Sean Monahan leads Flames past Islanders for seventh-straight win

Here and there you see a few mistakes that we shouldn’t be making, but we have to clean those up and keep going forward.”Michael Frolik, TJ Brodie, Micheal Ferland and Kris Versteeg also scored for the Flames (36-26-4), who have also won three in a row on home ice at the Scotiabank Saddledome.“It was nice to get those goals and to get them in the first period,” said Monahan. 5 when he made 28 saves during a 4-3 loss in New York to the Rangers.“(Elliott) has been playing great and keeping us in games here,” said Monahan.John Tavares and Jason Chimera scored for the Islanders (30-23-11), who are in the midst of a nine-game road trip on which they have gone 3-2-1 so far.“Obviously they’re playing with a lot of confidence and they had some jump playing at home with the way they’ve been playing,” said Tavares, who thought the Islanders were playing well until Calgary’s surge late in the first. They kept coming, the Islanders there. Elliott has gone 7-0-1 since his last regulation loss on Feb. Four of Calgary’s goals came in a span of less than five minutes. “They didn’t let up though. “We had done an okay job up until that point, but then we just really shot ourselves in the foot. “I’m going to watch the game again tonight – that should be fun – in a dark room. The Calgary Flames are one of the hottest teams in the NHL right now but they know they’re still not perfect.Sean Monahan had a goal and an assist as the Flames beat the New York Islanders 5-2 on Sunday afternoon to earn their seventh straight win. D Matt Bartkowski had an assist on Versteeg’s goal for his first point in his eighth game with the Flames. D Travis Hamonic suited up for his second straight game with the Islanders after missing the previous 24 outings with a lower-body injury. When you give up four goals like that, it’s hard to win in this league.”Thomas Greiss started in net for the Islanders and stopped 17-of-21 shots he faced in the first period before being replaced by Jean-Francois Berube, who finished with 15 saves.Islanders coach Doug Weight said he’s definitely going to consider making some changes to his lineup heading into New York’s next game on Tuesday in Edmonton against the Oilers.“Obviously I’m not going to, 20 minutes after the game, figure that out, but I have a full notecard of information that I took throughout the game,” said Weight. For sure, I’ll figure it out.”Greiss had a great start to the game as he stopped the first 16 shots he faced before the Flames erupted for four goals in a span of 4:40 late in the first period.Frolik started things off when he shovelled a sharp-angle shot past Greiss at 14:56 before Brodie banked the puck off the New York goalie’s leg from behind the net at 16:28.Ferland took a pass from Monahan 42 seconds later and fired a quick shot past Greiss before Monahan converted a feed from Johnny Gaudreau to finish off a three-on-one opportunity with 23.3 seconds left in the opening period.The Islanders rebounded with a better effort in the second period, but were only to score one goal when Tavares swatted a rebound past Elliott, who made the first save to stop a long-range shot by Josh Bailey during a four-on-four situation.Versteeg added an insurance goal for the Flames at 6:58 of the third before Chimera replied for the Islanders at 11:32 when he snapped a shot to the top corner over Elliott’s glove.Notes: Islanders D Johnny Boychuk sat out Sunday’s game with a sore foot after blocking a shot during a 2-1 shootout loss in Chicago against the Blackhawks on Friday. “The key now for us is to not let any parts of our games slip. “You have to pile on as many points as you can on these streaks, but keep trying to get better,” said Flames captain Mark Giordano. They’re a good team, so I think we might’ve taken our foot of the gas a little bit and we definitely shouldn’t have.”Making his fourth straight start in net for the Flames, Brian Elliott made 33 saves to pick up his sixth straight win.

