As the NHL and NBA Playoffs near the finals, the cream is rising to the top. It seems we are destined for Cavaliers-Warriors Round 3, a match up every basketball fan in America wants to see. The Nashville Predators are waiting for their opponent in the Stanley Cup Finals after beating the Ducks in six games to qualify for the franchise’s first appearance.
Memorial Day Weekend also marks a few landmark events every year. The Indianapolis 500 is one of the most exhilarating races you will see all season. Incredible speed and talented drivers always makes for quite the spectacle. In the northeast, lacrosse fans will get to see the best the NCAA has to offer as the championship game is scheduled for Memorial Day at Gillette Stadium.
Baseball is ready to take over the summer as division rivals will square off with first place on the line. Let’s get started!
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Ottawa Senators – Eastern Conference Finals – 5/25 @ PPG Paints Arena
The two best words in sports. Game Seven. The Pittsburgh Penguins and Ottawa Senators will leave it all out on the ice tonight, in what should be a memorable game. The momentum swings in this series have been well documented, so each team should be entering this game feeling confident. The Senators blew out the Pens in Game 3, 5-1, while the Penguins returned the favor in Game 5 by winning 7-0.
Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin have seemed to find their groove for Pittsburgh, which is trouble for Ottawa. On the other hand, the Pens cannot seem to get a consistent game from either of their goalies, Matt Murray and Marc-André Fleury.
Ottawa has had to wait a long time this season, but they are finally getting the best out of Bobby Ryan. The ex-Anaheim Duck was a prolific scorer while on that squad, but failed to emulate that success in Ottawa. With the stakes at an all-time high, he is now playing incredible hockey. The team was able to force a Game 7 thanks to a laser beam off the stick of Mike Hoffman.
Pittsburgh will love the fact that Game 7 is on their home ice. The crowd will be raucous from start to finish, trying to will their team back to the Stanley Cup Finals. However, whoever can calm their nerves quicker with the first goal will likely be the winner in this one. Pittsburgh is dynamic on offense, but Ottawa is gritty on defense and as opportunistic on offense as you can get. Who wants it more? Find out tonight.
Boston Celtics vs. Cleveland Cavaliers – Eastern Conference Finals – 5/25 @ TD Garden
As Game 5 approaches, the pressure mounts for both teams. Although, it will be significantly higher for the Cleveland Cavaliers tonight, the Boston Celtics will not want their season to end with a loss on their home floor. After blow outs in Games 1 & 2, everyone was predicting a sweep. The Cavaliers amassed a 21-point lead in Game 3 before an epic comeback by the Celtics capped off by an Avery Bradley game-winning jumper.
In Game 4, the Celtics were 24 minutes away from evening the series. Then, in the third quarter, Kyrie Irving happened. 21 points later, the Celtics’ lead evaporated. LeBron James closed out the game with an impressive fourth quarter, and the Cavs took a 3-1 series lead. Now that the series has shifted back to Boston, no one really knows what to expect.
Cleveland has been dominant in Boston this season, but the Celtics seem like they have a found a bit of momentum. An intriguing match up in Game 5 has come about due to an unfortunate injury. Isaiah Thomas injured his hip with a slight labral tear, and Marcus Smart has stepped up in his absence. After being a hero in Game 3, he cooled off considerably in Game 4. If Smart can make an impact on defense, he deserves to be on the floor. His main task, slow down the heir to the throne.
LeBron James doesn’t want to have to do it all. The reason he came back to Cleveland was to join forces with the player that Kyrie Irving could become. After an epic run in the finals last year, Irving is proving that no moment is too big.
He proved that once again in Game 4, and will look to put the nail in the Celtic’s coffin tonight.
2017 NCAA Lacrosse Championships – May 27-29 @ Gillette Stadium
One of the highlights of every Memorial Day Weekend is the NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championship. The semifinals are played on Saturday, and as a result the stage is set for Monday, when the championship game is played. This season, the final four teams are a nice mix of some of the best in the country with a few underdog stories to keep an eye on.
