St. John’s skip Gushue delights home crowd with victory over Alberta at Brier

“That was a fun way to finish.”Round-robin play continues through Friday morning.The top four teams will advance to the Page playoffs. He hushed the packed house with a single but Gushue generated a big roar with a deuce in the second and added two more points in the fourth.Gushue nearly broke the game open in the fifth, but Bottcher coolly drew to the pin against three to cut the deficit to one.The 25-year-old native of Sherwood Park, Alta., did well in a challenging environment.“It’s a little weird hearing crickets when you make shots and then the building just going nuts when they make shots,” Bottcher said. It turned out OK.”The veteran skip was more than just OK. I’ve thrown enough that I just had to trust it. … “The legs were shaking, the hand was shaking. The medal games are scheduled for March 12.The Brier winner will represent Canada at the April 1-9 world men’s curling championship in Edmonton.Notes: This is the final year a qualification round will be used at the Brier. Jacobs defeated Quebec’s Martin Crete to win the Hot Shots competition earlier in the day. MacDuff and his teammates were honoured before the opening draw along with Gushue’s gold-medal winning team from the 2006 Turin Games. He was perfect on the afternoon.Gushue was the lone curler in the four-game opening draw to throw 100 per cent. “If we can just get off to a good start and find a way to be in the playoffs come the end, I like our chances no matter what position we end up in.”In other late games, Murphy needed an extra end to get by Ontario’s Glenn Howard 6-5 and New Brunswick’s Mike Kennedy posted a 6-5 win over Jamie Koe of the Northwest Territories.Murphy hit the button with his final shot for the victory.“It was a good day,” he said. John’s has hosted the Brier since 1972. So I think now we know what to expect and in some ways it’s good we got that first game out of the way.”Team Canada’s Kevin Koe, who beat Gushue in last year’s Brier final in Ottawa, defeated Quebec’s Jean-Michel Menard 7-5 in the evening.“We’ve put in some hard work and we’re throwing it (well),” Koe said. “Probably a game-winner to be honest.”It’s the first time St. “That’s just part of it. He broke a 5-5 tie in the eighth with a nice double-raise and followed with a draw to score three.“That was a huge shot, it really was,” Gushue said of his first throw in the end. A 16-team field will be split into two pools of eight. Gushue, who’s making his 14th appearance at this event, is trying to become the first Newfoundlander to hoist the Tankard since Jack MacDuff in 1976.In other early games, Manitoba’s Mike McEwen topped Saskatchewan’s Adam Casey 6-5 and Northern Ontario’s Brad Jacobs outscored British Columbia’s John Morris 9-7.Nova Scotia’s Jamie Murphy earned the last spot in the 12-team main draw with a 9-6 victory over Yukon’s Craig Kochan in the qualification final.Bottcher, the 2012 world junior champ, was making his Brier debut. From playing in national finals to winning Olympic gold, St. … “The adrenalin was pumping, there was some emotion there,” Gushue said. John’s skip Brad Gushue has certainly played in some big games over his long career.Playing a Brier in his hometown was an experience all its own.Gushue and his Newfoundland and Labrador teammates battled some early jitters Saturday before settling in for an 8-6 victory over Alberta’s Brendan Bottcher in front of an adoring crowd at Mile One Centre. All provinces and territories will be included in the main draw next year.

