Blue Jays leave the nest hoping to put abysmal homestand behind them

Louis on Friday. Happ (elbow inflammation) and right-hander Aaron Sanchez (blister) necessitated the promotions, and while neither pitcher is expected to miss more than one game each, using farm hands as starters on back-to-back nights is not ideal.Still, despite the negative outlook through 15 games, players maintain they are not worried. The loss lowered Toronto’s record to 3-12, while Boston’s improved to 10-6.Kevin Pillar’s eighth-inning single extended his hitting streak to eight games. It’s been a tough – and that’s probably an understatement – homestand,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said after a 4-1 extra-innings loss to the Red Sox on Thursday. But after Jays reliever Jason Grilli loaded the bases, Mookie Betts cleared them with a double as Boston went on to win 4-1. The defeat sunk Toronto’s record to 3-12, the worst in the majors, as it lost its fifth successive series, a franchise record.Take your pick at what’s wrong with the Blue Jays, who have been a powerhouse in the American League East the past two seasons, but lacklustre in 2017.Their best player, Josh Donaldson, could be lost for up to a month as he recovers from a persistent calf injury that he aggravated last week. It had a shot to win back-to-back matches for the first time in the series finale against Boston, but relief pitcher Jason Grilli came undone in the 10th, giving up a three-run double to Mookie Betts, putting the game out of reach.The mounting losses have left many Blue Jays players perplexed.“It would be understandable if we were on a different team with different names, but you look at who we have here and start thinking ‘how is this happening with a lineup like that?’” said right-hander Marco Estrada, who allowed three hits and no runs over six innings, but did not factor into the decision on Thursday.“It’s surprising, but anything is possible and we’re facing pretty good teams,” Bautista said. Jose Bautista, meanwhile, saw his batting average sink to .109. “I think it’s a great time [to leave]. The Toronto Blue Jays are heading back on the road, looking to put the first homestand of the season behind them. Latos, who has made 186 career starts over an eight-year major-league career, signed with the Blue Jays as a free agent in the off-season. After all, there are still 147 to go.——————————————————Red Sox 4, Blue Jays 1The Blue Jays fell in extra innings to the Red Sox on Thursday, dropping the rubber match of their three-game series. And Jose Bautista, once the the engine of the team’s homer-heavy lineup, is hitless in his past 16 at-bats.Kevin Pillar, typically known for his stellar defence, not his hitting, has been the most consistent hitter, going 14 for 33 on his current eight-game hitting streak.“Any time you’re accustomed to being a contributor, and you’re not, it kind of weighs on you a little bit,” said Bautista, who struck out four times facing Red Sox ace Chris Sale and has yet to homer this season. After dropping two of three games to the Boston Red Sox, and seven of nine over all during a 10-day run at Rogers Centre, the Blue Jays begin a week-long road swing through Anaheim and St. There’s no words right now,” Grilli said.The wins won’t be any easier for the Jays’ in their four-game series in Anaheim.A pair of call-ups from Triple-A Buffalo – Mat Latos and Casey Lawrence – will have the unenviable task of getting the Jays back on track against reigning American League MVP Mike Trout and the Angels. Lawrence, meanwhile, made a pair of relief appearances for the team this season, and allowed three earned runs in two innings.Injuries to left-hander J.A. “But I’ve gotta get past that and just figure out a way to get back on track and start doing more at the plate and put us in a better position to win games.”Winning games has not been easy for Toronto. Trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the ninth, Kendrys Morales gave Toronto a lift when he launched a solo shot deep to centre field against Boston closer Craig Kimbrel, sending the game to the 10th frame. Two key starting pitchers are on the 10-day disabled list. “We just need to continue to grind it out and wait for a better result.”“Losing only makes you appreciate winning, there’s not much else to say.

