Avalanche

Kyle Turris’ OT goal gives Senators 3-2 series lead over Rangers
OTTAWA, Ontario — Kyle Turris capped Ottawa’s comeback from two deficits and pulled the Senators one win from returning to the Eastern Conference final for the first time in 10 years. Turris scored 6:28 into overtime to lift the Senators to 5-4 victory over the New York Rangers on Saturday for a 3-2 series lead in their second-round series. Derick Brassard tied the score with 1:26 left in the third period for Ottawa, which trailed 2-0 just 5 1/2 minutes into the game and 4-3 with 7:12 remaining. “We’ve talked about not sabotaging ourselves and we were on our way to do that again,” Senators coach Guy Boucher said of the early deficit. Mark Stone, Mike Hoffman and Tom Pyatt also scored and Craig Anderson stopped 29 shots to help Ottawa get its fifth overtime win of the postseason, including a double-overtime victory here against the Rangers in Game 2. Erik Karlsson had three assists. Jesper Fast, Nick Holden, Ryan McDonagh and Jimmy Vesey scored for the Rangers, and Henrik Lundqvist finished with 32 saves. Michael Grabner appeared to win it for the Rangers less than 5 minutes into overtime, but it was disallowed because his redirection came on a high-stick. Turris then knocked in the rebound of his own shot through Lundqvist’s five-hole to put the Senators one win away from returning to the conference finals for the first time since 2007. Game 6 is Tuesday night in New York. Ottawa erased its early deficit, pulling within one late in the first and scoring 33 seconds apart in the second to take a 3-2 lead on Pyatt’s goal at 8:50. “You have to have that belief. You’re not going to score the first goal every game. It’s not going to always go your way,” Pyatt said. Related ArticlesMay 6, 2017 Capitals rally past Penguins in Game 5 to avoid elimination May 5, 2017 Dmitrij Jaskin, Jaden Schwartz score as Blues beat Predators May 3, 2017 With Peter Laviolette, Nashville Predators find offensive payoff in postseason May 2, 2017 Penguins star Sidney Crosby has concussion, will miss Game 4 vs. Washington Capitals May 2, 2017 Penguins react with sharp words on Sidney Crosby hit, await word of his status McDonagh tied it for the Rangers late in the second and Vesey gave them the lead in the third. Brassard said the message on the Ottawa bench was “pretty clear” at that point: Seven minutes remained to tie the game. “Everything was positive,” Brassard said. “It was just, ‘Keep pushing! Keep pushing!'” With Anderson pulled for an extra skater, Brassard — who jumped on the ice when the goalie came to the bench — batted the rebound of Clarke MacArthur’s shot with the puck deflecting in off the back of Rangers defenseman Brandon Smith’s right skate. “There is definitely an area as far as structure-wise that I thought we had addressed,” Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. “Maybe the guys didn’t know the goaltender was coming (out), but there was less than two minutes (to play) and (Ottawa) was down by a goal so they should expect it but maybe the guys got caught not knowing the goalie was out.” It was exactly one week earlier that Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored twice with the goalie pulled late in regulation of Game 2 — tying it 5-5 with 1:02 remaining to tie it 5-5 — and then won it in the second overtime with his fourth goal of the game. Boucher said his philosophy in 6-on-5 situations is simple: “Score.” “In the end we know that you need presence at the net,” Boucher said. “The two goals are pretty similar in the sense that we had guys there and the puck went in.” Teams that win Game 5 when a series is tied 2-2 have gone on to win 78.7 per cent of the time, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, including a perfect 3-0 in 2017. The Rangers, who trailed for only 4:11 in the first four games of the series, then grabbed hold of another lead with two goals in 66 seconds. Fast got the first one by finishing off an odd-man rush and Holden added the second on a weak shot that beat Anderson’s glove far-side. New York has scored first all five games this series. Ottawa pulled to 2-1 just 50 seconds after Holden’s goal as Lundqvist stopped the first attempt by Chris Wideman, but couldn’t get in front of Stone’s backhand rebound shot, which just crept across the goal line. The Senators tied at 8:17 of the second on two fine feeds from Karlsson and MacArthur, the latter a fake shot sent cross-ice to Hoffman who buried the shot past Lundqvist. Pyatt gave Ottawa its first lead when he redirected Zack Smith’s no-look shot on goal from near the sideboards. Momentum, though, started to shift back in New York’s favor in the back half of the second. Oscar Lindberg first hit a post a [...]
