Elias Says: October 20, 2017

Dodgers clinch NLCS with huge road win

The Dodgers clinched the National League pennant with an 11–1 win over the Cubs at Wrigley Field. Their 10-run margin of victory was the second largest by a visiting team in a postseason series-clinching win. The Cardinals won 11–0 in Game 7 of the 1934 World Series at Detroit. That game is best remembered for Joe Medwick’s early exit after Tigers fans began throwing debris at the future Hall-of-Fame left-fielder.

Hernandez slams Dodgers into World Series

Enrique Hernandez hit three home runs and drove in seven runs in the Dodgers’ Game 5 win at Chicago. Hernandez is the fifth player to hit three homers in a series-clinching postseason win, joining Babe Ruth (1928 World Series), Reggie Jackson (1977 World Series), Adam Kennedy (2002 ALCS), and Adrian Beltre (2011 ALDS.) Hernandez’s seven RBIs tied Troy O’Leary (1999 ALDS) for the most in a series-clincher.

Kershaw gains revenge on Cubs for 2016 NLCS

Clayton Kershaw allowed one run over six innings innings to earn the win that sent the Dodgers to the World Series. Last year, Kershaw suffered the loss that eliminated Los Angeles, which also took place at Wrigley Field (NLCS Game 6). No other pitcher has ever won a series-clinching game against a team that he lost to in a postseason elimination game the previous season.

Cubs can’t score without homering

The Cubs scored eight runs in NLCS, with all eight coming on home runs. Chicago is the first team ever to score all of its runs on homers in a postseason series of at least four games. Only one other team ever failed to score a run on anything other than a home run in five straight games within one postseason. That was the Twins in Games 3 through 7 of the 1965 World Series, also against the Dodgers. Minnesota was shut-out in three of those five games – once by Claude Osteen (Game 3) and twice by Sandy Koufax (Games 5 and 7.)

Carr to Crabtree gives Raiders a walkoff win

After multiple penalties and replay reviews, Derek Carr finally connected on a two-yard pass to Michael Crabtree with no time left on the clock, and the ensuing extra point gave Oakland a 31–30 win over Kansas City. It was the first time that the Raiders scored a game-winning touchdown at the 15:00 of the fourth quarter since September 1978, on the play known as the “Holy Roller.” Dave Casper recovered a fumble in the end zone to give Oakland a 21–20 victory at San Diego.

No NFL team had scored a “walkoff” game-winning fourth-quarter touchdown since Aaron Rodgers connected with Richard Rodgers on a 61-yard pass at Detroit in December 2015, which coincidentally was also on a Thursday night.

Raiders follow up one-point loss with one-point win

The Raiders defeated the Chiefs, 31–30, four days after suffering a 17–16 loss to the Chargers. Only two other teams since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger have played two straight games against divisional opponents, losing the first and winning the second, each by a margin of one point. The Chargers did that in 2000 (against the Broncos and Chiefs), and then the Eagles did the same the next year (against the Cardinals and Giants.)

Westbrook channels “Big O,” again

Russell Westbrook picked up right where he left off last season, scoring 21 points, and adding 10 rebounds and 16 assists as the Thunder opened with a 105–84 win over the visiting Knicks. The only other player to put up a triple-double with at least 20 points and 15 assists in his team’s first game of a season was, you guessed it, Oscar Robertson in 1963–64. Robertson had 22 points, 14 rebounds, and 15 assists in a 112–93 Cincinnati Royals win over the Hawks in St. Louis.

Westbrook shot 7-for-12 from the floor Thursday. He attempted as few as a dozen field goals in only three of his record-setting 42 triple-doubles last season.

George and Anthony make good first impression in Oklahoma

New acquisitions Paul George and Carmelo Anthony scored 28 and 22 points respectively in the Thunder’s 105–84 home win over the Knicks. The last pair of teammates, each making their debut for that franchise, to score 20+ points in a game consisted of the Clippers’ Chauncey Billups (21) and Chris Paul (20) in a season-opening win at Golden State in 2011–12.

Valanciunas grabs seven boards in first quarter of the season

Jonas Valanciunas grabbed seven of his 15 rebounds in the first quarter of the Raptors’ 117–100 season-opening win over the Bulls. Those were the most rebounds by any Toronto player in the team’s first quarter of the season since Kevin Willis pulled down seven at Boston in 1998–99.

Jordan starts season with 24 rebounds

DeAndre Jordan grabbed 24 rebounds in the Clippers’ season-opening 108–92 win over the Lakers Thursday. On Wednesday, Miami’s Hassan Whiteside pulled down 22 boards against Orlando. The last season in which multiple players notched 22+ rebounds in their team’s first game was 1970–71, when the Lakers’ Wilt Chamberlain had 31, the Hawks’ Bill Bridges 24, and the Trail Blazers’ Leroy Ellis 22.