Senators expect ‘desperate,’ hard-fought Game 5 from Bruins

If it doesn’t happen next game, we’re going to do the same thing the game after.”Wednesday night’s 1-0 victory gave the Sens a 7-1 record against Boston this season. They’re going to be at their most desperate – they were desperate yesterday and they’re going to be even more desperate the next game, so we have to be extremely ready and prepared for it.”Roundup: The latest news and results from the 2017 Stanley Cup PlayoffsOttawa, which leads the series 3-1, has history on its side. In Game 3, he was a key in three of the four Ottawa goals, earning actual assists on two of them.Then, Wednesday, he saw the path to the goal was actually shooting the puck wide, letting it hit the boards and come out to Bobby Ryan, who was behind defenceman Charlie McAvoy, playing in only his fourth NHL game.Ryan slipped the puck past Tuukka Rask and Zdeno Chara, the tallest man ever to play in the NHL, couldn’t prevent it from crawling over the goal line with his dive.“I think you look at the NHL and there’s a handful of guys that are able to make those type of plays,” Boucher said. “Whether it’s the Crosbys, or Johnny Tavares and those guys, or its Erik, that’s what makes them those guys.“They’re able to see through the traffic in times of pressure, their minds seem to be working either faster than everybody else or they seem to be able to slow down the pace of the game in their minds to a level that not a lot of guys can do.”It was Ryan’s third goal of the series and his second winner. Boston had only five shots in the third, the last two by Brad Marchand, his fifth and sixth of the game. All the games have been decided by two goals or fewer, and three of them have gone to overtime.Asked why these games have been so close, Boucher said: “Because there are two good teams that are going at each other and nobody wants to give up.”Craig Anderson, 8-1 against Boston in his past nine starts, pitched his fourth career playoff shutout and Bobby Ryan scored off yet another nifty play by Erik Karlsson in the third period to give the Senators a sweep of the two games in Boston.With the Bruins defence decimated by injuries – three of their top four defencemen are out – Karlsson has been freer than usual to work his magic.In Game 2 in Ottawa, his wizardry led to a setup for Derick Brassard for the tying goal in the third period. “That’s my experience. “So it’s all about us right now against the Bruins. They’re been a great opponent all year long and we’re expecting nothing less the next game – we’re expecting a one-goal game, an overtime and really we’re just focusing on the first 10 minutes of the next game.”Ottawa forward Kyle Turris agreed that the team can’t get too far ahead of itself.“It’s important but you’re not thinking, ‘Oh we have to do this,’” he said. When I start thinking of that, that’s where guys get nervous, they get anxious, they want to overdo things, they want to get things done right away in the first five minutes. Guy Boucher doesn’t want the Ottawa Senators to get too wrapped up in eliminating Boston when they take the ice for Game 5 of their first-round series with the Bruins on Friday night.“I never see them as elimination games,” the Ottawa coach said at the team’s hotel Thursday morning. He was stopped twice on breakaways in the first period and has but one goal in his past 24 playoff games.But the Sens are expecting the Bruins to again come out storming, this time with their season on the line. “We’re going into next game just thinking the same way we have all series: just playing our system, trying to limit what they get and score on the opportunities we do get to just to kind of give us a chance. “You get totally lost in that kind of excitement, so for me it’s we’re going to play another game and it’s going to be another one-goal game and it’s going to be extremely hard. The Bruins have never come back from a such a deficit to win a series, going 0-for-22.“Oh my goodness, I couldn’t care less about history – history is different people at different times and different circumstances,” Boucher said. He has four goals in the past five games following a 13-game goal drought.Boucher liked the way his team played in the third period Wednesday, getting the lead and frustrating the Bruins to help Anderson finish off the shutout.

Maple Leafs suddenly find themselves with little margin for youthful errors

Game 5 may well decide this, since the winner gets a 3-2 lead, one game from ending it in what is a battle of the psyches as much as on the ice.After hearing Leafs head coach Mike Babcock talk every day about how much pressure there is on the Capitals because they are the heavy favourites despite their mediocre playoff history, his counterpart with the Capitals threw a little back on Thursday.“I think they’re wrapping their heads around what we have to do,” Barry Trotz said of the Maple Leafs. “We saw some clips [Thursday] morning in our meeting – is this what the Maple Leafs are doing when we’re playing our best? So far, they’ve been able to play their way out of them, but that did not happen in Game 4.The reason the Maple Leafs are wildly entertaining is that they can buzz around the Capitals goal one minute and then watch the Caps wheel around the Toronto end the next because of some awful mistake. There’s no 60-minute domination. No.” Ovechkin is a sporadic participant in this series. I think we’ve figured out how we have to play and we’ve just got to do it for longer.”What the Leafs have to do now is figure out a way to stop making the glaring error. Now, anyone who has watched more than three Capitals games knows Ovechkin plays the left point on the power play. Ovie did. He has three goals, but two of them were gifts from the Leafs.During a Game 2 power play last week, Ovechkin was Zach Hyman’s man. Then everyone else works to get him an open shot from the top of the faceoff circle, where Ovechkin can launch his customary bombs.Hyman must have been hiding in the washroom playing poker with a couple of the other kids from the back of the class when Babcock taught that particular lesson because he was nowhere in sight when Ovechkin ripped a shot that tied the score and put some life into the Capitals.Connor Brown was probably in that poker game, too, along with a couple of others on the penalty-killing unit. When they get it back it’s tough to be in our coverage.”Sorry, no English translation was provided. But a rough guess is, “We all took off to chase the puck on the right side. Brown was asked what happened.“Yeah, he was by himself,” Brown said. That’s when I knew I didn’t want to go back to our bench.”You can bet Babcock went over the Ovechkin lesson again Thursday morning. Four minutes and 34 seconds into the first period Thursday night, Brown and company left the entire left side of the ice open for another Ovechkin rocket that made it 2-0 Washington. The Leafs have more than a chance to win but that means once again bouncing back against the best regular-season team in the league. Roundup: The latest news and results from the 2017 Stanley Cup PlayoffsThe best-of-seven series is now a best-of-three, with two games in Washington. Everything is writ large with this team, the mistakes as well as the highlight-reel plays.Nothing speaks to that more than a couple of blunders against Capitals superstar Alexander Ovechkin, who is not dominating this series by any degree but has managed some moments thanks to the Leafs. The playoff pressure pendulum that was stuck on the Washington Capitals for the past two games is now bearing down on the Toronto Maple Leafs.Their skate-like-crazy, throw-pucks-at-the-net, see-what-happens style made the Leafs the talk of the NHL for the first week of the playoffs.But now that the Capitals gave them a good lesson on playoff hockey in Game 4 – yes, the Leafs made it close near the end but that was only on the scoreboard – it is time to see if the roller-coaster team really is ready to stay ahead of the rebuilding plan and finish this upset, which looked so close until the Caps tied the first-round series with that 5-4 win on Wednesday. We didn’t get it. “We had the puck and so when there is a loose puck we’re trying to create as much pressure as possible or outnumber them in that wall and we’ve got to get our clears down. That doesn’t happen in the playoffs. Leafs defenceman Connor Carrick admitted as much when he was asked about the need to worry more about Ovechkin.“It’s our job to play at our pace, with our execution, in our system, what’s made us successful all season long and against Washington, be aware of our pitfalls and stay away from them and manage the game,” he said. Ovechkin was left all by himself on the left side of the ice on an early power play Wednesday night for an easy goal.This must have driven Babcock into a rage. You can also bet no one sneaked out for a smoke in the boys’ room. “As I said [Wednesday] we’ve just got to continue to build a 60-minute game.“In the playoffs, you’re going to have times where you have to weather their storm and times they’re going to have to weather our storm.

