Nikolaj Ehlers scores two goals as Jets beat Avalanche 4-1

Three of Ehlers’ seven goals this season have come in his past four games, after snapping a 15-game drought.Laine opened the scoring at 7 minutes 6 seconds in the second period, taking a Scheifele feed for a one-timer on a two-on-one rush. “All I care about is how the team is doing, and the personal comes second,” said second-year Jets forward Ehlers, who was named the first star for a second consecutive game. “When we’re hard pressed to score goals I have to come up with another big save.”“It’s a lot of fun always coming back to Winnipeg and seeing friends and family, and playing in front of them.”Colorado’s lone goal came on the power play with just more than two minutes left to play as Jarome Iginla scored his fourth of the season.Ehlers’ second of the game was an empty-netter with 30 seconds remaining. Laine’s 18 goals keep the 18-year-old securely in third in the NHL goal scoring race behind Boston’s David Pastrnak (19) and Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby (21).“[Scheifele] is a really good passer. He got the pass to me and it was easy to score,” Laine said. I feel really good and am playing with a lot of confidence, and just playing the game and it has worked out.”Mark Scheifele’s two assists make him the first Jet to hit the 30-point plateau this season, while Blake Wheeler’s ninth goal of the season proved to be the game-winner.“He’s a guy when it rains it pours. “But it’s not that I’ve been feeling like I haven’t played well. “I knew he was going to pass so I had to be ready.”Wheeler’s ninth of the season also came on a two-on-one rush as Mathieu Perreault set him up at 2:54 of the third.The Jets penalty kill, which has struggled this season – entering Sunday ranked 28th in the league at 75.6 per cent – killed off two of three Colorado power plays. “It was nice to see him get a good look at the goalie and put it where he wanted to.”Connor Hellebuyck made 27 saves for the Jets (15-16-3), improving his personal record to 12-10-1 on the season.Calvin Pickard got the start in goal for the Avalanche (11-18-1), but his homecoming was spoiled in his first career NHL start in his hometown of Winnipeg.“That lapse in the third period, I don’t know how quickly they scored the two goals, but it was quick and that was the difference in the hockey game,” said Pickard, who stopped 26-of-29 shots to drop his record to 5-6-1 on the season. Nikolaj Ehlers isn’t particularly interested in personal accolades.He scored twice and rookie Patrik Laine’s three-point outing included his 18th goal of the season early in the second period as the youth in the Winnipeg Jets lineup lifted them to a 4-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday afternoon at MTS Centre. He creates a lot of opportunities,” said Wheeler of linemate Ehlers.

