Stats & Info insights into this morning's top sports stories
1. PENGUINS HANGING IN THERE: For the second straight game, the Pittsburgh Penguins won when facing elimination, beating the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2. The two teams have combined for 50 goals in the series, tied for the fourth-most in a NHL playoff series. FROM ELIAS: In each of the first five games of the series the team that scored the first goal lost. It’s only the third series in NHL playoff history to follow that unusual pattern; the others were Pittsburgh vs. St. Louis in 1981 and Dallas vs. San Jose in 2008.
2. YANKEES SPOIL FENWAY PARTY: The Boston Red Sox had a 100-year celebration of Fenway Park but the New York Yankees spoiled the party. Clay Buchholz allowed five HR in a 6-2 loss. FROM ELIAS: Josh Beckett and Clay Buchholz have each allowed five HR in a game this season. It's the third time that a pair of pitchers on the same team gave up five plus HR in a game in one season. The other pairs: 2005 Phillies-- Vicente Padilla and Cory Lidle, and the 2009 Red Sox-- Beckett and Buchholz.
3. SPURS BLOW OUT LAKERS AGAIN: Kobe Bryant made his return after missing seven games with a shin injury, but it didn’t matter as the Los Angeles Lakers were blown out again by the San Antonio Spurs. FROM ELIAS: The Spurs are the first team to win two consecutive meetings against the Lakers by 20+ points since the Detroit Pistons in February 2005. That Pistons team reached the NBA Finals and lost to the Spurs.
4. PREDATORS BACK IN SEMIS: The Nashville Predators are the first team to advance to the conference semifinals, beating the Detroit Red Wings 2-1 in Game 5 to win the series 4-1. It’s the second straight season that the Predators have advanced to the conference semis. They didn’t win a playoff series in their previous 11 seasons. As for the Red Wings, it’s the first time they were eliminated in the conference quarterfinals since 2006.
5. SOCCER SHOWDOWN: Barcelona hosts Real Madrid in El Clásico on Saturday, their second and final La Liga meeting of the season. With five games remaining, first-place Real Madrid leads second-place Barcelona by four points. Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo are tied for the league lead with 41 goals each this season. Both have broken the previous record of 40, set by Ronaldo last season. Barcelona is unbeaten in seven straight games against Real Madrid in all competitions, matching the longest unbeaten streak ever in the series, previously done by Real Madrid from 1932-35. Madrid hasn’t beaten Barcelona since last year’s Copa del Rey final. The match can be seen on ESPN Deportes and ESPN3 at 2 ET.