A defenseman with just fourteen career goals on his resume in a year's worth of regular season and playoff games over his career picked a good time to add number fifteen.
Robert Bortuzzo of the St. Louis Blues is what's known as a stay-at-home defenseman, a nice way of saying he's expected to take care of the puck in his own end of the ice, shut down the other team's offensive players, and let others worry about creating offense at the other end.
But Bortuzzo wandered from home and scored the tie-breaking goal late in the second period that proved to be the game winner in the Blues' 4-2 win over the San Jose Sharks, a victory that knots up their western conference final at a game apiece as the series prepares to shift to St. Louis for games three and four.
The goal also helped the Blues recover from blowing a two goal lead they maintained until the highest scoring forward in the playoffs struck yet again. Logan Couture scored two goals in a span of just under two minutes to erase that 2-0 lead, giving him 13 goals in the post-season, more than any other player. But Bortuzzo's clutch score late in the second rendered those scores by Couture moot for the time being.
Rookie goaltender Jordan Binnington made 23 saves for the Blues, a team that was left for dead back in January when they were mired in last place and expected to miss the playoffs entirely. But the steady play of Binnington helped turn things around and now the Blues have a chance to take control of the series and vie for the franchise's first-ever Stanley Cup.
The Sharks are also seeking that Holy Hockey Grail for the first time in their history, but they've not been around nearly as long as the Blues have. St. Louis entered the league as an expansion team back in 1967, while the Sharks were born in 1991.
Tonight in Raleigh, North Carolina the Boston Bruins will try to put the Carolina Hurricanes in a three games to none hole in game three of the eastern conference finals. The 'Canes are in a tough spot but have been here before. They were down two games to none against the defending Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals when they rallied to win that round one series in seven games.
The western conference finals of the NBA playoffs begin tonight and the franchise that has but one NBA title banner raised to its rafters will be a decided underdog against the team that's won the championships the last two years in a row.
The Portland Trail Blazers lone championship was won back in 1977 but they'll look to give Steph Curry and the rest of the Golden State Warriors all they can handle when the series debuts in Oakland tonight.
One of the story lines to watch in this one is the sibling rivalry between superstar sharp shooter Steph Curry and his little brother Seth. Steph is a deadly three point shooting specialist for the warriors while Seth is making a name for himself in Portland.
One big X factor will be the health of Kevin Durant, lost after injuring his calf in Golden State's win over Houston in round two. Durant had bee Golden State's leading scorer in the playoffs but will not be on the floor for game one tonight and whole tjhe Warriors have plenty of other weapons in their arsenal, Durant has been their most potent to this point and the Trail Blazers will undoubtedly try to take advantage of his absence.
The NY Yankees and Baltimore Orioles were rained out at Camden Yards last night. The Boston Red Sox were idle. They welcome the Colorado Rockies to Fenway park tonight. The NY Mets also had the day off. They'll send Noah Syndergaard to the hill against their rivals the Washington Nationals in DC tonight and the Toronto Blue Jays were also resting, and they could use that down time. The Jays have lost five in a row and eight of their last ten. They'll try to get back on the winning track in San Francisco tonight when they take on the Giants.