Patriots deal crushing blow to Broncos’ playoff hopes with 16-3 win

This time, he brought a power run game and a much-improved offensive line with him.The result was just his third win in Denver in 10 tries, and it was the Broncos’ hopes of defending their Super Bowl title that took a beating.The Broncos (8-6) lost for the third time in four games and were supplanted by the Dolphins for the sixth and final playoff spot in the AFC race with two weeks remaining in the regular season.Brady completed just half of his 32 passes for 188 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions for a passer rating of 68.2. 26, 2003.There was a surreal atmosphere to the game, which might be the Chargers’ second-to-last in San Diego.Team chairman Dean Spanos seems almost certain to move the team to the Los Angeles area after failing to get a big public subsidy to help him replace aging Qualcomm Stadium.The Raiders could be on the move, too, with owner Mark Davis eyeing Las Vegas, although they’d still play in Oakland until a new stadium was built in Sin City.Raiders fans in their Silver and Black outnumbered Chargers fans by roughly 80 per cent to 20 per cent in the crowd of 68,352, the largest crowd of the year in San Diego.The Chargers (5-9) were eliminated from the playoff chase when Miami beat the New York Jets on Saturday night.The Chargers will miss the postseason for the third time in coach Mike McCoy’s four seasons and for the sixth time in six seasons overall. Brady returned to the site of his worst beating, a 20-18 loss in the AFC championship 11 months ago when he was hit a career-high 23 times. That was actually worse that Broncos’ QB Trevor Siemian, who was 25 for 40 for 282 yards and an interception for a rating of 73.1.Those numbers alone belied the Patriots’ all-around dominance of their nemesis.Behind Dion Lewis’ 95-yard effort, New England out-rushed Denver 136 yards to 58.Brady’s first completion was a 17-yarder to Julian Edelman a minute into the second quarter, which ignited a touchdown drive that ended with LeGarrette Blount powering his way in from the one-yard line. Tom Brady overcame a slow start to lead the New England Patriots to a rare win in Denver on Sunday in a 16-3 grinder that dealt a crushing blow to the Broncos’ playoff hopes.Brady missed his first six passes for just the second time in his career – the first was way back on Oct. Cornerback Ryan Logan picked it off and returned it to midfield, setting up Blount’s touchdown run.The Broncos reached the New England 31 on the ensuing drive but Siemian was pressured and instead of throwing the ball away dumped it off to running back Justin Forsett for a 6-yard loss that pushed Denver out of field-goal range.Denver trailed 10-3 at the half and had five consecutive three-and-outs before its initial first down, which came with about eight minutes left in the game on a drive that stalled at the New England 30, where the Broncos gave up the ball on downs.That, and below-freezing temperatures, sent the crowd streaming the exits.Raiders 19, Chargers 16Sebastian Janikowski kicked a 44-yard field goal with 2:40 left, his fourth of the game, and the Oakland Raiders beat the San Diego Chargers 19-16 in the Relocation Bowl on Sunday to clinch a playoff berth for the first time since 2002.Playing before what looked like a home crowd at 70,000-seat Qualcomm Stadium, the visiting Raiders (11-3) earned a playoff nod on the same field where they made their last postseason appearance, an embarrassing 48-21 loss to Tampa Bay in the Super Bowl on Jan. That was his 15th rushing touchdown, which set a single-season franchise record and broke a 3-3 tie.The Patriots put the ball on the ground twice on that drive. Brady was sack-stripped on the first snap with left guard Joe Thuney pouncing on the fumble, and Lewis recovered his own fumble at the Denver one-yard line just before Blount scored.The Broncos out-gained New England 146 yards to 39 in the first quarter, but Siemian made two bad decisions that thwarted promising drives.His throw to Emmanuel Sanders from the New England 14 was both poorly timed and poorly placed. 12, 2003, against the Giants – but he came back to lead the Patriots (12-2) to a record eighth-consecutive division title and a first-round bye.

Tennessee Titans stun Kansas City Chiefs with last-minute field goal

But coach Mike Mularkey went for a two-point conversion and the lead, and Marcus Mariota was pressured immediately and his pass never reached the end zone.The Chiefs (10-4) came in tied with the Raiders for first in the AFC West and could have clinched a playoff spot. The Chiefs nevertheless got off to a hot start when Tyreek Hill faked like he was running an option play and took an inside handoff instead, running untouched 68 yards for a first-quarter touchdown. It was so cold that the fuses in the west scoreboard froze, blanking out a large section of it for much of the game. The Titans (8-6) had rallied from a 17-7 hole, and Derrick Henry’s second touchdown run got them within 17-16 with just over three minutes left. With no timeouts, Mariota calmly found Rishard Matthews for 19 yards and Delanie Walker twice to set up Succop’s field-goal attempt. The Titans’ defence and Succop’s strong right leg made sure of it.The record for coldest game at Arrowhead Stadium had been -13 C before Sunday. Given a second chance, Succop knocked it through with a couple feet to spare as the Titans poured off the bench to celebrate. “You can sit here and point fingers and all that stuff that bad teams do, or you can fix it,” Reid said, “and I have total trust in this team to do that.”The dramatic late-game turn came after Tennessee squandered plenty of chances early. Ryan Succop kicked a 53-yard field goal into the wind as time expired to give Tennessee a 19-17 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs on a frigid Sunday and keep the Titans tied with Houston atop the AFC South.Succop, who began his career with Kansas City, came up short on his first try at the winner, but Chiefs coach Andy Reid had called a timeout just before the snap. Kansas City was unable to pick up a first down to clinch the game, and Tennessee got the ball back with a minute left. Alex Smith added a TD run later in the half, and Cairo Santos knocked through a field goal, but the Chiefs also blew a couple of opportunities.“I thought we were awful on third down and we didn’t capitalize in the red zone,” Chiefs wide receiver Jeremy Maclin said.Succop hit from 39 yards early in the fourth quarter make it a one-possession game, and the Titans promptly got the ball back and marched the other way, twice converting third down and once on fourth to set up Henry’s one-yard TD plunge. Matthews fumbled within sight of the goal line in the first half, ending a streak of four straight games without a turnover for the Titans. And Mariota, a Hawaii native, had plenty of trouble dealing with the cold weather.It was -17 C at kickoff at Arrowhead Stadium, with a wind chill of -28 C, making it the coldest game in Kansas City since the franchise began keeping records in 1994. The conversion attempt was a disaster, but it wound up being moot.

