The team later announced that Happ (0-3) — who tied the team record for left-handers with 20 wins in 2016 — left the game with left elbow soreness, with no word on the severity of the injury. Orioles reliever Stefan Crichton struck him out with a slider off the plate.An inning later, Mancini added a solo shot while Gentry and Manny Machado smacked two-run homers off newly called up Jays reliever Matt Dermody, now the owner of an unfortunate 135.0 ERA, to give the Orioles a 10-run lead.Even after Tulowitzki hit an RBI single in the bottom of the eighth and Pillar drove a two-run homer to centre in the ninth (his first this year), Toronto finished the game with a major league-worst 34 runs scored on the season.It was the second sterling performance from Bundy against Toronto this year.Once a top prospect, Bundy returned to the major leagues last year after spending years recovering from Tommy John surgery. The Jays delivered more bad news prior to the game, announcing that Aaron Sanchez would be placed on the 10-day disabled list with a blister on his right middle finger, while Josh Donaldson missed his third straight game with a calf strain that has him sidelined indefinitely and put on the disabled list.He’s sorely missed in Toronto’s listless lineup, which looked feeble again Sunday as Baltimore starter Dylan Bundy (2-1) struck out six over six shutout innings in front of 38,188 increasingly dispirited fans at the Rogers Centre. Troy Tulowitzki and Martin led off with singles (Martin’s hit, only his third of the season, was powered off the top of the opposite-field wall) before Chris Coghlan scored Tulowitzki with a sacrifice fly. Hardy would add an RBI double before scoring on a sacrifice fly from Craig Gentry to give the Orioles a 6-0 lead.With Bundy out of the game, the Blue Jays briefly threatened to rally in the seventh. The Toronto Blue Jays lost yet another game and yet another player to injury Sunday, as starter J.A. With the game scoreless and J.J. Happ was forced to leave in the fifth inning before the Baltimore Orioles slugged their way to an 11-4 win.It’s another discouraging blow for the Blue Jays (2-10), whose awful April represents the worst start in franchise history. A two-out Ryan Goins double then brought Pillar up with two runners on. Known for a slider that vexed Jays hitters all afternoon, Bundy was even more dominant than he was in his first matchup against Toronto, which Baltimore won 3-1. But while the Blue Jays infielders ran Jones down for the out, Hardy sprinted home from third and snuck under Russell Martin’s tag to put Baltimore ahead.An inning later, the Orioles took flight. With Ryan Tepera on the mound for the Jays, Mark Trumbo singled and Chris Davis walked before Mancini drove a sinker into the seats in left. Trey Mancini clubbed a three-run homer during a five-run sixth inning and added a solo shot during a five-run eighth for the Orioles (8-3), who took three of four this weekend.The Orioles did all their damage after Happ left the game in the fifth. Hardy standing on second after driving a ground-rule double past a sprawling Kevin Pillar, Happ threw one pitch to Adam Jones before heading to the clubhouse.Facing incoming reliever Joe Biagini, Jones then singled to right and appeared to get snared in a run-down after turning toward second too enthusiastically.