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Capitals rally past Penguins in Game 5 to avoid elimination
WASHINGTON — It was quiet in the Washington Capitals’ locker room during the second intermission as they stared down the prospect of the end of their season and last best chance at a Stanley Cup potentially being 20 minutes away. A few minutes into the third period, the players made their home rink very, very loud. Nicklas Backstrom changed the course of the game with the tying goal and Evgeny Kuznetsov and Alex Ovechkin scored 27 seconds apart as the Capitals came back to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-2 in Game 5 Saturday night to avoid elimination. As Sidney Crosby gave the Penguins a boost with a return from his latest concussion, Braden Holtby had his strongest performance of the season, stopping 20 shots to help force a Game 6 back in Pittsburgh on Monday night. “After second: “No panic, nobody talk a lot because everybody concentrate and that’s what we need,” Ovechkin said. “You see how we respond.” On the brink of elimination and trailing a Pittsburgh team that went 37-1-1 in the regular season and 6-0 in the playoffs when up after two periods, the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Capitals finally responded like the Cup contenders everyone thought they should be. With the slogan “Own the big moments” a reminder of how they didn’t do so a year ago in their second-round loss to the Penguins, Washington’s best players came to play when the moment was its biggest. “That’s just what we need in these tight games,” said Andre Burakovsky, who scored the tying goal in the first period and had another good game after replacing Ovechkin as the top-line left winger. “We need our best players to step up and do the hard work and be the difference makers. I think that’s what they were tonight.” In the process, the Capitals finally solved Pittsburgh goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, who allowed four goals on 32 shots after putting up a .937 save percentage in the first four games of the series. The three third-period goals came on five shots over a span of 5:02, including Kuznetsov’s goal from a super-sharp angle. “They finish first in the league, there’s a reason for it,” Fleury said. “The last (win is) always the hardest to get. Disappointing but move on.” Capitals players said there was no shortage of belief despite being down 2-1 after two on Penguins goals by Carl Hagelin and Phil Kessel, and Game 5 following a similar script of more shots but fewer goals. Now there’s no shortage of belief about getting the series back to Washington for a potential Game 7 on Wednesday. Bruce Bennett, Getty ImagesAlex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals scores at 7:47 of the third period against the Pittsburgh Penguins and is embraced by Kevin Shattenkirk #22 in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Second Round during the 2017 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Verizon Center on May 6, 2017 in Washington, DC. The Capitals defeated the Penguins 4-2. “We came back and hopefully we build off this now,” said Backstrom, who executed a perfect give-and-go with Burakovsky on his goal . “You’ve just got to win on Monday. Same scenario as today. We’ve just got to take one game at a time and you have to reset here and, hopefully, we can get some confidence off this win.” The Penguins’ confidence stems from still having a 3-2 series lead, home ice in Game 6 and getting Crosby back five days after he was concussed. “He’s a competitor,” defenseman Brian Dumoulin said. “He wants to be out there. It’s good that he was cleared and able to play. We wanted a win and to get this win but it’s definitely good to have him back.” Related ArticlesMay 6, 2017 Kyle Turris’ OT goal gives Senators 3-2 series lead over Rangers May 5, 2017 Dmitrij Jaskin, Jaden Schwartz score as Blues beat Predators May 3, 2017 With Peter Laviolette, Nashville Predators find offensive payoff in postseason May 2, 2017 Penguins star Sidney Crosby has concussion, will miss Game 4 vs. Washington Capitals May 2, 2017 Penguins react with sharp words on Sidney Crosby hit, await word of his status Crosby had an assist in his first game back and felt good, but the Penguins couldn’t handle the Capitals’ quick-strike offense in the third period that has made this series between the NHL’s top two teams even more interesting. “We’re playing one of the best teams in the league,” Holtby said. “We’re going to have to be the best team in the league if we’re going to win this series. And we’re up to the challenge.” NOTES: In addition to Crosby, Penguins RW Conor Sheary returned after being concussed Monday in a collision with teammate Patric Hornqvist. … Capitals D B [...]
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Dmitrij Jaskin, Jaden Schwartz score as Blues beat Predators
ST. LOUIS — The St. Louis Blues needed a spark. Dmitrij Jaskin gave it to them. Jaskin scored in his first playoff game this season, Jaden Schwartz got the game-winner and the Blues topped the Nashville Predators 2-1 on Friday night to stay alive in their second-round series. Jaskin found out moments before the game he was in the lineup in place of Alexander Steen, who was sidelined by a lower-body injury. Jaskin had just one goal in 51 games this season. “Steener, even though he didn’t play, he supported us,” he said. “He actually called that I’m going to score.” Schwartz scored 25 seconds into the third, knocking in a rebound from right in front for a 2-1 St. Louis lead. Schwartz has a team-high four postseason goals, including three game-winners. “You’d like to score earlier, but you don’t really think about that,” he said. “You just go play and obviously when it’s a tie game or a close game, you want to step up for your team.” Jake Allen made 21 saves for the Blues, who had dropped two in a row. James Neal scored for the Predators, and Pekka Rinne made 30 saves. “Both of those goals came out of leaving a guy in front of me,” Rinne said. “Both times, two rebounds, two goals.” Game 6 is in Nashville on Sunday. Jaskin put the Blues in front at 5:43 of the second period, banging home a rebound off an Alex Pietrangelo shot. It was Jaskin’s second career playoff goal. Dilip Vishwanat, Getty ImagesVladimir Tarasenko #91, Jaden Schwartz #17, and Joel Edmundson #6 of the St. Louis Blues celebrate after Schwartz scored the game-winning goal against the Nashville Predators in Game Five of the Western Conference Second Round during the 2017 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Scottrade Center on May 5, 2017 in St. Louis, Missouri. “We felt confident that he would go in and play a really good game,” Blues coach Mike Yeo said. “I thought he was a force along the walls on both ends and a difference maker.” Jaskin had a career-high eight shots on goal. He also tied for the team lead with four hits and had two takeaways and two blocked shots in 15:46 of playing time. “We had to do it tonight and we did it and everybody’s happy,” Jaskin said. “We’re going to enjoy it now for a few minutes and forget it and go get another one.” Neal tied it with Nashville enjoying a two-man advantage with 6:10 left in the second. The power play was set up when Pietrangelo and Patrik Berglund both took minors with 7:19 left. “The game was out of sync a little bit, we found ourselves in the box,” Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. “They scored first, we were chasing the game at that point as well.” The Blues managed just one shot on goal, a 45-footer by Pietrangelo, during more than four straight minutes of power-play time between the first and second periods, including 1:50 of a 5-on-3 opportunity. Related ArticlesMay 4, 2017 Kiszla: What do the struggles of the Nuggets, Avs and Rapids have in common? Kroenke May 3, 2017 With Peter Laviolette, Nashville Predators find offensive payoff in postseason May 3, 2017 Hulu’s new $40 live TV service launches, but not all local channels available in all cities May 2, 2017 Penguins star Sidney Crosby has concussion, will miss Game 4 vs. Washington Capitals May 2, 2017 Sidney Crosby, Connor McDavid and Sergei Bobrovsky are Hart Trophy finalists Mike Fisher had three blocks for the Predators — all on Vladimir Tarasenko — during the Blues’ two-man advantage. St. Louis is a league-worst 2 for 29 on the power play in the postseason. “Out of sync again,” Pietrangelo said. “Obviously (Steen’s) not in there, he’s a big piece of that, but it’s got to be better. We had too many opportunities to not capitalize.” Yeo was happy with his team’s resolve after the special teams struggles gave the Predators momentum. “The mentality we had to have to be able to bounce back from that is really impressive,” Yeo said. “That’s what we asked our guys before the game, whatever happens good, bad, you have to make sure you’re ready to come back and you’re ready to perform.” NOTES: The Blues and Predators announced a joint effort to donate to flood relief efforts in the Midwest. The Blues will be donating all of the proceeds during Game 5 from their 50/50 raffle, memorabilia sales and Blues for Kids silent auction to the American Red Cross disaster relief efforts. The Predators announced that all of the proceeds raised from the “Smash Car” at Bridgestone Arena, as well as the Nashville Predators Foundation’s Game 5 online auction, would be donated to the relief efforts in St. Lou [...]
