Nedohin comes off the bench for Alberta at Scotties Tournament of Hearts

Catharines, Ont. Catharines.“I’m not going to go back in seven games later not knowing the ice,” Kleibrink said. Englot was 6-1 ahead of Carey at 5-1.Quebec’s Eve Belisle, 5-2,and Northern Ontario’s Krista McCarville, 4-2, each won twice Tuesday.Galusha lost to Carey and Ontario to fall to 3-3 alongside Alberta. Prince Edward Island’s Robyn MacPhee and Stacie Curtis of Newfoundland and Labrador were tied at 2-4.Also in the evening draw, McCarville defeated B.C.’s Marla Mallett 8-3 and Belisle doubled Nova Scotia’s Mary Mattatall 12-6.Matatall dropped to 1-5, while Saskatchewan and B.C. The final is Sunday.Nedohin won the Hearts for Alberta as a skip (2012) and as third (1998).Married to four-time Canadian and three-time world champion David Nedohin, she said in 2015 she wanted to spend more time with their daughters and on her job as manager of the Sherwood Park Curling Club.But two days prior to this year’s Alberta championship, Nedohin got a phone call from Kleibrink.Kleibrink, 48, had injured a disc in her back lifting weights and would Nedohin join them as their alternate?Nedohin skipped two of their first three games in the Alberta championship. When I was younger, that’s kind of what I was like, so that’s fine.” Alberta’s record was 3-3 with Nedohin in the house for two of those wins.“I have to be honest. “The reality is it needs about three weeks off.”If Nedohin can get Alberta on a roll, Kleibrink may let her go the distance in St. “It’s not like we don’t have an amazing skip out there.”Kleibrink, who won an Olympic bronze medal in 2006, and Nedohin have years of shot-calling experience at the sport’s highest levels.Nedohin didn’t let her skills go fallow as she’s continued to play in a women’s league at her club and also in mixed doubles with David.Third Lisa Eyamie and front end Sarah Wilkes and Alison Thiessen have been adjusting to the different personalities of their skips.Kleibrink is soft-spoken and contained with a quiet sense of humour. It feels really good to be back.“For me, it’s harsh that’s Shannon’s back is not feeling well, but in the same sense, something was presented to me and I’m just going to roll with it.”Alternates, or fifths, are insurance policies against injury and illness and generally don’t play much.But anticipating they would need her, Nedohin also played lead in Alberta’s second game so she could get a feel for the Meridian Centre ice.She and Manitoba’s Michelle Englot locked horns Tuesday until the 10th end when Nedohin missed her attempt at a deuce to send the game into an extra end.Manitoba prevailed 9-5, but suffered their first loss at night falling 8-7 to defending champion Chelsea Carey of Calgary.Ontario’s Rachel Homan downed Saskatchewan’s Penny Barker 7-4 to be alone atop the field at 7-0. She talks a little bit more, has a little bit more intensity, but that plays well for me as well. Nedohin skipped her second and third games for Alberta on Tuesday because of Kleibrink’s ailing back. Ties for fourth are solved by tiebreaker games. were winless.The top four teams at the conclusion of the round robin Friday morning advance to the Page playoff. That makes it easier to say what we need to say and kind of move on.“Heather, obviously, is a little bit different. I never thought I’d be back,” Nedohin said. They’ve continued playing as a fivesome into the Tournament of Hearts.Kleibrink’s back hasn’t responded to massage therapy or physiotherapy as much as she’d hoped it would.“And now the muscles are mad,” Kleibrink said. “Shannon is a little quieter for sure, but she and I are good friends and get along really easily. Nedohin is expressive in face and body language and her voice is hoarse by the second day of an event.In order to stop swearing into her television microphone at the 2012 world championship in Lethbridge, Ont., Nedohin adopted the term “sugarballs” which went viral on social media.“I understand both personalities,” Eyamie said. Holding Alberta’s broom at the Canadian women’s curling championship made Heather Nedohin realize how much she missed it.The 41-year-old quit competitive curling two years ago after two decades and a pair of national titles.But the emergency call-up by Shannon Kleibrink has been coming off the bench a lot at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in St. “I’m going to get emotional.