Quick playoff exit stings, but the Flames are on a good path

Retaining his services will be critical.When the Flames players speak on Friday, the message will sound familiar to anyone who heard them after Wednesday’s game, which they lost to the Ducks. The Flames actually scored five fewer goals this year compared with last, but allowing 39 fewer goals was the difference between making the playoffs (with 94 points) and missing them (with 77 a year ago).A 17-point rise in a 12-month period, thanks largely to improved goaltending, would make you think they’d rush like mad to get Elliott and Johnson signed, as both are on expiring contracts.But the goaltending faltered in the playoffs, so the temptation may be there to scour the market one more time to see if an upgrade is available.The problem with the pending crop of unrestricted free agents (a list headed by Ben Bishop of the Los Angeles Kings) is the cost. Two seasons ago, the quartet of Jonas Hiller, Karri Ramo, Joni Ortio and Nicklas Backstrom produced a cumulative 3.10 goals-against average and .892 save percentage, which statistically left them 30th out of 30 NHL teams.Not good. The duo of Brian Elliott and Chad Johnson, who saw all but 80 minutes of duty, finished 14th over all in the league, their 2.64 GAA almost half a goal better per game. This year, it was much improved. Calgary has a trio of promising youngsters in the pipeline (Jon Gillies, David Rittich and Tyler Parsons) and at some point, they will need to feed one of them into the lineup.So a lengthy commitment to an established goaltender may not be the right fit, financially or in terms of stalling the development of one of their kids. Most of the attention will be paid to management’s off-season plans – and an outline of the steps needed to evolve from a promising up-and-coming team to a real Stanley Cup contender.But the first order of business will be to determine the future of general manager Brad Treliving, the man in charge of all the buying, selling and trading decisions. The available options include two of his own pending unrestricted free agents, Michael Stone and Deryk Engelland. Johnny Gaudreau will update all about the progress of his university studies and explain what it was about the Ducks’ defensive strategy that made him struggle at even strength in a playoff series won by Anaheim in the minimum four games. Instead, they may need a shorter-term solution in goal (Marc-André Fleury or Mike Smith?) who can buy them time to get Generation Next ready. Centre Mikael Backlund, coming off the finest season of his career, has one year left on a $3.575-million contract, at which point he will become an unrestricted free agent. Up front, a quartet of restricted free agents – Sam Bennett, Micheal Ferland, Curtis Lazar and Alex Chiasson – will also need new contracts, but that will be mostly busy work compared with some of his other tasks.Bennett didn’t have the kind of breakout season that Gaudreau or Sean Monahan previously had, so his leverage in extracting a big deal coming out of his entry-level contract won’t be nearly as great. Nothing he’s done in his first three years would contradict that belief.Assuming they get around to confirming that he’s staying around, Treliving can then shift his attention to dealing with this summer’s primary tasks, which begin in goal, where the Flames made important year-over-year strides. There will be genuine disappointment, given it’s far too soon for the sting of the defeat to fade away. Three years into his tenure, Treliving is like a handful of his players, on an expiring contract.Roundup: The latest news and results from the 2017 Stanley Cup PlayoffsIn two of those three years, the Flames made the playoffs (after missing them for the five previous seasons). But there will also be resolve – that this is a team headed in the right direction, with better days ahead.The core pieces, at forward, on defence, behind the bench, in the GM’s chair, are in place.A few roster tweaks here; a little more experience there; and a critical make-it-or-break-it decision in goal will ultimately decide how soon that promising future actually arrives. He has made some missteps along the way, especially early on when players signed to provide depth (Devin Setoguchi and Mason Raymond to name two) didn’t work out.But mostly, he has done a thoroughly professional job of setting the franchise straight. Some of the contracts he inherited from the previous regime are either expiring right away (say goodbye to Dennis Wideman and Ladislav Smid) or soon (Matt Stajan, one year left at $3.125-million [U.S.]).When the Flames hired Treliving, they identified him as one of the NHL’s bright rising managerial talents. Officially, the postmortems on an eventful and relatively successful Calgary Flames season will all take place Friday. Players will conduct their exit interviews and mumble words about their off-season plans. Beyond his goaltending dilemma, Treliving will also need to sign or acquire at least one more top-four defenceman. They will all want term and dollars.

