Las Vegas Golden Knights tab Gerard Gallant as their first coach

Gallant’s luggage was removed from the team bus outside the arena and he eventually had to take a taxi while the Panthers left him behind to continue their road trip to Chicago.The abrupt firing came after the Panthers got off to an 11-10-1 start, and a year after Gallant was a coach-of-the-year finalist in just his second season in Florida. That was our goal.”Gallant joins the Golden Knights some five months after being unceremoniously fired by the Panthers immediately following a 3-2 loss to the Hurricanes at Carolina. “He is an experienced coach, has had success at multiple levels and has a great reputation amongst the players who have played for him. In 2015-16, the Panthers set a franchise record with 47 wins and 103 points to finish first in the Atlantic Division and secure their second playoff berth in 15 seasons.Now Gallant heads from the South Florida beaches to the Las Vegas desert, where the Golden Knights prepare to open their inaugural season in October.“When you get fired you’re down in the dumps a little bit and all of a sudden you get an interview and you’re excited again,” Gallant said. Experienced coaches are usually better with their second team. Kicked off the bus by the Florida Panthers in November, Gerard Gallant has packed his bags for Las Vegas to take over as the first coach of the NHL expansion Golden Knights.“I interviewed in mid-January and when I got the interview I felt real comfortable coming in here. To get the call a couple of days ago and say, ‘You’re going to be the new coach’ was a good experience for me.”The next step for Vegas will be adding its first 30 players through the expansion draft in June.McPhee made it clear that the brass will build the team, and Gallant will coach the players being brought in.“We’ll provide the players and Gerard coaches them,” McPhee said. You need 23 guys, you need a team — it’s not about two or three players.”Gallant was a standout left wing as a player, primarily for the Detroit Red Wings — scoring at least 34 goals in four straight seasons from 1986 through 1990 and finishing his NHL career with 211 goals in 615 games. “We’re not going to tell him how to coach, and I’m sure he’s not going to tell us how to find players.”And that includes future Hall of Famer Jaromir Jagr, whom Gallant established a good relationship with in Florida, and who will be a free agent on July 1.“Jaromir is an unbelievable hockey player, he’s an unbelievable person. He later was a head coach in Columbus and an assistant in Montreal, among other stops.He also coached in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, where he oversaw the St. I interviewed for a day and a half, and it was an unbelievable experience. He has an outstanding reputation and knows how to get the best out of players,” McPhee said. When I left, this was the job I wanted,” Gallant said Thursday at his introductory news conference. “I was very hopeful this day was going to happen. General manager George McPhee cited Gallant’s experience and past success in announcing the hiring following what he called an extensive search of candidates.Full coverage of the 2017 NHL Playoffs“I know how he coaches, I know all about his reputation. John (New Brunswick) Sea Dogs as they won consecutive league titles in 2011 and ‘12, and a Memorial Cup championship in 2011. “Who knows what’s going to happen down the road. He’s 45, he says he wants to play ‘til he’s 50 and he’s a character person,” Gallant said.

Canadian ski legend Nancy Greene Raine undergoing cancer treatment

Patients must take life-long daily doses of a medication to replace the hormones normally produced by the gland.Each year, an estimated 6,800 Canadians are diagnosed with various forms of thyroid cancer and about 200 die from the disease, which is roughly three times more common in women than men, according to the Canadian Cancer Society. Sen. She won Olympic gold and silver in 1968 as well as overall World Cup titles in 1967 and 1968.She was voted Canada’s female athlete of the 20th century in a countrywide poll conducted by The Canadian Press in 1999.Thyroid cancer occurs in the cells of the thyroid — the butterfly-shaped gland at the front of the neck that produces the hormones that regulate heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature and weight.It’s not known what form of thyroid cancer the 73-year-old Greene Raine has, but there are several types. Papillary thyroid cancer can occur at any age, but most often affects people aged 30 to 50.In most cases, treatment involves full removal of the thyroid, often followed by a dose of radioactive iodine to destroy any residual thyroid cells to prevent recurrence of the cancer. She also won silver in slalom and finished 10th in downhill after overcoming an ankle injury a month out from the Games that threatened to derail her medal chances.She finished her World Cup career with 13 victories over a two-year span before retiring in 1968 at age 24.Greene Raine blazed a trail for other top women skiers in Canada, with 1992 Olympic downhill champion Kerrin Lee-Gartner calling her a big influence.A provincial park, lake and mountain summit near Rossland, B.C., where Greene Raine was raised, all bear her name.Greene Raine, who was appointed to the Senate in 2009, plans to return to her duties as soon as possible following her treatment. Nicknamed “Tiger” because of her speed and aggressive turns, Greene Raine dominated women’s skiing for two years. The most common is papillary thyroid cancer, which arises in the cells that produce and store thyroid hormones. A news release said additional treatment will begin within four or five weeks to manage the suspected spread of cancer cells. Nancy Greene Raine, Canada’s most decorated ski racer, is undergoing treatment for thyroid cancer.Sun Peaks Resort, where Greene Raine is the director of skiing, said she was scheduled to have her thyroid removed Thursday in Kelowna, B.C. Overall, thyroid cancer has an average 98 per cent five-year survival rate.Greene Raine won the giant slalom at the 1968 Winter Games in Grenoble, France, by a blistering margin of 2.68 seconds.