On one side of the bracket, Denver and Maryland will look to add to their trophy case. Maryland won the tournament multiple times back in the 70s, but have failed to find recent success. On the other hand, Denver took home the title in 2015, and although they are relatively new to the scene they like the view from the top.
Conversely, Ohio State and Towson will be looking to make history. Towson has one championship game appearance back in 1991, but lost to North Carolina. Two more wins would allow them to capture the first title in school history. Ohio State has yet to appear in the final, and although this season will be a memorable one no matter what, they’d like to cap it off the right way.
On paper, the number one overall seed in Maryland. They have gotten the job done in their first two games but the verdict is still out as to whether or not they are playing the best right now. Denver advanced to the second round where they would meet up with the higher seeded Notre Dame. Denver scored early and often and won easily, 16-4. Unseeded Towson might have the most confidence heading in to the weekend. They knocked off the best lacrosse program in NCAA history when they were able to defeat Syracuse in the quarterfinals.
All in all, every team will be looking to stay in the moment and capitalize on the opportunity in front of them. Will experience reign supreme, or is ignorance bliss? The action goes down at the famous Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots. Be there to experience history live!
2017 Indianapolis 500 – 5/28 @ Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Start your engines! Known as “The Greatest Spectacle In Racing” The Indianapolis 500 is the highlight of the year for racing fans. The perfect track, skilled drivers and insane speeds are all elements that make this race so great.
Heading in to Sunday, all eyes will be on Scott Dixon. He won the pole for the race in record setting fashion. He has the fastest four lap average in 21 years with his official speed clocked at 232.164 mph. As as result, Dixon has been tagged by the favorite by the odds makers.
However, he will have some of the best drivers in the world chasing him the entire race. Helio Castronevas, Juan Pablo Montoya, Marco Andretti, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Tony Kanaan and Fernando Alonso will all be eyeing the title. These seven drivers come in to this event every year expecting to take home the title. All of these drivers are past winners, making them dangerous opponents. Helio Castronevas leads all active drivers with three titles.
Juan Pablo Montoya is an interesting driver as well. He splits time between Indy Car racing and NASCAR racing, but he is so talented no matter what type of car he’s driving.
Finally, keep an eye out for Alexander Rossi. The defending champion is starting the race in third, and will be looking to make his presence known. No driver has become a repeat champion since Castronevas in 2001 and 2002.
Driver safety is always paramount, but the Indianapolis 500 is known for a major crashes and epic finishes. This is a race you don’t want to miss!
Baltimore Orioles vs. New York Yankees – AL East Match Up – 5/29 @ Oriole Park at Camden Yards
The last but not least game that makes the Top Five Live list is a battle of AL East leaders in the MLB. The New York Yankees are off to an unexpected, but hot start this season. Their young core is ripping the cover off the ball. New York’s pitching staff has been the sore spot or else the 27-17 record could be much better.
Aaron Judge is looking more and more like the future with every game he plays. Whether it is towering home runs or amazing catches in right field, Yankees fans have fallen in love. Stralin Castro is pacing the team with 47 hits and a .328 average, while the veterans have felt no pressure this season and are producing as a result. Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner and Matt Holliday are all benefiting from the young players carrying the load.
As for the Baltimore Orioles, their season has already seen its ups and downs. After a hot start, cold stretches have seen them slip a little bit in the standings as the dangerous Boston Red Sox are within striking distance of second place. Manny Machado and Adam Jones are the pillars of the team. Their standout defense and affinity for crushing the ball when at bat have made them one of the best duos in the MLB.
The biggest concern for the Orioles is getting their closer back ASAP. Zach Britton hasn’t pitched since May 4th. The Cy Young candidate is a crucial part of the Orioles success, and without him the rest of the pitching staff is feeling the pressure. On Memorial Day, Dylan Bundy will look to continue his hot start to avoid overextending the bullpen early on in the season. His 5-3 record and 2.92 ERA has him positioned as one of the most important pitchers on the Baltimore staff. He also leads the team in innings pitched by a wide margin, adding to his value.