Canadian cross-country skier Alex Harvey wins gold at worlds

Ferreol, Que., and Kershaw of Sudbury, Ont., came up with the celebration in the spur of the moment after winning the team sprint event at the 2011 world championships.Harvey said that Kershaw, who actually knows how to play the guitar, started it and he followed suit. Alex Harvey raised his arms in triumph as he crossed the finish line at the Nordic world championships. He timed his final attack perfectly, taking the lead on the last corner and holding off Russian Sergei Ustyugov in the final sprint to win by 0.6 seconds.Matti Heikkinen of Finland was 0.8 seconds further back for bronze, with a surprise fourth place for British skier Andrew Musgrave.Harvey’s final time was 1 hour 46 minutes 28.9 seconds.“The strategy was to use the last downhill as kind of a slingshot to the finish,” he said. Today it did and it was the best race of my career. My level is just more stable at the top and there’s less fluctuation in fitness and that allows me to have more opportunities to race for the podium.“I really felt like all five [races] were great chances at a podium. It was really, really awesome.”Harvey won two gold medals at cross-country World Cups in January – one in a 15-km freestyle race in Sweden and the other in the team sprint relay with Toronto’s Len Valjas in Italy.But he hadn’t won a world championship title – nor had any other Canadian skier – since his team sprint gold with Kershaw.Harvey, who competed in five of the six races at the Nordic world championships, said he’s felt stronger this season than in years past.“Our sport is an endurance sport like cycling or long-distance running, so every year of training adds up and it builds your aerobic capacity and I’m really heading into the prime years of cross-country skiers,” Harvey said. Kershaw finished 38th at 1:52:14.4, Graeme Killick of Fort McMurray, Alta., was 43rd (1:53:32.9), and Knute Johnsgaard of Whitehorse placed 55th (1:58:32.2).The Canadian team will travel to Oslo, Norway for the final two World Cup races before coming home for the World Cup Finals in Quebec City from March 17-19.With files from The Associated Press It went down to the wire, I had to use my fifth and last opportunity to really nail it, but I’m really happy that it happened on the last day.”Three other Canadians were also on the start line in the men’s 50-km race. The Canadian team hasn’t been able to shake it since.“We were just so ecstatic,” Harvey said. Most races finish with a bit of a downhill like that so you set that plan often but it doesn’t work every day. It’s something different.”The 28-year-old Harvey was in second place with five kilometres remaining in Sunday’s race. Moments later he raised one leg and began strumming his skis as if they were a guitar.Harvey’s exuberant air guitar celebration – a tradition for the Canadian team – followed a gold-medal performance on Sunday in the men’s 50-kilometre freestyle cross-country ski race in Lahti, Finland. It was his first world championship gold since 2011, when he and teammate Devon Kershaw first used the air guitar routine.“Cross-country skiing is a bit of a conservative world, it’s not the most exciting sport you can watch on TV, so we try to bring some colour to it,” Harvey said with a laugh in a phone interview with The Canadian Press.Harvey, of St. “This year my top performances are not necessarily better than my top performances when I was 20 or 21, but there are just more of them. Ever since then when one of us has a podium it’s our celebration move to do the air guitar. “He kind of improvised the celebration move and it stuck. “The goal was to hit that last downhill in second place to be able to draft behind whoever was in first and hit the last 100 metres with more speed than anybody else.”“That was the plan but that’s a really similar plan that you have in most races.

Canadians take home top laurels in ski cross World Cup

Great way to end the World Cup season and take some momentum into Sierra Nevada.”Slovenia’s Filip Flisar was third.Del Bosco was thrilled to be back on the podium in what’s been a tough season.“I’ve been struggling,” the 34-year-old said. Canada was presented with the Nation’s Cup as the top team on the season.The solid result was the perfect final tune-up for the freestyle world championships which begin Tuesday in Sierra Nevada, Spain. “I actually skied well, I was following [Thompson], skiing smart, but I left the door open a little bit, and a small little error like that in ski cross, people make passes.“One small error … I’m taking this confidence and moving on to world champs.” Canada finished 1-2 in the men’s final with Brady Leman winning gold and Chris Del Bosco claiming silver. Brittany Phelan of Mont-Tremblant, Que., whose previous best was sixth, finished fourth.It was the second golden sweep for Thompson and Leman in as many months – the pair took top spot last month in Sweden.Leman, a 30-year-old from Calgary, was quick out of the gate and never trailed in any of Sunday’s four rounds of the event that sees four skiers race head-to-head down the icy run of treacherous turns and jumps. Always [look] forward, not backwards,” said Leman, who swapped his helmet postrace for a white Stetson.Fans lined the side of the course about a dozen deep in some spots, while several hundred watched from the finish area as the skiers flew over the final jump, which resembled a snow globe with an Audi car (the event’s sponsor) encased in glass.“It was a super fun day,” said Leman, who was fourth in Sochi. “Amazing atmosphere, crowd was awesome, tons of family here so that was cool, and I was able to have an awesome performance. “So I’m going to have to be on top of my game.”Naeslund crossed 0.08 behind Thompson in second, while Switzerland’s Fanny Smith placed third. … I just kind of [turned] the brain off today and just ski and race and have confidence that that was going to be good enough and it was.”Leman, who finished second in the overall standings, had no clue how big a lead he had on the rest of the field.“No. “It’s a cool feeling to be able to get out front and hold everyone off all day and just stick to the plan and execute.“I just was able to find a little extra speed at the top of the hill today and carry that all the way down the course. Marielle Thompson found herself in an unfamiliar position in Sunday’s ski cross final – in second spot after winning her previous three heats in wire-to-wire victories.But the most consistent ski cross racer on the planet simply bided her time as if she was stalking prey, and when she zoomed past Sandra Naeslund of Sweden halfway down the hill, a roar went up from the crowd at Blue Mountain Resort. Thompson, who won gold at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games, will have an Olympic-sized target on her back both in Spain and next year in Pyeongchang, South Korea.“Obviously it feels great having the confidence going into [the world championship], and then it will make me work extra hard in the summer because I know everyone is going to be gunning for me going into next season,” Thompson said. Thompson capped her thoroughly dominant world cup season with a victory, and was presented with her third crystal globe as the season’s overall champion.“I think any time I’m behind in a heat I just sit and try to be patient,” the 24-year-old from Whistler, B.C., said. In elimination style, two skiers move on until only a final four remain.“It’s not often that you can win a ski cross like that [skiing from the front], because everyone is so good,” Leman said. “I know there’s that big long straightaway at the end and I just needed to wait for my chance and I’m glad it worked out in the end.”The victory was Thompson’s seventh on the season, and kicked off an excellent day for Canada. “I’ve been skiing really well but had bad luck in Montafon [Austria] with a crash and was injured a bit, and tweaked my knee a couple weeks ago and missed a couple more races, and skiing well and didn’t have luck in a couple races, so kind of frustrating.”Georgia Simmerling of West Vancouver, B.C., who’s the only Canadian to have competed in three Olympics in three different sports – alpine skiing, ski cross and cycling – was skiing second behind Thompson in the first round, but was passed and wound up third, and so didn’t move on.“My confidence wasn’t super high coming into this race, I hadn’t raced since mid-January, I took a tumble and did everything I possibly could to get my confidence up,” said Simmerling, who won bronze in cycling’s team pursuit at the Rio Olympics.

