3 Playoff Hockey Games plus the Mets Fill the Night
Decisions. Decisions. Decisions. And add another to that. On Thursday night, a plethora of activity was on hand for the New York sports fan. The Mets played the rubber game at Shea Stadium against their division rivals, the Philadelphia Phillies. And for the first time in 13 years, all three local hockey teams participated in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Four games being played nearly simultaneously made for an evening of going back and forth-between channels.
Out in Queens, it was a pitching match-up of two veteran lefthanders who barely require the need of a radar gun. Tom Glavine and Jamie Moyer are not known as fireballers, but have carved out nice careers for themselves with accuracy and location. Glavine came out ahead in a 5-3 victory and creeped even closer to the 300-win plateau. Needing only eight more victories, he was effective for the third straight start and improved his record to 2-1.
Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins hit two home runs off Glavine, but the Mets' crafty ace made adjustments after struggling early on.
''I knew what I was doing wrong,'' said Glavine to reporters in his post-game media session. ''When I took my warm-up pitches before the third (inning), I slowed myself down.''
Moving on to the ice, the Rangers gained their first post-season victory since 1997 with a 4-3 decision in Atlanta. It was the Thrashers first playoff game in franchise history. Each time the Rangers had a two-goal lead, the pesky Thrashers would score and close the gap.
''When we had the 2-0 lead...that's danger for us. I knew they were going to come back,'' Jaromir Jagr said to reporters. The Rangers captain scored in the first period to put the Blueshirts on the board.
A furious pace in the last 1:11 of the third period nearly sent the game into overtime. Atlanta had a two-man advantage after being on a power play and pulling goaltender Kari Lehtonen. But Henrik Lundqvist stood his ground and celebrated with his teammates at the final buzzer.
The Islanders were hoping to stay on their magic streak in Buffalo against the number-one seeded Sabres. After Sunday's shoot-out victory in New Jersey, the momentum was in their favor. But even hot goalie Wayne Dubielewicz could not do it all.
Midway through the second period, the underdog Isles were holding their own with a 1-1 tie. But Buffalo's Chris Drury scored twice to lead the way in a 4-1 victory.
The Devils began their first-round series hosting the Tampa Bay Lightning. Youngster Zach Parise scored two goals, including the game winner, while Scott Gomez had three assists to give the Devils a 5-3 win.
The game was dead-locked at three apiece in the third period when Parise's slap shot found its way into the net at the 3:54 mark. Parise, the son of former Islander J.P. Parise, continued his offensive ways after scoring a career-high 31 goals during the regular season.
A very impressive night of sports, with only the Islanders not coming out on top. And in reality, the team that they fell in defeat to (Buffalo) is also a New York team.