Toronto Wolfpack add grit, experience with bad boy Ryan Bailey

“I don’t regret it. “He’s playing a man’s game but I’ve never seen such a child play a man’s game before in my life.”The two England teammates eventually shook hands and buried the hatchet.Bailey, who signed a two-year deal with the Wolfpack, says he comes across as the “pantomime villain.”He was just a teenager when he debuted for Leeds after working his way up from the academy. The former Great Britain and England forward also has three World Club Challenge titles and a Challenge Cup.Brian Noble, Toronto’s director of rugby and a former decorated coach, calls Bailey “one of the most decorated players in the history of Super League.”Noble, who had Bailey in his squad in 2004 as Great Britain coach, predicted the athletic 6-foot-4 240-pounder will soon become a fan favourite in Toronto.“I think they will love him. I think we can cause some damage.”Bailey did that off the pitch back in 2003 when he was sentenced to nine months detention in a young offenders institution after a street brawl involving several players outside a nightclub.“I think it was a blessing in disguise … But when you actually speak to him, he’s like all rugby league players – he’s a nice specimen.”Noble says Bailey’s wealth of experience will only benefit the Wolfpack.Bailey has long been a powerful aggressive forward, battering his way through opposition tacklers or just getting under their skin. The fans love to hate me so that’s why I did it – for the fans. It’s there for life.”The 33-year-old Bailey is expected to see action Friday when Toronto (4-0-0) visits the North Wales Crusaders (2-2-0).Toronto, rugby league’s first transatlantic team, started play this season in the third tier of English competition. In 2015, the father of three spent 26 days at the Sporting Chance clinic, set up by former Arsenal star Tony Adams, for treatment of depression.“I’m very open about it. The latest member of the Toronto Wolfpack not only wears his heart on his sleeve, it’s in his eyes.Veteran prop forward Ryan Bailey, known as one of rugby league’s bad boys, has the words “Love” and “Hate” tattooed on his eyelids.Fans – and players – either love him or hate him.“I’ve got a lot of tattoos on my body but that was probably the most painful tattoo I’ve ever had,” he said in his heavy Yorkshire accent. He went on to make more than 300 first-grade appearances for the Rhinos.Bailey lost his way when he left his hometown club. He has also been an enforcer, not afraid to swing away.Bailey will join forces with 37-year-old prop Fuifui Moimoi, a former Tongan and New Zealand international who at this level remains a 6-foot, 242-pound wrecking ball.“If you walk onto a bus and you want someone to give up their seat to an old lady, they’d give up the seat for those two blokes, don’t worry,” Noble said. If you’ve got problems, you’ve got to speak (to someone) about them. They won’t miss him, that’s for sure, at six foot four and goodness I don’t know how many kilos he is. “You can’t live in the dark because it’s not good for your health. I learned my lesson and did well after that,” he told the Sun newspaper in 2014.Still, he has long been a polarizing figure in the sport.“People hate him because he represents that thuggish element of rugby league from yesteryear,” former Leeds teammate Barrie McDermott, a hard man in his own right during his playing days, told the BBC in 2013.“For the opposition, he’s like a splinter in your finger that you can’t get out.”After the 2011 Super League grand final, won by Leeds, St. “And Toronto’s on the up.”Bailey won six Super League championships in 12 years at Leeds and had short stints at Hull Kingston Rovers and Castleford Tigers before joining Warrington Wolves. “Bailey and Moimoi are clearly going to be a presence.”“In an era where everybody’s looking for the flashy stuff, they do the tough stuff really well,” he said.Said Bailey: “I can’t wait to get out there and play with big Fui because you know he plays like me. I think it’s good for the players to speak out,” he said. It’s looking to win promotion to the second-tier Championship and then the elite Super League, where Bailey has played his entire career.A fully professional team, the Wolfpack have had little trouble to date against the semi-pro competition in the Kingstone Press League 1.“They’ve got a good team and a good group of lads who look after each other,” said Bailey, who was released by Warrington after last season. It’s not weakness to speak.“Hopefully if anyone needs to speak to me about some help, hopefully I can help someone out there and push them in the right direction.” Helens forward Jon Wilkin lambasted Bailey for taunting players.“I’m embarrassed for him as a human being,” Wilkin said at the time. He’s always had an element of intimidation about him.