NHL linesman Don Henderson seeks damages for hit by Dennis Wideman

The hit left Henderson with a concussion, a neck injury that required surgery, as well as “pain and numbness in his right arm and hand, an injury to his right knee, headaches, anxiety and depression.” Henderson, who did not reply to a message left by The Globe and Mail on his cellphone, had declined comment in the weeks and months following the incident.The Wideman-Henderson episode shook the NHL as much as it stunned onlookers in Calgary.Roundup: The latest news and results from the 2017 Stanley Cup PlayoffsIn a game against the Nashville Predators, Wideman took a jarring second-period hit from the Predators’ Miikka Salomaki. The veteran linesman has filed a statement of claim against the Calgary Flames and defenceman Dennis Wideman, seeking $10.25-million in damages from the Jan. The Flames declined comment.With a report from The Canadian Press NHL linesman Don Henderson has finally responded to the hit from behind that knocked him to the ice and left him unable to work again. An arbitrator reduced it to 10 games.In the statement of claim, Henderson contends Wideman “intentionally and deliberately struck” the linesman, who is suing for lost wages and future earnings and is seeking $250,000 in general and special damages.Statements of claim contain allegations that have not been proven in court. While skating back to the Flames’ bench, Wideman is alleged to have cross-checked Henderson, who had his back to the defenceman. In the claim, which was made public on Thursday, Henderson says he was “completely defenceless” when he was “violently struck” by Wideman from behind. Afterwards, Wideman said, “I would never intentionally try to hit a linesman or a ref or anything like that.”The NHL suspended Wideman for 20 games. 27, 2016 incident at Scotiabank Saddledome. Henderson got to his feet and finished the game. Wideman left Henderson sprawled on the ice then sat on the bench.

Crosby, Wilson help Penguins eliminate Blue Jackets with Game 5 win

It gave the Penguins time to find their legs, and Kessel’s wrist shot from the top of the circle 9:07 into the first put Pittsburgh in front.When Rust scored twice less than three minutes apart early in the second — both of them on backhand rebounds — the Penguins appeared to be in control.The Blue Jackets, trying to extend a breakthrough season that included a franchise-record 108 points and the sixth-best record in the league, showed one last flash. Sidney Crosby and Scott Wilson scored 51 seconds apart in the third period, helping the Pittsburgh Penguins eliminate the Columbus Blue Jackets with a 5-2 win in Game 5 of their first-round series on Thursday night.Bryan Rust scored twice for Pittsburgh, Phil Kessel added his second of the playoffs and Marc-Andre Fleury finished with 49 saves. Pittsburgh scored at least three goals in all five games and at least four in four of them to leave the Blue Jackets still searching for their first playoff series victory.It’s become old hat in Pittsburgh, which will have some time to rest before beginning the next step in its title defence. Columbus coach John Tortorella and the rest of the Blue Jackets bench erupted in anger. Karlsson and Jenner beat Fleury twice in 2:54 at the game’s midway point and Columbus was right back in it.The surge ended when Fleury flopped to the ground after Alex Wenneberg clipped the goaltender as he fought off a check in the crease five minutes into the third. The defending Stanley Cup champions will face the winner of the Toronto-Washington series in the conference semifinals starting next week. Crosby’s one-timer on the power play restored a two-goal lead and Wilson’s backhand less than a minute later finished off the Blue Jackets.Columbus avoided being swept with a spirited 5-4 win on Tuesday, extending the series by playing with the kind of desperation Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan insisted his team needed if it wanted to get some rest before the second round.It’s a refrain Sullivan has preached repeatedly over the last couple weeks and once again, the Penguins didn’t listen.And once again, they were able to get away with it thanks to Fleury. Things only got worse for Columbus when Crosby powered a shot from just above the goal line by Bobrovsky. Pittsburgh responded immediately. Wilson pushed the lead to three when he casually tapped a backhand by a woefully out of position Bobrovsky.The Russian led the NHL in goals-against average (2.06) and save percentage (.931) during the regular season but couldn’t keep the league’s highest-scoring team in check. William Karlsson and Boone Jenner scored for the Blue Jackets, but Sergei Bobrovsky stopped just 27 of 32 shots to finish a forgettable series.Roundup: The latest news and results from the 2017 Stanley Cup PlayoffsColumbus trailed by three in the second period but had a potential tying goal waved off in the third for interference. He fended off 15 shots in the first period alone, several of them from point-blank range.