Sergachev makes his first two goals count

The Lightning parlayed the first two goals of Mikhail Sergachev’s NHL career and 43 saves by Andrei Vasilevskiy into a 2–0 win at Columbus. Sergachev, at age 19 years, 116 days, is youngest defenseman ever to score two goals in one game for Tampa Bay, nearly two full years younger than the player who held that distinction until Thursday night, Paul Mara (age 21 years, 59 days on Nov. 5, 2000 vs. Washington). Sergachev is the youngest defenseman on any NHL team to register a multiple-goal game since Nov. 27, 2009, when the Panthers’ Dmitry Kulikov scored twice against Toronto at age 19 years, 29 days. Sergachev is also the first rookie defenseman in NHL history with a multi-goal game in which he scored every goal in a shutout win by his team. The last veteran defenseman with a game of that kind was Zdeno Chara in the Bruins’ 2–0 win over Calgary on Dec. 17, 2013.

Top pick Hischier scores his first two goals

Nico Hischier, the #1 overall pick by the Devils in the 2017 Entry Draft, scored the first two goals of his NHL career in New Jersey’s 5–4 overtime win at Ottawa. Hischier is the fourth player in Devils franchise history to score two goals in one game as an 18-year-old. The others are Paul Gagne (twice for the Colorado Rockies in 1980), Pat Verbeek (for the Devils on April 1, 1983 at Madison Square Garden) and Kirk Muller (twice for New Jersey: Oct. 16, 1984 at Nassau Coliseum and Dec. 26, 1984 at Hartford.)

Bruins make Canucks pay for major penalty

The Bruins scored four power play goals in their 6–3 win against the Canucks, including three in 97 seconds during a five-minute major penalty. After Erik Gudbrandson received a major penalty for boarding, Boston quickly went from a 1–1 tie to a 4–1 lead on power play goals by David Pastrnak, Anders Bjork and David Krejci. It was the first time that the Bruins scored three power play goals on one major penalty since Oct. 28, 1998 at Montreal, when they scored three PPGs in 51 seconds during a five-minute elbowing major to Dave Manson. (Those goals were by Peter Ferraro, Dmitri Khristich and Grant Ledyard.) Before Thursday, the last time any NHL team scored three power play goals on one major or match penalty was when the Sabres did so at St. Louis on Nov. 11, 2014.

Moore scores OT winner

Defenseman John Moore’s overtime goal earned the Devils a 5–4 victory against the Senators in Ottawa. Moore did not score an overtime goal in his first five seasons in the NHL, playing for the Blue Jackets, Rangers and Coyotes, but he’s scored five regular-season goals in OT since he signed with New Jersey as a free agent in July 2015. No other NHL defenseman has scored more than four overtime goals over the last three seasons.

Rinne’s rare road shutout against the East

Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne notched his first shutout of the season with a 1–0 victory at Philadelphia on Thursday. It was the 44th shutout of Rinne’s NHL career, which ties him with Marc-Andre Fleury for fourth-most among active goaltenders, but it was only the fourth road shutout for Rinne against an Eastern Conference opponent. His other road shutouts against Eastern Conference teams were at Buffalo in December 2008, Toronto in January 2009 and Montreal in November 2010.

Halak continues dominance over Lundqvist, Rangers

Jaroslav Halak made 38 saves in regulation and overtime, and two more in the shootout which earned him and the Islanders a 4–3 win over Henrik Lundqvist and the Rangers at Madison Square Garden. Halak is 13–4–0 in his 17 head-to-head starts in the NHL versus Lundqvist, including a 10–1–0 mark in their last 11 meetings and a 7–1–0 record since Halak joined the Islanders.

Williams scores game-winner in his return to Canes

Justin Williams’ first goal in his second tour of duty with the Hurricanes was the game-winning goal in Carolina’s 2–1 victory at Calgary on Thursday. Williams, who scored 81 goals, including 12 game-winners, during the five seasons he played for the Hurricanes in the mid-2000s, re-signed with Carolina as a free agent last summer. Williams, who turned 36 years old on October 4, is the oldest player to score a game-winner for the Hurricanes since Nov. 7, 2013, when Radek Dvorak scored the goal in a 1–0 victory against the Islanders at age 36 years, 243 days.

Letesu scores late in overtime

Mark Letestu scored with 16 seconds remaining in overtime to give the Edmonton Oilers a 2–1 win over the Blackhawks in Chicago. Over the last ten seasons, the only other time the Oilers won a game so late in overtime was on Jan. 18, 2017, when Connor McDavid’s goal at the 4:57 mark in extra time earned Edmonton a 4–3 victory on home ice against the Panthers.

Kerfoot is involved in all three Colorado goals

Rookie Alexander Kerfoot had a hand in all the goals scored by the Avalanche in its 4–3 loss to the Blues. Kerfoot scored the first and last goals of the game, and he also assisted in a third-period goal by Blake Comeau. This was the first time that a Colorado rookie tallied at least three points in one game while scoring or assisting on every Avs goal since Paul Stastny had three assists in a 3–1 win at Vancouver on April 5, 2007. Ironically, Stastny, who now plays for St. Louis, earned first-star honors in Thursday’s game with a goal and an assist for the Blues.