Wednesday, the New Jersey Devils host the Los Angeles Kings in Game 1 of the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals. This will be New Jersey’s fifth championship round appearance since 1995. The organization has won the Stanley Cup on three of those occasions.
The Devils last victory took place in 2003, when they defeated the Anaheim Ducks in seven games.
On the other side of the equation, 2012 marks just the Kings second Stanley Cup Finals appearance since entering the NHL in 1967.
This is the sixth time that the New York area’s “Hudson River Rivalry” has been played in the NHL’s postseason.
The Rangers have won four of the previous five meetings.
The last time New York and New Jersey played in the Eastern Conference Finals was in 1994, when hockey legend Mark Messier made the famous “guarantee,” with his Rangers team trailing in the series 3-2.
Wednesday night, the Oklahoma City Thunder host the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 2 of their Western Conference Semifinals series. The Thunder are looking to go up 2-0, after their resounding 119-90 victory in Game 1.
For the Lakers, this is almost certainly a must-win game, as the legendary franchise is only 2-17 all-time, when losing the first two games of a playoff series.
The last time the Lakers came back from an 0-2 playoff deficit was in 2004, when they defeated the San Antonio Spurs in six games.
The Indiana Pacers currently hold a 3-1 first round series lead over the short-handed Orlando Magic. The Magic are playing without star center Dwight Howard, who is out for the remainder of the season, as well as the Olympics, with a herniated disc.
If the Pacers win Tuesday night, they will advance to the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs for the first time since 2005. This would be a big step for a franchise that has not won a playoff series since Hall of Famer Reggie Miller retired after the 2005 season.
Friday night, the Philadelphia 76ers host the Chicago Bulls, with their first round NBA playoff series tied 1-1. This series took a major turn when Bulls superstar Derrick Rose tore an ACL at the end of Game 1. With the 76ers an eighth seed and the Bulls a number one seed, the injury to Rose made an unlikely upset by the 76ers a very real possibility.