Magic Johnson takes over Lakers after GM Mitch Kupchak fired

The Lakers have the NBA’s third-worst record at 19-39 this season, plummeting out of contention after an encouraging 10-10 start under new coach Luke Walton, who got a strong vote of confidence.Jeanie Buss said she “took a series of actions I believe will return the Lakers to the heights Dr. “I will do everything I can to build a winning culture on and off the court. We will work tirelessly to return our Los Angeles Lakers to NBA champions.”The departure of Kupchak is even more dramatic: The former Lakers centre had worked with West and Jim Buss in relative harmony for years with the tradition-bound Lakers. He also briefly coached the Lakers, but dropped his ceremonial title as a team vice-president last June after his frequent public criticisms of Jim Buss and former coaches. Jim Buss retains his ownership stake in the team, but Jeanie Buss has final say under the structure set up by their late father, Jerry Buss. Jerry Buss demanded and our fans rightly expect. He also sold his ownership stake in 2010.“Since 1979, I’ve been a part of the Laker Nation, and I’m passionate about this organization,” Johnson said in a statement. Kupchak had been employed by the Lakers in some capacity since August 1981.The Lakers’ recent ineptitude didn’t hurt their place as Los Angeles’ most beloved sports franchise and a worldwide brand, but Jeanie Buss finally tired of the apparent lack of progress. Jeanie Buss also removed her brother, Jim, from his job as the Lakers’ executive vice-president of basketball operations. The Lakers are still feeling the effects of that deal, which will cost them their first-round pick this summer if it isn’t in the top three.The Lakers finished 17-65 last season, a franchise low in the last year of Kobe Bryant’s two-decade run with the franchise.Johnson’s return made Jim Buss’ departure seem quite likely, particularly given Jim Buss’ vow several years ago to leave the franchise if they weren’t in contention for a Western Conference title by this year or next.But Jeanie Buss still picked a dramatic way to end this family business’ years of tradition.Johnson has never been a decision-making NBA executive, but he has been a successful businessman and investor since his playing career ended. Together, Earvin, Luke and our new general manager will establish the foundation for the next generation of Los Angeles Lakers greatness.”Kupchak had been the Lakers’ GM since 2000, studying under Jerry West and eventually succeeding him. They are mired in the worst four-year stretch in franchise history, missing the playoffs in three consecutive years with their three worst records ever.After an extraordinary trade for Pau Gasol propelled the Lakers to three straight NBA Finals appearances, Kupchak and Jim Buss made a series of high-profile personnel moves that didn’t pan out.They made a pricey trade for Dwight Howard, who fled the franchise after one year, and another deal for Steve Nash, who barely played thanks to back woes. Our search for a new general manager to work with Earvin and coach Luke Walton is well underway, and we hope to announce a new general manager in short order. The former horse trainer had final say on basketball decisions in recent years.But the Lakers have steadily declined from the heights of back-to-back championships in 2009 and 2010. She used it to chart a new course for the Lakers, who are mired in the worst four-year stretch in the 16-time NBA champion franchise’s glorious history.Just 19 days after Johnson returned to the Lakers in an executive role, Jeanie Buss promoted the Hall of Fame point guard to have the final say on basketball decisions. The Lakers have a talented young core with D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle, Brandon Ingram and Jordan Clarkson, but haven’t been able to translate that potential into wins despite playing an exciting style under Walton.The Lakers also parted ways with longtime top public relations executive John Black.The Lakers return from the All-Star break on Friday at Oklahoma City. “We are determined to get back to competing to win NBA championships again.”Jeanie Buss made the extraordinary moves two days before the trade deadline. They face San Antonio at Staples Center on Sunday. We have a great coach in Luke Walton and good young players. Magic Johnson is leading the Los Angeles Lakers again after a major shake-up of the struggling franchise’s front office.Lakers owner Jeanie Buss fired general manager Mitch Kupchak on Tuesday and put Johnson in charge of basketball operations. Johnson is the Lakers’ new president of basketball operations, reporting directly to Jeanie Buss, although the team also plans to hire a new general manager.“I took these actions today to achieve one goal: Everyone associated with the Lakers will now be pulling in the same direction, the direction established by Earvin and myself,” Jeanie Buss said in a statement. Kupchak had been in the Lakers’ front office for 30 years, including the last 17 as general manager — the longest current stretch running a front office in the NBA.Jim Buss had been in the Lakers’ front office for 19 years, including 12 in charge of basketball operations alongside Kupchak.

