By: Marvin Azrak
The three-game winning streak(Wins over the Hawks 101-97, T wolves 96-88, and Pistons 94-85) was just as predictable as the letdowns against the rebuilding Thunder (95-80) and the young Raptors in front of an empty Air Canada Centre. Without Kemba Walker(Ankle) and Julius Randle(Health and safety protocols), this team won’t be moving the needle anytime soon.
The NHL returned after the pause this week, and so did the Rangers. They dropped a disappointing 4-3 decision in Sunrise to the Panthers but stunned the hockey world with a weekend sweep of the two-time reigning Stanley Cup Champion Lightning. On Friday night, Barclay Goodrow got his championship ring and scored two goals before Mika Zibanejad scored the winner in the shutout to uplift the Blueshirts to a 4-3 win.
On Sunday back at MSG, Igor Shesterkin backstopped the hosts with 38 remarkable saves, but Zibanejad stole the show pocketing a hat trick to the delight of the 16,885 partisans in attendance.
The victory allowed Igor to leapfrog reigning Conn Smith Winner and Russian counterpart Andre Vasilevskiy of Tampa in the Vezina Trophy race, where the Rangers 26-year-old superstar now once again leads the rest of the pack.
They lost 29-3 to the Bears. One more meaningless game against the Washington Football Team, and this season is mercifully over!
In the subsequent week’s issue, I’ll talk about our first-round picks, but let’s begin our offseason by firing GM Dave Gettelman, win or lose? Thank you.
KYRIE IS Coming BACK… but only for road games. Irving will make his season debut on Wednesday in Indiana when the Nets battle the woeful 14-23 Pacers. Elsewhere in Netsworld, the team lost the top spot in the East to the Bulls(24-10) when they dropped decisions to the 76ers 110-102, and the undermanned Clippers 120-116, who were without Paul George and Nicolas Batum.
Nicolas Bellows “Bellowed” his way around the rink this week when he scored twice in the Isles 4-1 win over Buffalo(10-17-6) at UBS arena. On Saturday, Noah Dobson’s turn to scream as he scored 3:52 into the extra session to propel the Islanders to a 3-2 victory over the Oilers. Unfortunately, the team remains dead last in a top-heavy Metropolitan division where three of the top five teams in the league(Hurricanes, Capitals, Rangers) reside.
Okay, Zach Wilson, that wasn’t bad at all, kid. The rookie looked like a NO2 overall pick by going toe-to-toe with the GOAT in Tom Brady for 57:43 of Sunday afternoon’s 60-minute contest at Metlife Stadium. He threw 19-33 for 234 yards and a touchdown. He steadied the tide with a 24-20 lead in hand and drained five minutes off the clock. But on 4th & 2, miscommunication on the sidelines between coach Robert Saleh and offensive coordinator Matt Lafleur led Wilson to think he could attempt to plunge for the QB sneak instead of handing the ball off to running back Braxton Berrios on a run-around. BB was in motion during the play, and the call to Wilson should’ve been a handoff at all costs, but instead, he went for the sneak and failed, which both he and Saleh took accountability for after the contest.
Brady then took over from there and did what the GOAT does. He completed his 53rd comeback (42nd in the fourth) by firing a 33-yard strike to the right corner of the endzone hauled in by Cyril Grayson with 15 tics left to improve to 31-8 against Gang Green in his career and lift the 12-4 Buccaneers to the winner’s circle.
Despite the result, this Jets team portrayed much pride, and if they play their cards right this offseason, they can do more than just put a week 17 scare into the reigning Super Bowl champions.
AFC East champions? That title can be clinched in week 18 when they welcome their state rivals in the Jets. They did clinch a playoff berth this week, though, defeating the Falcons 29-15.