GMs to review goalie concussion protocol at March meeting

Louis Blues and has been a subject of discussion at previous meetings.Updates to the league’s concussion protocol will be under the microscope after Smith and Lundqvist blasted the system as flawed. “Mike didn’t want to come out, but that’s what was going to be done,” coach Dave Tippett said. … Blind-side hits, which were discussed at the November meeting, and playoff formats aren’t on the official agenda but may be brought up over the course of the three-day meeting.Ken Holland of the Detroit Red Wings has suggested expanding the playoffs to nine or 10 teams in each conference with play-in games similar to MLB, and the strength of the Metropolitan Division this season – where the fourth-place team has more points than the Atlantic Division leader – has generated some questions.“I don’t know that they want to keep changing it, but this has got to be an impetus for at least a discussion when something happens like this where there’s so many good teams in the one division,” said Brian MacLellan of the league-leading Washington Capitals, who acknowledged it would be self-serving to propose a change. When a collision knocked off Mike Smith’s mask, the Arizona Coyotes goaltender was less than pleased upon being told a few minutes later he had to leave the game.One of the NHL’s central spotters in New York made that call to trainer Jason Serbus, and in accordance with the league’s concussion protocol, Smith’s departure was mandatory. After missing the past two meetings, George McPhee will attend as GM of the Vegas Golden Knights for the first time; owner Bill Foley’s final expansion payment went through last week.GMs said criteria for the June 21 expansion draft have been made clear, so there’s no need for further clarification. “Other than getting the call right, it is the time frame. We’ll see how teams react to that one.”The playoffs are still a month away, and teams already are not reacting well to concussion protocol for goalies, which is why it’s one of the topics that general managers are expected to discuss at their annual March meeting beginning Monday in Boca Raton, Florida. It’s something we can’t go seven, 10, 12 minutes to get it right. 1 discussion,” Dallas Stars GM Jim Nill said via phone Sunday. Major League Baseball recently instituted timing guidelines for umpires, and that could soon happen for hockey officials.“That’s probably maybe the No. I guess the answer to that for me sometimes, it’s no different than if a goalie hurts his knee, he’s coming out and the other guy’s coming in cold.”Goalie equipment and emergencies – where teams have to sign players to tryout contracts to back up for a game – are also on the agenda. It is something where I think the call has to be done within a certain time frame to keep the game going.”GMs also will discuss some controversial coach’s challenges where a player’s skate is off the ice and the play is ruled offside. Smith and New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist are among those who have been critical of the rule.Other issues as GMs try to refine rules they’ve put in place in recent years include the offside rule, coaches’ challenges, goalie equipment and goalie emergencies.Video review is among the hottest topics, especially the time it takes. It came up during a playoff series last year between the Chicago Blackhawks and St. Connor McDavid and other skaters have expressed concerns that the rules could have a major impact come playoff time – and goalies are at the centre of the debate.“If there is an instance that takes place where you think there is a possible concussion, I think we need to look after that,” Nill said. “I’m interested to see how that one goes in an overtime in playoffs or something like that. “When you do that, there’s a risk of a player coming in cold.