The bars will be packed, the Irish boys will be out drinking.“It’s always a great atmosphere.”“It’s Boston’s day,” added Evan Allen, 34, a local elementary school teacher.For the past several years Allen has been using this weekend to meet up with several friends to celebrate Boston’s vibrant sporting atmosphere.Sunday afternoon, it was the Red Sox and Sunday night, the Celtics.“And Monday, it’s like Christmas morning,” he said. “I think it really united the city – and we were right there when it happened.” It was in 2009 and Rob Campbell remembers it like it was yesterday – only he can’t recall which NBA team was involved.A quick check of the record books indicates it must have been the Chicago Bulls, who played the Celtics in Boston in the opening round of the playoffs that season.Campbell can be forgiven for his foggy memory. “With everything going on there it’s going to be a lot of action. “I had just finished and was a little wobbly and I walked right through this procession of really big guys getting off their bus in front of their hotel.“I didn’t even really notice until I looked up, and they were obviously basketball players, and this one player was cursing me out because I was in their way.”Campbell was asked what he did. “It was a bit eerie.”But Allen said the attack failed miserably in that it could not divide the city and its insatiable love affair with sports.“I think it had the opposite effect,” Allen said. The Toronto electrician had just completed the Boston Marathon, the world’s most famous 26.2-mile (42.2-kilometre) trip for the running obsessed, and even his brain was sweaty.“Actually, it was my first year here doing the marathon,” said the reed-thin Campbell, who now has five of these expeditions under his belt, soon to be six. Patrick’s Day,” Taggart said on Sunday as his establishment started to swell with locals getting their game on for the Celtics’ playoff match that night.“We’re not on the marathon route, but if you go up into the Back Bay [neighbourhood], you go to any of the bars on Boylston Street, they will be full by 8 o’clock in the morning, absolutely jammed.”The events of four years ago, when bombs were detonated near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three and maiming many, many more, obviously had on impact to the city’s festive vibe.The Boston Marathon continues but heightened security is still an obvious aftershock.The attack, as crude as it was, could not dampen the spirit of Boston sports fans such as Allen, a former runner in the marathon.Allen said he was in a restaurant with friends when the bombs went off that year, not too far from the finish line.“They locked the doors, they locked us inside the restaurant,” Allen said. 1 drinking day of the year for Boston, more than St. “My friends and I have a tradition where we go watch the Red Sox and after that’s over catch the end of the marathon.“And then Monday night, if we’re still standing, we’re going to try and scalp some tickets to see the Bruins game.”Call it the ultimate New England triple-header.Jim Taggart is the manager of The Fours, the Boston sports bar that has been operating in the shadow of the Bruins’ home rink since the mid-1970s.The name is spawned by the iconic Bobby Orr, who made the No. He got out of the way, naturally.Welcome to Boston, in mid-April, where a convergence of big-time sporting events have been known to collide within the confines of this edgy New England city over the course of one, wild holiday weekend.And this is one of those weekends.Over the course of four days, Boston-area sports fans are overwhelmed with events, starting with the Boston Red Sox, who were at home over the weekend at Fenway Park to do battle with the Tampa Bay Rays.After the Red Sox game on Sunday afternoon, those lucky enough to have scored tickets could head across town to TD Garden for the first game of the Celtics’ NBA Eastern Conference playoff series against the Chicago Bulls.And on Monday, it all comes to one, big, glorious finale.The long haul starts with the Red Sox, who play their final game of the series against the Rays, with a start time on the Patriot’s Day holiday of 11:05 a.m. (ET).That early start is a concession to the 121st running of the Boston Marathon, the legendary road race that attracts close to 30,000 competitors and winds its way through the outskirts and into the city and past Fenway near the end.The race, which will include some 2,000 Canadian runners, will be cheered by a crowd estimated to be a million people who line the route.And if that’s not enough to fill your athletic appetite there is always Game 3 of the NHL’s Eastern Conference quarter-final, at TD Garden on Monday night between the home-town Bruins and the Ottawa Senators.“It’s going to be nuts in there,” said Ottawa forward Clarke MacArthur, about the prospect of entering the lion’s den of a wild Boston sports scene. 4 jersey both famous and cool when he starred for the Boston Bruins.There is a painting of Orr behind the desk at the main entrance of The Fours. Inside the restaurant, a framed shot of Orr’s famous celebratory dive after scoring the Stanley Cup-clinching goal in 1970 is on a wall.This is, first and foremost, a hockey outpost.Taggart said that saloon operators in Boston always look forward to this time of year, especially on the holiday Monday when both the hockey and basketball teams have made the playoffs.“It’s probably the No.
Louis. Schwartz, who took a high stick from Ryan White to earn the penalty, scored his second goal of the series off a pass from Steen behind the net.Minnesota put 19 shots on goal in the third period, but couldn’t beat Allen.The Wild pulled Dubnyk for an extra attacker with 2:10 remaining and Steen scored his first of the playoffs, assisted by Berglund and Vladimir Sobotka, into the empty net with 1:11 left. Louis Blues to a 3-1 win over the Minnesota Wild on Sunday for a 3-0 lead in their first-round playoff series.Colton Parayko also scored for the Blues and Alexander Steen added an empty-netter for St. Louis outshot Minnesota 15-9 in the first period, but couldn’t build on its early lead. He stopped 74 of 76 shots for a .974 save percentage against a Wild team that ranked second in the NHL in scoring during the regular season.The Blues scored just 3:25 into the first period when Parayko beat Dubnyk high with a shot from the high slot after a nice pass from Patrik Berglund. He scored with 2:27 left in the third period of Game 2 to give St. Charlie Coyle scored for Minnesota, which got 28 saves from Devan Dubnyk.Schwartz had a power-play goal at 15:19 of the second period to put the Blues one win away from the second round. Jaden Schwartz scored the go-ahead goal in the second period and Jake Allen made 40 saves to lead the St. Vladimir Tarasenko and Steen both hit the post.Minnesota tied it with a goal from Coyle with 7:01 left in the second period. Louis, which will try to sweep the series Wednesday night in St. The goal was the third in 23 playoff games for Parayko, who scored four goals in 81 games this season.St. Louis the 2-1 win.Allen was the star of the first two games. Coyle scored off a rebound of a shot from Zach Parise, giving the Wild their first even-strength goal of the series and Parise his third point in three games.The Blues scored their first power-play goal of the series from Schwartz with 4:41 remaining in the second period.