Man City fights back to beat Monaco in wild Champions League match

“Huge compliment to the players to be there – don’t give up and be there. We are still there.” The French league leaders continued that run with an attacking show either side of halftime. But in a frantic finish, Sergio Aguero volleyed in a 71st-minute equalizer for his second goal of the night, John Stones prodded home from a corner in the 77th and Leroy Sane pushed City further ahead with a tap-in in the 82nd.It was the highest-scoring first leg in a Champions League knockout match, with both teams threatening to score at will in the second half. A penalty was awarded, but Caballero made amends by guessing the right way and smothering Falcao’s low, weak attempt.Then it was the Monaco goalkeeper’s turn to make a mistake, with Danijel Subasic failing to stop Aguero’s low shot and the ball dribbling slowly into the net for City’s first equalizer.That set the tone for a chaotic final half hour, which Monaco coach Leonardo Jardim said was played at “150 per cent speed.”Falcao held off Stones and applied a deft chip over Caballero to restore Monaco’s lead, but City came roaring back.Aguero met an outswinging corner with a sweet volley into the corner to spark the fightback and, from another corner, Yaya Touré glanced on Kevin De Bruyne’s cross and Stones was at the far post to poke in a volley.Sane gave City a potentially crucial two-goal cushion when Aguero was set free by De Bruyne, and squared the ball for Sane to virtually walk into an empty net.“You have to live these kinds of situations, be in trouble and recover,” Guardiola said. “When two teams want to attack and attack, the football is marvellous.”The night’s other match was also a goal feast, with Atletico Madrid winning 4-2 at Bayer Leverkusen as French forwards Antoine Griezmann and Kévin Gameiro tore the German side’s defence apart.They both scored for Atletico, last season’s losing finalist, along with Saul Niguez and Fernando Torres.City scored five goals from six shots on target, the first coming when Raheem Sterling swept home a finish into an empty net after dazzling wing play from Sane to put last season’s semi-finalists ahead in the 26th minute.Coming into the match, Monaco was the highest-scoring team in Europe’s top leagues this season with 108 goals in all competitions. It was a night to send coaches crazy and to leave spectators wanting more – and they will get it in the second leg on March 15.“It’s something special for football,” City manager Pep Guardiola said. Kylian Mbappe, a highly rated 18-year-old winger making his first Champions League start, then exposed more poor defending from City by latching onto Fabinho’s free kick and lifting a shot past Caballero.Monaco’s players, so mobile on the break, had the hosts right where they wanted them and Falcao had a great chance to put Monaco 3-1 ahead when he was fouled by Nicolas Otamendi as he was about to apply a close-range finish. Guardiola said afterward he had never seen a team with so many attacking players.Falcao, making a successful return to England after poor spells on loan at Manchester United and Chelsea, equalized with a diving header after City goalkeeper Willy Caballero’s pass from the back was picked off by Fabinho. Manchester City scored three goals in 11 minutes to fight back for a 5-3 win over Monaco in a wild Champions League match full of dazzling attacking play and dreadful defending on Tuesday.City was facing a first-leg deficit in the Round of 16 match when Radamel Falcao scored with a glorious chip, his second goal of the game, to put Monaco 3-2 ahead in the 61st minute at Etihad Stadium.

Orioles’ Davis looks past injury-laden season and beyond

“It certainly impacted him.”In the first few days of batting practice, Davis has felt strong.“It was kind of an eye-opener for me because I hadn’t realized the impact that it really had on me,” Davis said. That’s the thing, we know we can hit the ball out of the yard,” Davis said. It was really a big relief to not have any pain and I’m looking forward to getting started again.”Baltimore hit a major-league-best 253 home runs last year, and its top-five power hitters, who accounted for 177 long balls, have returned. Davis said the off-season was what he needed.“I think the biggest thing was really the rest and the time off and not having the physical contact and the beating that I did every day when I was swinging and taking balls at first base. Chris Davis is trying to forget last year.Yes, the Baltimore Orioles first baseman hit 38 home runs and drove in 84 runs. Really, after the first three or four weeks, the swelling went completely away and I haven’t had anything, any issues or swelling since I started hitting. But early last season – the first of a seven-year, $161-million contract – Davis suffered a left-hand injury diving into a base and felt the effects of it throughout the year.He still played in 157 games – second-most in his major-league career, but hit just .221 and struck out 219 times. The slugger would have to take many weeks off, and he was still helping the team – both offensively and defensively.“It would be different if it was like, he could take two weeks off and it’s going to be fine, but when you get that deep an injury like that, nothing but a real extended period” helps, Showalter said. I think a lot of times when you hit a two- or three-run homer, it’s really deflating to the other team, as opposed to a solo shot.“Really, there’s no one person in our lineup who has more power than the other guy. One of the attractions of Smith is his ability to get on base. Smith’s .342 on-base average in 2016 would have been the third highest on the team.“I think Seth is going to be good for us because he knows how to work the count, he knows how to get on base. “I had almost forgotten what it felt like to be 100 per cent and be able to swing with both hands. I think everyone, one to nine, has the potential to hit the ball out of the ballpark.” So, I think the biggest thing is just rest and obviously didn’t have time to rest during the season last year,” Davis said.Manager Buck Showalter knew how much Davis was hurting, but knew there was little he could do about it. “But I’d rather see us do it with one or two runners on, or even three – instead of going up there hitting solo shots. Two of the Orioles’ new players, catcher Welington Castillo and outfielder Seth Smith, combined for 30 homers.