Canadiens on brink of elimination after Rangers take Game 5 in OT

times like this you’re going to look for excuses or doubts in your mind, or you’re going to look for positives, look for belief. “I’m like anyone else, you go over a couple of things in your head, a couple of things you could have changed, but then it’s on to the next one… That’s what character is and we have a chance to show it,” he said.As he wrapped up with a small knot of reporters, Price re-entered the room to face a huge scrum; he spoke for just over a minute, and stuck to platitudes.“I think everybody knows exactly what needs to be done,” he said.With that, the dressing room was empty, a few moments later Julien stepped up to the lectern in the windowless coach’s conference room at arena level (visiting coaches go first, a relieved and jocular Alain Vigneault had wrapped up moments earlier).Julien has struck a positive tone for these playoffs, and he is not easily ruffled.Though he was plainly dischuffed at the outcome, he reiterated his full confidence that his team has the resources to win the series.Then he added a little barb: “In order to get through this, we’re going to need more from a lot of guys. you’ve got to be a pro and move on.”He was also asked whether anything was said by the team’s leaders after the game – it’s no accident most of the people who came out wear letters on their jerseys – Gallagher said “everyone understands what’s going on.”“Enough was said in this locker room to know what position we’re in, this is a chance to learn about our group… Subban’s performance both on and off the ice; he scored seven points in the series and said after a Game 6 win at home he was eager to see Boston’s noisy crowd because “I can’t wait to take it away from them.”Older veterans like Price, Markov and Tomas Plekanec will remember 2011 (a Game 7 loss to the Bruins, who would win the Stanley Cup under now-Habs coach Claude Julien) and 2010, when the eighth-seeded club fought back from 2-3 deficits twice to beat the much-fancied Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins in back-to-back series.What’s the essential lesson of experience?“There’s going to be times where the emotions are going to definitely get higher than you’re used to and you have to handle it,” said Gallagher.That means relaxing and settling in.“When you leave the rink it’s important to block it out and move on, and come to the rink the next day for a fresh start,” he said. I didn’t say the game was luck at all, I said it could have gone either way, so, um, I don’t know,” he said, turning to someone else.He also said the club has mostly weathered the negativity that accompanies playoff losses, which is especially important in Montreal.“We just need to worry about one game at a time and tune out all the noise,” Pacioretty said.His disappointment and anger were fairly typical for the circumstances; being ask to dissect your shortcomings for a roomful of journalists is no one’s idea of fun.Plus, hockey players like to win, and had Pacioretty been slightly more fortunate on a breakaway opportunity with the game tied in the third period, the Habs may well have done so.Then it was Brendan Gallagher’s turn under the lights (fellow goal-scorer Artturi Lehkonen came out simultaneously).The Edmonton-born Gallagher, a soft talker at the best of times, was barely audible in this instance.Asked about the slashes and pokes he took on the evening – including a jab in the ribs from New York’s Mats Zuccarello – he said, “it’s the playoffs, you’ve got to be able to handle that stuff.”He also made the obligatory references to the need for character to shine through and to take it one game at a time.It got more interesting when Gallagher talked about how to manage the emotions following defeat and victory – situations all the players in the room have faced, albeit some more recently than others.Players like Pacioretty, Gallagher and Alex Galchenyuk remember the last time the Habs trailed a series 2-3 (in 2015, when they lost Game 6 in Tampa and were eliminated).They also remember the series previous to that, in 2014’s second round, when they Habs found themselves down 2-3 against Boston, won Game 6 at home, and then won the series on the road in Game 7.Montreal fans will remember that game for P.K. Roundup: The latest news and results from the 2017 Stanley Cup PlayoffsA few feet away, a forest of television cameras and reporters was massing around Habs captain Max Pacioretty, who spoke in a low, measured voice (a smaller thicket gathered near defenceman Andrei Markov, one of four alternate captains).“It could have gone either way,” he said, and he wasn’t wrong.After overtime losses NHL dressing rooms are quiet places (the opulently-appointed space was largely empty, the loudest noise was an aerating fan in a corner), which isn’t to say they are peaceful.The emotions of a close 3-2 defeat to the New York Rangers, who return home with a chance to end the Habs’ season on Saturday, were plainly still raw.At one point toward the end of the captain’s traditional post-game media grilling, Pacioretty took issue with a questioner.“In the third period, it took 11 minutes to get a shot on net, in the overtime two shots, what were they doing right to block you from getting to Henrik?” asked radio reporter Jeremy Filosa.“I’m sorry, I think I just answered that question,” he said.“It seems like you think it was bad luck that you guys.. When the stainless-steel double doors to the Montreal Canadiens’ dressing room slide open a short corridor leads you to the goaltenders’ stalls.On this occasion, Carey Price was pulling his undershirt over his head, back to the room, and looking down at a pile of his equipment.One is tempted to say he was doing so accusingly. It’s going to be time for certain players to elevate their game and have that confidence and that desire to be better, and there’s no doubt when you lose a game and you’re down 3-2 you can’t be satisfied as a team.”No guesses as to who he meant. .” Filosa continued.“I didn’t say that,” Pacioretty replied.“I thought you said you got out-changed late,” came the rejoinder.“I thought we got out-changed later in the overtime, I thought we out-changed them early in overtime, that’s important with the short change.

Raptors now have reason to fear the deer after ugly beat-down in Milwaukee

We’ve got to come out there and do what we gotta do Saturday.” The home team dominated the boards, nailed three-pointers, protected the rim, and snuffed out most of what Toronto tried to do offensively.The energy ballooned, and everything Milwaukee’s game operations crew did was making its fans louder and happier.The video board showed Green Bay Packers star quarterback Aaron Rodgers in the crowd, rocking a black deer T-shirt. We’ll be fine. They ambushed us and there’s no aspect of our game that we executed whatsoever,” said Casey. Fans lapped it up.For those who are Milwaukee sports fans – or just otherwise dislike big-city Toronto for any reason at all – it was an entertaining in-your-face evening of sports. 6-seeded basketball fiercely determined to end the season for the No. It was the second-lowest scoring first half of basketball the Raps had ever played in the playoffs, behind a 2002 Game 1 loss to the Detroit Pistons on April 21, 2002, in which they scored 29 points and just 63 all game, also a franchise playoff worst.It was more of the same dominance in the second half, and Toronto’s bench players came in to finish out the surreal evening.It was the first time DeRozan had ever been held without a field goal in the playoffs. The Bucks mascot, Bango, was hurled by a slingshot into a herd of inflatable raptors set up like bowling pins. “But our confidence has not changed. It ain’t over. Fear the Deer is an ominous threat from a No. Those two young Bucks were bullying their way into the paint and delivering athletic-looking buckets. 19, 2015 – against Milwaukee.Toronto Coach Dwane Casey said there was no logical explanation for how badly his team played.“It starts with us, myself as a coach as far as having them ready to play in a hostile environment. “We’ll make changes, we made changes going into the second half but whoever goes in has to go in and make a difference and we didn’t.”The series resumes with Game 4 in Milwaukee on Saturday afternoon, and then Game 5 goes Monday in Toronto.“I still think we can win the series. It just sucks right now, it’s a terrible night right now, it’s a terrible feeling the way we just got our ass beat,” said Lowry. “We’ve not go choice, we’ve got to win. If you didn’t fear the deer before, you probably do after Thursday’s smack-down in Milwaukee.The Milwaukee Bucks dominated and perplexed the Toronto Raptors in an ugly 104-77 Game 3 beat-down, handing them one of their worst defeats in franchise postseason history. As for the regular season, the last time it happened to DeRozan was Jan. Saturday is a must-win. 6-seeded Bucks a 2-1 lead in their first-round playoff series. An adorable team of seniors called the Grand Dancers took the court for a comical performance – another total hit. They would make just four of the 18 shots they would take in the first quarter.The lasting Raps image of the quarter was Lowry motioning anxiously for timeouts.The Bucks were unapologetically physical, setting hard screens, trapping hard, making Lowry feel every single drive he tried to make to the hoop. If you’re a Raptors fan, it was terrifying.A week ago ‘Fear the Deer’ may have seemed like a cute Milwaukee playoff slogan on a couple of warmup shirts. It created a herd of beady eyes and snouts, and that herd set the tone loudly right off the top, chanting Fear the deer, fear the deer.Bucks fans were about to feast on the worst playoff game the Raptors have ever played, and their hollers, taunts and all-out jubilation grew louder with each Milwaukee bucket and Toronto blunder.There were battles at the rim between Jonas Valanciunas, Thon Maker and Giannis Antetokounmpo. Kyle Lowry had 13 points on 4-of-10 shooting, while DeMar DeRozan had eight points – all free throws – as he was held without a field goal on 0-of-8 shooting.Lowry sat the podium silently steaming for a few minutes in his post-game interview before he finally spoke.“We got our ass bust,” said Toronto’s All-Star point guard. There was physical dominance from big Greg Monroe, big jumpers from Khris Middleton, and so many missed Toronto shots. We ain’t got no choice.” Fans at Milwaukee’s BMO Harris Bradley Center were dressed in black t-shirts with deer faces on them. It took three minutes for the Raps to even score a field goal. 3-seeded Raptors.Toronto scored just 12 points in the first quarter, and by halftime, things had unravelled even further for Toronto, and they trailed 57-30. Now it’s a swelling movement in Milwaukee. The surreal evening gave the No.

Josi scores a pair, Predators beat Blackhawks to complete sweep

Led by Rinne and a terrific defensive performance by their lines and defensive pairings, the Predators limited the high-scoring Blackhawks to just three goals in 13 periods. Toews had been held without a goal for 12 straight post-season games.Arvidsson wrapped up the sweep with an empty-netter with 1:48 remaining. Less than 90 seconds later, Josi beat Crawford on a wrist shot.Crawford was exceptional for the first 29 1/2 minutes, but he didn’t get much help in the final part of the game. He finished with 22 stops.In an attempt to create a spark, the Blackhawks shuffled their lines and star forward Patrick Kane played a team-high 23:43. Nashville will face the winner of the St. The Blues have a 3-1 lead heading into Game 5 on Saturday in Minnesota.Roundup: The latest news and results from the 2017 Stanley Cup PlayoffsChicago became the first No. They dressed seven defencemen — Michal Kempny made his playoff debut — and nothing worked.Chicago avoided the shutout when captain Jonathan Toews scored at 14:42 of the third for his first post-season goal since Game 4 of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final. 1 seed was swept in the first round since the NHL adopted its current playoff format in 1994. Chicago’s second straight first-round exit followed a regular season in which the Blackhawks went 50-23-9 and recorded 109 points, the second-highest total in franchise history.It was the first time a No. Louis in the opening round. That also was the last time the Blackhawks had been swept in a playoff series before Nashville’s dominant performance.The game was scoreless midway through the second period when Ryan Johansen won a faceoff against Marcus Kruger and passed to Ryan Ellis, who sent it to Josi on his right. Colton Sissons fired a shot that bounced off the cage and appeared to end up in the area of Crawford’s blocker before the puck came loose and rolled into the net. The Blackhawks had the best record in the Campbell Conference and were the Norris Division’s No. Louis-Minnesota series in the second round. 1 seed in 1993 when they got swept by St. 1 seed to lose in the opening round since the Los Angeles Kings knocked off the Vancouver Canucks on their way to the Stanley Cup title in 2012. Josi fired a slap shot from behind the right circle that got between Corey Crawford’s legs and sneaked into the left corner of the net at 9:41.Nashville extended the lead to 2-0 with a bizarre goal at 8:52 of the third. Roman Josi scored twice, Pekka Rinne had 30 saves and the Nashville Predators beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-1 on Thursday night to complete a surprising sweep of the Western Conference’s top seed.Colton Sissons also scored and Viktor Arvidsson added an empty-net goal as Nashville completed the franchise’s first playoff sweep.