DeMarre [Carroll] is not a big talker, especially out on the floor, he’s more of a quiet guy. It’s rare for a player to return to the league after such a long odyssey and become a big impact guy. 17 there to signify the mere 17 games he got to play during his rookie NBA season.The Suns never made the playoffs while he was there, but he quickly built a reputation as the kind of lock-down defender a contender could use. He understands that he’s just not a tough guy; he knows how to play. DeMar’s not a big talker. 17 in Toronto because that belongs to Jonas Valanciunas, so No. The Raptors wanted veteran leadership from the 31-year-old Tucker and hoped he would frustrate opponents with his defence the way he had done defending DeMar DeRozan in recent years.“It’s not trying to take over and be impactful. From there, he played in Ukraine, Italy and finally, Germany, where he helped Brose Baskets to a championship in 2012 and was Basketball Bundesliga Finals MVP.For five years, he rode a lot of buses in Europe and often had to wait on delayed paycheques, but made the most of his play.“Some guys fear going overseas because they think they’ll be out of sight and out of mind, but P.J. and tried to make moves to get him, and most of the teams who were interested were competing for championships,” Buck said. 2 for the Toronto Raptors.The gritty defensive specialist, who was acquired by the team at the trade deadline, wears it because this is his second go-round in Toronto. P.J. 2 seemed fitting. He began with Hapoel Holon of the Israeli Basketball Premier League and won the MVP Trophy as he led his team to a league title, ending Maccabi Tel Aviv’s 14-year streak as champs. “Because we’re down 1-0 against Milwaukee and we shouldn’t be.” Everybody talks about it: starting out here, getting cut, coming back and having an effect on the team now. “He kept grinding over there, even in the frustrating moments, and he improved his shot tremendously while also winning championships. The Raps simply never found a niche for him.Tucker decided to play overseas. He was the 2006 player of the year in the Big 12 Conference and the Raps went on to draft him 35th overall. He has a great understanding of the league and who he’s playing against.”Tucker, anxious to dissect more film on Antetokounmpo and the Bucks on Sunday, didn’t have much time to pat himself on the back for his hardworking life story.“Right now that’s the last thing on my mind,” Tucker said. But that’s what Tucker has become. to other guys who could potentially go on the same journey. I went through a lot to get to where I’m at, to be in this situation – a great situation here in Toronto,” Tucker said on Sunday as the team prepped for Game 2. “I feel like we have something special that we can make work. I’ve been in the business a long time and represented a lot of guys, but I don’t know if I’ve ever had another guy who is that kind of fighter.”Tucker got back to the NBA in 2012 when the Phoenix Suns signed him. The Raps released him in March to make room for Luke Jackson.He was hard-working, bright, a great rebounder and defender, but couldn’t hit the corner three like he can today. For the next five years, he made basketball pit-stops in the NBA’s D-League and all across Europe, trying to get back to the NBA. He wore No. I talk about P.J. In February, the Raps acquired him in the dying minutes of trade-deadline day, in exchange for Jared Sullinger, second-round draft picks in 2017 and 2018, and cash consideration.“Over the last two years there were many teams who inquired about P.J. “He seems to be a guy who attracts that type of team.”He couldn’t wear No. You just be yourself,” said Tucker of fitting in with his new teammates. Tucker has good reason to wear the No. He is one of the premier defenders for a Raptors team trailing the Milwaukee Bucks 0-1 in their first-round playoff series and trying to figure out how to shut down superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo.“I guess it’s kind of like a storybook. You don’t try to do that. The Raptors drafted Tucker in 2006, but released him nine months later. “He’s a very intelligent basketball player. had the courage and the confidence that he would perform over there and still get noticed,” said his agent, André Buck of Arete Sports Agency. “Just add leadership, talking. So for me it’s just running my big mouth.”Tucker played in 418 regular-season NBA games before Saturday, his first postseason experience. He had lots of input,” Toronto coach Dwane Casey said. 2. It’s pretty cool, I guess.”Tucker was a standout at the University of Texas – where he also wore No. Now he’s relishing the chance to be locked in a series with an opponent he can study in-depth and make adjustments for.“He had thoughts and ideas as far as how to do things. The rookie only played 83 minutes with the Raptors that season and spent much of his time with the Colorado 14ers of the D-League. We have guys who aren’t that talkative.