Packers beat Bears 30-27 after Rodgers’ big pass to Nelson

They also moved ahead of Minnesota for sole possession of second place in the NFC North and pulled within a game of division leader Detroit, with the Vikings getting pounded by Indianapolis and the Lions losing to the New York Giants.The Bears (3-11) had tied it on a field goal by Connor Barth with 1:19 left. 18, 1983. The Bears’ coldest home game, temperature-wise, was against Green Bay on Dec. The Packers took over at their 27, and on third down at the 26, Rodgers unleashed a deep pass down the middle of the field to Nelson, who got behind Cre’Von LeBlanc.With no timeouts, the Packers downed the ball before Crosby booted his winner.The game-time temperature for their matchup against Green Bay on Sunday was -11 C with a wind chill of -20 C.Chicago hosted the Packers in -16 C temperature and a -26 C wind chill – the lowest ever for a Bears home game – on Dec. Aaron Rodgers hit Jordy Nelson with a 60-yard pass to set up Mason Crosby’s 32-yard field goal as time expired to lift the Green Bay Packers to a 30-27 victory over the Bears in one of the coldest games ever played in Chicago on Sunday afternoon.Wide receiver-turned-running back Ty Montgomery ran for a career-high 162 yards and two touchdowns, and the Packers (8-6) earned their fourth straight victory despite blowing a 17-point lead in the fourth quarter. 22, 2008, when it was -16 C with a wind chill of -25 C.Green Bay, of course, played the coldest NFL game on record when it beat Dallas in the 1967 NFL championship game – the “Ice Bowl.”

Jaromir Jagr quietly closes in on second place in NHL career scoring

“I remember one time Joey said to him, ‘We don’t want to see you pouting this year. To find myself sitting in second place, I’m as surprised and as humbled as anybody. “At the end, he said, ‘This is great, thank you.’ He said, ‘Nobody tells me this. But hockey still maintains a greater decorum. He is the surest of sure bets for the Hall of Fame once he retires, whenever that might be. But he was willing and receptive.”Jagr won’t ever catch Gretzky (at 2,857 points) and wouldn’t have even if he hadn’t gone to Russia. Now, of course, it is manifested in the oddball late-night workout schedule he maintains. 2 from where I started my professional career,” Messier said. He got it – that we were teasing him.“It took time, but you could build that relationship and that trust.”One year, when Francis was on the injured list with a back injury, Jagr let his frustration boil over in a game. But according to Francis, what appeared to be selfishness to those watching from afar was just the outward manifestation of his desire to be the best – and the frustration that bubbled to the surface when things didn’t go his way.“Joey Mullen and I used to talk about how we might handle him and help him along,” Francis said. In each of his final five NHL stops – Philadelphia, Dallas, Boston, New Jersey and now Florida – he’s acquired access cards to the arenas, so he can exercise whenever the mood strikes, sometimes in the wee small hours of the morning.“Whenever people talk about Jagr, they talk about his size, the size of his butt, the length of his stick and his hands, but the thing that always got me early on was his work ethic,” said Paul Coffey, who played with Jagr in Pittsburgh at the start of his career, but was also Messier’s teammate for close to a decade in Edmonton.“I remember Jaromir, in broken English, asking me once, ‘Why do you ride the bike so much?’ And I told him the same thing Larry Robinson once told me. Soon, Jagr’s given name – Jaromir – was turned into an acronym, Mario Jr.The political changes in Eastern Europe were still ongoing in Jagr’s draft year, so there was still some uncertainty over when the younger generation of Czech and Russian players might land in the NHL. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 20, it doesn’t really matter for me. Florida won the Atlantic Division, and Jagr’s mentorship helped emerging talents such as Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau to breakout years.There was always a sense of playfulness in Jagr, even early in his career, which sometimes hid his deep love for and commitment to the game. Afterward, Francis took him aside privately and chewed him out for 15 or 20 minutes, he estimated.“I tried to educate him about why he couldn’t behave that way,” Francis said. If anything goes wrong, you can’t pout. But Jagr has said he wants to play until he’s 50, and who’s to say he won’t?He has won five scoring championships, one Hart Trophy, and made the first all-star team seven times. With three games to go until the Christmas break, Jagr is three points shy of Mark Messier, No. When Jagr had some difficulty adjusting to life in North America in the beginning, the Penguins traded for Jiri Hrdina, a veteran Czech player who’d been playing in the NHL with the Calgary Flames, who helped him make the transition. 2 with 1,887 points.Most of what’s been said about Jagr these past few years has focused on his age – and how last season, at 43, he had 27 goals and 66 points to lead the improving Panthers in scoring. In the same way that Howe gave six years to the World Hockey Association before returning for one final NHL season, Jagr spent three seasons in Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League, playing for Omsk. This is good stuff.’ Which guy would say that? And though he’s had a remarkable career since, and played a total of 208 NHL playoff games, those are the only two Stanley Cups he’s won.He was part of the Czech team that won the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, when NHLers first started to participate, and has been at every Olympics since.Jagr eventually became a thoughtful and respected voice in the NHL, but there were times early on when his reputation was not good. You’ve got to work through it.’ And then Joey said, ‘If we see any of that pouting stuff, then mama has to make us chocolate chip cookies.’ He kinda looked at us and all of a sudden, a big smile came across his face. But Jagr made it known privately to the Penguins that he would come over as soon as possible, if they chose him, information that the four teams drafting ahead of them didn’t have.Accordingly, Jagr surfaced sooner than expected, allowing Pittsburgh to add him to a star-studded roster that also included Lemieux, Coffey, Ron Francis, Joey Mullen, Tom Barrasso and others. “I was never really an elite scorer anywhere I played. It can be overwhelming at times. I need to hear this. The Penguins won again the next year, Jagr’s second season, which means four months after his 20th birthday, he already had two Stanley Cup rings. His scoring pace has slowed this season and Florida is in the midst of a regime change in which the current general manager, Tom Rowe, is now the interim coach, having replaced Gerard Gallant 20 games into the season.Going into the year, Jagr needed 132 points to become just the second NHLer to reach 2,000 points. Any day now, Jaromir Jagr of the Florida Panthers will move into second place on the NHL career scoring list, behind only Wayne Gretzky.Think about that for a moment.In other sports, milestones of this historic magnitude would be blared from the rooftops, complete with Twitter campaigns, sepia-toned retrospectives and any manner of promotional excesses. I look at when Wayne [Gretzky] passed Gordie, it didn’t diminish what Gordie had done in his own career – or who he was as a player and a man.“So No. I was always playing against kids older than me and I turned professional at age 17. Had Jagr kept at it in the NHL, he would have reached this statistical moment far earlier.But where some players come back from a tour of duty in Russia with strange tales of the life, the travel, practice routines, Jagr always spoke highly of his time there, treating it as he does so many things, a life experience, one more chapter on an unexpectedly long journey.The Penguins drafted him fifth overall in 1990, a player who bore a startling physical resemble to Mario Lemieux, the Penguin star. But it has been an extraordinary career for the young man from Kladno, with twists and turns you didn’t see with any other of the all-time greats.As for the man he’s about to pass, Messier, on a conference call with reporters this week, put himself in the records-are-meant-to-be broken camp, and is fine with the big Czech nudging him down one place on the career list.“When there have been almost 6,000 people who have come through the league, I can’t believe I’ve been sitting at No. Jagr’s mother also made the trip, and he lived with her and she cooked his meals.“We take it for granted, but here was a kid, who was 18, leaving a country that for most of his life was Communist and coming over to North America,” said Francis, the Carolina Hurricanes’ general manager, who played extensively as Jagr’s centre.“It’s a whole new culture and a whole new way of life. So to have a guy from your homeland like Hrdina that you can trust and have those conversations with was a huge factor in his adjustment.”Jagr was a fourth liner in his rookie season and promptly won the Stanley Cup. I’m honoured to be in the circle.”As is Jagr. Most guys would get pissed off if you did that to them. That seemed an attainable goal within a two-year span based on last year’s production.Now, it appears as though it would take this year and possibly two more to get to 2,000, at which point he would be 47. There is a modesty among its players that means these events sometimes come and go with minimal fanfare.Toward the end of last season, Jagr slipped past Gordie Howe, who scored 1,850 points in a career that lasted until the age of 51. And don’t start when you’re 30 or 35, because it will be too late.’”Jagr shares one common trait with Howe, beyond their longevity and strength. When Larry was 30 and I was 20, I thought, ‘Man, how could he still be playing at 30?’ But at the first Canada Cup I went to, which was 1981, Larry said to me, ‘If you take care of your body, your body will take care of you.

