It was heartbreak for Canada in the final of the HSBC Kitakyushu Sevens on Sunday, beaten 17-14 by New Zealand on a Michaela Blyde try with no time remaining.The Canadian women had won their five previous matches at the tournament, blanking Russia 41-0 and Australia 33-0 earlier Sunday – Canada’s largest margin of victory ever over both countries. Greenshields had two with Kish and Natasha Watcham-Roy also scoring.Landry and Greenshields were named to the tournament dream team. Tyla Nathan-Wong missed a difficult conversion attempt.After the try, New Zealand kicked off with less than a minute remaining and got the all back when Kish uncharacteristically fumbled the kickoff. But they kept their calm and sent the ball down the line to Blyde, who crossed the line in the right corner.Canada stands third in the overall standings, behind Series leader New Zealand and Australia.Tait’s team finished sixth in Dubai, won in Sydney and was third in Las Vegas. The Black Ferns retained possession and nearly scored on the left, only to be denied by a try-saving Landry tackle. The next stop on the six-event circuit is May 27-28 in Langford, B.C.Canada’s record in World Series finals fell to 3-5 with three of those losses to New Zealand, which advanced to the inaugural Japan tournament final with a 21-0 win over Fiji.Earlier in the day, Canada took it to Australia with a five-try performance against the Olympic champion. Julia Greenshields scored three tries while Breanne Nicholas and Britt Benn added singles.The win over Australia marked Canada’s 100th victory in World Series play.Landry led the way against Russia with three tries. “Full credit to New Zealand, they are a team with great composure and made us pay for the few mistakes we made.”Tait’s team had been hoping to add the Japan title to the one won by the Canadian men in Singapore last weekend.Hannah Darling’s converted try gave Canada a 7-0 lead but New Zealand countered with a Niall Williams try to tie it 7-7 at the half.Jen Kish’s try in the corner, following a fine run by captain Ghislaine Landry, put the Canadians ahead 14-7 after an excellent Landry conversion. The Black Ferns cut the lead to 14-12 with Portia Woodman running down the flank for her 142nd career try. “The whole team is really proud of how they played the tournament but gutted we didn’t win the final,” said Canadian coach John Tait.
It’s been tough, especially after Rio. It was the pace I was preparing for,” Wanjiru told the BBC. My body felt fit enough and I have trained well and I tried to push all the time. Keitany’s compatriot, Jemima Sumgong, tested positive for the blood booster EPO in a surprise out-of-competition doping test in Kenya in February.The men’s race had a royal start, with Prince William, wife Kate and brother Harry pressing a button to sound the klaxon. I’m very happy with the finish time. I needed to focus and sort out my head. “I think the course has changed a little bit and it felt better than before. From there it was becoming tougher and tougher. All I was thinking was ‘win, win, win.“’In the women’s wheelchair winner, Manuela Schar of Switzerland followed up her Boston win on Monday with success in London. The weather was really good this year. “It’s been a tough four months personally. I knew I had it in the last corner. The 24-year-old Wanjiru won his first major marathon in 2 hours, 5 minutes, 48 seconds. The 37-year-old Weir retired from track competition last year after the six-time Paralympic champion failed to win a medal at the Rio de Janeiro Games.“It’s the first time I’ve felt comfortable in years,” Weir said. Kenyan runner Mary Keitany broke Paula Radcliffe’s women-only marathon world record on Sunday with a third victory in London, while Daniel Wanjiru won the men’s race for the first time.The 35-year-old Keitany completed the 26.2-mile (42.2-kilometre) course in 2 hours, 17 minutes and 1 second to shave 41 seconds off Radcliffe’s 12-year-old mark. The sun was coming and the day was beautiful, but we don’t need too much sun!”There was a British winner in the wheelchair race, with David Weir storming to his seventh victory in the event to end four years of frustration since his last success. I’ve had a lot of background problems in my personal life. That was nine seconds faster than Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia, while Bedan Karoki was third.“In the beginning the race was very fast and we were inside world record pace. Last year it was very, very cold. She still ran to victory to seize the women-only record. The retired British athlete still remains a world-record holder. Radcliffe fought six years ago with the IAAF to ensure her 2003 marathon time of 2 hours, 15 minutes, 25 seconds — with two male pacemakers — was still recognized as a record rather than just a world-best.Keitany was on track to break that outright world record halfway through Sunday’s race in the British capital in sunny conditions, but the pace eased up. Tirunesh Dibaba was 55 seconds behind Keitany while fellow Ethiopian, Aselefech Mergia, was third.“It was very fast pace and I tried to follow it,” Keitany said. “We tried to maintain that pace for half of the race. Parts of the course are hilly but I train in a very similar area in Kenya so it was not too different for me.”The women’s marathon was missing its defending champion.
Los Angeles’ 201 goals this season — down 24 from last season — were tied for the fifth fewest in the NHL.Blake opened his tenure in charge by identifying scoring as the single most important factor for the Kings in the upcoming seasons.“John and I had very productive dialogue this last week in relation to his head coaching philosophy and specifically how he would implement a strategy to activate our players offensively while maintaining the defensive philosophies we have come to be known for,” Blake said. “His wide array of coaching experience, including success as an NHL head coach and his inherent knowledge of our players and those in our development system, is very appealing to us. Stevens was the Kings’ interim head coach for four games early in the 2011-12 season after Terry Murray was fired and before the hiring of Sutter, who became the winningest coach in Kings history and the only coach to lead them to a title.The Kings fired Sutter and general manager Dean Lombardi nearly two weeks ago in a remarkable housecleaning after the regular season ended without a playoff berth. “I am confident that we are both in agreement on how that can be executed.”The Kings have an elite core of top talent with defenceman Drew Doughty, forwards Jeff Carter and Anze Kopitar, and goalie Jonathan Quick. But they have little financial room to improve their roster, with several underperforming veterans signed to lucrative long-term contracts by Lombardi, largely in gratitude for their work in the Kings’ championship runs.Stevens spent parts of four seasons as coach of the Flyers (2006-2009), reaching the playoffs twice including a trip to the Eastern Conference final. The Los Angeles Kings have promoted associated head coach John Stevens to become their next head coach.Kings spokesman Mike Altieri said the team will introduce Stevens at a news conference Monday.Stevens replaces Darryl Sutter after serving as an assistant to two Kings head coaches over the past eight seasons, which included the franchise’s only two Stanley Cup championship runs. Murray was a former Flyers coach, and assistant general manager Ron Hextall was an assistant general manager who eventually returned to take over the Flyers’ hockey operations. We are confident he is the best person to lead our hockey club forward.”The Kings also will retain goaltending coach Bill Ranford.Stevens, the 50-year-old former Philadelphia Flyers coach, was long considered Sutter’s likely replacement, though the firing of Lombardi and Sutter earlier this month put everything into question. Los Angeles has won just one playoff game in three years since its last title in 2014. But owner Phil Anschutz’s organization subsequently promoted the two most likely internal candidates to replace them, preferring stability with Stevens and longtime assistant general manager Rob Blake over an extensive franchise overhaul.“We believe John has the ideal qualities to lead our hockey club,” Blake said in a news release. When Blake fired assistant Davis Payne and retained Stevens one day after his own promotion, the new GM made it clear Stevens was the favourite for the job.The shift from a hard-nosed disciplinarian like Sutter to a players’ coach like Stevens is a drastic one for Los Angeles, which has missed the playoffs twice since winning the Stanley Cup in 2012 and 2014. In 2005, he won the Calder Cup as coach of the American Hockey League’s Philadelphia Phantoms, the team he led to that title as captain in 1998.Stevens was fired by the Flyers in December 2009 and hired as Murray’s assistant with the Kings in June 2010, joining a large group of former Philadelphia-based coaches and executives in Lombardi’s organization. When Lombardi and Sutter were fired, Blake was named GM.ESPN first reported Stevens’ promotion.Stevens’ greatest task will be finding new ways to generate offence from largely the same roster for a low-scoring team that was focused on defence-first, two-way hockey during Sutter’s largely successful tenure.