Canadiens turn to the power of video after tight Game 1 loss

He was on Julien’s staff the first time around in 2003 and works out of a windowless room in the Bell Centre that has the trappings of a television production truck.Such is the level of technological sophistication at his fingertips that sequences can be uploaded onto the coaches’ tablet computers during the game and players are often shown video between periods.“You can see just your defensive-zone shifts from the second period, or what happened on the power-play or whatever, it’s all right there,” defenceman Jeff Petry said.The added degree of difficulty for coaches is there are basically no secrets or surprises in the NHL any more, everyone tracks tendencies. NHL coaches may not keep the crazy office hours of their National Football League brethren, but that’s only because they don’t have a week between games.“There’s times when we’re on the road and we’re in the plane, our laptops are out and we’re already watching it. Information may be power, but the sheer abundance of data available to hockey coaches means it is also a serious impediment to a good night’s sleep.This is particularly true in the playoffs, where minute tweaks can reap enormous dividends. But the thing that’s most important in that is I can dissect games as much as I want, but I certainly don’t overload players with all these details,” he said. Louis Blues system (both had a lot of penalty minutes, Julien had more goals, Vigneault got called up to the NHL sooner).Asked this week about his memories of those days, Julien joked that “I remember he had size six skates, we used to tease him about that.”In the chess match between the old friends, it’s Julien’s move.On Thursday, by the time the Habs’ players straggled in for a light practice, their coach was ready with game footage and a few ideas.“He’s really, really good at identifying what needs to be done, and then communicating the solutions,” Petry said. Lose a tight game, as the Montreal Canadiens did to the New York Rangers on Wednesday, and the search for answers goes late and resumes early.“There’s nights that are shorter than others, and we don’t get as much sleep as players do, but at the same time we don’t exert as much energy as the players do in a game, so it’s a pretty even tradeoff,” Claude Julien, the Habs coach, said with a smile.The Franco-Ontarian has a reputation in hockey circles as a gifted analyst, an expert at breaking the game down to its constituent parts (he also hoovers up information – moments after Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarter-final opener on Wednesday he knew the scores and top-line stats for the other games in progress.)“I think that’s been, I’d say, one of my strengths, I like to dissect games. It’s an arms race of tiny details, fuelled by in-house statistical metrics and reverse-angle replays. Everyone scours the footage to discern injuries.The challenge is not in surprising the other guys, it’s performing and executing your game plan to the point where there’s not much they can do about it.And so, adjustments.The Rangers present a particular challenge given their coach, Alain Vigneault, knows Julien better than anyone.Not merely because they faced off in the 2011 Stanley Cup final between Boston and Vancouver, but also because both are natives of the Ottawa region who first met in minor hockey, both coached the Hull Olympiques of the QMJHL, and they played together in the St. “His meetings are open, he wants you to ask questions.”Added centre Phillip Danault, who sought out his coach for pointers after his postseason baptism: “he’s the smartest guy in here, he sees everything on the ice, he breaks it down, it’s like he knows what we’re thinking … he has a lot of experience, and it shows.”Then it was on to the ice for a practice where the Habs, who can’t afford to let their well-documented struggles scoring goals to become entrenched, worked on how to convert chances into goals: by screening the goalie, deflecting pucks, and positioning for rebounds.It was clearly the product of having reviewed the previous evening’s evidence (after the game he said “what I look at is the opportunities we had, and what we can do with them”).After practice, Julien said that, on balance, he was happy with his team’s play in Game 1, a 2-0 shutout loss, and that “we showed [the players] a few things that should help us score more goals.”Lest anyone be left with the impression Julien is a one-man tactical band, he isn’t.Associate coach Kirk Muller, assistants Jean-Jacques Daigneault, Clément Jodoin, Dan Lacroix and goalie coach Stéphane Waite – all holdovers from the Michel Therrien era – have responsibilities.“You’ve got coaches that are working with you that you have to trust, and you have to delegate because you’re only as good as the people that surround you,” he said.It helps when they too are willing to deepen their shut-eye deficit. Sometimes, we come in early in the morning, like we did today and we wanted to be ready for when the players came in and we had our stuff ready,” Julien said.In the postseason, people such as Mario Leblanc take on added importance.Leblanc, a former junior hockey player, has been the Habs’ video coach for more than two decades. “As long as I know it, I give them what’s necessary because a player who overthinks is skating in mud by the time he gets on the ice.”Some coaches like to review the full game tape themselves – Julien said he often does – others leave it to their coaching assistants to go over their area of influence (special teams, defencemen, forwards and so forth).It can happen immediately after games but more often it’s early the next morning.

DeMar DeRozan ready to lead Raptors as they chase history again

“Let’s take it one game at a time and with that understand what we’ve got to do to get there and how hard it is. This is what I worked all summer for,” DeRozan said. The athletic player known as “The Greek Freak” leads the Bucks in five statistical categories.Antetokounmpo will be making his post-season debut, but Raptors coach Dwane Casey said what he lacks in experience, he’ll make up for with hustle.“He plays so hard, the kid plays so hard, he has a heart as big as this table,” said Casey – sitting at a six-foot-long table. It put DeRozan squarely in the cross-hairs of other teams’ defences.“It’s a great challenge and I feed off that sort of attention,” DeRozan said. Couldn’t wait to come in today. “That’s why you work extremely hard, why you pay attention, why you study the game and find ways to be better, so you don’t be in the same position.”DeRozan said Lowry’s 21-game absence with a wrist injury helped. I know I came in early just to get some work in and get completely locked in and embrace this feeling.”The Raptors dispatched Indiana and Miami last season before facing eventual NBA champion Cleveland, and were ushered off the ACC floor after Game 6 to cheers as their thrilling run came to an end.They’re a much wiser team for the experience, they say. Now, the 27-year-old is poised to lead the Raptors back into the postseason, where expectations are greater than ever before.“Now, for me, the real thing starts. The playoffs are a different beast. “And his compete level, you’ve got to match his compete level to play against him.”The Raptors have won four straight season series against the Bucks, winning three of four games this season.Both teams roar in to the post-season on high notes. DeMar DeRozan has been working toward this moment since last spring, when Toronto took Cleveland to six games in the Eastern Conference final in the Raptors’ historic postseason run.It was on his mind even at the Olympics in Rio, and the motivation for this moment would propel him to one of the finest regular seasons in Raptors history. The Raptors won 12 of their final 14 games, despite the absence of Lowry for a good chunk of that stretch. He scored 30-plus points in 31 games to surpass Vince Carter’s franchise record. We can’t take what we did last year and bring it into this playoffs aside from experience.“We’ve got to go out there and put our foot down and play basketball, lace ’em up, tie ’em up, go play up and down and run basketball plays.”DeRozan heads in to the postseason as an almost unstoppable scorer, averaging 27.3 points a game. The Bucks won a league-best 14 games in March, including a 101-94 victory over Toronto on March 4.Game 2 is Tuesday in Toronto, then the series heads to Milwaukee for Game 3 on Thursday and Game 4 next Saturday. It’s still hard,” Lowry said. I think that’s what experience [brings about], you take heed of something before,” he said. If the focus last year was to win one series, something Toronto had only done once before, in 2001 versus the New York Knicks, this season they’re talking “game by game.”“We understand what it takes to get there,” DeRozan said. “I’m more accepting of it this time around, understanding how teams are going to play me, the attention I’m going to draw defensively so it’s on me to make things easier on my teammates.”The Raptors’ defence, meanwhile, will have their hands full with Bucks all-star big man Giannis Antetokounmpo. No matter what you’ve done last year or the year before, this is a completely new slate. “Everybody is just excited. While he struggled mightily at times in last year’s playoffs, he believes he’s better prepared a year later.“Every year I try to come with an answer for something from the year previously. It’s still hard. That’s our mentality this time around.”All-star guard Kyle Lowry echoed DeRozan’s sentiments.He bristled when asked whether last year’s experience could make this postseason any easier.“No. “You’ve still gotta go out there and play. The team was feeling the postseason buzz, he said.“We kind of started to feel it last night on the plane coming home [from Cleveland],” DeRozan said. Pushing myself to get myself in that mindset for those games. “This was the only thing during the Olympics on my mind – getting back to April, May and playing in the moment. For me, my measuring stick doesn’t happen until Saturday.”DeRozan and the Raptors host the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 1 on Saturday at the Air Canada Centre, and met with the media Thursday after a walk-through and film session.

Oilers let Game 1 slip through fingers, but emotions got away first

Their penalty killers got exhausted. Edmonton was outshot, 37-9, after the first period, and 44-19 overall.“We looked like a team on our toes early on, and like a team on our heels later,” said Todd McLellan, the Oilers coach. “The crowd helped. San Jose’s players have more than 1,000 games of playoff experience combined. I think maybe guys were trying to do a little too much.” I think emotions got the best of us.”Fuelled by excitement, the Oilers jumped out to a 2-0 lead, and then got schooled by the older, more experienced Sharks. It was unbelievable out there.”Pro athletes are so well trained and so elite that it is rare to see them undone by raw emotion. The Sharks repeatedly trapped the Oilers in their own end. Then in the second period, they took over.“Definitely, in order to win, we have to stay out of the penalty box. Edmonton’s downtown arena turned into an ocean of insanity. By comparison, the Oilers have only a fraction. McLellan was louder than usual, and did more hands-on coaching. Eight months of improvements seemed to unravel on Wednesday night. “Hopefully, we will be better at channelling our emotions.“We’ve been through some adversity this season and we’ve always bounced back well. “The Sharks are a savvy, veteran team, and they were able to grab hold of the game and we weren’t able to grab it back.“That is a lesson learned on our behalf. “During warmups, I took two or three good laps around the ice and had to tell myself to slow down. That may be a foreshadowing of bad things to befall the Oilers. That was a pretty poor game on our part.”In the first period on Wednesday, energy and excitement created an illusion that was shattered as the game went on. That’s what happens in the Stanley Cup.“I think as a team we played well in the beginning,” said Zack Kassian, Edmonton’s big forward. Only 41 saves by Cam Talbot kept Edmonton from receiving a major thumping.“I think you could argue that coming off that high in the first period led us to not being as sharp as we needed to be for the rest of the game,” said Eric Gryba, the Oilers’ brawny defenceman. They are a young team and were nervous on Wednesday night, the Great One said.The Oilers recognize that.“We are going to play a much better game on Friday night,” Letestu said in the dressing room afterward. A thousand more jammed into a beer garden in the entrance hall and watched their first-round game with San Jose on television. Only more steely nerves and a much better effort will keep the Oilers from falling into a scary 2-0 hole.They beat the Sharks the final three times they played in the regular season, finished ahead of them in the Pacific Division and had won nine consecutive games at home.Suddenly, all of that meant nothing. We will be better next time.”The teams meet in Game 2 in Edmonton on Friday night, before continuing the series in San Jose on Sunday. He talked to his players about game management, momentum and discipline, all of which went to hell over the last 43 minutes in the series opener. For a moment, at least, they seem human, after all.The Oilers let victory slip through their fingers in the opening game of their Stanley Cup playoff series, but their emotions got away from them first.Suddenly, they started taking dumb penalties, which contributed to a sea change in momentum and ultimately, to them frittering away the lead. Common sense says they will put up more of a fight.Their one-hour practice session at Rogers Place on Thursday took on a more serious tone. Or, it could be a momentary slip caused by the emotion of the moment. They are so robotic during interviews that it is rarer still to hear them talk about such a common failing. Until Wednesday night, they hadn’t played a game that mattered at this time of year since 2006.The 46 victories this season was their most since 1986-87. To pretend to know is folly.The Sharks lost 10 of their past 14 games but have shown they will not be an easy mark. “You could feel the passion in the building, and there is no way you can’t be affected.“There were a bunch of orange maniacs in the stands. So many people wanted to experience the Oilers’ first stab at the playoffs in more than a decade that the team sold $80 passes on Wednesday night allowing fans to wander the concourses at Rogers Place without benefit of a seat. “There is no doubt we fed off that energy,” Mark Letestu, the Oilers’ 32-year-old centre, said Thursday. San Jose won, 3-2, in overtime. At one point, the team gathered around him on the ice as he scribbled on a blackboard.Wayne Gretzky, an executive with the Oilers Entertainment Group, watched from the stands. My heart rate was soaring.“It was a good experience for everybody, but there is a bit of a lesson there. The clamour started before the puck dropped and rose to ear-splitting over three hours. It is not a coincidence that they have reached the playoffs in 11 of the past 12 seasons, and played in the Stanley Cup final against the Penguins last year. We know we are a lot better than we showed.

Blue Jays lose Donaldson as winless streak reaches six games

The Orioles eventually broke a runless tie in the fifth with four straight hits that resulted in a pair of runs. The Orioles’ right-hander pitched six innings and allowed five hits before turning the ball over the bullpen. The lefty was removed after 1/3 of an inning that night after he gave up five earned runs on three hits in the shortest start of his career.Through four innings Thursday he was strong, giving up three hits and one walk. Bautista saved another run that inning when he made an inning-ending running grab before crashing into the wall to rob Adam Jones of extra bases with a runner on first. That was as close as they would come.Despite falling short offensively, the Blue Jays got the bounceback they were hoping for from Liriano, who struggled in his 2017 debut against the Rays last week. Let that sink in. As the elated crowd of 32,957 cheered home Jose Bautista, who himself had doubled to lead off the bottom half of the sixth inning, they almost instantly fell silent when Donaldson began to hobble toward second base, grabbing at his right calf. It was as if the air was sucked right out of the Rogers Centre. The Jays were spared a third run that inning thanks to an ill-advised base-running decision by Trey Mancini, who attempted to score from first on a double to the centre field wall by Jonathan Schoop.Mancini was gunned down at the plate after Troy Tulowitzki fielded a cut off throw from Pillar and relayed a one-bouncer to catcher Russell Martin to record the out. For a team who has made a name for themselves tearing the cover off the ball the past three seasons, the Blue Jays’ lack of offence so far in 2017 has them dwelling in the basement of the American League East.The team is experiencing its longest losing streak since September, 2014, back when they were the fifth-highest scoring team in the majors.In fact, no AL team has scored more runs than the Blue Jays since that season, so to see them languish near bottom of the league in nearly every offensive statistical category is concerning, no matter how early in the season it is.Kevin Gausman was the latest opposing starter to shut down Toronto. Donaldson was quickly removed from the game, having seemingly aggravated a calf strain that he first sustained in spring training and which crept back up on him on Sunday and has since limited him to a designated hitter role.There was no immediate word from the team on the extent of the injury, but there is reasonable cause for concern that Toronto’s best player could be sidelined, and it couldn’t come at a worse time.The Blue Jays saw their winless streak reach six games on Thursday as Baltimore held on for a 2-1 win, dropping Toronto’s record to 1-8.The Blue Jays’ inability to generate offence was once again front and centre. From there, Darren O’Day, Brad Brach and closer Zach Britton combined for three innings of scoreless work to seal the deal.The Jays were on the field early in the afternoon, hitting curveballs from a pitching machine as they prepared to face the hard-throwing Gausman, whose repertoire traditionally relies heavily upon a mix of a curveball, split-finger and slider when facing Toronto.Those extra cuts didn’t appear to do much good until sixth, when Bautista and Donaldson swatted their back-to-back doubles to make it a one-run game. Toronto Blue Jays all star third baseman Josh Donaldson swatted a double into the right-field corner to bring his team within one run in their series opener against the Baltimore Orioles. A day after they were shut out and a complete-game gem from Marcus Stroman wasted, Toronto’s lifeless bats erased a serviceable appearance from starter Francisco Liriano, who struck out 10 and gave up a pair of earned runs over 6 2/3 innings.The Blue Jays’ lone run brought its grand total on the season to 24 – making them the lowest-scoring team in baseball.