Injured forwards don’t hamper Senators’ season sweep

Ryan will miss 4-to-6 weeks with a broken finger, while Stone (neck) and Hoffman (groin) are day to day. Kyle Turris and Erik Karlsson scored for Ottawa, which swept the three-game season series with the Devils while allowing only two goals.Travis Zajac scored for New Jersey and Cory Schneider made 21 saves. He beat a screened Schneider over the shoulder.With Tom Pyatt off for delay of game, Zajac got the Devils within a goal, putting a rebound of Joseph Blandisi’s shot into an open net at 6:37.Anderson, whose wife Nicolle is battling throat cancer, was outstanding in the first two periods. The Devils have lost two in a row and three of four.Turris gave the Senators the lead 59 seconds into the second period after the Devils twice failed to get the puck out of their own end. The centre fired the puck behind the New Jersey goal line, and Jean-Gabriel Pageau retrieved it and found Ryan Dzingel in the left circle. He stopped deflections by Adam Henrique and Jacob Josefson in the first period and shots in close in each of the first two periods by Mike Cammalleri, who returned to the lineup after being benched for two games.He stopped a deflection by Zajac in close in the final minute. Craig Anderson made 29 saves and the Ottawa Senators beat the New Jersey Devils 2-1 on Tuesday night despite playing without three of their top forwards.Ottawa was without Mark Stone (22 goals), Mike Hoffman (19 goals) and Bobby Ryan (12 goals) after all three were injured over the weekend. He sent a cross-ice pass to Turris for a shot into an open net for his 20th goal.Karlsson has points in six straight games after stretching the lead to 2-0 early in the third period with a power-play goal from the left circle.

Blue Jays’ Smoak aims to overcome struggles, prove his value

At the very least, the regular playing time will help lift his spirits.“It’s refreshing – kind of relaxes your brain a little more,” he said. Howell, he said: “Good luck in there. Smoak understands unless he starts to perform, he won’t enjoy the money much.Last season, in 126 games – just 79 starts – Smoak hit a miserable .217 with 14 home runs. “You know what to expect.”Meanwhile, it was picture day at the Blue Jays camp on Tuesday, with the players dressed in their game whites for the occasion and paraded around photography stations set up at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium.The session started at 7 a.m. The Blue Jays were conducting infield drills the other day, and Smoak took up his spot at first base.“What’s the play?” Smoak asked no one in particular before the ball was hit.“Five-three,” came a reply – score-keeping jargon that everybody connected with the game understands is a ball hit to third base, fielded and then thrown to first.“What’s that?” Smoak intoned.The good humour has come in handy for Smoak, who has had little to smile about during his first two seasons as a Blue Jay, at times in which he has struggled to find his batting stroke.Smoak signed a two-year contract extension in July, 2016, that will pay him $4.1-million (U.S.) in each of the next two seasons. But Atkins said the Blue Jays believe that Smoak can be their primary answer at first base, with Pearce, provided his right elbow continues to improve following off-season surgery, getting most of his work in the outfield, primarily in left.Morales would then take most of his swings as the designated hitter.“We’re glad to have options,” Atkins said. That would give us the most versatility, just to have that as an alternative.“So projecting for Steve [Pearce] to play a good amount of outfield and for Justin to play a good amount of first base, and then to have alternatives and flexibility and to move around that, that would be the best-case scenario.”Smoak, who played on the same high-school baseball team as Matt Wieters before moving on to the University of South Carolina, is a formidable 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds.A very capable glove defensively at first base, Smoak also possesses a power swing. for the players, who lined up for shots taken by, among others, MLB, Sportsnet, The Players’ Tribune and of course Topps, the baseball card company.There were even pictures taken by a group called, by a club official, the fire safety people, for fire prevention cards the Blue Jays will distribute over the season.As pitcher Joe Biagini finished off one of his sessions, making way for fellow hurler J.P. He cranked 20 home runs for the Seattle Mariners in 2013.But since joining the Blue Jays on waivers for the start of the 2015 season, his inconsistency at the plate has resulted in his playing time being limited primarily to spot duty.Smoak is hopeful that with a regular role at first base this season, his batting will pick up. Justin Smoak is a good old boy from Goose Creek, S.C., a lanky, laconic sort whose playful sense of humour helps to keep things loose at the Toronto Blue Jays’ spring-training camp.“I’ve seen you around,” the big man has been known to say in his southern drawl when you sidle over to his locker hoping for a word or two. Comments made last week by Ross Atkins, Toronto’s general manager, all but conceded the first baseman’s job to Smoak for the start of the season.It was believed that first base would become a committee spot, shared between Smoak, newcomer Steve Pearce and Kendrys Morales, another free-agent addition who will be expected to fill some of the offensive void created by the departure of Edwin Encarnacion.And it still could work out that way. He struck out 112 times in 299 at-bats for a strikeout percentage of 32.8 per cent, the worst mark among team regulars.He has only shown flashes of the potential that made him a first- round pick (11th overall) by the Texas Rangers in the 2008 Major League Baseball draft.“You all know as well as I do in this game these days, you can sign for whatever and if you’re not doing, it you’re not going to be out there,” he said.It appears that Smoak will get that opportunity to prove his value heading into the 2017 season. “But I think one of our best teams could be if Justin Smoak is playing first base at a regular rate and playing every day for us. Have a good attitude.”Pitcher Marcus Stroman is planning on doing some freelance work for The Players Tribune, the online media platform established by former MLB great Derek Jeter.Stroman enticed several of his teammates to its picture station for some hijinks, including centre fielder Kevin Pillar, and the two spent some time taking pictures of each other’s tattoos.