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With Peter Laviolette, Nashville Predators find offensive payoff in postseason
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Three years ago, general manager David Poile let the only coach the Predators had ever known in Barry Trotz leave and hired Peter Laviolette to inject more offense into the Nashville lineup. The payoff is coming with the NHL’s best start this postseason. The Predators are 7-1 and the only undefeated team on home ice. They have gotten goals from a league-best 13 players, and they’re spreading the wealth around with seven players scoring game-winning goals. The Predators are led by their top line with Ryan Johansen, Filip Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson combining for 21 points. The Nashville defensive corps also has a league-high eight goals to go with 14 assists. Ryan Ellis leads all defensemen with nine points and has the league’s longest point streak since 1998 at seven games. Nashville stands just a win away from the first conference final in franchise history with a 3-1 series lead over St. Louis in their Western Conference semifinal after a 2-1 victory Tuesday night. “It’s in our own hands, for sure,” goaltender Pekka Rinne said. Credit Laviolette’s aggressive offensive scheme that lets everyone shoot at the net. The coach also has a knack for plugging players in and out of the lineup at the right time. “It’s a five-man game in all zones, and conversely the offense won’t work 3-on-5,” Laviolette said of including defensemen in the attack. “If it’s just our three and five of their guys defending, we’re not going to create. There’s a fine line with that, but our guys do a pretty good job defending and taking care of that, and offensively five guys making sure we attack.” During the regular season, the Predators tied for the league lead with 12 players scoring at least 10 goals. They also tied San Jose for the most points (181) scored by defensemen, led by Roman Josi with 49. Laviolette has taken advantage of Nashville’s fast-skating blue liners, giving them the freedom to attack the net with the flow of the puck. They love to take advantage. “Everyone right now is really putting an emphasis on getting up ice and getting those opportunities,” defenseman Mattias Ekholm said. “Both Ryan, P.K. (Subban), Yannik (Weber) and Matt (Irwin) are doing a great job. As a D-corps, we’re just trying to play our game and do it to our strength.” The final piece came last June when Poile stunned the NHL by swapping captain and star defenseman Shea Weber to Montreal for Subban as part of an effort to add even more offense to the lineup. The former Norris Trophy winner had 40 points in 66 games during his first regular season in Nashville, and Subban has six points in eight games in these playoffs. Subban said the key to the defensemen scoring so well is the ability to make the smart read in a second. “Ultimately when you come back to the bench, whether you make a great play or you make a mistake, you got Lavi and you got (Hall of Fame defenseman) Phil Housley … who are correcting us,” Subban said of the Predators assistant coach who is the NHL’s fourth-ranked scoring defenseman. “I feel very confident coming back to the bench to know that if we’re not sure about something or make a mistake that it can be corrected.” Then there’s Laviolette’s knack for putting in a player at just the right time. Related ArticlesMay 2, 2017 Penguins star Sidney Crosby has concussion, will miss Game 4 vs. Washington Capitals May 2, 2017 Penguins react with sharp words on Sidney Crosby hit, await word of his status May 1, 2017 WATCH: Edmonton fans rescue U.S. national anthem before Oilers-Ducks game May 1, 2017 Silfverberg scores 2, Ducks beat Oilers 6-3 in Game 3 April 26, 2017 Nashville Predators beat St. Louis Blues in Game 1 of second-round series Harry Zolerniczyk had only four points in 24 games during the regular season. Laviolette already has played him in six games in the first postseason of the 29-year-old left winger’s career. Zolnierczyk came through with his first playoff goal in a Game 2 victory over Chicago. He also has an assist and provided a key screen on Josi’s final goal in a 3-1 win in Game 3 against St. Louis. Laviolette inserted veteran Vern Fiddler into the lineup for the first game against St. Louis, and Fiddler responded with the winning goal. Cody McLeod, who also sat out against Chicago, scored the winner Sunday. Subban credits a group of players who have bought into what Laviolette wants. “We don’t care who’s First Star at the end of the night,” Subban said. “Whoever gets the recognition, it’s just about how we’re playing, and everybody pulling in the right direction and we have that.” [...]