Maple Leafs surrender two-goal lead, lose Game 1 to Capitals in overtime

“I think their fans did a great job of that. “The building had a lot of excitement in it. He also talked the team off the ledge.“In between periods it was basically Justin just kind of calmed everyone down, said, ‘Relax, we’re not going to win every period,’ ” Holtby said. Just as they did for most of the season, the rebuilt version of the Toronto Maple Leafs figuratively thumbed their noses at the doubters and came out flying for their NHL playoff debut.There was no sign of nerves from the start on Thursday night and for almost two periods and then parts of a third, the young Leafs had the Washington Capitals, the NHL’s best team in the regular season but one with a shaky playoff past, nervous and on the ropes. He also scored the tying goal late in the second period.Holtby said Williams did more than just score two big goals to get the Capitals back in the game. His best save came with 3:29 to play in the third when he robbed Caps winger Marcus Johansson with a glove save for the second time to keep the Leafs alive for overtime.Andersen topped that save early in overtime when he stopped the puck and then flung his pad up to get the rebound. The Washington Capitals fought back from a two-goal disadvantage to subdue a determined group of Leafs with a 3-2 overtime win in the first game of their Eastern Conference first-round series. I didn’t like that we wouldn’t shoot the puck. I think it affects both sides of the bench, gets everyone kind of going. But it wasn’t quite good enough. Oshie and into the net.However, the goal was waved off by the referees, who ruled Leafs centre Nazem Kadri interfered with Holtby as the shot came in. But all of the Leafs went at the Capitals with vigour. Before the series all of the talk was about the Capitals not giving the Leafs any room to play but they were all over the hosts for most of the first period and it paid off.Behind all of the work of the forwards and defence was an excellent Andersen. The Caps made the playoffs every year but one from 2008 through 2016, and they never advanced beyond the second round of the playoffs.On Thursday night, what the Leafs lacked in experience they made up in effort, as Toronto went at Washington hard from the opening faceoff. It bounced off Washington forward T.J. We didn’t do a good job of taking that away. It was an uncharacteristic display of hard-hitting, hard-checking hockey from the Leafs interlaced with their speed and skill.Just 1 minute 35 seconds into the game, the Leafs’ aggressiveness paid off. But Babcock used his challenge and after a look at the replays the referee reversed his call and the Leafs had a stunning 2-0 lead.Shattenkirk admitted nerves played a role in the Capitals’ difficulties.“There is always some nervousness, I think, when you come into games like this. Yes, it was a whiff but without Andersen’s excellence in the previous 65 minutes and change, the Leafs would not have made it that far. It’s only human,” he said. He got us a big couple goals and fought hard all game.”The Capitals came at the Leafs in waves in the third period, with the crowd roaring, but Andersen was rock solid, as he had been for the entire game. I think we did a great job of that all night.”The Caps again were guilty of sloppy play in their own end on Gardiner’s goal. I didn’t think we did a good job of that. “I liked our game. Obviously that’s what we want to do, we want to try and quiet them right away and make sure we’re playing hard all game. “But he gave us an opportunity, so I don’t think you can argue with that.”Other than giving up a five-on-three power play, which led to the Capitals’ first goal of the game after the Leafs had taken a 2-0 lead, Babcock was satisfied with how his team responded to his days of urging that they were good enough to compete in the playoffs.“A confidence-builder, for sure,” he said. That’s playoff hockey. He quickly settled any doubts about the two knocks on the head he suffered in the last two weeks of the regular season by coolly making a few glove saves in the opening minutes and got better from there. The puck wound up at the point and Gardiner fired it at the net. We just took a deep breath after that and regrouped.”The Capitals got one back in the first period at 12:24 on a power play with Williams’ first of two goals to finish the first period down 2-1. We had so many opportunities to shoot and we wouldn’t, we wanted to pass.“I thought Wilson did a good job of doing that, you just throw it on net. Some of the Capitals were on their way over the boards to celebrate. They coughed up the puck twice in about five seconds with the second giveaway by defenceman Kevin Shattenkirk. No matter where they were coming from, where they were shooting, they were just getting pucks in to [Holtby] and crashing on it and trying to get second and third chances. “I think just the problem we had, and I was a victim of it, too, was just not moving your feet, not skating through it.“[The Leafs] came out fast. Mitch Marner wasted no time sliding the puck in the open side of the net for his first playoff goal in his first playoff game.Marner and the Leafs’ other two star rookies, Auston Matthews and William Nylander, all played well in their playoff debuts.“Yeah, it was a lot of fun,” Marner said. I was very happy with the way we bounced back. It was Wilson’s first career playoff goal.It was a long shot that seemed to catch Andersen off-guard and drifted into the top corner. Things bounce to somebody and it goes in. You have to give them credit and really they were just doing a good job of just throwing pucks to the net. We were very resilient, obviously. They got the chance a minute later when Wilson scored the winner.There were questions about the Leafs defence with Nikita Zaitsev out with an undisclosed injury and little-used Martin Marincin filling the vacancy. He stopped 41 shots, while his counterpart with the Capitals, Braden Holtby, made 35 saves.“I thought [Andersen] was really good, and then he’d probably like to have that [winning goal] back,” Leafs head coach Mike Babcock said. “That’s what leaders do. Holtby misplayed a shot by James van Riemsdyk and allowed the puck to bounce around, under him and in front of the net. I liked a lot of things about our game.”Babcock spent the days leading up to Thursday’s game hammering away at the Capitals’ reputation for regular-season greatness and playoff flops. Tom Wilson won the game with a long shot that eluded Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen, who deserved better, at 5:15 of the first overtime period. It’s definitely an exciting atmosphere and fun to play in.”The fans grew quieter after Marner’s goal and moreso when Leafs defenceman Jake Gardiner scored to put them up 2-0 at 9:44.“Yeah, they were loud all game,” Marner said.