Palat, Kucherov lift Lightning to triumph over Oilers

18 to March 5 last season. Ondrej Palat scored twice and Nikita Kucherov had a goal and three assists to lead the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 4-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday night.Ben Bishop stopped 20 shots to win his fifth consecutive start to help the Lightning extending a season-best point streak to seven games (5-0-2), the team’s longest since winning nine straight from Feb. Vladislav Namestnikov added an empty-netter in the final second.Kucherov assisted on each of Palat’s goals before scoring his 22nd of the season for a 3-1 lead less than a minute into the third period. Edmonton countered quickly, but Oscar Kiefborn’s goal just over a minute later was waved off when Tampa Bay successfully challenged that the Oilers were offside before scoring.Iiro Pakarinen scored his first goal of the season for the Oilers, who had won three straight heading into the second stop on a six-game road trip. Leading scorer Connor David also saw a four-game point streak (two goals, five assists) end.With starting goalie Cam Talbot resting, backup Laurent Brossoit finished with 24 saves for the Oilers, yielding goals to Palat in the first and second periods before Kucherov restored a two-game lead for the Lightning at 49 seconds of the third.

Paul Byron leads Canadiens to shootout victory over Rangers

Fast then centred a pass while sliding to the ice and Lindberg, who skated hard all the way toward the net, deflected the puck past Price for his third at 10:03. Jesper Fast took a pass from Lindberg at his own blue line and skated into the Canadiens zone along the right wall. Ryan McDonagh made the pass to spring Nash on the breakaway and he beat Price with a wrister for his 17th at 9:26.Lundqvist then made a glove save on Byron’s shot less than a minute later before Brendan Gallagher crashed into him and drew an interference penalty.Weber helped the Canadiens open the scoring early in the first period. Shaw got the puck behind the net and beat Lundqvist with a wraparound at 3:55 for his eighth.The Rangers answered halfway through the period. Andrew Shaw also scored for Montreal.The Rangers’ Mats Zuccarello opened the shootout with a goal and Montreal’s Alexander Radulov tied it in the third round.Rick Nash and Oscar Lindberg scored in regulation for the Rangers. Shea Weber had a goal and an assist for the Canadiens. Paul Byron scored in the fifth round of the shootout and Montreal beat the New York Rangers 3-2 on Tuesday night to give coach Claude Julien his first win in his second stint with the Canadiens.Carey Price made 28 saves for Montreal. Weber took a pass from Andrei Markov and one-timed a blast past Lundqvist for his 14th of the season at 1:42.Price then preserved the lead when he made a nice right pad save on Nash’s breakaway attempt a couple of minutes later.However, Nash got the better of Price halfway through the second period. Miller twice in the OT, including a diving save in the closing seconds of the extra period. Price stopped Kevin Hayes and J.T. He shot wide from the right point. Henrik Lundqvist made 26 saves as New York snapped its five-game home win streak.Lundqvist stopped Max Pacioretty halfway through overtime and Montreal’s Tomas Plekanec also hit the post late in the period.Tied 1-1 after the first period, the Canadiens took advantage of a penalty to Nick Holden to take the lead.