Parise, Pominville return to Wild after mumps virus

Zach Parise and Jason Pominville have rejoined the Minnesota Wild after sitting out three games because of the mumps.Parise and Pominville were diagnosed with the highly contagious virus on Feb. The team is full strength for the first time since acquiring forwards Martin Hanzal and Ryan White from the Arizona Coyotes prior to last week’s trade deadline. Assistant coach Scott Stevens also had the mumps and returned for Minnesota’s home game Sunday against the San Jose Sharks. All three were quarantined and no other players showed signs of the virus.Parise has 14 goals and 14 assists in 50 games this season, while Pominville has 10 goals and 28 assists. 27 after coming back from the team’s five-day bye.

Saskatchewan a perfect fit for PEI curler Adam Casey

“But I think that’s not always a reality. “So that’s a nice thing for us to see in Saskatchewan.”Casey will play Menard on Monday afternoon before a feature evening matchup against Gushue. McEwen beat Gushue 8-4 on Sunday morning and Kevin Koe topped Brad Jacobs of Northern Ontario 6-4.Jacobs bounced back in the afternoon with a 9-8 extra-end win over Quebec’s Jean-Michel Ménard. John’s-based team in 2014 and was replaced by the returning Mark Nichols. British Columbia’s John Morris beat Mike Kennedy of New Brunswick 8-3 and Murphy defeated Bottcher 11-6.Jacobs and Casey were tied in fourth place at 2-1 entering Sunday evening’s draw.Gushue, Kennedy and Ontario’s Glenn Howard were next at 1-1, followed by Morris at 1-2. “And then I think one hot skip is all you need to win the thing.” “It could have blown up at any moment but Adam kept getting on the plane and we all kept showing up at spiels. Casey would try to fly out early when possible and they worked the kinks out in game settings.“Kudos to the guys, they stuck it out,” Meachem said. “So it was easy after that point.”The only other men’s players to win three different provincial or territorial championships are Morris (Ontario, Alberta, B.C.), his father Earle Morris (Manitoba, Quebec, Ontario), Ryan Fry (Manitoba, Newfoundland, Northern Ontario), and Chris Schille (Newfoundland, Saskatchewan, NWT).Based out of the Highland Curling Club in Regina, Casey’s team played a load of bonspiels this season. “I think ideally you’d stay with the same group of guys and you’d get to know every little intricacy about them,” Casey said Sunday. Round-robin play continues through Friday with the medal games set for March 12.“I think this team is capable of making the playoffs,” Casey said. We just worked it out.”Casey upset Steve Laycock to win the provincial title in blowout fashion. He joined Gushue in 2011 and made his first Brier appearance the following year in Saskatoon.He left the St. Casey’s P.E.I. Now Casey is back at the Brier with Saskatchewan, becoming just the fifth player to win purple hearts with three different provinces or territories. With former Brier champion Pat Simmons on board as coach, the team hopes its momentum will continue at Mile One Centre.“They’re a really good group in a sense that I think they have all kinds of potential and yet they’re already playing at a very high level,” Simmons said. Adam Casey has enjoyed a rather nomadic Tim Hortons Brier experience since making his debut at the national men’s curling championship five years ago.He made three appearances with Brad Gushue’s team from Newfoundland and Labrador before skipping his own rink out of Prince Edward Island the past two years. team then went its separate ways last spring.Settled and happy in Charlottetown but still wanting to play on an elite team, Casey reached out to a few players at the time but there were no vacancies. A couple of follow-up phone calls sealed the deal.“They really wanted to make a push to get to this event and get to the [Olympic] pre-trials and those are my big goals for the season,” he said. Ménard (0-2), Jamie Koe (0-2) and Bottcher (0-3) remained winless.Casey, a 27-year-old industrial process specialist, won a Canadian junior title in 2009 on a PEI team skipped by Brett Gallant, now a second with Gushue.Casey played with a different rink while he studied in Halifax but they didn’t get out of Nova Scotia playdowns. “I’m not lying when I said ‘Who the hell is Shaun Meachem’ when I got off the phone. But he sounded like he was talking a good game.“So I Googled him and they had a way better season than we did last year so they can’t be half bad.”Casey also liked that they had similar ambitions. He soon heard from a Saskatchewan team looking for an experienced player.“Shaun and Catlin gave me a call and I honestly didn’t know who they were,” Casey said. You always have that search for the right fit.“I think that’s what’s been happening to me the last few years.”Casey and Brier rookies Catlin Schneider, Shaun Meachem and Dustin Kidby are off to a good start at this year’s competition with two wins in their first three games.They dropped a 6-5 decision to Manitoba’s Mike McEwen in their opener before rebounding Sunday with an 11-5 win over Alberta’s Brendan Bottcher and an 8-3 victory over Jamie Koe of the Northwest Territories.McEwen, Canada’s Kevin Koe and Nova Scotia’s Jamie Murphy lead the round-robin standings at 2-0.