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Kiszla: What do the struggles of the Nuggets, Avs and Rapids have in common? Kroenke
Stan Kroenke is worth a cool $7.5 billion, give or take the price of his 500,000-acre ranch in Texas. Everything he touches turns to gold — except the Nuggets, Avalanche and Rapids. Why can’t a billionaire’s sports teams buy a victory? There is one certain way to know if a big-league Denver franchise stinks. Look for the Kroenke label. The Nuggets, defiant and desperate in pursuit of their first postseason appearance since 2013, made one of the more mystifying trades in recent NBA history, sending center Jusuf Nurkic to Portland in a deal that enabled the Blazers to pass Denver for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Has anyone mentioned what an ill-advised move that was? Well, when general manager Tim Connelly passed me in the hallway of the Pepsi Center on the day after the team’s final game, he said: “My ears are burning.” The Avalanche, a once-proud NHL franchise, finished with the worst record in the league since the turn of the century, then lost the draft lottery. But don’t worry. Be happy. Instead of holding general manager Joe Sakic accountable for this mess and tightening his margin for error, Josh Kroenke insisted: “Joe’s leash hasn’t changed at all.” The Rapids, who were a pleasant surprise a year ago, have forgotten how to get off a shot, much less score a goal. As with the other two teams in a Denver sports empire built by his father, Josh has opened the family checkbook to upgrade the talent. A heavy bet on 38-year-old goalkeeper Tim Howard, being paid a $2.48 million salary in 2017, has yet to return big dividends. The Rapids have won only once in seven games, three of which Howard missed by losing his cool and getting suspended. Want to find the Rapids in the standings? Start at the bottom. Kroenke the younger is no longer a kid. The training wheels as a sports executive are off. He is 36 years old. He’s a smart man, a hard-working man and a patient man. I have asked him more than once if he is stretched too thin while trying to oversee an NBA franchise, an NHL team and a MLS club. He steadfastly says no. But are the Nuggets, Avs and Rapids being properly managed? My opinion doesn’t really matter. Here’s what does: scoreboard, baby. The fans of Denver are bighearted and forgiving, but they’re no fools. They ain’t buying whatever Kroenke is selling. The Nuggets ranked dead last, 30th of 30 NBA teams, in attendance during the 2016-17 season. The Avalanche finished 25th of 30 NHL teams in attendance, ahead of places like Florida and Arizona, where folks have a natural aversion to ice. The Rapids? Yes, the season’s young and spring weather in Colorado can be fickle. But their home crowds are among the bottom three in the league. Related ArticlesMay 3, 2017 Kiszla: Jamaal Charles can earn his Broncos salary by pumping life into NFL’s lamest rivalry April 29, 2017 Kiszla: Rebuilding a dirty word? NFL draft reveals the Broncos are going to have to win ugly. April 29, 2017 Was drafting Garett Bolles a sign the Broncos have punted their Super Bowl hopes until 2018? April 27, 2017 Kiszla: When the Broncos needed juice, Elway gave us peas and carrots in NFL draft. April 27, 2017 Kiszla: How to think like John Elway with Broncos on the clock during the NFL draft There’s no quibble with the cash Kroenke Sports & Entertainment has thrown at its big-league problems in Denver. The Kroenke family isn’t cheap. But it hasn’t exactly been smart money. Connelly has discovered gems in the NBA draft, but the team’s locker room smells suspiciously like petty jealousy. After Sakic overestimated the abilities of the Avalanche’s young core, let’s see if center Matt Duchene is traded as a scapegoat for the boss’ poor roster design. The Rapids are a gritty defensive team that aspires to play beautiful soccer, so it shouldn’t be a shock the results have been ugly. Maybe winning is too much to expect from the Nuggets, Avs and Rapids. But for $7.5 billion, could the Kroenke teams at least buy a clue? [...]
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Josh Kroenke retains faith in GM Joe Sakic despite rough season for Avalanche
As many of the NHL’s other nonplayoff teams have fired general managers and coaches since the end of the regular season, the Avalanche — which in 2016-17 had the worst record posted in the league since the expansion Atlanta Thrashers in 1999-2000 — has stood pat. At the top, that means Avalanche and Nuggets team president Josh Kroenke is sticking with GM Joe Sakic. That cuts against the grain of the league’s traditional “off with their heads” reactions in the wake of disappointing seasons — in this case, a horrible season that unfolded as the Avalanche scraped the league’s $73 million salary cap ceiling. In a Wednesday afternoon interview in his Pepsi Center office, Kroenke called the 48-point season “unacceptable” but said that he still had faith in Sakic and that there were extraordinary circumstances involved last season, including — but not limited to — Patrick Roy‘s abrupt August resignation and injuries to goaltender Semyon Varlamov and defenseman Erik Johnson. Related ArticlesApril 30, 2017 Take Your Guess: With the fourth pick of the 2017 NHL entry draft, the Colorado Avalanche selects…? April 29, 2017 Worst-case scenario: Avalanche ends up with No. 4 pick in NHL’s first round April 28, 2017 Avalanche hopes to win the lottery… the NHL draft lottery April 23, 2017 You can forget about Broncos finishing better than 9-7 unless John Elway gets to work April 22, 2017 Frei: Avalanche can make changes without cleaning house “I think conventional wisdom is nice to look at every now and then,” Kroenke said. “But there were so many moving parts coming into this season that Joe Sakic, based on what he has done for this organization as a player, as an executive and, honestly, as a person in the Denver community, deserves the benefit of the doubt to try to figure out what the best thing is for this organization going forward. “I want to be sure that this staff, based on being in the tough position that they were, has a chance to get it right.” Asked if Sakic’s leash has shortened, Kroenke said: “Joe’s leash hasn’t changed at all. Nobody wants to get the Avalanche back to where they were, where we all expect them to be, more than Joe Sakic. We’re going to continue to give him every resource at his disposal and I’m going to help him in any ways he sees that I can. At the end of the day, Joe wants what’s best for the Colorado Avalanche. Whether that’s him in his current role or something else, it doesn’t matter. Joe Sakic is committed to making the Avalanche better.” Roy, citing his diminishing influence on player personnel decisions, resigned Aug. 11 and Sakic hired his former teammate’s successor, Jared Bednar, two weeks later. “I like a very black and white situation,” Kroenke said. “Based on what happened before the season, with our head coach resigning, it created a lot of gray. There was really no way to evaluate the situation, based on trying to find a new head coach four weeks before training camp started, the injury bug biting and trying to impart a couple of new players as well. “I think from top to bottom, from our players, to management, to ownership, we’re embarrassed by what happened this season. To look at the season as a whole, though, I thought in the second half we made some adjustments, toward the last month of the season in particular. We identified what we wanted to do going forward, set ourselves a path to try to go about doing that, and then I would say for the last three weeks of the season, when we had a lot of our young players called up, we played some of our most exciting hockey of the year and we started to play a more competitive brand of hockey against playoff teams. “I think that provided a glimmer of what we were hoping for going forward. To be honest, Joe Sakic, based on the position he was put in before the season, deserves a little bit of leeway, all things considered. The one thing I always will say about Joe Sakic is that no matter what’s going on, Joe Sakic can look at it through the prism of wanting what’s best for the Colorado Avalanche. Joe and I have had different conversations of where I fit, where he fits, the future of the organization, and even if we can look back at what we’ve done historically what made us successful. “It was a tough year on so many levels, but I have a funny feeling that we might bounce back a little sooner than people think.” Kroenke, a former University of Missouri basketball player, acknowledged that he and Kroenke Sports — which also owns the Nuggets, Rapids, Colorado Mammoth, Los Angeles Rams and Arsenal of the English Premier League — largely delegate aut [...]