Laine has great game, but Matthews helps push Leafs over Jets

Matthews fired a shot off the end boards and the rebound was picked up by Nylander in front of the net for his 17th goal of the season.“We did it once in practice,” Matthews said, trying to brush off suggestions it was well-rehearsed trick play. Matthews played in the Swiss league last season. That brought his season total to 30 goals, the most among NHL rookies. But the Leafs managed to kill off the penalty into overtime, allowing Matthews the chance to set up the game-winner.The funny thing was that it could be argued that neither player was the most compelling on the ice, as Laine’s only shots on goal were the two he put past goaltender Frederik Andersen. That is one point behind the Ottawa Senators and in playoff position.“Those are definitely a big two points for us,” Matthews said. “It was one of those games we felt we outplayed them most of the game. We felt in the room we were going to come back.”Despite Laine’s scoring heroics, the debate over the NHL’s rookie award essentially remained the same as it was going into the game. Head coach Mike Babcock said after the game the injury would allow the Leafs to get a good look at defenceman Alexey Marchenko, who was claimed on waivers from the Detroit Red Wings but has not played for the Leafs yet. But Matthews came back strong on Tuesday night, piling up three assists to Laine’s two goals, including his set-up of Jake Gardiner’s game-winner in overtime, which gave the Leafs a 5-4 decision. “Obviously you guys like to make a big deal out of it but all-in-all it’s an important two points for both teams,” he said. “We’re just trying to stay level-headed, not get too high or too low.”However, the Leafs could argue they have strength in numbers in the rookie race. But they simply could not stand prosperity, giving back the lead three times in the first two periods.On two of those occasions, Laine had a hand in the damage. But it was Laine’s second goal that mattered, as he scored with three seconds left in the period to put the Jets up 4-3. “But we’re focused on playing against the Maple Leafs and that’s our job.”Down the hall at the Air Canada Centre, Matthews said much the same to the media after the Leafs’ game-day skate. The goal came just 26 seconds after the Leafs tied the score 3-3 and looked like they were finally ready to reap the benefits of controlling the play for most of the night.The Leafs outshot the Jets 27-15 in the first two periods and also dominated in shot attempts in five-on-five play at 40-15. “We’re both in pretty similar situations. It was a pretty lucky play.”Much better, Matthews said, was the two points from the win, which allowed the Leafs to jump over the idle Florida Panthers and Boston Bruins and into third place in the Atlantic Division with 67 points. But Matthews has played more with Nylander of late thanks to the shoulder injury to Marner.Laine plays with centre Mark Scheifele, a young, burgeoning star, and veteran Mathieu Perreault. These are valuable points and it’s going to be a pretty intense game.”It certainly was an intense game, marked by a wild finish to the second period when three goals were scored by both teams, along with a fight. In the first period, after the Leafs opened the game well and took the lead at 1:02 on a goal by Leo Komarov, Laine ripped a one-timer shot by Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen at 4:25 to tie the score.Then as the second period came to a close, Komarov scored his second goal of the game at 19:28 to tie the score two minutes after Nikolai Ehlers put the Jets ahead 3-2. That leaves Matthews with four assists in two games to Laine’s five goals.Matthews almost saw a decent game go south with 25.1 seconds left in the third period when he took a hooking penalty. And his puck possession numbers are better despite the fact Matthews played most of the season with two fellow rookies, Zach Hyman and Connor Brown, whose hockey skills are nowhere near as advanced as his. There are compelling arguments on both sides of the equation.Laine, of course, leads all NHL rookies in points and goals, with 54 and 30, respectively, in 55 games. But the Leafs wilted quickly and Laine scored his 30th goal of the season, which set off a scrum and a fight when Jets defenceman Dustin Byfuglien caused some mayhem in the crease.Bryan Little scored the other Jets goal, while Nazem Kadri had the Leafs’ second goal.“Coming back at different times showed a lot of maturity in our group,” Gardiner said. “I was just trying for whatever happened. It also set a Jets franchise record which goes back to their days as the Atlanta Thrashers, breaking Ilya Kovalchuk’s previous record of 29.Not that either Laine or Matthews wanted the game to be about them. While winger Mitch Marner, who had moved into the lead over the last couple of months in some expert opinions, is still out with a shoulder injury, fellow rookie Nylander set up a goal and scored himself, both times tying the score for the Leafs.The injury bug stayed with the Leafs, as defenceman Connor Carrick was lost in the second period with an undisclosed upper-body injury. The point from the overtime loss left the Jets two points behind the Calgary Flames in the chase for the second and final wild-card playoff spot in the Western Conference.“I think the media is trying to make a bigger deal out of [the Calder],” Laine said. When he was asked if his goal was to score 30 goals as a rookie, Laine said, “No, one goal was my target at the start of the season.”Matthews could boast he had a hand in the trickiest goal of the game, one by William Nylander early in the third period that tied the score 4-4. This indicates Carrick may be out for a while.Both Laine and Matthews said before the game that what was important was which team won the game, not the race between them for the Calder Trophy. He scored three in the first one back in October, including the overtime game-winner. Matthews is second with 52 points (28 goals) in 59 games.Matthews, 19, plays centre, the more difficult position than Laine’s right-wing spot. If the voting for the NHL’s rookie-of-the-year award was based only on head-to-head meetings between Patrick Laine and Auston Matthews, the race would still be close.Laine, the Jets’ rookie star, can boast of five goals in two games against Matthews and the Toronto Maple Leafs. They may be higher-quality linemates, but Laine is two months shy of his 19th birthday, five months younger than Matthews, and this is his first taste of high-level professional hockey.