Jubilation in Edmonton as Oilers come back to beat Sharks in overtime

Mikkel Boedker evened the scored 9:48 before intermission following a crisp pass from Chris Tierney. The victory gives the Oilers a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series, their first appearance in postseason in nearly 11 years. He gave the Oilers a 1-0 lead with 14:32 left in the first period when he tucked a puck past Jones.The Oilers came out throwing their bodies around like they had while winning Game 2. A Ferrari, freshly painted in team colours, barrelled past Rogers Place.The Oilers knew going in that they had to be better than they were during Tuesday’s disastrous Game 4 loss. Defenceman Oscar Klefbom blasted a puck from the blue line past San Jose goalie Martin Jones to give Edmonton the equalizer. Several times he stopped what appeared to be certain goals with sprawling saves. The Oilers took a 1-0 lead in the first period on Patrick Maroon’s first goal of the playoffs, but trailed 3-1 with 2:46 remaining. To that point, all five Edmonton goals in the series had gone between Jones’ skates.The Oilers were working hard early on, and got a bit unlucky. The Oilers’ surprising season took another improbable turn on Thursday night when they came back from a two-goal deficit to beat the San Jose Sharks, 4-3, in overtime.Rogers Place erupted as David Desharnais scored the winner with 1:45 remaining in the first extra period. Fans erupted as Milan Lucic decked Sharks players on consecutive shifts. Patrick Marleau then put the Sharks up, 2-1, netting a rebound off a shot by Joe Thornton with 4:08 remaining in the first. Refs had to escort Maroon back to the bench once through a phalanx of agitated opponents after he laid a hard hit in the corner on Brent Burns.Time and again, fans in Rogers Pace chanted “Five Hole” as a taunt to San Jose goalie Martin Jones. They won four in five years and five in seven, but since then, none.“There is something about Edmonton,” Mayor Don Iveson said, addressing the crowd. “I’d put on more if I could.“One of my earliest memories is sitting on my father’s lap as a two-year-old as he watched the Oilers,” she said.One fellow stood with an inflatable shark slung over his shoulder. “Game Five, Come Alive,” one read. In 132 games now in his NHL career, he has never gone more than two games without a point.After failing to score through four games, Maroon had been dropped from the first to the second line. That is the league maximum under the collective bargaining agreement. They cheered when a video was shown of the Oilers’ first Stanley Cup parade in 1984. “I don’t think you can paint him with that brush.”Draisaitl’s offensive production, rather than his temperament, has been more a concern. The crowd began chanting, “MVP.”Now the Oilers stand one victory away from advancing to the second round. It was the Oilers’ worst defeat of the year. 24 and 26.“It was a bounce-back game,” Desharnais said. Pushing strollers and with children hoisted on their shoulders, they banged drums and held home-made signs. “We stuck with it.”The overtime game was the second of the series and the second so far at Rogers Place. If a seventh game is required, it will be played in Edmonton on Monday. “No matter how cold it is, no matter the price of oil, no matter what is happening on the ice, we never give up.”On the streets, cars flew Oilers’ pennants. Others waved flags attached to hockey sticks. David Schlemko then scored San Jose’s third unanswered goal with 11:22 left in the second and it looked like the game was about to get out of control.Still struggling to score, McDavid levelled Marcus Sorensen with his shoulder five minutes later, and the crushing hit seemed to give the Oilers new energy. Their surprising season has taken another turn for the better. Edmonton outshot the Sharks 48-30.More than 10,000 people poured into Edmonton’s downtown arena to watch the two road games.On Thursday afternoon, several thousand people gathered outside city hall for an Oilers’ rally. He finally got on the score sheet when he assisted on a power-play goal by Mark Letestu with 1:27 remaining in the second period. “We Believe,” read another.Skylene Gladue was there, wearing a tutu and orange and blue leggings and a Connor McDavid sweater. In that game, Edmonton was called for eight penalties, including a 15-minute game misconduct issued to Leon Draisaitl.The 21-year-old forward only accrued 20 minutes in penalties in 82 regular-season games, but became so frustrated that he speared San Jose’s Chris Tierney in the groin.“It was a stupid play,” Draisaitl, who was fined $2,569.44 for the infraction, said. Darnell Nurse hit the inside of each goalpost with shots, Jordan Eberle also clanked a shot off the outside of one another time. She had Oilers decals affixed to each cheek, a giant Styrofoam finger on one hand and clutched an orange pompom with the other.“The team asked people to show their pride, so I had to come all decked out,” Gladue, 33 and from Edmonton, said. He finished eighth in the league in scoring with 77 points, but was scoreless in the series’ first four games. A number of former players stood behind him, Kevin Lowe and Dave Semenko included. Edmonton, which went from 29th overall in the NHL to second this season in the Pacific Division, has not lost twice in a row since Feb. “The last thing I want to do is hurt somebody.”Oilers coach Todd McLellan agreed the incident was dumb, but said it was out of character.“That doesn’t represent who he is,” McLellan said. Fernando Pisani, the last Oiler to score an overtime goal in Game 5 in 2006, watched in a sellout crowd.Jones finished with 44 saves, while Oilers netminder Cam Talbot had 27. That cut the Sharks lead to 3-2.McDavid, who had a goal and an assist in the series’ first two games but had been scoreless since then, also was credited with an assist on the same play. Game 6 will be played in Silicon Valley on Saturday night. Six minutes into the game, the Oilers had an 11-5 advantage in shots.Then, the momentum began to change. Desharnais, the little centre the Oilers acquired from Montreal at the trade deadline, set up the goal with a crisp pass to Klefbom.Roundup: The latest news and results from the 2017 Stanley Cup PlayoffsThe dramatic victory came on the heels of a 7-0 loss in Game 4 at the SAP Center. A truck belonging to a firm called The Gentleman Plumbers was being driven around with a Stanley Cup attached to its grill. The Sharks won Game 1, 3-2, also rallying from a two-goal deficit.San Jose goalie Martin Jones was spectacular in overtime, stopping eight shots over the first 10 minutes.