Canadiens pound Rangers 4-1, extend winning streak to five

21 at Madison Square Garden. Michael Grabner, who leads the Rangers with 26 goals, remains day to day with a hip injury. … Carey Price made 26 saves and the Montreal Canadiens extended their winning streak to five games with a 4-1 victory over the New York Rangers on Saturday night.Shea Weber, Artturi Lehkonen, Andrew Shaw and Jordie Benn scored for the Canadiens, who are in first place in the Atlantic Division.Max Pacioretty and Alex Galchenyuk each had two assists for Montreal, which has won six of seven. Chris Kreider scored and Henrik Lundqvist made 31 saves for the Rangers, who have lost three of their past four.With the Rangers trailing 3-0, Lundqvist made two strong saves on Pacioretty early in the third period before the Rangers got on the board.Kreider took a pass from Derek Stepan and scored on his own rebound for his 24th of the season at 1:44.However, Benn restored Montreal’s three-goal lead with his third of the season at 6:58.Leading by a goal after the first period, the Canadiens controlled the play in the early part of the second by winning the battles for the loose pucks.Pacioretty took the puck away from defenceman Ryan McDonagh along the boards and passed to Phillip Danault, who set up Lehkonen for a one-timer that beat Lundqvist stick-side for his 12th goal of the season at 8:48.The Rangers then started getting some pressure on Price.Pavel Buchnevich sent a pass to Rick Nash, who collided with Price with nine minutes remaining in the period. Lundqvist made the initial save but couldn’t find the puck as Shaw gathered the rebound and scored on a wraparound for his 10th of the season at 18:37.The Canadiens got off to a fast start, outshooting the Rangers 11-6 in the opening period.Newly acquired centre Steve Ott won a faceoff in the Rangers zone. That streak started with a shootout win over the Rangers on Feb. Defenceman Kevin Klein (back) won’t travel with the team on its upcoming road trip.UP NEXTCanadiens: Continue their four-game trip as they travel to Vancouver to face the Canucks on Tuesday night. A minute later, Price made a nice save on Kevin Hayes, who came in on a break with Jimmy Vesey.Montreal withstood the push and took a 3-0 lead late in the second.Galchenyuk sent a pass to Shaw. Weber then sent a wrister toward the net that deflected off Rangers defenceman Adam Clendening for Weber’s 15th goal of the season at 12:41.NOTES: Ott and Andreas Martinsen made their debuts for the Canadiens, replacing Michael McCarron (healthy scratch) and Alexander Radulov (lower-body injury).

Smith scores shorthanded winner as Senators edge Blue Jackets 3-2

Brandon Saad and Sam Gagner scored for the Blue Jackets (40-17-6). Joonas Korpisalo, playing just his eighth game, made 24 saves. This was the first regulation loss for Columbus in five games (3-1-1).Trailing 2-1 late in the third Columbus had a power play and pulled Korpisalo to try and score the equalizer, but the Senators were able to take advantage as Smith scored his league-leading fourth shorthanded goal into the empty net to make it 3-1.Gagner scored a power-play goal with just over two minutes remaining in regulation to cut Ottawa’s lead to 3-2.A hard fought second period saw the Senators come out with a 2-1 lead as Mark Stone made an outstanding no-look pass to Karlsson who snapped a shot past Korpisalo.Anderson had a little luck on his side as both Zach Werenski and Oliver Bjorstrand rang shots off the post.Trailing 1-0, Ottawa tied the game midway through the first as Stalberg jumped on a loose puck in the crease.Columbus opened the scoring just two minutes into the game as Werenski made a great pass to Saad who wired a shot off the post to beat Anderson.This was the third and final meeting of the regular season between the two teams with the Senators winning the series 2-0-1.Columbus is back in action Sunday as they take on the New Jersey Devils, while the Senators host the Boston Bruins Monday. Zack Smith scored the winner as the Ottawa Senators defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 on Saturday night.Viktor Stalberg scored his first goal since joining the Senators (35-22-6) ahead of the NHL trade deadline. Erik Karlsson scored his 11th of the season as Craig Anderson made 25 saves.Stalberg was traded to Ottawa by the Carolina Hurricanes on for a 2017 third-round draft choice on Tuesday.

