The long wait is over for the Canadiens, plus the Clippers are making things interesting

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Happy Friday sports fans! Shanna McCarriston back to end your week of newsletters as usual and ready to talk playoffs. Lucky for us, we had NHL playoffs and NBA playoffs to watch last night.

We have a Stanley Cup Final bound team and a spoiler alert: it will definitely not be “Suns in 4.” I will also be updating you on the potential for throwback uniforms and helmets in the NFL and break down teams that are poised for a comeback next men’s college basketball season.

What better way to start your Friday than discussing the latest sports news? Let’s get started.


📰 What you need to know

1. Clippers dominate Suns in second half en route to Game 3 win 🏀

The Phoenix Suns went into Los Angeles with a 2-0 series lead, but the Los Angeles Clippers’ performance last night made this series a little more interesting. The Clippers defeated Phoenix, 106-92, breaking the Suns’ nine-game winning streak.

The game was back-and-forth in the first half, but the Clippers gained momentum and had a dominant second half that the Suns just couldn’t keep up with. 

  • Paul George led the Clippers with 27 points
  • Reggie Jackson’s exceptional fourth quarter performance put the game away. He finished with 23 points
  • On the other side of the ball, Chris Paul and Devin Booker, who was wearing a mask after a nose injury last game, combined for 10 of 40 from the field

That last note is… not exactly what you need from your stars to get a W. Especially in the postseason.

For more notes from the Clippers’ big win, check out our takeaways from the game.

2. Canadiens end 28-year Final drought 🏒

For the first time in nearly three decades, the Montreal Canadiens are headed to the Stanley Cup Final. The Habs eliminated the Vegas Golden Knights last night with a 3-2 overtime win in Game 6

  • Shea Weber and team captain Cole Caufield scored in regulation for the Habs
  • Artturi Lehkonen sealed the deal in OT off a Phillip Danault assist
  • Weber scored on a power-play late in the first period and Caufield was responsible for the team regaining their lead, before the Golden Knights tied it up
  • Reilly Smith and Alex Martinez were goal scorers for the Golden Knights.

You can say the Habs are on somewhat of a miracle run right now.

  • The Canadiens entered the postseason with the worst record among every playoff team
  • They were at 500-1 odds to win it all entering the postseason
  • The Habs wouldn’t even be in the postseason if it weren’t for the new format and rules to qualify

The last time the Canadiens were in this position was 1993, when they won their last title. They will look to come away with the same result this time lead by Weber, Caufield, who has really shown his stardom during the series, and goalie Carey Price.

The Habs will face the winner of Game 7 between the New York Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning, which will take place tonight.

3. NCAA men’s basketball teams poised to bounce back next season 🏀

Last year was a different season than normal for all sports, to say the very least, and with changes came challenges. Some teams did not perform at the level expected, whether that was due to schedule changes, a disruption of rhythm or new routine.

Looking at men’s college basketballsome teams that stumbled last season look like they are poised to bounce back.

CBS Sports’ college hoops scribe Matt Norlander put together an early list of teams that can make that jump in the 2021-22 season. Here’s what teams he came up with, along with their best incoming player:

  • Auburn: Jabari Smith (No. 4 prospect in Class of 2021)
  • Duke: Paolo Banchero (No. 2 prospect in Class of 2021)
  • Indiana: Pitt transfer Xavier Johnson (14.2 ppg, 5.7 apg)
  • Kentucky: West Virginia transfer Oscar Tshiebwe (10.6 ppg, 8.9 rpg for career)
  • Notre Dame: Yale transfer Paul Atkinson (17.6 ppg, 7.3 rpg)

We sadly still have a little while to wait until college basketball season, but it’s never too early to start making predictions and breaking down next year’s teams.

For full commentary on the list of programs that could have a much different season than last year, click here.

4. NFL rescinds one helmet rule, opens door for throwback uniforms 🏈

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NFL fans are obviously passionate about the on-field product, but they also have strong opinions on uniforms. For a while now, fans have been asking the NFL to allow secondary helmets, with no success. 

But then came yesterday. Congrats NFL fans, your dreams came true!

The league has rescinded their one helmet rule, meaning teams can have some more fun with their look.

  • The NFL told teams the one-helmet rule will be phased out after the 2021 season
  • Teams can now add a second option beginning in 2022
  • Teams who would like to add a second color must decide by July 31

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been leaders in this change and pushed it for two years. In March, Bucs owner Joel Glazer discussed his plan to bring back the second helmets and how it relates to throwback uniforms. 

  • Glazer: “On the throwbacks we’re constantly on the league’s doorstep trying to get them to move so we can wear our throwbacks. We’re not there yet. But there are discussions going on and hopefully at some point in the future that will happen. I know how popular they are with our fans.”

Other teams that could bring back classic and popular helmets are the New England Patriots, Denver Broncos, Philadelphia Eagles, Atlanta Falcons, Buffalo Bills and Seattle Seahawks.


📝 Odds & Ends


📺 What to watch this weekend

Friday

🏒 Islanders vs. Lightning, 8 p.m. | TBL -170 | TV: NBCSN 

🏀 Hawks vs. Bucks, 8:30 p.m. | MIL -7.5 | TV: TNT

Saturday

Yankees vs. Red Sox, 7:15 p.m. | TV: FOX

🏀 Suns vs. Clippers, 9 p.m. | TV: ESPN

Sunday

🏀 Bucks vs. Hawks, 8:30 p.m. | TV: TNT


🥇 Best thing I saw on the internet

Half-court shots are always impressive, but half-court buzzer-beaters in a playoff win are even more exciting to watch. Paul George hit such a shot at the very end of the third quarter last night over the Suns and then was able to celebrate in front of an electric home crowd. It’s like he knew he would get the opportunity to score from half court, because he was practicing the shot in warmups.