That’s the mentality we’ve got to have.”Casey said the Bucks will hold no surprises Monday.“They’re going to come out ready to fight, they’re going to come out ready to compete … The Bucks ranked third in three-point shooting percentage (41.1).The Raptors coach also wants his team to improve its rebounding and to be smarter when using its physicality. At some point they’re going to go in.”Milwaukee wasn’t much better – 15th in scoring average (94.3) and 13th in shooting percentage (43.7). He did a good job offensively and defensively,” Casey said.Powell’s insertion made a difference in Game 4, with DeRozan saying having an extra ball handler on the court helped him find space.DeRozan tied for fifth in scoring during the regular season with 27.3 points a game. Sort of like we played [Saturday]. But he praised Powell.“I thought Norm performed. He ranked 18th in these playoffs as of Sunday, averaging 22.8 points. It was feeling you can’t get over,” DeRozan, speaking after practice Sunday, said of his miserable Game 3 memories.That was music to coach Dwane Casey’s ears.He wants the Raptors to break the cycle of upping its game after a loss and then relaxing after a win.“That’s been our MO [modus operandi],” he said. We know what to expect from them,” Casey said.“We’ve got to be ready for that. “Looking up at that score, losing the way we did, it was embarrassing. Even on open shots, I think we’ve missed some shots we normally make. DeMar DeRozan hasn’t finished redeeming himself yet.The Raptors all-star rallied with a game-high 33 points Saturday in Toronto’s 87-76 Game 4 win in Milwaukee after failing to hit a field goal in a humiliating 104-77 loss to the Bucks in Game 3.But the bad taste of that debacle persists, despite the fact that Toronto holds home-court advantage as the first-round playoff series – tied two games apiece – switches to the Air Canada Centre for Game 5 on Monday night. Also to make sure that if shots aren’t landing, that players look to up their defence or contribute in other ways.Casey offered no concrete hints of whether he would continue with Norman Powell in the starting lineup at the expense of centre Jonas Valanciunas. That’s why we can’t relax.”Toronto will have to shoot better.Going into games Sunday, Toronto ranked bottom among the 16 playoff teams in scoring average (88.3), 15th in shooting percentage (39.9) and 14th in three-point shooting percentage (31.3).“We’ve missed some shots that we normally make,” Casey said. “We’ve haven’t shot the ball well. We’re going to have to play like we’re on the road, our backs [are] against the wall, it’s a Game 7. “So that’s why I’m glad to hear that DeMar was upset and not [saying] ‘Okay, I had one good game.’ And that’s he’s ready to come out.”Casey wants his entire team, like DeRozan, to come out with a chip on its shoulder.“We’re much better when our backs are against the wall,” he said.Added DeRozan: “We’re going to have to play extremely hard.
The Bruins still have yet to accomplish this.“We battled hard to give ourselves a chance,” Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron said. We never gave up, even though we were down in the first period.”“We said, ‘We’re not going to play on our heels,’ ” Boucher said. “To be back playing – and to end the game like that.“I was just lucky enough to be in the right spot. Four of the games went to overtime. The Senators meet the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference semi-final. Ryan’s cross-crease pass struck a Boston player and then, MacArthur thought, Boston goaltender Tuukka Rask’s stick before landing on his own stick. This contributed to an NHL record for overtime games in an opening round, with a remarkable 18 matches going into extra time.Keen to avenge Friday’s double-overtime comeback loss in Ottawa, the Senators were determined to start well in this game. In six games, the team scoring first won but two of the matches.Despite the team’s long history, Boston had never before come back to win a seven-game series in which it had fallen behind three games to one. You get an opportunity like that, you’ve got to put it away.”MacArthur indicated later that there were “a few times” during his two-year odyssey through baseline tests and neurosurgeon meetings when he believed his career was finished. “It’s a great feeling.” Finally cleared to play again at the end of this regular season, he improved game by game, ending with two goals against Boston over the six games.“It’s something everyone has to deal with one day,” he said. Two years of fighting annoying retirement questions and unwelcome medical advice, self-doubt and uncertainty.And then, suddenly, you’re the playoffs hero.Meet Clarke MacArthur, the 32-year-old Lloydminster, Alta., native who scored the overtime goal Sunday afternoon that gave the Ottawa Senators a 3-2 victory over the Boston Bruins, sending the Senators into the next round of the 2017 Stanley Cup playoffs. The winning goal came on a power-play opportunity, the key play coming from another player so often written off, Bobby Ryan, who ended the six-game series as Ottawa’s leading scorer with nine points. Yet they did not. Almost two full seasons – 156 consecutive games – lost to concussion. “Instead of being scared to lose, we were hungry to win.”“It was a tough series,” Phaneuf added. “We had a feeling in here [the dressing room] that we were going to be fresh. “But I just wanted to stretch it out as long as I could.”The Senators kept their dressing room door closed for several minutes after the win, during which his teammates applauded and saluted the popular forward.“He’s a great friend of mine,” defenceman Dion Phaneuf said. The Senators could not even manage a single shot on net during the three straight power plays.Rask proved unbeatable in the first 20 minutes. “It definitely stings a lot.”While other teams dropping out in the opening round are talking rebuilding already, the Bruins would be well advised to take the advice of former Boston general manager Harry Sinden, who once responded to a disappointing elimination by saying, “The remedy now is two Scotches and an Aspirin, I think.”On reflection, this was a tough, hard-fought series that could have been won by either team. One quick roll of the wrists and Boston was finished and Ottawa moving on.“It’s just awesome,” a jubilant MacArthur said. Ottawa’s Craig Anderson was also good but finally faced his own man-advantage situation when the Bruins power play completed a sweeping series of passes before Drew Stafford one-timed a shot into the Ottawa net for the game’s first lead.Ottawa’s fourth power play of the afternoon came in the second period when, finally, they transferred the x’s and o’s to the ice, with Karlsson, who is rumoured to be playing with two small fractures in his left heel, sending a quick pass across to Derick Brassard, who one-timed a slap shot from the blueline that tipped in off Ryan.The much-maligned Brassard and Ryan came through regularly in the series, proving once again that regular and postseason at times have little in common other than the surface they are played on.The Senators went ahead when speedy winger Ryan Dzingel gathered up a loose puck in the Boston end during a broken play, slipped it to Kyle Turris and Turris’s hard wrist shot beat Rask on the blocker side.For Turris, the team’s leading scorer during the regular season with 27, it was his first of the playoffs.Early in the third period, with the Senators attempting to play lock-down hockey, the Bruins caught a break on a poor Ottawa change and Bergeron was able to hammer home a puck that had hit his skate, the Ottawa post and had bounced back onto his stick.“No lead is safe,” MacArthur said.“Both teams weren’t giving an inch,” Senators head coach Guy Boucher said.If Ottawa seemed listless in the third, it was anything but in the overtime, taking charge early and challenging often.“We stuck with it,” Karlsson said. Despite doubling up on the Bruins in opening-period shots, with 12, the Senators looked disoriented. “A great ending to the series.”“He was the right guy to make the overtime winner,” captain Erik Karlsson added.It was an unusual series in that first goals, long considered so important in playoff hockey, had little to no importance. Granted three gift extra-man situations on a rare three straight delay-of-game calls against the Bruins, the troubled Ottawa power play continued to sputter, moving to a bleak 3-for-21 for the playoffs.