Flames blow lead, top Predators in overtime

The Predators have lost four of their last six.Giordano’s game-winner appeared to go off Forsberg’s skate past goalie Juuse Saros.The Flames chased goalie Pekka Rinne by scoring four goals on 13 shots. Hamilton went to the box for tripping, and Wilson scored on a tip-in 33 seconds into the man advantage to pull the Predators within 4-3. He tied it at 4-4 at 16:07 by beating Elliott’s glove with a wrist shot. Mikael Backlund tied it at 5 at 10:50 of the third with his second goal of the game and 17th this season with a wrist shot.Micheal Ferland also had two goals, Dougie Hamilton added a goal and Johnny Gaudreau had four assists.Filip Forsberg had a hat trick in the second period, and Colin Wilson and P.K. Subban tied it up with a slap shot at 9:20 that was immediately waved off for Kevin Fiala making contact with goalie Brian Elliott. It’s the second time he’s been pulled in his past four starts, and Rinne went to the bench at 5:12 of the second period after giving up a goal to Hamilton.Ferland gave Calgary a 1-0 lead within the first minute. But the brief contact came outside the crease, and Nashville won its challenge to overturn the call.The Flames quickly answered with Backlund scoring on a snap shot off a rebound at 11:00, then Ferland scored his second of the period and 10th this season for a 3-1 lead.Forsberg started the rally with his 17th goal this season on a backhander at 10:50. They pulled within a point of Nashville, though the Predators have a game in hand. Then he started the hats flying onto the ice with his snap shot for his 19th goal this season.But Backlund scored, and Elliott killed a penalty inside the final three minutes to get the Flames to overtime. Mark Giordano scored 43 seconds into overtime, and the Calgary Flames edged the Nashville Predators 6-5 on Tuesday night in a crucial game between teams holding the Western Conference’s wild cards.The Flames have won two of their last three games. Subban each had a goal and an assist for Nashville.

Oduro says Montreal better than Toronto despite Eastern Conference final result

He has played 324 regular-season and playoff games over 11 seasons for FC Dallas, New York Red Bulls, Houston Dynamo, Chicago Fire, Columbus Crew, Toronto and Montreal. Had a blast. Oduro, who made $235,000 (U.S.) last year according to the MLS Players Union, signed a new two-year deal in December.Playing on the right, Oduro is part of a three-pronged Impact attack with classy Argentine Ignacio Piatti and Italian Matteo Mancosu. Dominic Oduro keen for Montreal Impact to best Toronto FC this year (The Canadian Press)

“Listen, I always say you never have to be hostile to your other teams,” he said. “It started in the latter part of the (2016) season … And also for the fact that, regardless of the fact that they won the Eastern Conference, I think we are still the better team.”Oduro had two goals and an assist in a wild 7-5 aggregate loss to Toronto in the conference final, a roller-coaster ride that saw the Impact blow a 3-0 lead at home in the first leg.The 31-year-old Ghanaian played 24 games for Toronto in 2014 before being offloaded to Montreal for allocation money, creating some much needed salary cap space for TFC.“No condition is permanent as they say. MLS is all about business sometimes.“But it would be nice to play against them, just for the rivalry of it. “You never know what will happen. we know each other’s mechanics and how we move. The new Oduro is a five-foot-five Ghanaian who spent time at the Manchester City academy as well as teams in Belgium, Denmark and Sweden.The reigning Oduro is not worried about sharing the limelight.“There’s only one Dominic Oduro. “I think Freakyfast8 should play for SportingKC,” he wrote.But Oduro, who had six goals and six assists in 31 regular-season games last season, elected to stay put.With the regular season set to kick off March 4, Oduro has big plans. “I just can’t tell.”Oduro could even be joined by his namesake in the league this season. Seattle took fullback/midfielder Dominic Oduro in the second round (44th overall) of the January draft. And with the way the coaches want us to press, I think it’s perfect for us.“I’m not saying it’s going to work every game but I’m saying we have to make sure we make it feel right when we’re on the field.”Oduro is an MLS survivor. Period,” he said with a smile. He is close to getting a new pizza sponsorship. On to the next one. Hope I make it home #IMFC,” he tweeted at the time.Montreal has been just that. Oduro’s speed – his Twitter handle is @Freakyfast8 – has combined with Piatti’s vision and ability to beat defenders and Mancosu’s running off the ball to create a potent counter-attack.“The three of us – Piatti, Mancosu and I – we have a system of play and we’ve had that click,” Oduro said. And he and his barber have been putting their heads together.“There’s always something planned,” he said mysteriously of his hair. Montreal Impact forward Dominic Oduro’s hair is in pre-season mode – a simple au-naturel mohawk, so to speak – but his trash-talking is in fine form when it comes to Toronto FC.Oduro, who counts Toronto as one of six past MLS homes, offers up some veteran wisdom before taking a jab at the club that traded him away in January 2015. He has 64 career goals and 35 assists.A colourful character with his ever-changing hair, infectious laugh and unabashed love for pizza, he has no shortage of fans. Thanks #TFC for ur support. Robb Heineman, CEO of Sporting Kansas City, took to Twitter to show how he felt about an out-of-contract Oduro.