Senators vow to ‘create chaos’ for Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask

“We’re in a new season now and it gets harder and harder to score this time of year.“I think as a whole we need to put more pressure on their D, on their goalie, make it harder for him to see pucks, make him work a bit harder than he had to do [on Wednesday night].”“That’s our game plan, just try and create chaos in the offensive zone, shooting pucks from everywhere,” Ottawa forward Kyle Turris added. We knew that we weren’t going to sweep them.”And he said the Senators know what they need to change if they want to see a different result on Saturday.“It’s tough,” he said. “I think any goalie at this point of the year … you’ve got to make sure get some screens, you get some tips, push them back in the crease.“That’s how you score goals in the NHL in the playoffs.”Ottawa dominated play through the first two periods on Wednesday but only had a 1-0 lead to show for it on a goal by Bobby Ryan about midway through the second frame.The Senators were skating rings around the plodding Bruins and even outshot them 12-0 in the second period, when Rask saved his team’s bacon time after time.“Can someone in the advanced stat community tell us if that is good?” came a response from the official Senators’ Twitter feed.In fact, that was pretty good. Being an NHL goalie can be a lonely existence.Ken Dryden, when he was stopping pucks for the Montreal Canadiens, used to strike that famous pose with his gloved hands perched on top of his goal stick, which provided a convenient landing spot for his chin during those contemplative moments.During a stoppage in play, you will often see a netminder take a leisurely skate to one corner of the rink and then back to the net to while away some time. After all, a neat home is a happy home.Which brings us to Tuukka Rask, the flashy Finnish goaltender for the Boston Bruins, who lead the Ottawa Senators 1-0 in their best-of-seven game in the Eastern Conference quarter-final playoff series.Rask was anything but lonely at the Canadian Tire Centre on Wednesday night, where he was instrumental in Boston skating off with a 2-1 win, in a game the Senators are ruing they let slip through their fingers.The Senators are of the belief that they accorded Rask too much respect in the opening game, that many of the 27 shots they fired his way were of the garden-variety type – from far afield and with little in the way of interference in front to impair the goalie’s vision.For Game 2 on Saturday, the Senators are promising that Rask will have a lot more company in and around his territory as Ottawa looks to square the series.“For sure,” said Ottawa defenceman Cody Ceci when asked if Ottawa has to make life more difficult for Rask in order to achieve success. “And obviously two shifts killed us … nine turnovers in two shifts. Even one turnover is not good.”Neither team practised on Thursday but they will get back to work on Friday at the Bell Sensplex, the Senators official practice facility nearby the Canadian Tire Centre, which is unavailable because of a Dixie Chicks concert.Mark Stone, the Ottawa winger, said that apart from those two lapses in the third period the Senators believed they played well enough to win.“We played well,” he said. One of the goals was five turnovers in our zone and the other one was four turnovers. “It’s obviously the little things we need to adjust to.“It was just one game, there’s still a long series to go. Grooming the crease of built-up snow is another popular pastime for these masked marvels. According to the Bruins, it was the first time in 78 years that a Boston team recorded zero shots on goal in a period during the playoffs.But in the third, the Senators started “cocooning,” to use the description supplied by coach Guy Boucher, mostly standing pat in the defensive zone, trying to protect the lead.It allowed the Bruins more freedom to roam and on two shifts in the third period, after hemming Ottawa in its own end for extended lengths of time, Boston broke through with two goals that proved the difference.First, it was Frank Vatrano who notched the tying goal and then Brad Marchand, the Boston superpest, supplying the winner with just under three minutes to play.“We didn’t sustain what we were doing for 60 minutes and we paid for it,” Boucher said.

Pekka Rinne posts second career playoff shutout in Game 1 win over Chicago

The speedy winger set career highs with 31 goals and 30 assists in a breakout performance this season.Arvidsson nearly picked up a second goal in the first, but he was denied by Crawford on a prime opportunity with 4:22 left. Forsberg then threw it toward the net and Arvidsson tipped it by Crawford at 7:52.It was Arvidsson’s fourth goal in his last four games against Chicago. Wilson had 12 goals and 23 assists this season. The few times they managed to get open, Rinne was there.After Ryan Johansen was sent off for delay of game 9 seconds into the second, Rinne denied Patrick Kane and Trevor van Riemsdyk on the resulting power play. The Predators did not have a 1-0 victory during the regular season. Game 2 is Saturday night at the United Center.Corey Crawford had 19 saves for Chicago, which got centre Artem Anisimov back from a leg injury that sidelined him for the last part of the season, but struggled to find many good looks against a sound defensive performance by Nashville.The Blackhawks, who won the Central Division this year with the most points in the Western Conference, are going for their fourth Stanley Cup championship in the last eight seasons. Glass was inactive as the team’s third goalie. Ryan Hartman found Marian Hossa on a counter midway through the second, but he wasn’t able to get much on the shot and Rinne turned the rush away.The Predators killed off another power play in the third and then kept the Blackhawks away from the net after they pulled Crawford with 1:55 remaining Boosted by a raucous, red-clad crowd of 22,075, the Blackhawks got off to a fast start. Pekka Rinne made 29 saves, Viktor Arvidsson scored in the first period and the Nashville Predators beat the Chicago Blackhawks 1-0 on Thursday night in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series.Rinne’s second career post-season shutout sent Nashville to just its second playoff win in Chicago in seven tries. The Blackhawks recalled G Jeff Glass from Rockford of the AHL. He also had a backhander go off the crossbar with about 4 minutes in the third.NOTES: Predators F Colin Wilson was scratched with a lower-body injury. But the Predators eventually started to control the action, and their high-scoring top line of Arvidsson, Ryan Johansen and Filip Forsberg took the air out of the United Center with one nice sequence.Even with three Blackhawks in the area, Johansen managed to play the puck over to Forsberg in the high slot. They eliminated Nashville during two of those title-winning runs, including in 2015 when the Predators blew leads of 3-0 in Game 1 and 3-1 in Game 6 of their first-round series.This time, they held on – thanks to a super performance by Rinne.Chicago controlled most of the last two periods, but Nashville blocked several shots from the perimeter and got in the passing lanes when the Blackhawks tried to find a better opportunity. …