Toronto manager John Gibbons was ejected for arguing the call, and the Angels scored on back-to-back singles immediately afterward.Stroman escaped the jam, took a few deep breaths and didn’t allow a baserunner in the next five innings, retiring 17 consecutive Halos. I think it gives our bullpen a day off, lets guys rejuvenate, get healthy down there, and I think it gives our offence, our guys, a little bit more motivation going deep. Pujols added his 605th career double in the ninth, breaking his tie with Paul Waner and pulling even with Paul Molitor for 12th place. I was a little bit upset.”Gibbons said he also wasn’t sure why De Jesus made the ruling, which “shocked me a little bit.”Stroman said catcher Russell Martin calmed him down. “I had a good view in here (in the clubhouse).”Stroman still isn’t sure exactly what he did wrong in De Jesus’ eyes, since he didn’t get an explanation – and he used the same abbreviated delivery later in the game without getting called.“There was no reason for it,” Stroman said. That’s my goal every time.”Albert Pujols delivered a run-scoring single for the Angels, who have lost 10 of 12 with an injury-plagued pitching staff.Kevin Pillar added a solo shot moments after Travis’ slump-busting homer for the Blue Jays (5-13), who are off to the worst start in franchise history even with three wins in five games.“We started out slow and came to life late,” Gibbons said. Stroman (2-2) was angered when home plate umpire Ramon De Jesus awarded first base to Kole Calhoun in the third inning for throwing a 3-1 pitch before Calhoun was deemed to be ready. Their third reliever, Deolis Guerra (0-1), gave up the go-ahead homer by Travis, who was off to a 6-for-57 start to the season.Pujols’ 1,832nd career RBI put him one behind Dave Winfield for 17th place in baseball history. “Lot of respect for that guy. I understand things could have got skewed a bit, but I love Pujols.”With eight Angels pitchers on the DL, Daniel Wright pitched five innings of scoreless three-hit ball in his first start of the season. When the Blue Jays’ bats finally came alive in the eighth, Stroman was on his way to his third career complete game – and his second in 12 days.“That’s why I work as hard as I do,” Stroman said. Talked to him in the past. Pujols stepped onto the field, and several Angels glared from the dugout during the Jays’ celebration.“I’m going to talk to Pujols,” Stroman said. “I didn’t really get an explanation as to why I couldn’t or shouldn’t do it, so that was the only thing wrong. Although Marcus Stroman had no idea why he was called for an illegal quick-pitch, he refused to allow the unusual umpiring decision to stop him from carrying the Toronto Blue Jays to another win in their climb out of a huge early-season hole.He pitched a seven-hitter and Devon Travis hit a go-ahead, two-run homer during a four-run eighth inning in the Blue Jays’ 6-2 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday. He also plans to use that short delivery in the future.“I don’t think it’s going to be something that I’m worried about going forward,” Stroman said.Stroman survived a rocky ninth by inducing a game-ending double play, but Toronto’s exuberant celebration drew the Angels’ ire. “I think it’s good for our guys.