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WATCH: Edmonton fans rescue U.S. national anthem before Oilers-Ducks game
EDMONTON, Alberta — Oh, say, can you sing the U.S. national anthem from memory? If not, there are about 18,000 Edmonton Oilers hockey fans who could give you a lesson. A malfunctioning microphone put Canadian country singer Brett Kissel on the spot inside Rogers Place on Sunday night before the Oilers met the Anaheim Ducks in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Kissel then invited the near-sellout crowd to do the honors for the visiting Anaheim Ducks. Although most of the players didn’t join in, the hometown fans embraced the moment and responded with a memorable rendition of the “The Star-Spangled Banner” before Robert Clark belted out “O Canada.” Jeff McIntosh, The Canadian Press via APCanadian country singer Brett Kissel holds his faulty microphone asking the crowd to sing the “Star-Spangled Banner” before the start of the Anaheim Ducks and the Edmonton Oilers NHL hockey round two playoff hockey game in Edmonton, Sunday, April 30, 2017. The U.S. national anthem got a unique rendition before the game when the microphone didn’t work. Kissel attempted twice to sing the anthem before throwing his hands in the air and encouraging the crowd to sing with him. Related ArticlesMay 1, 2017 Silfverberg scores 2, Ducks beat Oilers 6-3 in Game 3 April 26, 2017 Nashville Predators beat St. Louis Blues in Game 1 of second-round series April 25, 2017 Free hockey may take its toll on players during NHL playoffs April 25, 2017 Rookie Jake Guentzel making a splash for rested, ready Penguins April 25, 2017 Paul Stastny returns as St. Louis Blues get faceoff leader back [...]
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Happy hour: LeBron scores 35, grabs beer as Cavs top Raptors
By TOM WITHERS CLEVELAND (AP) — LeBron James considered swigging a beer while scoring 35 points, Kyrie Irving added 24 and the Cleveland Cavaliers picked up where they left off following a long layoff and throttled the Toronto Raptors 116-105 on Monday night in the opener of their Eastern Conference semifinal. The Cavs hadn’t played since April 23, when they completed a four-game sweep of Indiana. But the defending champions didn’t show signs of rust and were well-prepared to face the revenge-seeking Raptors, who lost to Cleveland in last year’s conference finals. Toronto dropped to 1-12 in playoff openers. Game 2 is Wednesday night. Kyle Lowry scored 20 and DeMar DeRozan 19 for the Raptors, who were within seven in the third quarter before James dropped a 3-pointer, converted a three-point play, drained another 3 and then considered washing down a brew. [...]
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Take Your Guess: With the fourth pick of the 2017 NHL entry draft, the Colorado Avalanche selects…?