Brawl erupts between player, fans at New Brunswick junior hockey game

Police broke up a fight between players and fans at junior league hockey game in New Brunswick on Saturday.Sergeant Steve Wilson says Saint John police put “special attention” on the semi-final matchup between the local Southern Sting and the Grand Lake Moose at the Lord Beaverbrook Rink. The video was uploaded to Facebook and has garnered nearly 100,000 views as of Sunday afternoon.In a Facebook post Sunday, the Southern Sting team says that the scuffle was beyond the its control, but they have hired security and will check people at the door for all remaining games.The team urged people to celebrate the hometown victory and not to be distracted by the “actions of one player and a few fans.”The Southern Sting will compete in the New Brunswick Junior Hockey League final after beating the Grand Lake Moose 4-2. “It’s not a typical thing to have police respond to a hockey game.”Wilson said police are investigating a reported assault, but no charges have been laid.Spectator Devin Upham said he was watching the game when one of the players climbed over the glass and hit someone in the head with his hockey stick. “Order was restored and the crowd dispersed,” he said. Up to 1,000 people were in the stands when a brawl erupted between players and fans, Wilson said. He said someone in the crowd responded by pouring a drink his head, and then chaos broke loose.Upham and his friends Jake Ingersoll and Mitchell Doyle captured video of a jerseyed man on skates trading blows with plain-clothed people in the stands.

Stroman, Bautista shine despite loss to Rays

He also fanned three over 31 pitches in the game with the Pirates.“He’s been at it since Day 1,” Toronto manager John Gibbons said. “Got to a mix of all my pitches, work on tempo and delivery.”

Evan Longoria had an RBI single in the third on Stroman’s 47th and final pitch.Stroman, coming off two perfect innings against Pittsburgh on Feb. “It’s to be expected. The slugger, who will play for the Dominican Republic in the WBC, swiped two bases last season in 116 regular-season games.Bautista had two hits in three at-bats Sunday, and is hitting .563 over six exhibition games.“He’s really locked in right now,” Gibbons said. “It’s a little longer spring training because of the WBC. 27, allowed four hits and had three strikeouts. Marcus Stroman is all warmed up for the World Baseball Classic.The Toronto right-hander allowed his lone spring training run during a 2 2/3-inning outing Sunday in the Blue Jays’ 5-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.“I felt great,” Stroman said. I’ve been excited this entire time from the second Joe Torre called me and asked [me] to play for the team, I’ve had butterflies. “He’s been really good.”Stroman will be joining a United States team that opens WBC play in Miami later this week with games against Colombia (Friday) and defending champion Dominican Republic (Saturday).“Extremely grateful to be selected to play for them,” Stroman said. “It wouldn’t surprise me if he has a big, big tournament.”Blue Jays shortstop Troy Tulowitzki played for the first time, going hitless in two at-bats and playing four innings of defence. I felt today was a good day to give it a go.”Toronto’s Marco Estrada gave up a hit in two runless innings in his exhibition debut. “It was nice to get out there,” Tukowitzki said. I don’t know what it is. “It’s a true honour. I know it’s just spring training but it’s the way it is.” He hit a grounder in front of the plate and took a called third strike. You’ve been pitching your entire life, you get out there again and you see the fans, it’s completely different. “A little awkward being back out there,” Estrada said. I can’t wait.”Jose Bautista doubled off Alex Cobb leading off the second and then stole third on the next pitch.