They may even be as ticked off as downtown business owners, who were hoping for a deep playoff run and its attendant cash-register sounds.“It’s bad for the restaurants, the hotels, for everybody,” said Santana Enrique, owner of Sports Crescent, which opened on rue Ste. The gambles Bergevin took last year – trading P.K. He will count for $6-million (U.S.) against the cap next season.Phillip Danault, a promising two-way centre and just 24, has never scored more than 40 points in a season as a pro. I’m not the GM,” he replied.Yes, well, touché.All eyes now turn to the man who is.And he’s got a big job to do, lest the fans’ passion and anger turn into something far more damaging: apathy. Subban for Shea Weber, signing Alex Radulov, paying over the odds for Andrew Shaw – fall comfortably within mainstream NHL thought.They are also liable to see the glass as half-full: They have a perennial top-10 goal scorer, a hard-rock franchise defenceman and a smattering of young secondary talent that could easily have won the series with a bounce here or there (“a game of inches,” coach Claude Julien said).After the disastrous 2012 season, majority owner Geoff Molson identified stability as a key element in building a contender, and Bergevin and Julien, the latter of which has put the team back on the rails since replacing Michel Therrien in February, will both see five-year contract extensions kick in next fall.But Molson has also made it clear his only priority is winning another Cup – his business depends on icing a team people are excited about watching – and on that score he is perfectly in tune with the fans.And make no mistake, the ticket- and merchandise-buying masses are in high dudgeon. He did for a time in Sweden, but the NHL is a different beast.Tomas Plekanec, signed to a two-year extension in 2015, is aging and his offensive skills have eroded. Some of the blame falls to him, some to an organization that seemingly can’t decide if he’s a winger or a centre.Conventional wisdom suggests he could be dealt this summer.Can Artturi Lehkonen, the revelation of the playoffs, play centre? 1 pivot of the future, hasn’t entirely worked out. To win, you have to score, and the Habs didn’t, or at least not enough.General manager Marc Bergevin is stuck in the mediocrity trap that hard salary-cap systems can create – good enough to win a round or two, but patently not on the cusp of domination.Now, about busting out of it.In July, 2018, Price will be eligible for free agency, and if the Habs wish to sign him to an extension this summer – assuming he’s interested in staying as he approaches his 30th birthday – it will be eye-wateringly expensive.Does Bergevin stick with the plan of assembling enough talent around Price to get him into a position to steal a Stanley Cup final series?Or is it time to accept it’s unreasonable to place such a crushing burden on a player who has no margin for error and tear the thing down, sell high on veteran assets and players who aren’t likely to improve, start over with draft picks?The smart money says that’s the way to go.There are several compelling reasons why it won’t happen.First, the Habs are a risk-averse organization. Stanley Cup playoffs: The latest news and resultsThe armchair general managers came out in their legions on the phone-in shows after the Habs were eliminated in Game 6 of their first-round series against the Rangers.Mostly they were demanding Carey Price, the best goaltender since Patrick Roy was run out of town, be traded.No one ever won a championship hewing to the whims of hot-blooded fans, but what if they have a point this time?Not that Price is to blame for this year’s hasty playoff exit. Catherine – what used to be known as the usual Stanley Cup parade route – in 1989.Enrique, who watched the Cup parade past in 1993, is discounting all his Habs paraphernalia 50 per cent just to get it out the door.“I looked for something black to wear today, but almost all I have in the store is red,” he said.The difficulty for Bergevin is that after five seasons in charge he hasn’t meaningfully addressed his team’s main flaw, which is down the middle.Alex Galchenyuk, drafted third over all in 2012 as the team’s No. Shaw played centre late in the season, but he’s not there for offence.Michael McCarron, a first-round draft pick in 2013, is not yet a full-time NHLer.The minor-league cupboard is mostly bare when it comes to prolific scorers (Charles Hudon being the exception), never mind centres.Bergevin has often said the surest way to acquire front-line offensive talent is via the draft, but the fact is he hasn’t.In the moments after being eliminated Habs captain Max Pacioretty, a 35-goal scorer who was unable to convert any of the myriad scoring opportunities he created in the series, was asked whether the team’s 11 goals over six games – a franchise low in the playoffs – meant more firepower is needed.“I don’t know. During the NHL playoffs, Montreal is the kind of place where municipal transit employees customize the bus-front panels, which usually flash route numbers, to read “Go Habs Go.”You might jump aboard to find the driver has a radio with the game on, the passengers living and dying with every rush.And when it all goes wrong for the Canadiens, as it did in New York on Saturday – again, for the 24th spring in a row – passion can turn to angst and fury.
Twelve thousand came to watch Game 4. Winning changes everything.Anaheim looms on the playoff schedule, with the first puck drop on Wednesday and the first game in Edmonton on Sunday. Tickets for the viewing party sold out earlier in the day. The Ducks are better than the Sharks, the Oilers are better than the Flames. There is so much demand, so much devotion, so much love.When the Ducks come to town for Game 3, Rogers Place will be wild. They painted on mutton-chop sideburns to look like Zack Kassian. Snow was falling, and there were few complaints. It was a magical night, on an unseasonably cold day. Beer was flowing. Hockey playoff games are so exhilarating it is hard to compare them with anything else.“Excitement is not just occurring within the confines of Rogers Place,” Todd McLellan, Edmonton’s second-year coach, said Saturday. Fires tore through Fort McMurray at this time a year ago. You can feel the energy just driving around town.“Even after so many years of being in the league, there are moments when the hair stands up on the back of your neck.” The lost decade is a faint memory now. They were embarrassed, 7-0, in Game 4 at SAP Center, and promptly forgot about it.They have not lost three in a row since the first week of February.McDavid, the game’s ascending superstar, was 9 the last time the Oilers were in the playoffs. They will be snapped up in minutes. The gritty winger scored Edmonton’s winning goals in Games 2 and 3. The oldest player dressing for games, Mark Letestu, was 21. Edmonton won three of the five games it played this season against the team with an arena on the doorstep of the Magic Kingdom. For a road game.“We knew how passionate and loyal our fans are, and wanted to create unique ways for them to come together and feel a part of it,” said Tim Shipton, vice-president for corporate communications for the Oilers Entertainment Group. Several thousand more watched on a giant screen in the entrance hall. Game 6 was played on the southern shore of San Francisco Bay, nearly 2,500 kilometres away. A week after Easter, it was perfect hockey weather. It has been nearly 11 years since the team was in contention for a Stanley Cup. Fans paid $5 to take in the telecast on the massive scoreboard over centre ice. He is from a small town east of Edmonton and he went to Game 3 of the Stanley Cup final in 2006 on a date with the woman who would become his wife.A young woman and her boyfriend danced joyously, as if nobody was watching, in the beer garden at Rogers Place two hours before Saturday night’s game. From all appearances, it is unlikely Edmonton will bow out in four games, as Calgary did.The Oilers lost Game 1 in overtime to the Sharks after blowing a two-goal lead. It is a beautiful time in Edmonton.Stanley Cup playoffs: The latest news and resultsAt Rogers Place, fans crowded souvenir stands to buy playoff beards. For the past 10 years, the Oilers have been an afterthought during the playoffs. The oil-driven economy has suffered. “It is happening throughout the community. They wear orange Connor McDavid sweaters and high-five one another on the concourse. There was not a vacant seat at Rogers Place on Saturday night. “We didn’t expect the uptake to be as amazing as it has been.“We strongly feel Oilers fans are the best in the NHL.”Tickets for the second round go on sale in Edmonton on Wednesday. The 20-year-old captain turned the series around with a crushing hit in Game 5.When he flicked the puck into an empty net to clinch the 3-1 victory in the game’s final second on Saturday, the Oilers’ long-suffering fans became delirious. Afterward, the surrounding streets were alive with people chanting and shouting late into the night.It has been a long time since Edmonton has been this happy. More than 18,000 people filled Edmonton’s downtown arena to cheer for the Oilers as they tried to oust the San Jose Sharks from the playoffs.The team was not there. Leon Draisaitl, the German forward who joined McDavid among the NHL’s scoring leaders, was 10. There has been a lot of anguish.For the time being, the Oilers and hockey are a lovely distraction.Ten thousand people showed up at Rogers Place for a viewing party when the Oilers were in San Jose for Game 3. If it is spring elsewhere, there are no buds or blossoms in central Alberta. Game 6 was sold out.