After the Avalanche failed to win any of the lotteries for the NHL’s top three choices Saturday in Toronto, general manager Joe Sakic insisted Colorado still can land a major contributor with what it had to settle for — the fourth overall choice in the June 23-24 entry draft in Chicago. “We’re confident with this draft, that there’s going to be a good player there at four,” Sakic said from Toronto. The Avalanche had the best chances of the nonplayoff teams, plus the expansion Vegas Knights, of winning each weighted lottery, but that didn’t happen. New Jersey, Philadelphia and Dallas ended up with the top three picks. Unquestionably, what sliding down that far does is greatly lessen the odds of drafting a player who can step in and help right away. And the Avs need immediate help. Then again, although Brandon Wheat Kings center Nolan Patrick is the favorite to go No. 1 overall, neither he nor anyone else in this draft is considered in the same realm as the top picks in the last two years — Connor McDavid in 2015 and Auston Matthews in 2016. If the teams’ lists mimic the NHL Central Scouting rankings, the most likely possibilities to go to Colorado at No. 4 are centers Corey Mittelstadt of Eden Prairie (Minn.) High School, Gabriel Vilardo of the Windsor Spitfires, Michael Rasmussen of the Tri-City Americans, Klim Kostin of Dynamo Moscow and Elias Pettersson of Timra in Sweden. The top-rated defensemen are Cale Makar of the Brooks Bandits, Juuso Valimaki of the Tri-City Americans and Callan Foote — the son of former Avalanche standout Adam Foote — of the Kelwna Rockets. But they’re down the list of the NHL overall rankings for skaters. Related ArticlesApril 29, 2017 Worst-case scenario: Avalanche ends up with No. 4 pick in NHL’s first round April 28, 2017 Avalanche hopes to win the lottery… the NHL draft lottery April 23, 2017 You can forget about Broncos finishing better than 9-7 unless John Elway gets to work April 22, 2017 Frei: Avalanche can make changes without cleaning house April 16, 2017 Blues top Wild 3-1, grab 3-0 series lead Four members of the Avalanche’s six-man “core” went in the top three picks — Erik Johnson at No. 1 in 2006, Matt Duchene at No. 3 in 2009, Gabe Landeskog at No. 2 in 2001 and Nathan MacKinnon at No. 1 in 2013. Johnson played the next season at the University of Minnesota before signing with St. Louis, while Duchene, Landeskog and MacKinnon joined the Avalanche right away. In the 17 most recent drafts, the top players taken at No. 4 arguably are Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo (2008) and Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom (2006). After being drafted, Backstrom played one more season in the Swedish Elite League before joining the Capitals. Pietrangelo had eight- and nine-game cameos with the Blues, preventing his entry-level contract from kicking in, before joining the Blues for good in 2010-11. Here’s a look at the No. 4 spot in those past drafts: 2016 — Jesse Puljujarvi, RW, Edmonton. Split rookie season between Oilers and AHL. 2015 — Mitch Marner, C, Toronto. Joined Leafs this season, had 19 goals. 2014 — Sam Bennett, C, Calgary. Has 31 goals in 159 games for Flames. 2013 — Seth Jones, D, Nashville. Traded to Columbus, developing into elite D. 2012 — Griffin Reinhart, D, New York Islanders. Played 29 games with Oilers, otherwise in AHL. 2011 — Adam Larsson, D, New Jersey. Traded to Edmonton, solid D-man who has played 353 NHL games. 2010 — Ryan Johansen, C, Columbus. Traded to Nashville for Jones, had two strong seasons, otherwise a disappointment. 2009 — Evander Kane, C, Atlanta. Now with Buffalo, has 157 goals in 496 games. 2008 — Alex Pietrangelo, D, St. Louis. Anchors Blues blue line, had 14 goals this season. 2007 — Thomas Hickey, D, Los Angeles. In five seasons with Islanders, six goals are his high. 2006 — Nicklas Backstrom, C, Washington. The NHL’s fourth-leading scorer this season, with 23 goals and 86 points. 2005 — Benoit Pouliot, LW, Minnesota. Has bounced around, 19 goals with Oilers in 2014-15 are his high. 2004 — Andrew Ladd, LW, Carolina. Islanders are his fifth team, had 23 goals this season. 2003 — Nikolai Zherdev, F, Columbus. Talented, but has been in KHL since 2011. 2002 — Joni Pitkanen, D, Philadelphia. Last played in NHL with Carolina in 2013. 2001 — Stephen Weiss, C Florida. Had 156 goals in NHL, last played with Detroit in 2015. 2000 — Rostislav Klesla, D, Columbus. Blue Jackets’ first-ever draft choice. Solid NHL career, also with Coyotes. [...]
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Worst-case scenario: Avalanche ends up with No. 4 pick in NHL’s first round
The Avalanche lost three more times Saturday and ended up with the fourth overall choice in the June 23-24 NHL entry draft in Chicago. That was the bottom line after the New Jersey Devils (first), Philadelphia Flyers (second) and the Dallas Stars (third) won the separate weighted lotteries in Toronto for the top three picks in the draft. In the wake of its NHL-worst season, the Avalanche had the best chances of the 14 non-playoff teams, plus the expansion Vegas Golden Knights, of landing the first pick, at 18.0 percent, and when it stayed in the pool, its adjusted odds were slightly better for the next two lotteries. Yet Colorado didn’t win any of the three and ended up slotted fourth, the lowest it could have fallen. The results were revealed in a rundown of the top 15 pick in a televised segment from the Hockey Central set at the CBC headquarters in Toronto, and general manager Joe Sakic represented the Avalanche. “I don’t think it’s a setback,” Sakic said from Toronto. “When you’re picking one to four, you’re going to get a good player. We had 18 percent, we knew there was just as good a chance of not being picked (in any of the three lotteries), and that’s how it turned out.” As the inverse-order announcements continued, and the Flyers, Stars, Devils weren’t in the slots where they would have been if they hadn’t won one of the lotteries, it became apparent that the Avalanche would be fourth. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly confirmed that when he turned over the No. 4 card and revealed the Avalanache logo. “It was one of those things,” Sakic said. “That’s what the lottery was all about. There’s nothing we can do about it. But we’re picking fourth and we know we’re going to get a good player. . . We’re confident with this draft that there’s going to be a good player there. “You’d hope to get the first pick, with the way our year went, but that doesn’t change the fact we’re going to get a good player.” If anything softened the blow, it’s that this draft isn’t believed to have a “generational” player available at the top, as with Connor McDavid in 2015 and Auston Matthews in 2016. “You have the weighted lottery, that’s the system, and we’re in with all the non-playoff teams, and it’s not a bad system,” Sakic said. “I wish we had been No. 1, but I’m OK with it.” The NHL Draft scouting combine is May 28-June 3 in Buffalo. “We’re having all of our meetings in the next two weeks with our amateur (scouts) and finalizing our lists,” Sakic said. “We’re going to pick the best player available to us.” Related ArticlesApril 28, 2017 Avalanche hopes to win the lottery… the NHL draft lottery April 23, 2017 You can forget about Broncos finishing better than 9-7 unless John Elway gets to work April 22, 2017 Frei: Avalanche can make changes without cleaning house April 16, 2017 Blues top Wild 3-1, grab 3-0 series lead April 15, 2017 Frei: Staying at DU worked out great for Will Butcher, so hard to blast the Avalanche The top choices in the first round are expected to start with Brandon Wheat Kings center Nolan Patrick, rated the No. 1 skater prospect in North America by NHL Central Scouting. Swiss forward Nico Hischier, who plays for the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Halifax Mooseheads, is ranked second, followed by centers Casey Mittelstadt, from Minnesota’s Eden Prairie High School; Gabriel Vilardi of the Windsor Spitfires; and Michael Rasmussen of the Tri-City Americans. Forwards Russian Klim Kostin of Dynamo Moscow and Swede Elias Pettersson of Timra are rated the top skater prospects playing in Europe. The rundown of the top 15 picks in the wake of the lotteries: 1, New Jersey; 2, Philadelphia; 3, Dallas; 4, Colorado; 5, Vancouver; 6, Vegas; 7, Arizona; 8, Buffalo; 9, Detroit; 10, Florida; 11, Los Angeles; 12, Carolina; 13, Winnipeg; 14, Tampa Bay; 15, New York Islanders. The winner of the lottery for the top pick, the Devils, had an 8.5 pecent chance heading in. The first-pick odds for the Flyers were 2.2 pecent and the Stars 5.8 percent, and as with the Avalanche, the percentages went up slightly for the second and third picks. So the biggest surprise was that none of the four teams with the best odds — the Avalanche, Canucks, Coyotes and Golden Knights — won one of the three lotteries. So all “slid” signficiantly from the spots they would have occupied without a lottery system.   [...]