Connor McDavid shootout hero as Edmonton Oilers top Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2

“There are some areas that we need to improve on, but it is a win,” head coach Todd McLellan said. The Edmonton Oilers were glad to be on the winning end of an overtime game on Saturday for the first time in a while.Connor McDavid scored the shootout winner as the Oilers emerged with a 3-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning.Milan Lucic and Leon Draisaitl scored in regulation for the Oilers (16-12-5), who have won two of their last three games after dropping four straight, including two overtime losses and a shootout defeat. Good on us to come back and find a way to get two points.”Jonathan Drouin and Tyler Johnson responded for the Lightning (15-14-3), who have lost two in a row and five of their last six.“It’s better. It’s not where we want it to be, but still, I think tonight’s a great step in the right direction,” Drouin said.Edmonton outshot the Lightning 11-5 in the scoreless first period, but the Bolts had the best chance midway through the opening frame when Oilers goalie Cam Talbot had to come up big on a short-handed breakaway by Alex Killorn.The Oilers took a 1-0 lead four minutes into the second on the power play, as Draisaitl made a long pass through to Lucic, who rifled his ninth of the season past Lightning goalie Bishop.The Lightning tied the game on a power play of their own with 1:01 to play in the second period as a Drouin shot through a ton of traffic hit Talbot and trickled into the Edmonton net.Tampa Bay took a 2-1 lead 2:35 into the third period as Cory Conacher threaded a pass through to Johnson on a two-on-one, and he beat Talbot for his ninth of the season.Edmonton tied it up again with 13 minutes left on another power play as Draisaitl deflected a shot past Bishop for his 14th, eventually sending the game to the shootout.“The penalty kill, we’ve got to step up as players,” Bishop said. We’ve got to have more passion to kill these penalties because it’s starting to get almost embarrassing.”The Oilers embark on a three-game trip, starting Monday in St. “The ones they did get, they capitalized on. The Lightning return home to host the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday. “Enough is enough here. We’ve been on the other end of those lately, so it is nice to come back and tie one up in the third period and win in a shootout instead of being on the other end.”“We did a good job I think in the whole game, not giving them too many chances,” added McDavid. “It’s a comeback win. Louis.