Ski jumper Eddie the Eagle returns to jump at Calgary’s Olympic Park

He also landed two off the smaller 18-metre ramp and two from the 38 metres. His longest jump, off the 70-metre tower, measured 24 metres.The promotional event drew roughly 1,000 spectators, who chanted “Eddie, Eddie” as he made his jumps.Afterwards, Edwards posed for selfies and shook hands with a number of fans and said he felt just like he was jumping in Calgary 29 years ago.Edwards finished last in both the 70-metre and 90-metre jumps at the 1988 Olympics, but the bespectacled athlete had earned the adoration of the Calgary crowd for his exuberant, against-all-odds spirit. Michael (Eddie the Eagle) Edwards, the British ski jumper who won over hearts at the Calgary Olympic Games in 1988, returned to the Canadian city on Sunday to jump at the site of his last-place finishes nearly three decades earlier.Wearing blue and white jumping attire from the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, the now 53-year-old Edwards landed six jumps at Winsport’s Canada Olympic Park, including two from the 70-metre ramp.

In unexpected turnaround, Flames climb up in Pacific Division

We’ve got to be a tight unit. “We just didn’t want to be a one-line team. “We’ve got to believe. You need 20 guys to win, you really do.“What’s going to take us far is when you have everybody feeling they’re part of something bigger than themselves.”Interestingly, Calgary and Edmonton haven’t made the playoffs in the same season since 2005-06, but it is not beyond the realm of possibility that they do this year, in the crowded Pacific Division. By contrast, the quiet renaissance in Calgary has gone largely unnoticed outside the city.“Our players, they all train together, they’re all in shape, they all can skate, so what’s going to separate us?” Gulutzan asked. It’s nice, but any time you get on a streak like this, you want to pile up as many points as you can because it’s not going to last forever.”Brian Elliott, acquired in a June trade, has stabilized the goaltending after a rocky start. “We’ve been saying it for the last few games: It’s time to start looking ahead and try to catch the teams ahead of us,” Flames captain Mark Giordano said. Scoreboard watching is big for any NHL team in a playoff hunt, and it is especially riveting now in Calgary, where the Flames have been on an unexpected run this past month and have settled nicely into the postseason mix.Including Sunday afternoon’s 5-2 victory over the New York Islanders, the Flames have won seven games in a row and are no longer involved in just the wild-card conversation. They have inched up far enough in the Pacific Division standings to have both the Anaheim Ducks and Edmonton Oilers within their sights. “It’s fun. It’s not just a slogan,” Gulutzan said. We come in with that belief, and that’s huge for a team in our spot.”The Flames have 10 players with 10 or more goals in their lineup and, in the win over the Islanders, each line chipped in with a goal – Michael Frolik, Brodie, Micheal Ferland, Sean Monahan and Kris Versteeg accounting for the balance in the offence. We’ve tried to cultivate that throughout our year, in the things we value and do. We’re trying to build a culture here and belief’s a big part of that.“When you can win games when the margins are so tight, it’s because all those other things come into play.” Everything appeared out of sync. Two small acquisitions – Michael Stone and Matt Bartkowski – deepened the defence corps and the breakout star of their season, Mikael Backlund, continues to produce unexpected offence from what is occasionally still referred to as the team’s third line.The result is a team suddenly humming on all cylinders. “Now, we expect to win every night. Gaudreau finished tied for sixth in league scoring last season. Brodie and Giordano – began to adjust.“Now, you can see it,” Giordano said. The Flames dispatched the Islanders by scoring four goals on five shots in a 4 minute 40 second span of the opening period to chase New York’s starting goalie, Thomas Greiss.Under first-year coach Glen Gulutzan, the Flames started the season 5-10-1, and that sort of performance early generally dooms a team to pondering next-year options even before the Christmas break.At one point, the Flames were dead last in penalty killing and power play. In all, 12 players picked up at least one scoring point against the Islanders.This, incidentally, represents the most important change from the past two years, when the Flames were mostly a one-line team, centred on Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau. Dreamers are even imagining a playoff meeting between the two provincial rivals, the first in more than a quarter of a century.The Oilers’ surge to respectability has been well documented, thanks to Connor McDavid’s exceptional play. Sometimes teams need a window to adjust to a new coaching staff and a new system, but for a long time, it looked as though they were trying to jam a lot of square pegs into unresponsive round holes. Everybody matters in that locker room. You imagined former coach Bob Hartley – unceremoniously dumped in the offseason after winning coach-of-the-year honours the season before – nodding sagely at how a young team was struggling to find its mojo.But eventually, the turnaround started and good players who were struggling badly – such as T.J. This year, the highest-scoring Flames player, Backlund, wouldn’t crack the top 30.But what they’ve given up in one-dimensional star power, they’ve more than made up for in depth.“Everybody has a role on our team.