This ‘no changes required’ approach made fans happy, while allowing Shapiro and Atkins to invest nothing extra in the team. Outside that room, people are still in the “It’s early days” phase of baseball hysteria. But when it starts out this miserably, a tone is set for an entire year.So far, this is the year the Blue Jays begin coming apart.It was obvious that team president Mark Shapiro and GM Ross Atkins wanted to start that process this off-season. But it does meet the definition of the word.Since it’s April, we must keep up the baseball charade that no amount of consistently terrible play by the Toronto Blue Jays may yet lead us to the conclusion that they are a bad baseball team.But after the two weeks just past, only Rogers’ shareholders and tinfoil-hat types will be suggesting that, on evidence, this team is any good.They are not as bad as their record – post-1900, no Major League Baseball team has ever been this bad over a complete season.Instead, the Jays look bad in an average and depressingly familiar sort of way – banged up, inept, uncertain and, most of all, unlucky.When you lose 10 of 12 in June, you can take comfort in the law of averages and tunnel your way out of it. The Toronto clubhouse afterward was funereal, if it were the sort of funeral where several mourners had dropped dead mid-service of carbon-monoxide poisoning. As Sunday’s game ended, the Jays were four games out … of fourth place.Amazingly, the Blue Jays early season badness is managing to overshadow the Leafs’ postseason goodness. Insert something here about Oscar Wilde and the difference between misfortune and carelessness.In the morning, Aaron Sanchez put himself on the disabled list to deal with a persistent blister on the middle finger of his throwing hand.How long has he had this problem? Certainly, stranger things have happened.But is it likely any more? No.It’s early, but even the Jays wouldn’t be dumb enough to tell you that now. Inside, they know that things are not right.At 2-10, Toronto has the worst record in the major leagues. Put aside the Jays’ current record and statistical wretchedness. That’s some really aspirational failure.The Jays are missing their best player (Josh Donaldson) for who knows how long and, on Sunday, lost two-fifths of their rotation in the space of a few hours. Over the past couple of decades, there have been some spectacularly awful stretches of baseball in Toronto. Not a good one. Thank goodness it’s not pernicious or anything.“We don’t really know when it comes, how it comes, why it’s coming,” Sanchez said disconsolately, while shielding his right hand from view with his left.Sounds optimistic.Sanchez thought he’d be out “not too long.” Later, manager John Gibbons said that these sorts of things can be figured out quickly – “as little as two weeks.”For a team in freefall, losing its best pitcher for two weeks will seem like forever and a day.Then it got worse.In the fifth inning of the game, starter J.A. The few thousand fans that made it until the end got a souvenir umbrella for showing up and a Purple Heart for suffering through this entire horror show. To make the playoffs, Toronto will probably need to play something like .580 baseball the rest of the way. The Jays can’t grind their way out of this. Happ threw a routine fastball, felt something pull in his elbow, did an awkward little hop off the mound and, after a gloomy medical conference, left the game.At the best of times, Happ is a stoic figure, but after Sunday’s setback he’d gone full-Easter Island statue.“It’s a little concerning and definitely frustrating,” Happ said stonily.How long has it been since you felt anything like this?“A long time,” Happ said.It’s good to see that the Jays’ shrilly promoted “high-performance department” is paying early dividends.For now, the Jays are calling Happ’s injury “left elbow soreness.” He’ll get an MRI on Monday.It’s the sort of thing that often starts off “a little concerning,” and then ends in a surprise e-mail from the club’s PR department telling you so-and-so has just had successful reconstructive surgery.Last year’s grind into the playoffs was down to several factors, but the most important of them was healthy pitching. The Jays are dead last in most major offensive categories. The last time the Jays did that was 25 years ago.Mathematically, I suppose it’s possible. On Sunday, disaster walked through the door and hung up its coat. It ended 11-4 for the Baltimore Orioles. According to Sanchez, two years. Few cities in the majors have such a high bar for low quality.But Sunday may have been the worst single day in the recent history of this organization.The Blue Jays lost again, atrociously this time. They talked up getting younger, bulking up the farm system, and very clearly wanted rid of Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista.When the fans revolted, they got cold feet, made up with Bautista and reaffirmed their faith in the current core. It may be staying a while.We don’t know how long Sanchez, Happ or Donaldson will be gone, but it’s already too long if the goal is the division. They can still blow it up any time.This result of this neither/nor-ism was a wafer-thin roster, one or two injuries from disaster. If Sanchez and Happ are laid up for any length of time, you can forget about 2017.Of course, the Jays aren’t going to say that.Though manager John Gibbons already has his longest-part-of-August look going – eyes glassy, cap tipped way back on his head, a lot of weary face stroking – he described himself as “concerned” as opposed to worried.“We’ll lean on [pitchers] in Triple A and see how that goes,” Gibbons shrugged.I suppose that’s a plan.
Werenski returned in the third period with a full facemask and a significant cut and bruise under his right eye.The teams traded goals in the third period before Guentzel beat Bobrovsky for the winner.With Dubinsky in the box for cross-checking, Guentzel got his second goal of the game 11:48 into the third period to give the Penguins the 4-3 lead.Dubinsky made amends, though, jumping on a rebound and banging it past Fleury at 15:11 to tie the score and force OT.Eleven seconds into the game, Dubinsky put a shot on Fleury’s pads and Atkinson was in the right place to score on the rebound, pumping up a sold-out Nationwide Arena crowd hungry for some playoff prosperity.Pittsburgh answered three minutes later. Sergei Bobrovsky had 42 saves.After only scoring two goals combined in the first two games of the series, Columbus scored three goals in just over six minutes of the first period.But the Penguins regained their composure and pushed back hard during the second period to tie the score at 3-3.At 5:21, Rust got his second goal of the series when he tipped Brian Dumoulin’s shot through Bobrovsky’s pads. Guentzel played the ricochet off the back boards to the left of the net and beat Bobrovsky from a severe angle.Atkinson got his second goal at 5:02 of the first when he picked Sidney Crosby’s pocket at the right circle and beat Fleury with a backhand. The defending champion Penguins will go for the sweep in Columbus on Tuesday night.Cam Atkinson had two goals for Columbus, and Zach Werenski and Brandon Dubinsky also scored. Jake Guentzel had a hat trick, including a goal at 13:10 of overtime, to lift the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 5-4 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday night and give them a 3-0 lead in their first-round playoff series.Bryan Rust added two goals for Pittsburgh, and Marc-Andre Fleury overcame a shaky first period to make 33 saves. Guentzel is the first Pittsburgh to rookie to get a playoff hat trick. Then, with Werenski flat on the ice bleeding profusely from a puck to the face, Rust got another one when he redirected a shot from Evgeni Malkin to tie the score at 13:25. Sixty-eight seconds later during a power play, Werenski’s wrister from the top of the left circle clanged off the bar and into the top of the net to put Columbus up 3-1.
