Are you ready for another cosmic clash in sports? We’ve had a month of NBA and NHL playoff takeovers, but the fields have been cut to four and new sports enter the fold this week. Here are just some of the exciting things we’ll be covering in the next 10 days:
Ready for a summer sports kickoff? Us, too.
Stars Strike Down Seattle
Dallas Ousts Seattle (2-1) in Game 7 to Join Golden Knights, Panthers & Hurricanes in Conference Finals
The NHL’s final four is set after Monday’s Game 7 clash in Dallas where the Stars ended the Kraken’s miracle playoff run. After a scoreless first 36 minutes where the Stars peppered Kraken goaltender Philipp Grubauer, Roope Hintz finally lit the lamp late in the second period to give the home fans the momentum. With 13 minutes gone in the third period, Wyatt Johnston flipped in a nifty top-shelfer to make it 2-0. Seattle scored with 17 seconds left for a last-gasp effort, but it was too little too late in Dallas. The Stars are heading back to the Western Conference Finals for the first time since 2020, and they’ll join a cast of the NHL’s final four teams starving for a Stanley Cup.
Conference Semifinals Highlights
Gm 7: Stars def. Kraken (2-1) | DAL Wins (4-3)
The NHL’s Final Four
The last four teams in the Stanley Cup Playoffs are about to collide in a gritty conference finals with all four teams hungry for a title. Only the Hurricanes (2006) and Stars (1999) have Stanley Cup history, but only one apiece. The Panthers and Golden Knights have never won the Cup, but Vegas is heading to their fourth Western Conference Finals in six years. The stage is set for one of the NHL’s less historic franchises to steal the crown.
Conference Finals Schedule
Gm 1: Panthers at Hurricanes (Thurs. 8:00 pm ET)
Gm 1: Stars at Golden Knights (Fri. 8:30 pm ET)
ESPN: Stars End Kraken’s Run in Game 7, Set Up Series vs. Vegas
SportsNet: Stars Punch Ticket to Western Conference Final, Eliminate Kraken in Game 7
The Wemby Sweeps
Tonight (8:00 pm ET): The Most Highly Anticipated NBA Draft Lottery Since Zion Williamson
He’s 7-foot-4, has length like Giannis Antetokounmpo, a jumper like Kevin Durant, and a ceiling higher than any player in NBA history. In the era of “unicorns,” LeBron James called him an “alien.” When Victor Wembanyama joins the NBA, he’ll have the highest expectations of any player in the last 20 years (LeBron James, 2003). Few NBA Draft processes included a no-doubter No. 1 overall pick, and that’s exactly what Wemby is. The 19-year-old from France will be the undisputed top pick in June’s NBA Draft barring some catastrophic off-the-court issues. And tonight, the NBA Draft Lottery will determine who wins the Wemby sweepstakes.
NBA Draft Lottery Odds
T1. Pistons (14%)
T1. Rockets (14%)
T1. Spurs (14%)
4. Hornets (12.5%)
5. Blazers (10.5%)
6. Magic (9%)
7. Pacers (6.8%)
8. Wizards (6.7%)
9. Jazz (4.5%)
10. Mavericks (3.0%)
Others: Bulls (1.8%), Thunder (1.7%), Raptors (1.0%), Pelicans (0.5%)
The NBA Draft Lottery consists of the 14 teams who failed to reach the postseason. In an effort to eliminate tanking, the NBA teams with the worst records enter a lottery-style drawing to lock the draft order (unlike the NFL). You can watch the ping pong balls bounce and determine the future of the NBA tonight at 8:00 pm ET on ESPN.
NBA Draft Lottery: Tonight (8:00 pm ET, ESPN)
B/R: Wembanyama Sweepstakes & The 5 NBA Draft Storylines You Need to Know
CBS Sports: Pistons, Spurs & Rockets Have Best Chance at No. 1 Pick & Victory Wembanyama
Inside the Rays’ Ridiculous Start
Inside the Rays’ Historic Start & What It Means for the 2023 MLB Season (By Marissa Kasch)
Whether you’re a die-hard MLB fan or you barely follow baseball, nearly everyone has heard about the Tampa Bay Rays and their incredible start to the season. The Rays came out of the gate swinging this year with a 13-0 start, the best start to an MLB season in over 30 years. The Toronto Blue Jays snapped this winning streak on April 14, but the Rays didn’t stop making history. Their record currently sits at 30-11, yielding a win percentage of .731 — the best in the league — and they’re putting up numbers like no team in recent memory.
Read the Full Story (TheSportsletter.com)
Wacha Flirts With No-No: Padres’ ace Michael Wacha took a no-hit bid through seven innings before a single by Royals’ 2B Michael Massey broke it apart. The Padres still blanked the Royals (4-0), and Wacha finished with 11 Ks over 7 innings with just one hit allowed.
Judge Blasts 2: The Yankees topped the Blue Jays on the road (7-4) thanks in large part to Aaron Judge’s two HRs. Judge, who was sidelined with a hip injury, has returned to form and lifted the Yankees offense, and New York is 8-2 over their last 10.
Ohtani Obliterates O’s: Angels’ superstar Shohei Ohtani had an impressive outing in double duty with five Ks over seven innings on the mound against the Orioles, but he gave up three homers. Ohtani made up for it a the plate with four hits (4-for-5, 1 HR, 3 Runs, 3 RBIs). Halos beat the O’s (9-5), and Ohtani is 5-1 this season.
Injuries are piling up for some of the league’s best pitchers, but six weeks of baseball has given a stronger picture of who’s for real in 2023. The Dodgers are back. The Yankees are, too. But the Rays remain the kings of the MLB Power Rankings. (FOX Sports)
How do the Big 12, Pac-12, and ACC keep up while generating millions less than the SEC and Big Ten? Some believe all three of them cannot coexist successfully. Expansion, realignment and what’s at stake for Power 5 conferences… (Sports Illustrated)
NBA teams voted in 78 draft prospects to the combine in Chicago. And once it’s done, scouting departments will start fleshing out their final boards. Changes will be made, but our big board feels set. (Bleacher Report)
Tonight’s Must-Watch List
NBA Playoffs (Conference Finals)
Gm 1: Lakers at Nuggets (8:30 pm ET)
UEFA Champions League (Semifinal)
Leg 2: Inter vs. AC Milan (3:00 pm ET)
Yankees at Blue Jays (7:07 pm ET)
Rays at Mets (7:10 pm ET)
Phillies at Giants (9:45 pm ET)
Download The Sportsletter’s Must-Watch Calendar
Question of the Day
Which team do you think is the best landing spot for Victor Wembanyama? (click to vote)
Yesterday, we asked which NBA Conference Finals matchup you were most excited to watch. It was a close one, but the fans like the West.