‘It’s our Stanley Cup, for sure’: Les Canadiennes de Montreal savour victory

Had Rogge known his Olympic history better, however, he might have seen that this was also once the case in men’s hockey, with Canada winning gold medals effortlessly and once, in 1924, whipping little Switzerland 33-0. … I thought I got it but it leaked through.”Poulin called it a “breather goal” – putting the team up two goals and seemingly on its way to victory.However, Calgary had other ideas and pressed hard in the third period. “I think we were in a bit of a daze.”Montreal went ahead 2-0 just more than five minutes into the second period when Poulin – “Pou” to her teammates – broke up ice and fired a hard wrist shot that went off the goalie’s glove and somehow squeezed past Maschmeyer into the Calgary net.“As a goalie, you want to take back every goal,” Maschmeyer said. Montreal went ahead early in the game when, seven seconds into a power play, Katia Clément-Heydra reached out her right hand to pluck a sailing puck out of the air, dropped it onto her backhand and beat Calgary goaltender Emerance Maschmeyer into the far corner.“We came out a little flat,” Calgary captain Brianne Jenner said of her team’s opening 20 minutes. “We are different.”Different, but also good. Poulin’s two goals – one into an empty Calgary net – were hardly comparable to her heroics seven years ago when she scored both goals for Canada in the gold-medal game of the Vancouver Winter Games. “It’s our Stanley Cup, for sure,” she said of the gleaming trophy as it was handed from teammate to teammate.It was a small but important statement against something said seven years ago in Vancouver that offended every woman who had ever laced on skates and put stick to rubber puck.On the very day that Poulin had scored those first two championship goals, then International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge had dampened the celebrations by suggesting that if women’s hockey didn’t get its act together it could well face the prospect that had once befallen to the live pigeon shoot – being dropped from the Olympics.As he rather dryly put it, “We cannot continue without improvement.”His thinking, shared by more than a few, was that other teams were not competitive enough. “Poulin does a really good job of shooting through the [defence]. (Calgary’s Meaghan Mikkelson was chosen top defence, while Brampton’s Laura Stacey was selected as rookie of the year).Calgary played without a goaltender for the final two minutes of the game but could not beat Labonté – and then Poulin found the empty Inferno net with a shot from outside the blueline.This event marks the end of the league’s two-year agreement with the Ottawa Senators to hold the event in the nation’s capital, including as part of this year’s Canada150 celebrations. Rebecca Johnston took the puck in behind the Montreal net and fed a nice pass out to Jill Saulnier, who quickly batted the puck in under Les Canadiennes goaltender Charline Labonté.Labonté was chosen first star of the game and Poulin second star. It was an act she’d seen dozens of times on television, a million times in her dreams.The championship trophy – in this case the relatively young Clarkson Cup – is handed over to the team captain, who instantly raises it to the sky while teammates roar their approval and the standing crowd cheers wildly. At a special banquet held Friday night at Carleton University, Labonté was chosen top goaltender of the year and Poulin league MVP. “Amazing!” was all Marie-Philip Poulin could say about the feeling, once her Les Canadiennes de Montreal had defeated the Calgary Inferno 3-1 to claim the women’s hockey title for all of Canada. In the 2006 Turin Winter Games, the Swiss beat Canada.In Sochi three years ago, 13 million Canadians watched the Canadian women defeat the Americans in overtime, thanks to Poulin’s heroics.Next year in Pyeongchang, millions more will tune in to a sport that is today beyond argument worthy of the Games.This year’s Clarkson Cup saw Sportsnet televise the final and the playoffs to reach the final. More than 130,000 tuned in to watch Montreal defeat the Brampton Thunder in the playoffs. Some 4,000 came out to Canadian Tire Centre to see Sunday’s championship match, hundreds of them in team uniforms, obviously numbering among the nearly 87,000 registered female players in the country.What they saw were two teams of roughly equal calibre, the Inferno defending champions and Les Canadiennes determined to avenge a lopsided loss in the Clarkson Cup final last year.The women play exceptional positional hockey – both teams are well coached – passing is crisp and skating is quick. And perhaps not to the overtime goal she scored, again against the United States, to defend gold at the Sochi Olympics.But this victory had its own sweetness. It is not yet known where the 2018 Clarkson Cup will be held.The only certainty is that it will be held, and women will again play in the Olympics – and the women’s game has continued, with improvement. Few possess big-league shots – Poulin an obvious exception – but only a fool would compare women’s hockey at its best to NHL hockey.“The game of hockey is our game as much as anybody’s,” Canadian Women’s Hockey League commissioner Brenda Andress said.