It might have rubbed some of the older guys the wrong way, but we were only a year apart so I didn’t know. You have to stick with it, you have to sacrifice and move forward,” he said.Weber, who played with Radulov during the latter’s star-crossed tenure with the Nashville Predators, said: “He was really good for us as a young kid, he played energetic, he had that fire. At the same time, they knew what he meant to the team.”Asked what’s different about him now, Weber quipped: “Less teeth.”Few players in the NHL take as much obvious enjoyment from playing the game as Radulov, who is as rambunctious in the dressing room as he is on the ice.“He certainly doesn’t hold it in,” said Weber, a man who does.In the third period, there was Radulov fighting to get a puck out of the Montreal end as if a child’s life depended on it.“Everyone has to do their job defensively,” Radulov shrugged afterward.The Habs certainly did that; absent a few early odd-numbered chances and a Jesper Fast shot that pinged off a post, the Rangers had just 12 shots through two periods (21 overall) and only six high-danger scoring chances on the night compared to Montreal’s 11, per Naturalstattrick.com.It was a masterful road game, the Habs are up 2-1 in the series as a result, and coach Claude Julien told his players after the game to relish it – just not too much.“He said to enjoy it, but we can’t be satisfied,” smiled Gallagher.If the Habs were led by Gallagher and Tomas Plekanec in the second game, a 4-3 overtime thriller Montreal dominated for the final 40 minutes of play, this one was about Radulov, Lehkonen, and to a lesser extent Alex Galchenyuk.The plucky Finn – Lehkonen, the youngest player on the roster – showed the same form that led him to a Swedish Hockey League playoff scoring crown last year.Late in the second period, he was on the receiving end of a tic-tac-toe passing play involving Plekanec and Gallagher and ripped a shot high into Henrik Lundqvist’s net.It was a sequence they had practiced earlier in the day.“I was missing the net most of the time,” Lehkonen laughed.In the third period Galchenyuk, restored to centre late in Game 2 and reprising his role in New York, combined with Radulov to set Weber up for the power-play winner.The two have an understanding on the ice that sometimes seems to verge on the telepathic, when Radulov made a gorgeous little play along the boards to shield the puck and dish it to Galchenyuk, who shifted to the middle of the ice and froze Lundqvist before passing to Weber, who scored.“I didn’t think he’d seen me, I was yelling and screaming at him for the puck,” laughed Weber, who is quietly putting together a tremendous series.Radulov iced the result with a typical Radulov goal; accepting a pass from Philip Danault, he stormed to the middle of the ice, fought off big defenceman Brady Skjei, and flipped the puck past Lundqvist with one hand on his stick.Skjei would score late in the game, but by then the result was academic.The Habs played well in the first game of the series, but couldn’t score.They gutted out a win in a second game they couldn’t afford to lose and rediscovered the best version of the style they play.In the third they took it one step further by putting together their most polished defensive performance in weeks – Carey Price was seldom bothered in tight.For all that, Julien was at pains to avoid irrational exuberance setting in.Greater challenges – and demands for sacrifice – lie ahead. Sometimes you whack the guy, sometimes they whack you, it’s part of the game. Goals are for fans; NHL players pay more attention to subtleties that serve as signifiers of effort and courage.So talk if you must about Artturi Lehkonen and Alexander Radulov putting the puck in the net at Madison Square Garden, what endears them most to their Montreal Canadiens teammates happened elsewhere. Like the time Lehkonen, all five-foot-ten of him, making an uncompromising drive to the net against three New York Ranger defenders, which earned him the type of beating most often reserved for teammate Brendan Gallagher.Also, the instance when Andrew Shaw risked life and limb to dink a puck out to neutral ice before getting trucked by Dan Girardi into the side boards.Without forgetting the play where Torrey Mitchell, playing his first playoff game of 2017, accepted getting thumped hard into the Ranger bench as the cost of getting the puck deep with New York playing with six attackers at the end of the game.“Those are the crucial plays that nobody usually talks about, but they’re so important in the playoffs,” said Montreal defenceman Shea Weber. “In here, we know about it, we notice it, and it inspires everybody.”These are the sort of things that happen with regularity in hockey, more so in the postseason, but it doesn’t make them unremarkable.Not every player who puts team ahead of personal risk ends up winning, but all teams that win have people willing to do so.Suffice to say there was plenty of inspiration to go around in Montreal’s 3-1 win in Game 3 of the first round playoff series against New York (the Habs now hold a 2-1 series lead ahead of Tuesday night’s Game 4).So more than the goals, stingy opposition shot totals and power-play statistics – Montreal scored two with the man advantage and ran their perfect penalty kill to 10-0 through three first-round playoff games – the Habs derive pleasure from the hundreds of little and not-so-little physical sacrifices that go into a win.Take the prototypical sequence where Radulov, the overtime hero in Game 2, back-checked furiously on Ranger captain Ryan McDonagh at the end of the second period to prevent a goal – “I just put all my weight on my stick, he’s a strong guy but eventually he didn’t get the shot,” Radulov said – and then got a zesty two-handed slash on the ankle for his trouble.“I don’t feel anything, you get so into the game.