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Pageau gets fourth goal in 2OT to lift Sens over Rangers 6-5
OTTAWA, Ontario — Jean-Gabriel Pageau got his fourth goal of the game in the second overtime after scoring twice late in regulation, lifting the Ottawa Senators over the New York Rangers 6-5 Saturday in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. Ottawa leads the series 2-0 despite trailing by two goals after Brady Skjei’s score with 14:50 left in the third. Pageau cut it to 5-4 with 3:19 left in the period, then tied it with 1:02 remaining. Pageau scored again 2:54 into the second OT, snapping in a shot during a 2-on-1 rush alongside Tommy Wingels. Pageau is the first Senator ever with four goals in a playoff game. Marc Methot and Mark Stone also scored for Ottawa, and Craig Anderson had 43 saves. Skjei had two goals for New York and Michael Grabner, Chris Kreider and Derek Stepan also scored. Henrik Lundqvist stopped 28 shots. The series heads to New York for Game 3 on Tuesday night. Ottawa lost Clarke MacArthur to injury and won despite letting Grabner and Stepan score short-handed. It leads a playoff series 2-0 for only the second time in team history and first since the 2007 Eastern Conference final against Buffalo. The Senators have never swept a postseason series. Skjei scored a few minutes after Stone cut New York’s lead to 4-3. Skjei broke up an odd-man rush, took a feed from Brendan Smith in transition and fired in his fourth goal of the playoffs. Pageau rallied the Senators with a pair of tip-in goals, the first on a point shot from Zack Smith, and the second on Kyle Turris’ shot from the left faceoff circle. After his OT score, Pageau slid into the end boards, skated to the left corner and was swarmed by teammates. Wingels stopped to scoop the puck out of the goal before joining the pile. The 24-year-old Pageau has two career postseason hat tricks. He scored 12 goals in 82 games for Ottawa this season, and this was his first career overtime score. After Erik Karlsson’s unlikely tally late in regulation lifted Ottawa in Game 1, the Senators came out flying early in Game 2. Canadian Tire Centre appeared near capacity after more than 2,000 seats were left empty in the opener two nights earlier. BOXSCORE: Senators 6, Rangers 5 Ottawa had three straight power-play chances early, but it didn’t even manage a shot on goal in that time, although Karlsson did hit a post. Mike Hoffman fired a sloppy pass that was picked off by Kevin Hayes at one point and MacArthur dropped another feed to no one in particular. Grabner got his goal during Ottawa’s second power play. Stone couldn’t corral a puck that sailed around the boards, and Jesper Fast and Grabner sped away on a successful 2-on-1. Pageau tied it with 6:01 left in the first, his second of the playoffs. The Ottawa native picked off Dan Girardi’s pass in the neutral zone, then beat Lundqvist. Kreider and Stepan both scored in the middle of the second, then Ottawa pulled within 3-2 on Methot’s goal with six minutes to play in the period. New York re-upped its lead when Skjei sent a seemingly harmless point shot toward goal that caromed off Dion Phaneuf’s leg in front. The puck sailed right between Anderson’s pads, and the goalie raised his arms in frustration after not having seen it. Stone got one past Lundqvist less than two minutes into the third, but the Rangers came back a few minutes later to increase the deficit back to two on Skjei’s second of the game and fourth of the playoffs. Related ArticlesApril 28, 2017 Avalanche hopes to win the lottery… the NHL draft lottery April 26, 2017 Nashville Predators beat St. Louis Blues in Game 1 of second-round series April 25, 2017 Free hockey may take its toll on players during NHL playoffs April 25, 2017 Rookie Jake Guentzel making a splash for rested, ready Penguins April 25, 2017 Paul Stastny returns as St. Louis Blues get faceoff leader back Karlsson, who’s been excelling this spring despite two hairline fractures in his left foot, briefly went to the Ottawa dressing room in apparent discomfort during the middle frame. He returned, but then took a hard hit into the end boards from Ryan McDonagh as the second period expired. MacArthur also got a heavy check from the Rangers captain late in the first period. He played two shifts in the second and didn’t return. The 32-year-old missed most of the last two seasons with concussion problems. ___ More AP hockey: https://apnews.com/tag/NHLhockey [...]