Richard Bachman makes 43 saves to help Canucks beat Ducks

Eriksson and Ducks centre Chris Wagner had a knee-on-knee collision against the boards, and Eriksson could not put any weight on his leg coming off the ice. 17-19. Bernier thought he had smothered Ben Hutton’s shot from the blue line, but the puck trickled free from under his left arm. Hutton had an assist for the third straight game.The Ducks thought they had tied it up 2:33 later, but the officials immediately ruled that Ondrej Kase kicked in the rebound of Eaves’ shot. Horvat was waiting at the foot of the crease and easily tapped in his second goal in three games.Horvat picked up a point for the third consecutive game and has two goals and three assists in that span. Richard Bachman made 43 saves, Bo Horvat and Markus Granlund each scored and the Vancouver Canucks beat the Anaheim Ducks 2-1 on Sunday.Bachman got his first win since Oct. The play stood as called after a video review showed Kase’s skate was moving into the puck.Granlund made it 2-0 early in the second on a breakaway, putting his shot from the faceoff circle between Bernier’s legs.Eaves beat Bachman to the short left side, cutting the Ducks’ deficit to 2-1 with 13:48 remaining.Sami Vatanen nearly tied it up with just over a minute to go, but his slap shot went wide of the net.Canucks forward Loui Eriksson had to be helped to the locker room 2:52 into the game with an apparent right leg injury and did not return. After benefiting from some puck luck in their 4-3 win at Los Angeles on Saturday, the Canucks again capitalized on a fortunate bounce to take the lead 14:09 into the first period. Anaheim’s three-game winning streak at home ended, and the Ducks find themselves tied with Calgary for third place in the Pacific Division after the Flames won their seventh straight game earlier in the day. 30, 2015, and is unbeaten in two career starts for Vancouver.Patrick Eaves scored for the second straight game and Jonathan Bernier made 25 saves for the Ducks, who have not won consecutive games since Jan.

Vegas Golden Knights sign Reid Duke, first player to join new NHL franchise

Duke has played parts of six seasons in the WHL with Brandon and the Lethbridge Hurricanes, registering 112 goals and 135 assists for 247 points in 304 games.Reid was originally drafted by the Minnesota Wild in the sixth round, 169th overall, of the 2014 NHL draft.The Golden Knights begin play next season. The Vegas Golden Knights have signed forward Reid Duke, making his the first player ever to join the expansion NHL franchise.The Golden Knights announced Monday that Duke has been signed to a three-year entry-level contract and will join the team for its inaugural development camp this summer.The 21-year-old from Calgary has 35 goals and 32 assists in 54 games with the Western Hockey League’s Brandon Wheat Kings this season.

Megan Rapinoe says she will respect U.S. Soccer policy for anthems

She also knelt last year during at least one game with the Seattle Reign, her National Women’s Soccer League team.Policy 604-1 states: “All persons representing a Federation national team shall stand respectfully during the playing of national anthems at any event in which the Federation is represented.”U.S. Soccer’s Board of Directors passed it on Feb. coach Jill Ellis was asked about the policy.“I’ve always felt that that should be what we do to honour the country and have the pride of putting on a national team jersey. Women’s National Team Players Union issued a statement over the weekend that said it was aware that U.S. Soccer Federation policy that says national team players “shall stand respectfully” during national anthems.The policy was approved last month but came to light Saturday before the U.S. That said, I believe we should always value the use of our voice and platform to fight for equality of every kind,” Rapinoe said in a statement released Monday by her agent.Rapinoe was not on the roster for the national team for the SheBelieves Cup tournament while she continues to regain her form after knee surgery. The policy comes after Rapinoe knelt during the anthem at a pair of national team matches last year. 9.Following the 1-0 loss to England on Saturday, U.S. A Fox Soccer analyst posted an image of the rule on Twitter. women’s national team lost to England in a SheBelieves Cup match. Megan Rapinoe says she will respect a new U.S. I said that previously, I think that should be the expectation. I will respect the new bylaw the leadership at USSF has put forward. That’s our workplace out there and we should represent ourselves and our country,” Ellis said.It is unclear what action would be taken if players do not follow the rule.The U.S. Soccer was meeting and would be voting on new bylaws, however: “We were unaware of the content of those bylaws amendments, and we will assess the implications of any unreasonable restrictions for our members.” The midfielder has said she wanted to express solidarity with former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who knelt last season in an attempt to bring attention to racial inequality.“It is an honour to represent the USA and all that we stand for – to be able to pull on the red, white and blue to play a game that I love.