It was tight and very tense. “They always start well here. “I have seen him play with broken fingers.“For him not to be out there, he must really be hurt.”The game was completely different from the first two – when each team dominated the other. San Jose is one of the best teams in the league out of the gate, and would be be even more jacked up than usual playing before a boisterous home crowd.“We have played well here, but it is a different animal in the playoffs,” Connor McDavid said after the morning skate. One thing remained the same; the Sharks inability to generate much on the power play.After going 1-for-12 in the first two games, they failed once in each of the first and second periods, when they could have opened up a lead. About 10,000 fans poured into Edmonton’s downtown arena on Sunday to watch the game on the largest scoreboard in any rink in the NHL.Cam Talbot had 23 saves in his second consecutive shutout. They cut it to two on Sunday night.“There is a fine line between playing aggressively and going out of the way to make a hit,” Milan Lucic said. “We aren’t playing with a lot of confidence there right now.”The Oilers left themselves in a precarious position by being called for 13 penalties in the first two games. “If we do, eventually, they are going to find a way to make them count.”The Oilers beat the Sharks twice in the last week of the regular season and so have now beaten them four of the last five times.The one area where San Jose had a clear advantage was in experience. His goal came on a backhander as he skated in front of San Jose’s net with 9:15 left. Fans were booing at the end of each of the two-minute 5-on-4 opportunities.“We want to get that fixed,” DeBoer said. The first 10 minutes is going to be electric.”The rink in San Jose is one of the smallest and loudest in the NHL, with fans seated very near the ice surface. The 20-year-old superstar entered Sunday with a 16-game points streak but was guarded closely by San Jose.It didn’t matter. A late goal by San Jose’s Paul Martin sent it to overtime after the Oilers had taken a 2-0 lead.Logan Couture, Joe Pavelski and Brent Burns had 197 points during the regular season, but have combined for only one point in three playoff games.“We have to figure out a way to score to win,” Peter Deboer, the Sharks coach, said.The Oilers had talked about the need to keep the Sharks off the board in the early going of Sunday night’s game. They haven’t scored since Melker Karlsson’s overtime goal in Game 1, and came within about eight minutes of losing that one, too. He has now stopped 80 of 83 shots in the Western Conference quarterfinal series.“Cam was Cam tonight,” Kassian said. Kassian intercepted an attempted pass from David Schlemko seconds before he scored.“It’s cool, but we all know there is a lot of hockey still to be played,” Kassian said.Not even fans wearing Easter bunny rabbit ears or a video message from Rickey Henderson that was shown on the scoreboard could help the toothless Sharks. Zack Kassian did in the Sharks again.The big winger who scored just seven times in 79 games during the regular season had his second straight winning goal in the playoffs on Sunday night as the Oilers edged San Jose, 1-0, at the SAP Center.Edmonton now leads the best-of-seven series 2-1, with Game 4 at the Shark Tank again on Tuesday night. The Oilers had been preparing for him to return all along.“I watched him play with a separated shoulder a couple of years ago in the playoffs against Vancouver,” said Todd McLellan, who joined the Oilers as head coach in 2015 after seven seasons in San Jose. The crowd roared when the home team skated onto the ice through a set of gaping jaws.San Jose outshot Edmonton 13-6 in the first period, with Talbot stopping several close chances. Marcus Sorensen had the best opportunity, but fired too high when left wide open in front of the net.The Sharks got a lift when their spiritual leader, Joe Thornton, returned to the lineup for the first time since injuring his left knee against the Vancouver Canucks on April 2.The big 37-year-old centre with a white-flecked beard sat out Games 1 and 2 after playing in 121 consecutive playoff contests with San Jose since 2005. The Sharks have reached the playoffs 11 of the last 12 years and made it to the Stanley Cup final last season, where they lost to Pittsburgh in six games.Edmonton, meanwhile, reached the postseason for the first time since 2006. If the Oilers win then, they will have a chance to close out the series at home on Thursday at Rogers Place. The Oilers finished next-to-last among 30 teams last season.Now they are holding their own against the older Sharks.“For guys that didn’t have experience, they have experience now,” Lucic said. Kassian did the Sharks in again. “All those excuses go out the window.”A bad sign perhaps for the Sharks is this: They held McDavid off the scoreboard – and still didn’t win. “He held us in there when we needed big saves.”Kassian, who took a wrecking ball to the Sharks in Game 2 on Friday night, continued to be a nuisance.