Wheeler, Ehlers lead Jets to 6-1 rout of Avalanche

Winnipeg’s top guns hit the back of the net early and often.Patrik Laine scored his rookie-leading 32nd goal, Mark Scheifele his 27th, Ehlers notched his 21st and Wheeler his 20th.Winnipeg defencemen Ben Chiarot tallied his first goal of the season in his 53rd game and Jacob Trouba his sixth marker for the Jets (30-30-6).Laine added an assist and Dustin Byfuglien a pair of helpers. Louis Blues. Calvin Pickard was pulled from the Avalanche net after letting in five goals on 20 shots by 9:05 in the second period. Louis. The idle St. He had 22 saves a day after he had a 29-save shutout against the St. Colorado ended a three-game road trip without a victory and heads home for a game Sunday against St. Blake Wheeler and Nikolaj Ehlers had a goal and pair of assists each as the Winnipeg Jets routed the Colorado Avalanche 6-1 on Saturday.Making his 10th straight start, Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck almost had a shutout until Gabriel Landeskog scored with 15.4 seconds left in the game. The Jets had a 3-0 lead after the first period and stretched it to 5-0 at 9:05 of the second, which signalled the end of Pickard’s night.Winnipeg has scored three or more goals in each of its last eight games and are 5-1-2 during that span.Winnipeg’s 66 points moved it two points behind the Los Angeles Kings, who held the second NHL Western Conference wild-card spot but were hosting Vancouver on Saturday. Louis Blues have 67 points.Laine opened the game’s scoring at 4:22 of the first period when he had the puck in Colorado’s zone, circled around untouched and then fired a slap shot that went high over Pickard’s glove.Wheeler and Scheifele made it 3-0 at 10:02 after scoring 15 seconds apart.Wheeler’s was a power-play goal over Pickard’s glove side again, while Scheifele took a fast feed from Laine and had an open side of the net to aim at.The Jets had a chance to extend the lead with a two-man advantage for 1:44 late in the opening period, but came up zip.Laine took a tripping penalty with seven seconds left in the period, which Winnipeg led in shots on goal 14-3.Jets forward Shawn Matthais was also tagged for tripping early in the second to give Colorado a 14-second two-man advantage, but the Avs came up empty.Chiarot’s backhand shot at 7:03 made it 4-0 and Ehlers scored his goal with a tap in off a Wheeler pass 2:02 later to send Pickard out of the pipes.Trouba scored at 13:54 of the third period after his blast went off the back of the glass and he slapped in the rebound.Winnipeg hosts the San Jose Sharks on Monday in the fourth game of a six-game homestand (2-1). He was replaced by Jeremy Smith, who stopped 10 shots for the visitors (17-43-3).

Bucks top Raptors to halt seven-game losing streak to Toronto

Milwaukee scored just 15 in the opening period on Wednesday against Denver.TIP-INSDeMarre Carroll left the game in the third quarter with an apparent leg injury. … Ibaka and Milwaukee’s Greg Monroe were whistled for a double technical foul with about 2 minutes left in the game.UP NEXTRaptors play at New Orleans on Wednesday. The Raptors beat the Pelicans 108-106 in overtime in Toronto in the teams’ only other meeting this season. Back-to-back baskets by Antetokounmpo put Milwaukee back in control and the Raptors got no closer than seven points the rest of the way.After ice-cold shooting in the first quarter, the Bucks scored 41 points in the second to grab a 53-42 lead at the half. … DeMar DeRozan, who scored 32 points in Friday night’s win over Washington, didn’t attempt a shot from the field and was held scoreless in the first quarter. Hawes had 14 points in the period.Toronto led 19-12 after the first quarter, with Milwaukee making just four of 22 shots (18 per cent). Khris Middleton scored a season-high 24 points, Giannis Antetokounmpo added 21 and the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Toronto Raptors 101-94 on Saturday night.Malcolm Brogdon had 17 and Spencer Hawes finished with 16 off the bench for Milwaukee, which halted a seven-game losing streak to Toronto.Serge Ibaka had 19 points and Cory Joseph 14 for Toronto. He finished with 11 points, well off his season average of 27.9. It marked the Bucks’ lowest first-quarter point total of the season. The Bucks entered the fourth quarter with a 13-point lead but the Raptors got within four about halfway through the period.