Chasing Bobby Orr: Brent Burns has a shot at history

Now with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Polak recalled a December tilt against San Jose in which Burns had 15 attempts on goal.“The puck is on the wall and he just one-times it from the wall — it doesn’t matter,” said Polak. It’s good for everybody. He’s on pace for a career-best 51 assists, already boasting 25 helpers at even-strength, tops for any defencemen this season. Coffey was the last to do so with 48 goals and 138 points as an Oiler in the 1985-86 season.Two-time Norris trophy winner Erik Karlsson has led NHL defencemen in scoring in four of the past five seasons, but he’s long since given up catching Burns this year and believes his heavily bearded counterpart will easily surpass the career-best 82 points he managed last year for the Ottawa Senators.“What Burnsy’s doing is great,” said Karlsson, 12 points back of Burns with 52 this year. He often catches goaltenders by surprise with a rapid release from somewhere inside the blue line.Burns has scored 12 of his goals with the wrist shot Hedman so adores, seven each with the slapshot and snap-shot and another with the backhand.While he’s thought to be unique in NHL terms for that wildly expanding beard and goofy personality, it’s more the package Burns comes in that sets him apart. “I don’t know why not. Mike Green managed 31 for the Washington Capitals in ‘08-09.While Green got a whole bunch of his goals (18) on the power play, Burns has scored 20-of-27 at even-strength as a shot-firing monster from everywhere on the ice. He’s not only humongous at six foot five and 230 pounds, but moves with the grace and skill of the winger he was as recently as the 2013-14 season.Burns isn’t just scoring himself. With 64 points, Burns ranks third in the scoring race entering Wednesday’s action, only three points back of Connor McDavid for the overall lead.“It’s out of this world,” Tampa Bay Lightning defenceman Victor Hedman said of Burns’s performance for the San Jose Sharks this season.Burns is on pace for 37 goals and 88 points, totals that are practically unheard of for an NHL defenceman. He’s been complete for us this year for sure.” Brent Burns has a chance to move into the rarefied air of legendary defenceman Bobby Orr.The 31-year-old from Barrie, Ont., could become only the second defenceman to ever win the Art Ross trophy as the NHL’s leading scorer, joining Orr who did it twice for the Boston Bruins — the last time in 1975. “And he’s very accurate with the shot too.”Burns is actually shooting a bit less than last year — when he had 27 goals and 75 points, both career-highs — but his shooting accuracy has spiked to what would be a career-best of 11.2 per cent. Only two have ever hit both marks in the same season and they’re both Hall of Famers from earlier eras — Orr and Paul Coffey did it three times each.No one has managed the feat in more than 30 years. He leads the league with 243 shots, which doesn’t include the 112 attempts (also tops in the NHL) that missed: four hitting the post; 13 going over the net; another 95 gone wide.“He gets away that shot so quickly,” Hedman said. Burns should soon post only the 18th ever season of 30 goals by a defenceman and only the second since 1993. “It’s not usually the big wind-up and the big slap-shot, it’s usually a good wrister with traffic in front.”Hedman said if he could steal elements of Burns’ game for himself it would be that shot and “his beard, too.”Former Sharks teammate Roman Polak said it wasn’t just the quality of the shot that made Burns so dangerous as a scorer, it was also his propensity to fire it from anywhere as often as possible. “It’s good for the league. It shows that it’s possible.”With 27 goals, more than the entire defence corps of 19 teams, Burns has scored almost three times as much as Karlsson and almost double the next closest defender, Montreal’s Shea Weber at 14. Given the potentially historic nature of his campaign it might be hard to overlook Burns this time around.“He means as much to our team, I think, as any of those other guys to any team so definitely would like to get him that vote,” Pavelski said. While not typically tasked with defending opposing top lines — Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Justin Braun draw those duties — Burns does lead the Cup-contending Sharks in ice time at 25 minutes per-game.He’s been an effective second-unit penalty killer too.Burns looks more and more like a lock to win the Norris as the league’s top defenceman, but Sharks captain Joe Pavelski believes he’s also worthy of Hart consideration — a trophy defencemen almost never win.Chris Pronger was the last defenceman to win league MVP in 2000, and he was the first since Orr in 1972.

Leafs’ Mitch Marner to miss fourth game to injury

That would mean a possible return to the lineup on Saturday when Toronto hosts Montreal. Babcock said Tuesday that Marner was day-to-day, meaning he’d likely miss a total of 10 days of action. Toronto forward Mitch Marner will miss his fourth consecutive game with an apparent right shoulder injury when the Maple Leafs host the New York Rangers on Thursday night.Leafs head coach Mike Babcock confirmed Wednesday that Marner would sit out against the Rangers.The 19-year-old was placed on injured reserve Tuesday morning after he was injured last week in a loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets.