

Sharks come from two goals down to beat Oilers

The Sharks beat the Oilers, 3–2, in overtime in Game 1 on Wednesday. That’s a departure from recent history: the Sharks went to overtime five times in the 2016 playoffs and tied a single-postseason record by losing four of those games.

Celtics clinch the #1 seed in the East

The Celtics clinched the #1 seed in the NBA’s Eastern Conference with their win over the Raptors on Wednesday night, finishing the season with a 53–29 record. Boston is the fourth team since 1980 to finish with the best record in their conference with as few as 53 wins (excluding the shortened 1998–99 and 2011–12 seasons): the Nets in 2001–02 (52–30), and the Pistons in 2002–03 (50–32) and 2006–07 (53–29). Of those three teams, only the Nets reached the NBA Finals, and they were swept by the Lakers.

Harden dished and swished this season

James Harden finished the season with 907 assists, the most in the NBA. Harden’s 2356 points scored this season was the fourth-highest total in NBA history for the player who finished the season with the most assists. Nate Archibald led the NBA in assists in 1972–73 and scored 2719 points, and Oscar Robertson scored that many points in a season in which he led the NBA in assists three times: 1963–64 (2480 points), 1961–62 (2432) and 1965–66 (2378).

Warriors trio each score 1500+ points

Stephen Curry (1999 points), Klay Thompson (1742) and Kevin Durant (1555) all scored at least 1500 points this season for the Warriors. They were the first trio of teammates to each score at least 1500 points in a season since the Bucks in 1999–2000. Milwaukee's threesome that season were Ray Allen (1809), Glenn Robinson (1693) and Sam Cassell (1506).

The last Warriors trio to accomplish this were Chris Mullin (2107), Tim Hardaway (1881) and Mitch Richmond (1840) in 1990–91.

Gasol joins the 20,000/10,000 club

Pau Gasol scored 13 points in the Spurs' loss to the Jazz on Wednesday night giving him 20,001 points in his NBA career to go along with his 10,549 rebounds. Gasol is the 18th player in NBA history to score at least 20,000 points and grab at least 10,000 rebounds. Of the other 17, 14 of them are in the Basketball Hall of Fame, and the other three––Dirk Nowitzki, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett––will be when they become eligible.

Towns is youngest to average 25/10

Twenty-one year old Karl-Anthony Towns finished the season averaging 25.1 points per game and 12.3 rebounds per game. Towns is the youngest player in NBA history to average at least 25 points and 10 rebounds per game in a season. That distinction was held by Rick Barry, who was a slightly older than Towns is when he did it for the Warriors in his rookie season of 1965–66

Wiggins leads the league in minutes played

Andrew Wiggins, at the age of 22, led the NBA in minutes played this season. Only three other players who were under the age of 23 at season’s end led the league in minutes played for a season: Isiah Thomas in 1982–83 (21), LeBron James in 2004–05 (20 years old) and 2006–07 (22), and Kevin Durant in 2009–10 (21).

Giannis has big season for Bucks

Giannis Antetokounmpo finished the season averaging 22.9 points, 8.8 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game to become the first player in Bucks history to average at least 20 points, eight rebounds and five assist per game in a season. Three other players averaged at least 20/8/5 this season: Russell Westbrook, James Harden and LeBron James. That’s pretty good company!

Bulls end season with two blowout wins

The Bulls assured themselves of a playoff spot when they ended the season with blowout wins over the Magic (122–75) and the Nets (112–73). Chicago is the second team in NBA history to win each of its last two games of a season by at least 30 points. The Pacers finished the 1993–94 season with a 45-point victory over the 76ers (133–88) and a 33-point win over the Heat (114–81).

Heat miss playoffs, but set NBA record

The Heat did not make the playoffs with their win over the Wizards tonight, but it did set an NBA record. Miami, which was 19 games under .500 after its loss at Milwaukee on January 13 (11–30), got back to .500 with the win (41–41). In doing so, the Heat shattered the NBA record for most games under .500 for a team that regained the break-even mark at any time during that season. That record was 12, done by eight teams, the last being the 76ers in 2007–08. Philadelphia was 18–30 at one point during that season and got back to .500 at 34–34.

Anthony plays in Knicks finale

Carmelo Anthony scored 17 points in the Knicks' win over the 76ers on Wednesday night in what could have been his last game in a Knicks uniform. Keep this in mind Knicks fans, your team was 9–51 (.150) in games that Anthony did not play in over the last three seasons. Of course, the Knicks record in games that Anthony played in over that span, 71–115 (.382), wasn't all that great either.

Clippers earn #4 seed

The Clippers beat the Kings on Wednesday night clinching the #4 seed in the Western Conference and securing the home court advantage in their first-round series against the Jazz. Consider this though, of the eight #4 seed vs #5 seed matchups over the last four seasons, the #5 seed won seven of them. The exception was the Hawks (#4) win over the Celtics (#5) in the first round of the 2016 NBA playoffs.

George ends season strong

Paul George scored 32 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in the Pacers' playoff-clinching win over the Hawks on Wednesday night. George scored at least 20 points in each of his last twelve games of the season, the longest such streak to end this NBA season and it matches the longest to end a season in the Pacers' NBA history. Danny Granger scored at least 20 points in each of his last twelve games of the 2008–09 season.

Jokic has strong season

Nikola Jokic scored 29 points and grabbed 16 rebounds in the Nuggets' win over the Thunder, raising his season totals to 1221 points and 718 rebounds. Only two other Denver players scored at least 1200 points and grabbed at least 700 rebounds in a season since 1990: LaPhonso Ellis in 1992–93 (1205 points, 744 rebounds) and Antonio McDyess in 2000–01 (1458, 845)

Tough luck losers

John Lackey, Danny Salazar and Max Scherzer each were saddled with a loss on Wednesday despite striking out at least 10 batters. The only other day since 1893, when the pitching mound was set at its current distance, that three pitchers lost after striking out 10 or more batters was June 26, 1962, when the tough luck losers were Bo Belinsky, Sam Jones and Sandy Koufax.

Judge sentences Rays to defeat

Aaron Judge homered for the third straight game in the Yankees’ 8–4 win over the Rays on Wednesday. Judge is the first Yankees rookie to hit three home runs in the team’s first 10 games of a season. Prior to this year, the fewest team games into a season that a Yankees rookie hit his third homer was their 11th game, by Nick Johnson in 2002.

Garrett off to a hot start

Amir Garrett extended his scoreless-innings streak to 12 straight before surrendering his first runs in the major leagues in the seventh inning in the Reds’ win over the Pirates on Wednesday. That’s tied for the second-longest scoreless innings streak to begin a career for the Reds. In 1970, Wayne Simpson threw a shutout in his debut and didn’t concede a run until the seventh inning of his next game for a total of 15 innings; and in 1890 Billy Rhines had a 12-inning streak, including a shutout in his debut.

Céspedes gets Mets out to early lead

Yoenis Céspedes drove in a run in the first inning for the second straight night as the Mets closed out a three-game sweep of the Phillies on Wednesday. As good as Céspedes has been for the Mets, he’s had first-inning RBIs in consecutive games only one other time for New York, last September 11–12.

Two for Trey

Trey Mancini slugged two home runs at Fenway Park on Wednesday, giving him five homers in his first 10 games in the major leagues. The only active major-leaguer who had as many homers as Mancini through his first 10 games was Trevor Story, who holds the major-league record (7).

Steven Wright allowed the first of those homers to Mancini as well as three others, before getting the hook in the second inning. No other pitcher in Red Sox history has allowed four homers in a game in which he threw two or fewer innings.

Toles starts with a bang

Andrew Toles hit a leadoff homer and the Dodgers went on to blank the Cubs, 2–0. The only other rookie in Dodgers history to hit a leadoff homer in a game the team won by shutout was Joc Pederson against the Padres two years ago.

Blue Jays slow to take flight

Chase Anderson and two relievers combined on a four-hit shutout as the Brewers topped the Blue Jays, 2–0, to drop Toronto to 1–7. That tied the worst eight-game start for a team coming off a postseason appearance. The others to lose seven of their first eight games were the 1964 Dodgers and 1998 Marlins, who had each won the previous World Series, and 2011 Rays.

Another distressing loss for Seattle

The Mariners lost to the Astros on Wednesday after leading 5–0, after they lost to the Angels after leading by seven runs on Sunday. The Mariners are the first major-league team since the 2000 Orioles to lose after leading by five or more runs twice within their first 10 games of a season.

Braves come back late in Miami

The Braves defeated the Marlins on Wednesday, 5–4, with runs in the eighth and ninth innings. It was Atlanta’s first win when trailing in the eighth inning or later this season, after they had 11 such wins last season, tied for third-most in the major leagues.

Romine is the surprising hero for Detroit

The Tigers had their fifth comeback win of the season on Wednesday, defeating the Twins, 5–3, after trailing, 3–0. The big blow for Detroit was Andrew Romine’s first grand slam in the major leagues. But what’s more, before Wednesday Romine had 23 at-bats with the bases loaded in the major leagues, and he had never even delivered an extra-base hit.

Elvis leaves the yard

Elvis Andrus homered for the second straight night in the Rangers’ win over the Angels on Wednesday. It’s the first time in Andrus’ nine major-league seasons that he’s gone deep in consecutive games.

Myers off to a hot start

Wil Myers went 2-for-3 with a double in the Padres’ 6–0 win in Denver on Wednesday. Myers has a .825 slugging average, the second-highest in Padres history through the team’s first 10 games of a season. Nate Colbert was slugging .886 at that point in the 1971 season.

Leake plugs Nationals bats

Mike Leake threw seven shutout innings in the Cardinals’ win over the Nationals on Wednesday after he allowed one run in eight innings (and lost) in his first start of the season, against the Reds. Since 2000, the only other Cardinals pitchers to throw seven-plus innings without allowing more than one run in each of their first two starts of a season were Brad Penny in 2010 and Tyler Lyons in 2013.

Holland’s no-hit bid

Derek Holland took a no-hitter to the sixth inning in the White Sox’ 2–1 win in Cleveland on Wednesday. That tied Holland’s second-longest no-hit bid in the major leagues. He had one broken up with two outs in the sixth inning as a rookie in 2009 and another with no one out in the fifth in 2011.

A’s have Royals’ number

The Athletics won their eighth straight game over the Royals on Wednesday, 8–3. That’s now the A’s second-longest winning streak over the Royals, behind a 10-game streak spanning the 2003 and 2004 seasons.