Around The Bases – Your trip around the world in sports for April 22, 2019

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The daily sports news cycle is crazier than ever. Don't have the stamina to keep up to speed? Around The Bases is your daily morning destination to stay in the know on the biggest stories in both local and professional sports. We’ll start at first base with an intriguing story or event, and bring you home with a must-read story in the North Peace sports scene.

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First Base - Norris finalists revealed

Nominees for the NHL's Norris Trophy were revealed yesterday, the first award's nominees to be announced. Up for grabs to be named the league's best defenceman are Calgary's Mark Giordano, San Jose's Brent Burns, and Tampa Bay's Victor Hedman. Hedman is the defending winner, but played poorly when he did see the ice in the Lightning's disasterous first round series. Brent Burns has had another great season, with 67 assists and 83 points, but the winner will almost certainly be Giordano. Not only has he never won, Giordano had a career best 74 points, and led the NHL with a plus-39 rating. Unfortunately, he didn't have the best playoffs either, but I don't think that will be held against him. 

Second Base - Blue Jays win fourth straight, sweep Oakland

Don't look now, but the Toronto Blue Jays have won back-to-back series, and six of their past seven games, most recently 5-4 win against Oakland on Sunday to complete the three-game sweep. The win brings Toronto's record to 11-12. good for third in the AL East and just 3.5 games back of the first-place Tampa Bay Rays. Now, I'm not saying the Jays can take over first place, or that they'll continue to play well, but in a team that most fans, including myself, expected the worst of, credit must be given to them when they're playing well. Oakland has a record similar to Toronto at 11-13, but the Minnesota Twins, who the Jays just won three of four games against, are first in the AL Central with a 12-7 record. The Jays are off today, but have an extended stretch coming up against more bad-to-mediocre teams, including two games against the 9-14 San Francisco Giants and three more against Oakland. 

Third Base - Raptors dominate Magic in Game 4

Sure, the Orlando Magic one Game 1, but the first-round series between Orlando and the Toronto Raptors hasn't been competitive at all. The Raptors won Game 4 yesterday 107-85 to take a 3-1 lead, and can win the series at home tomorrow in Game 5. The Raptors have won two of their games by more than 20 points. It's ironic, that after another disappointing Game 1 of the playoffs that had fans grumbling, the team responded with the dominated series that fans have been waiting years for. Kawhi Leonard was terrific once again, scoring 34 points in just 35 minutes. 

Home Base - Leafs come up short in Game 6, series headed to seven

The Toronto Maple Leafs had a chance to put the Boston Bruins away with a win in Game 6 yesterday and finally beat Boston in a playoff series, but no dice. Instead, Boston continued to play well in a game after a loss, and won 4-2 to push the series to a seventh game in Boston tomorrow at 4 p.m. The Bruins were dominant for the first 30 minutes, before the Leafs finally woke up and tried to mount a comeback. They scored in the third to make it a one-goal game, but Boston scored on teh empty net to ensure the series would go on. This series has gone up and down, with teams trading wins throughout. The Leafs continue to play well since Game 2, but Boston was certainly the better team yesterday and it remains to be seen if Toronto can get the effort it needs from its key players in a do-or-die game. 

Around the Bases runs Monday through Friday. If you have a news tip or story to share, email Dillon Giancola at sports@ahnfsj.ca

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