Flames fall to Ducks 3-2 in series opener

Special teams need to be efficient. Ducks defenceman Kevin Bieksa, the former Vancouver Canucks agitator, retrieved the puck from his own zone and sent a 100-foot-plus pass to Getzlaf at the Calgary blueline, setting up one of the rare three-on-zero breakaways you’ll ever see.Elliott actually made the first save on Getzlaf, but Rickard Rakell was in a position to cash the rebound, before defensive reinforcements could arrive.From there, Jakob Silfverberg restored Anaheim’s lead, scoring their second power-play of the game, with Calgary’s Lance Bouma serving a penalty for goaltender interference.Like a lot of NHL teams, Anaheim is a model of defensive efficiency when nursing a third-period lead and they didn’t give up much the rest of the way.Flames’ captain Mark Giordano was the target of boos every time he touched the puck – identified as Public Enemy No. Not since the regular season in 2004.The Flames’ 25 consecutive regular-season defeats in Anaheim is an NHL record, a run of futility that’s taking on a life of its own.How many consecutive losses does it take to get rational people believing there really is such a thing as a jinx – and get them switching hotels and practice times and pregame meals and doing anything they can, sane or crazy, to change their luck?On a night when the Flames had a 74-second two-man advantage in the final minutes as they tried to force overtime, Calgary couldn’t find the tying goal, even for a few seconds when goalie Brian Elliott was on the bench for an extra attacker and the Flames played six skaters against three. From there, the game turned into a black-and-blue slog, the penalty killing sharpening up, a high level of play from the respective goaltenders, Elliott and John Gibson of the Ducks.It stayed tied 1-1 until midway through the second period when Sam Bennett gave Calgary momentary hope – tipping in a pass from Kris Versteeg at the top of the goal crease past Gibson to give them their first lead of the night.Versteeg was signed by Calgary as a free agent just before the start of the regular season and his value has incrementally risen as the year advanced.Now, he anchors the point of the first power-play unit, awarded that duty because coach Glen Gulutzan values his play-making. There is a cult of superstition that survives in the NHL today, even in an age of advanced analytics, where some people want to turn the game of hockey into a series of figures to review on a spreadsheet.Some, like Anaheim Ducks’ old-school coach Randy Carlyle, resist the siren song of the calculator and distill hockey – especially playoff hockey – down to a few known truths. 1 by Ducks’ fans after his knee-on-knee collision with Anaheim defenceman Cam Fowler in a late-season game knocked Fowler out of the series.With 5:49 to go in the third, Getzlaf took a run at Giordano, clobbering him with a shoulder check that might have been a little high and might have been a little late. It was that kind of frustrating night; and that kind of disheartening finish.For all the things they did well, they trail the best-of-seven Pacific Division semi-final 1-0, with Game 2 set for Saturday night.The Flames got off to the worst possible start imaginable – taking a penalty 47 seconds into the game, and then giving up a power-play goal to Ducks’ captain Ryan Getzlaf five seconds later. Goaltending is the primary difference maker. All that set the stage for a series in which the nastiness quotient could get ramped up in a hurry.Giordano was playing his first NHL playoff game in close to a decade – April of 2007 when the Detroit Red Wings were the opponents and the NHL’s dominant team.“What I take from it is remembering how calm those guys were in every situation,” he said. All were contributing factors in Anaheim’s 3-2 win over the visiting Calgary Flames in their playoff opener Thursday night – but they also underscored one not-so-advanced stat that the Flames just can’t get past.Calgary just doesn’t win in Anaheim. Fans immediately fell back on what’s becoming an increasingly familiar refrain – “you can’t win here” they chanted at the Flames, over and over.But soon, the Flames settled things down with a first-period power-play goal of their own, by Sean Monahan. Undisciplined play can kill you. “That’s what made them so good – how well [Pavel] Datysuk, [Henrik] Zetterberg, [Nicklas] Lidstrom and all those guys played when they were under pressure.”Ten years removed from their one-and-only Stanley Cup championship, the Ducks have not exactly handled pressure well in their last few playoffs either. Both Versteeg’s goals were seeing-eyed things of beauty, and when Bennett cashed the second one, the crowd quieted noticeably.But then came that muffed line change, which turned the tide back in Anaheim’s favour. But they were better in the key moments than the Flames in the opener. Giordano’s partner, Dougie Hamilton, saw it that way and broke his stick with a retaliatory slash, his third minor penalty of the night. Not in the playoffs since 2006.