On the offensive side, Auston Matthews scored the Leafs goal, another feat in a remarkable rookie season, and played better in each game as the series went along.“Give them credit, they battled hard,” said Capitals star Alexander Ovechkin of the Leafs. Nylander in particular was flying, and was in on a couple of scoring chances.There were more good scoring chances in the second period but both goaltenders were superb. “I said, ‘Great player, keep going and good luck in the future,’ ” Ovechkin said.The Capitals outshone the Leafs for most of the third period, but Matthews brought the 19,740 fans at the Air Canada Centre alive when he scored the first goal of the game. For the first several minutes they had the Capitals’ defence on its heels trying to cope with their speed in getting on the fore-check.The Leafs also dominated the faceoff circle, taking 67 per cent of the draws in the first two periods. They will be successful in the next couple years.”Ovechkin exchanged a few words of with Matthews in the handshake line after the game. “You think about it, it’s no big deal you lost a neutral-zone faceoff but then you spend a ton of time in your zone. Defenceman Morgan Rielly dumped the puck into the corner, where it hit the dasher board and took a strange bounce to the front of the net. Leafs defenceman Jake Gardiner drilled a shot from the left point but it hit the crossbar.There was a small sideshow late in the second period when Kadri and Ovechkin renewed acquaintances. They’re either going to be on our [defence] or we’re going to be on their D. There’s not a whole lot in between. He kept us in a lot of games. “They’re young but they’re strong. His shot squirted under Andersen and just across the goal line.Then the familiar tight-rope dance ensued until the series went to overtime for the fifth time in six games.When the game started, the Maple Leafs made their best start of the series, taking the play to the Capitals from the opening faceoff. He stopped 34 shots but lost the goaltenders’ duel to Capitals counterpart Braden Holtby, who made 37 saves. It’s an awful feeling."They were one-goal games and could have gone either way in every game. You have to have a good goalie and we have an unbelievable one in Freddy [Andersen]. That was the result almost everyone predicted but no one forecast what a fight the upstart Maple Leafs would give the Capitals, who cruised to first place overall in the regular season. In the second, the Caps’ third line with Lars Eller and right winger Andre Burakovsky created some good chances.But the Leafs were getting another good night out of Matthews and linemates William Nylander and Hyman. The roller-coaster season of the Toronto Maple Leafs came to an end Sunday night, but what a ride it was.Marcus Johansson of the Washington Capitals scored at 6:31 of overtime to give the Capitals a 2-1 win and a 4-2 win in the best-of-seven first-round NHL playoff series. Then good fortune shone on him several minutes later when Bozak’s line was buzzing around. If you want to have 35- or 30-second shifts, 10 seconds is off that faceoff loss and you’re digging it out trying to get it back.“I think that would be an area we need to bear down on for sure. Matthews was waiting there and roofed the shot at 7:45 for his fourth consecutive goal in the last four games of the series.But the Capitals kept fighting and Johansson tied the score 1-1 five minutes later. Van Riemsdyk says support for Leafs gives him ‘goosebumps’ (The Canadian Press)
It also points to better seasons ahead, with longer playoff runs, although the pain of losing was acute.Stanley Cup playoffs: The latest news and resultsOf the series’ six games, five went to overtime and each game could have been won by either team. That’s playoffs, it’s just bounces and you try to get a dirty one. It was his second goal of the game, as he scored the tying marker in the third period. Holtby robbed Hyman early in the period from in front when the Matthews line had yet another good shift. They have a very good future. It’s tough.”Andersen was, indeed, excellent for most of the series and shone again Sunday night. This was what Leafs head coach Mike Babcock demanded after a poor effort in those areas in Game 5.“The whole thing is the last game [the Capitals] dominated the faceoff circle and the neutral zone,” Babcock said before the game. Both teams are trying to clog up that neutral zone so I think that’s a priority for us for sure.”Outside of noted playoff hero Justin Williams, the Capitals did not have a lot going for them offensively, at least in the first period. Quite an accomplishment for the Leafs, who finished last overall a year ago and out of the playoffs.“It’s the most fun I’ve had playing hockey all year, so I’m excited for next year but it sucks right now,” said left winger Zach Hyman. Tyler Bozak won nine of his 10 faceoffs while Nazem Kadri was 10-for-13. “It’s awful and you can’t really think about too much. They tangled together and Kadri climbed up Ovechkin’s back and was tossed off like a sack of potatoes. They sort of re-enacted their Game 5 clash when Ovechkin took a run at Kadri behind the play.
He scored in each of the series’ last four games, culminating with the first goal of the game at 7:45 of the third period on Sunday, breaking the tension in a goaltenders’ duel between Andersen and Braden Holtby of the Capitals.But the Leafs could not hang on for a win in regulation time as Johansson started his scoring heroics with a goal at 12:51 to tie the score.“It’s not the best feeling but I think when you look around the locker room after the game, just sitting here, I think we gave it our all,” Matthews said. “They know how far we’ve come and the effort we put into this. We have unbelievable support from the city of Toronto and Leafs Nation. 1 overall draft pick Auston Matthews and a couple of other awful seasons resulted in high draft picks like Mitch Marner, William Nylander along with trades and free-agent signings that netted the likes of Frederik Andersen, Nikita Zaitsev, Zach Hyman and Kasperi Kapanen, the hopes for the future are legitimate.Just ask the Washington Capitals, who cruised to first place overall in the NHL’s regular season but had all they could handle with the Maple Leafs, the eighth-place qualifier in the Eastern Conference playoffs. The support we have here is unbelievable, a lot to build off. We’re proud to play for this city and these fans.”No one on the team indicates how bright the future looks more than Matthews. Without Andersen on Sunday night or many other times in the series, the Capitals could have ended it earlier.But Andersen noted, like a lot of his teammates, excitement over the future does not ease the sting of losing in the present.“It’s an empty feeling,” he said. They were stunned into silence for a few seconds by Johansson’s series-winner, but gathered themselves for a loud salute to the Leafs players. Van Riemsdyk says support for Leafs gives him ‘goosebumps’ (The Canadian Press)
But this time, after Leafs president Brendan Shanahan finished with his broom and then a tank job produced No. Every game could have gone either way.“You see what they’re building here and the great atmosphere they’ve built in Leaf Nation and the fans,” said Capitals head coach Barry Trotz. They were front and centre in Game 5 when Kadri sent Ovechkin to the dressing room near the end of the first period with a hip check. It’s the playoffs,” Ovechkin said when asked what he told Kadri.” You have to sacrifice your body to have success. Ovechkin was able to return for the start of the second period. 1 goaltender that he is an all-star quality one. He started his first NHL season with a big splash, scoring four goals in his first game, finished the season with 40 and is a shoo-in to win the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s rookie-of-the-year.Then, as his first taste of the playoffs went along, Matthews played better in each game. “They battled hard. We knew it was going to be a tough series. “We’ve grown a lot and [have] a lot to be proud of, but it’s a very tough feeling right now.“It’s awesome to be in this community, to be part of this team. But the Capitals felt Kadri should have been drawn and quartered rather than be issued a minor penalty for the hit and spent a lot of time seeking revenge. Because we knew how hard they were to play during the year and we had seen their growth. You still have to be in.”It can be argued Andersen gives the Leafs almost as much hope for the future as any of the rookies. They have good young players and they will be successful in the next year and couple of years.”Ovechkin had a few words for Matthews in the handshake line: “I said, ‘Great player, keep going and good luck in the future.’ ”Someone else Ovechkin spoke to was Leafs centre Nazem Kadri. I think we definitely gave them all they could handle. We played the best team in the league. “What a great atmosphere in Toronto, they’ve got something to be very, very excited [about].“I’ll tell you, they pushed us and they hardened us in this series. After the Leafs were done with the customary handshakes with the Caps, they gave the fans a stick salute. I think we knew it more than most of the media and the general public. The bad old days of Salutegate were long forgotten.“Over the course of my five seasons there’s been some ups and downs [but] the support we get is second to none and that gives you goosebumps, even after how it ended right there, how loud the building got for us,” said Leafs forward James van Riemsdyk, who added that he would like to sign a long-term contract with the team this summer. “I think we left it all out on the ice. The last time the Toronto Maple Leafs lost a playoff series, there was a lot of talk about how a bright future was just ahead.We all know how that turned out. He arrived in a trade with the Anaheim Ducks and showed in his first full season as a No. They have a very good future. It’s obviously not the best feeling but we definitely have to be proud of each other in this locker room.”Capitals superstar Alexander Ovechkin, who did not dominate the series but had his moments, agreed with Matthews.“Give them credit,” he said. Every one of us is proud of each other. Within a year after the Leafs blew a 4-1 third-period lead in Game 7 of the opening round against the Boston Bruins in May, 2013, another 18-wheeler went off a cliff and heads rolled everywhere from the front office to the dressing room. I think for us the future is definitely bright.“I think the [playoff] experience itself, it’s hard, grind hockey. That bodes well for the Leafs and I just want to congratulate them on a fantastic season. The Leafs’ speed gave them fits for the whole series.Marcus Johansson’s second goal of the game at 6:31 of overtime ended the best-of-seven series Sunday night with a 4-2 Caps win but five of the six games went to overtime. Like I said, I think we’re definitely going to hold our heads up high. They’re young but they’re strong. So you get a hit or you take a hit, it doesn’t matter. They’ve got a lot to look forward to.”The Leafs’ fans, 19,740 strong at the Air Canada Centre on Sunday night along with about 5,000 more in Maple Leaf Square next door, knew what Trotz was talking about. But it’s tough.” On Sunday night, Kadri and Ovechkin tangled briefly late in the second period.“Yeah.
They want a team that looks like it knows what it’s doing and that fulfills its promises as well as its promise.For a long time, rooting for the Maple Leafs was an exercise in pure chaos. The same people who were recently congratulating the team on its go-slow approach are raging at them to go a little faster. Once it paid off, Shanahan put Lou Lamoriello in charge of the day-to-day.The time frame given for a teardown and rebuild was three to five years. When Brendan Shanahan took over as Toronto Maple Leafs president, he didn’t start lighting the curtains on fire immediately, though that was his intention.He let the 2014-15 season play out in its usual Toronto form – strong start, iffy middle, excruciating finish. Say this for the Leafs over these last 20 years – if every season had been lockout shortened, they’d have been the 1950s Canadiens. It’s the city of Toronto figuring out how to root for hockey again.Short of a championship, it’s probably not going to get any sweeter than it is right now. It’s possible, right? Over six games, the total score was 18-16. Not ‘trade away a couple of malcontents and replace them with potential new malcontents.’ But stripped to the beams.Stanley Cup playoffs: The latest news and resultsThat moment was largely why Shanahan was hired, so that he could cash his Hall of Fame/local boy bona fides on one big bet. Rather, they struck a note of hopefulness and pride in effort.Morgan Rielly: “… a step in the right direction.”Nazem Kadri: “We’re on our way up.”Matthews: “… turned a lot of heads with where we were and where we are now.”In that sense, it’s not just that the youngest Leafs are learning to play hockey in Toronto. All of a sudden, Frederik Andersen – deeply doubted in this town only a few months ago – is the new Ken Dryden. (“It’s possible” being shorthand for “It’s probably impossible.”)Suddenly, the future is now and two years of careful construction work gives way to a hurried Grand Opening. There was a lot of talk about a new, younger sort of Toronto sports fan (i.e. That’s a subjective proposition, but there is a good deal of objective evidence. Was admitting failure an existential risk for the hockey club? You weren’t exactly sure who was in charge, what they were doing or why. That’s why Sunday’s first-round playoff loss is a blessing, rather than a disappointment.The Leafs could have beaten the Capitals. At that point, all the good work done convincing the fan base to embrace patience is out the window.No one would want to hear any more that Matthews and Mitch Marner are still teenagers or that William Nylander and Zach Hyman have only played one full NHL season. Nothing made much sense, even the good spurts. All it requires is more time – time that was committed from the start.So while the Toronto Maple Leafs team lost on Sunday, the organization won.In the long view, Leafs-Capitals wasn’t even really a battle. Not pretend ruined. They laid the layers down in their proper order – first, assemble the management team, then get the right coach, then begin piecing together a roster that fits, rather than one that merely hits the salary cap, then put the results in the proper perspective.Has there ever been a final month in which the Leafs were hovering on the postseason periphery that was less angsty? Why not ride him to a Cup? What they like almost as much is order. Losing it with dignity buys them several years more to set the terms of the NHL’s ongoing, figurative war. That’s why no one would publicly do so until they had secured the right to draft Auston Matthews more than a year later.We’re only two seasons in to this particular five-year plan and, unlike those of the past, it hasn’t gone all Joseph Stalin on the Leafs. Because there is a feeling of rationality to everything that’s happened.The Leafs said they had a plan and, for the first time in forever, they actually did. There is a plan. Most agreed that it made hockey sense, but there was a business reality to consider. It was more of a skirmish. And people start resenting the team’s mistakes, rather than applauding them as part of an educational process.That’s what could have happened.Even the immediate aftermath of Sunday’s elimination loss, the Leafs themselves seemed to sense that no good could come of being seen to be bitterly disappointed. One or two bounces this way or that, and it would’ve gone the other way.One-or-two bounces thinking leads back to one-or-two pieces thinking – that the Leafs are just one or two players/trades/signings away from being genuine contenders.Let’s say the Leafs had beaten the best regular-season team in the NHL and then hung in against the defending-champion Pittsburgh Penguins in round two. It’s plainly working. Probably not.In itself, that’s a small miracle of faith.People like winning in sports. You still liked the hockey team, but you couldn’t trust it.All that anxiety has given way to calm. Would anyone have howled if the club had blown it in the final few regular-season games? The Raptors were on the ascent. Where would that leave the organization?With a marvellous temporary boost and in a bad spot. Van Riemsdyk says support for Leafs gives him ‘goosebumps’ (The Canadian Press)
Twenty-five months ago, using the latest collapse as his pitch, Shanahan got the key members of the Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment board into a room and sold them on his idea – the whole thing would need to be destroyed. a non-NHL one). At least, it doesn’t feel the same (after the homecoming, nothing ever does). Or – on the theory that anything can happen – beaten them. God forbid, next year isn’t quite what this year was.
“It’s a tough job he’s got.“Whenever you don’t win you want to take a step back and evaluate what you’ve got but I feel like we have a lot of really good pieces here. That’s the nature of the game.”Whether they will keep those pieces in place is the big question of the off-season.First up will be right-winger Alexander Radulov, who made a strong return to the NHL after a four-year absence on a one-year contract with Montreal. The whole city wants to win and next year won’t be different. The Russian led the team with seven points in the playoffs, but can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.Radulov said he’d like to stay and could even sign before July 1, but couldn’t guarantee it.“I want to play on a good team that has a chance to win,” said Radulov. Hopefully it’s going to be a good team, the guys are going to be back and we’re going to be good.”Radulov was part of last summer’s upgrades, which included signing two-time Cup champion forward Andrew Shaw and a blockbuster trade that sent P.K. “I know we’ll figure out a way to make all the pieces fit and bring a championship here.”Asked about contract talks, he said “I don’t have any worries about it. The 37-year-old has earned the same salary of US$5.75 per season for 10 years and hopes to add at least one more year. I’m sure it will all take care of itself.”The 29-year-old Price was solid in the post-season, allowing only 12 goals in six games, but the attack generated only 11 goals against the Rangers.It will be up to general manager Marc Bergevin and his staff to find scoring help, but Price likes the team’s chance and called it one of is most “fun” seasons.“I feel we have a lot of the right pieces here,” said the 2015 Hart and Vezina Trophy winner. He struggled on his return and started the playoffs as the fourth line left-winger, before working his way back to top-line minutes.But Galchenyuk, like captain Max Pacioretty, didn’t score a goal in the playoffs.“He’s a really good hockey player,” Price said of Galchenyuk. Carey Price has put to rest any concern about leaving the Montreal Canadiens.The star goaltender can become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the next season and there has been speculation the team may trade him if they can’t work out a contract extension this summer.And some wondered if Price wanted to stick with a team that had Stanley Cup aspirations but didn’t have the offensive guns to get it done as they crashed out of the first round of playoffs in six games against the New York Rangers. I think we’ve got a good future ahead of us. “He’s got all the tools and he’s still gaining experience.”If Galchenyuk can make the next step and become a full-time centre it could help solve some of the team’s scoring woes. And why not at the same pay?“I’d like to sign for the rest of my life but I can’t do that right?” the Russian said with a grin. The third-overall pick in the 2012 draft has superior skill but battles with consistency and has had trouble finding a permanent position.He started the season as the top-line centre and got nearly a point per game before missing a long stretch with an injury. The team’s still going to be battling for it and as soon as you make the playoffs, you never know. I’m not thinking about finishing my career yet. “Montreal is always putting that goal in front of them.“Every time, they want to win. “So, well see.“We didn’t talk about the contract situation yet, so we’ll see what’s going to happen. It would be great if we could score five goals every night, but in reality, it’s a hard league to score goals in. I’m looking forward to next season. I’m going to get some rest and prepare myself for next season.”The Canadiens also need to sign enigmatic forward Alex Galchenyuk, who can become a restricted free agent. There is already optimism that left-winger Artturi Lehkonen will build on his 18-goal rookie campaign. “I had a great time here my first year.“I enjoyed every minute of it. We’ve got some good pieces here and we’re just going to get better.”A decision looms on Weber’s power play defence partner Andrei Markov, whose three-year contract is about to expire. Subban to Nashville for veteran rearguard Shea Weber.Weber brought a needed physical element to the defence as well as a rocket shot on the power play, but it was Subban who advanced to the second round of playoffs with the Predators.“Its a bad feeling right now, but we have to learn from what happened and be better next year,” said Weber. A lot of teams play really well defensively. Galchenyuk says Habs are ‘shocked’ after playoff elimination (The Canadian Press)
Stanley Cup playoffs: The latest news and resultsPrice made it clear he has no desire to go.“I want to stay here,” Price said Monday as players met the media for the last time before the off-season break.
See you soon.”United players wore warm-up kit displaying the names of Ibrahimovic and defender Marcus Rojo before their Premier League game at Burnley on Sunday. Rojo is also facing a lengthy layoff after sustaining knee ligament damage in the same game as Ibrahimovic.United midfielder Ander Herrera said he did not doubt Ibrahimovic’s determination to make a full recovery, saying the Swede was “privileged physically”.“His physique, his body is one of the best I have ever seen, so I think it will be easier for him to get back than others,” Herrera said, adding: “I have no doubt he will be back because he loves football, he loves to win, he loves to score goals. I will go through this like everything else and come back even stronger.“So far, I played with one leg so it shouldn’t be any problem. But his one-year deal at Old Trafford expires at the end of the season, raising concerns that he could have played his last game for the 20-time English champions.But Ibrahimovic took to Instagram to say he “will come back even stronger”.He posted: “It’s no news I got injured so I will be out of football for a while. The club has not put a timeframe on his recovery. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is certain his illustrious career will not be ended by the serious knee injury that has cut short a fine first season at Manchester United.United said the Swedish forward had sustained “significant knee ligament damage” in the Europa League quarterfinal victory over Anderlecht last week. Giving up is not an option. One thing is for sure, I decide when it’s time to stop and nothing else. He loves to train every day.” After joining from Paris Saint-Germain, the 35-year-old striker has been a revelation for United in his first campaign in England, scoring 28 goals in all competitions.
She has been training in the hall of a local tennis club, Sillenbuch. Fellow German player and last year’s finalist, Laura Siegemund, did get one of the three wild cards, alongside Sharapova and Johanna Konta. Caroline Wozniacki said “It’s disrespectful to other players.” Dominika Cibulkova, Agnieszka Radwanska and Andy Murray also spoke out publicly against wild cards for players who return from doping bans. But French Open officials have postponed a decision until the week starting May 15, as to whether they will also offer the 2012 and 2014 champion a place in its main draw.Some questions and answers about Sharapova’s return:WHAT WAS SHARAPOVA BANNED FOR?Sharapova initially was given a two-year suspension after testing positive for heart drug meldonium at last year’s Australian Open. German Fed Cup captain Barbara Rittner said at the weekend that “Sharapova should have started from zero again,” meaning entering smaller tournaments and the qualification stage of the bigger events.SO WHO IS THE VICTIM OF SHARAPOVA’S WILD CARD?Julia Goerges. Even if she wins her first match, she will still feel tight in the second.” German players, led by two-time defending Stuttgart champion Angelique Kerber, have also voiced criticism. Even with eight of the world’s top 10 players in the main draw, an unranked rival is grabbing all the headlines at an indoor clay-court event this week.Handed a much-debated wild card, Maria Sharapova will return to competitive tennis at the Porsche Grand Prix on Wednesday evening, less than 24 hours after the end of her 15-month suspension for a doping offence. There will be “extreme pressure on Maria,” according to the formerly fourth-ranked Anke Huber, who is in the organizing committee. The five-time Grand Slam champion and former No. Siegemund said organizers “should try to use the wild cards for helping German players who otherwise couldn’t take part. But the wild card for the three-time winner is hardly a surprise as the Russian is a long-term brand ambassador for the sports car manufacturer backing the tournament.Organizers in Madrid and Rome followed Stuttgart’s example. Playing Fed Cup in Ukraine at the weekend, Goerges couldn’t enter the qualifying stages in Stuttgart. As a banned player, she has no access to official tournament facilities until Wednesday, and has obviously been missing from Monday’s players’ presentation party on centre court.WHO WILL SHARAPOVA PLAY IN STUTTGART?Roberta Vinci is her opponent in the first round. “You don’t return on court after 15 months and just play as if nothing has happened. Sharapova outplayed the Italian both times they met, winning 6-0, 6-1 and 6-2, 6-1, respectively, though both matches were on hardcourt and the most recent was five years ago. 1 will have to rebuild her ranking from scratch, as only tournament results over the preceding 12 months count toward the WTA rankings.With Serena Williams and Madison Keys the only top-10 players missing, the event starts with Sharapova still in the final days of her suspension. Julia Goerges played for our country this weekend, but that basically means that she scored an own goal.”HOW IS SHARAPOVA PREPARING FOR HER COMEBACK?According to her social media posts, Sharapova travelled to Germany last Friday. If she advances, Sharapova could face an intriguing second-round match against Radwanska, who spoke out firmly against the Russian’s wild card last week. The 2011 Stuttgart champion would have been an obvious choice for German organizers but the 46th-ranked player will now miss the event. She had her ban reduced to 15 months by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which ruled that Sharapova bore “less than significant fault” in the case and that she could not “be considered to be an intentional doper.” Sharapova had been taking meldonium for many years, but overlooked an announcement by WADA that it added the drug to its banned list as per January 1, 2016.HOW HAVE PLAYERS REACTED TO HER WILD CARD?The Stuttgart organizers’ announcement in January sparked a debate which has hardly cooled, three months later.
Just then, the video board showed a movie clip from Jurassic World, subbing Antetokounmpo’s face onto that of the raptor trainer, soothing and quieting aggressive dinosaurs.But DeRozan, as promised, was bouncing back big – taking jumpers, going coast to coast past Tony Snell, barrelling right at defenders and finishing at the rim. Milwaukee superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo was held to 14 points on 6-of-19 shooting.“Anybody who knows me knows I’m never too high and I’m never too low, no matter how bad things or no matter how great things get,” said DeRozan after the game. DeMar DeRozan promised a bounce-back performance Saturday, and he delivered.Two days after he went without a field goal in his team’s humiliating 27-point Game 3 loss, DeRozan answered with a 33-point performance Saturday to lead the Toronto Raptors to an 87-76 win over the Milwaukee Bucks, tying up their first-round playoff series 2-2. “They found a way to slow us down and our tempo really slowed in the second half and came to a halt.”Lowry, who had been 2-of-7 in the first half, was getting free – driving, dishing passes, hitting three-point shots and drawing fouls. Toronto went on a 7-0 run and held Milwaukee to a 17-point third quarter. Toronto took a six-point lead into the final quarter and drove the game home.Snell was Milwaukee’s top scorer with 19, while Monroe was held to 14 points and nine boards.For Toronto, Powell contributed 12 points in the 34 minutes he was given, along with four assists. I’m going to be there, I’m bumping him.”Both teams shot poorly to start the game and the score remained close. “I keep a level head and I understand bad things are going to come, and I accept it, just like I accept the great times. The Freak went end to end and delivered a vicious jam over DeRozan, the phenom’s face contorting into a menacing snarl. The Toronto all-star led all players with 21 points by halftime, to Antetokounmpo’s 12, and the game was tied 41-41.In the second half, Ibaka was getting an astonishing number of open shots, but couldn’t get them to fall. One fan sauntered through the crowd with a sign that read “Canadian Bacon = Ham.” Positive vibes were still flowing after Thursday’s big win.Inside the arena, in their usual burn, they played Barney music as the Raptors’ starting lineup was announced and danced the purple dinosaur across the video board. It gave Milwaukee a seven-point lead and whipped the crowd into a frenzy. I knew lightning don’t strike twice in the same place.”Bucks fans were tailgating outside Milwaukee’s BMO Harris Bradley Center Saturday afternoon as a live band played. Kyle Lowry contributed 18 points – 14 of them in the second half. “This is an up and down league and one day you’re the statue and the next day you’re the pigeon.”The Bucks, who are looking to win their first playoff series since 2001, come back to Toronto where Game 5 will take place on Monday. “He wasn’t going to get easy runs or easy cuts. To antagonize the Raptors, a blow-up Bucks mascot ate an inflatable Raptor during a timeout. Regular starting centre Jonas Valanciunas would come off the bench in order to guard troublesome lefty centre Greg Monroe once he entered the game.“I knew what I was trying to do, I was trying to set the tone early that it was going to be a physical game for him,” said Powell. Pockets of Raptors fans spotted the crowd wearing jerseys or Raptors black and red plaid, breaking up the sea of Milwaukee fans waving white Fear the Deer rally towels.Toronto chose to mix up its starters in desperate times, going with Lowry, DeRozan, and DeMarre Carroll, shifting Serge Ibaka to centre, and inserting Norman Powell to start on the hot-shooting Khris Middleton. Game 6 will be played Thursday in Milwaukee. The Raps dictated the pace in a defensive slugfest that saw the Bucks turn the ball over 21 times, and shoot just 37 per cent. But the Greek Freak missed his first five field-goal attempts on what would be a so-so afternoon for the Bucks star.Antetokounmpo began to heat up a little midway through the second, swatting a big pass out of Carroll’s hands, nailing a couple of jumpers and one of his acrobatic wonder-feats. The Bucks still had some big moments that riled up the crowd as it had on Tuesday – Antetokounmpo intercepting passes or swatting away what looked like an easy Lowry layup. Still, the momentum was starting to swing in Toronto’s favour.“Give Toronto credit – they slowed us down,” said Milwaukee coach Jason Kidd. Ibaka had ten points, eight boards and blocked three shots, but made just four of his 16 field goal attempts.“I’ve always said we play better with our backs against the wall. It’s a tough way to live but I love our team’s resilient personality,” said Toronto coach Dwane Casey.