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MacArthur returns, scores for Sens to beat Boston 3-2 in OT
By JIMMY GOLEN BOSTON (AP) — Clarke MacArthur spent almost two full seasons recovering from a concussion, wondering if he would ever be able to return to the Senators. “There’s nothing like living in the NHL and living in these playoffs,” he said after scoring a power-play goal 6:30 into overtime to help Ottawa beat Boston 3-2 in Game 6 on Sunday and advance to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. “It (retirement) is something everyone’s going to have to deal with one day,” said the 32-year-old forward, who was injured in the fourth game of last season and didn’t come back until four games left in this one. “But I want to stretch it out as long as I can.” Bobby Ryan and Kyle Turris scored five minutes apart in the second to give the Senators a 2-1 lead, and Craig Anderson stopped 28 shots for Ottawa. The Senators, who hadn’t won a postseason series since 2013, will play the New York Rangers in the second round. Tuukka Rask made 26 saves for the Bruins, who got goals from Drew Stafford and Patrice Bergeron. The Bruins did not get off a shot in the extra period — the fourth overtime game of the series and the 17th of the NHL playoffs, tying the record for an opening round. Washington’s 2-1 win at Toronto later broke the record. “We came in here, took a deep breath (and) realized that, ‘Hey, tie game. Next shot wins. Let’s get back to business,'” Anderson said. “That’s all we did.” MacArthur sustained a concussion on Oct. 14, 2015 — Game 4 of last season — and hadn’t played since, missing 156 games before he finally passed a baseline test in the last weeks of this season and was cleared to return. He played in only four games this year, without recording a point. “You’ve been off for a couple of years and you’re thinking, ‘Yeah, I should make this play’ or ‘I should be able to do that,'” he said. “I’ve just been trying to stick with it and be patient, and you know it’s slowly coming.” MacArthur scored in Game 2 of the series, and then got past David Pastrnak on his way into the Bruins’ zone in overtime, tempting the Boston forward into pulling him down from behind. Just 36 seconds into the power play, MacArthur grabbed a puck that deflected off Tuukka Rask and beat him on the rebound for the series-winner. “It was off his paddle and went right to me. I was just lucky enough to be in the right spot,” MacArthur said. “You get opportunities like that to put them away, you’ve got to put them away. It’s just awesome that we were able to.” The Bruins made the playoffs for the first time in three seasons, rallying after firing the winningest coach in franchise history and the one that led them to the 2011 Stanley Cup title. They went 18-8 after Bruce Cassidy replaced Claude Julien, but lost their last two to finish third — behind Ottawa — in the Atlantic Division. That left them matched up with the Senators in the first round — a bad draw against a team that beat them all four times in the regular season and six straight overall. After winning Game 1, Boston lost three in a row before forcing a fifth game with a double-overtime victory on Friday night. Cassidy, who served out the season as the interim coach, said he “absolutely, 100 percent” wants to be back. “That will be determined by management, whether I continue to be the head coach,” he said. “And what players will be here will be determined by management.” The Bruins were hit with three delay of game penalties in the first period for sending the puck over the glass, but on none of those power plays did Ottawa even manage as much as a shot on goal. Instead, Boston took a 1-0 lead with just under two minutes left in the first when Stafford converted on a tripping penalty against Mark Stone. But Ryan tied it for Ottawa on a power play early in the second, then Turris gave the Senators a 2-1 lead about five minutes later. It stayed that way until Bergeron tied it about two minutes into the third. NOTES: The Bruins were without F David Krejci, who injured his knee in a collision with Senators D Chris Wideman in Game 5 on Friday. … Ryan leads Ottawa with four goals in the playoffs. He also assisted on the game-winner. [...]
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Avalanche hopes to win the lottery… the NHL draft lottery
The NHL draft lottery — or, actually, three separate lotteries — is Saturday in Toronto, and the Avalanche will discover at 5:30 p.m. whether it will have the first, second, third or fourth overall choice during the two-day entry draft in Chicago on June 23-24. Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic will represent the team when the lottery results are revealed at the CBC headquarters Hockey Central set before the broadcasts of the Penguins-Capitals Game 2 in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Despite its league-worst record, Colorado is far from a sure thing to land the top overall choice. The 14 non-playoff teams, plus the expansion Vegas Golden Knights, all have chances at the top pick in the first of the three separate weighted lotteries for each of the first three choices. Related ArticlesApril 23, 2017 You can forget about Broncos finishing better than 9-7 unless John Elway gets to work April 22, 2017 Frei: Avalanche can make changes without cleaning house April 16, 2017 Blues top Wild 3-1, grab 3-0 series lead April 15, 2017 Frei: Staying at DU worked out great for Will Butcher, so hard to blast the Avalanche April 13, 2017 Colorado Hockey Spotlight: Eagles even series with Game 2 win over the Idaho Steelheads in ECHL’s first round The Avalanche’s chances at “winning” the first pick are, rounded up, 18.0 percent, and they’re followed by Vancouver (12.1 percent) and Vegas and Arizona (both 10.3 percent). The odds for the next two drawings, for the second and third picks, depend on the earlier results. Regardless, Colorado can slide no farther than fourth. The top choice is expected to be Brandon Wheat Kings center Nolan Patrick, who is rated the top skater among prospects in North America by NHL Central Scouting, but isn’t considered a “generational” player along the lines of Edmonton’s Connor McDavid and Toronto’s Auston Matthews the past two years. Swiss forward Nico Hischier, who plays for the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Halifax Mooseheads, was ranked second. The next three were centers Casey Mittelstadt, from Minnesota’s Eden Prairie High School; Gabriel Vilardi of the Windsor Spitfires; and Michael Rasmussen of the Tri-City Americans. The top two-ranked European skaters are forwards Russian Klim Kostin of Dynamo Moscow and Swede Elias Pettersson of Timra. [...]
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