Price bounces back as Canadiens beat Capitals 2-1

They looked much fresher than the Capitals, who won in a shootout at Carolina on Friday night.The Canadiens got a scare late in the second period when defenceman Shea Weber took a shot from Dmitry Orlov off the right leg. Weber missed the final 4:25 of the second but returned for the third.NOTES: The Capitals recalled F Zach Sanford from the American Hockey League on Saturday morning as he skated in his first NHL game since Nov. Those 17 wins rank him second in the league behind Sergei Bobrovsky of the Columbus Blue Jackets.Trotz said before the game that he expected Price to “come back and make a statement,” adding that “If there’s one area that I know they’re going to be good tonight, it’s going be in net.” He wasn’t wrong about the goaltender he got to know well at the World Cup of Hockey in September.Price, the 2014-15 Vezina Trophy winner beat last season’s winner, Braden Holtby of the Capitals, who made 23 saves. 3 and in regulation for the first time since Dec. 26. Nicklas Backstrom scored a 5-on-3 power-play goal for Washington, which lost for the first time since Dec. Oshie, Marcus Johansson and former teammate Lars Eller for his 17th victory of the season and 250th of his NHL career. 1Unlike Friday against the Sharks, the Canadiens were on top of their game at Washington to support Price. Artturi Lehkonen and Jeff Petry scored for Montreal, which went back to Price for back-to-back starts. A day after glaring at Michel Therrien after Montreal’s coach yanked him for allowing four goals on 18 shots in a 4-2 loss to San Jose, Price made big saves on T.J. Backstrom’s goal gave him six points in his past six games and 18 in his past 16.UP NEXTCanadiens: Host Anaheim on Tuesday night.Capitals: At Philadelphia on Wednesday night. … Carey Price made exactly the statement Washington Capitals coach Barry Trotz expected a night after getting pulled, and this time his Montreal Canadiens teammates were there to back him up.Price stopped 20 of the 21 shots he faced as the Canadiens rebounded from a bad loss at home to beat the Capitals 2-1 Saturday night and snap their winning streak at six games.

Gardiner scores overtime winner as Leafs beat Penguins 2-1

A Zach Hyman attempt off the rush was flubbed and went wide. Marc-Andre Fleury and Matt Murray combined to make 47 saves. The Penguins captain had a season-long nine-game point streak come to an end Friday in a 1-0 overtime loss to the Los Angeles Kings.The Leafs evened it up 14 seconds after Malkin’s goal on Zaitsev’s first in the NHL. Fleury was forced to exit briefly in the first period.Toronto, which had dropped six of its previous seven games, outshot Pittsburgh 48-34.The action started rather frantically when Carl Hagelin was hooked on a breakaway attempt by Leafs defenceman Connor Carrick in the opening two minutes. The team managed to shut down the Penguins’ full two-minute five-on-three advantage with Zaitsev notably blocking a hard Crosby shot.The home crowd roared in approval after Soshnikov stepped out of the box.Former Leaf Phil Kessel managed to break free of the defence for a breakaway a short while later, but his stick shattered as he shot and Andersen managed a left pad save. Murray entered in his place, stopping all six shots he faced.Fleury returned just past the midway point of the period, checking with Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan before he ultimately took his place back in the crease following a TV timeout.Pittsburgh went up 1-0 just under two minutes later on Malkin’s 13th goal of the year. As the action turned the other way Fleury signalled to the bench and the play was eventually whistled down.The 32-year-old received treatment on the ice from a team trainer for an apparent cut before heading to the Pittsburgh dressing room. The Russian centre whipped a one-time shot from one knee.It was the 17th goal and 54th point in 32 career games against Toronto for Malkin. Hagelin was awarded a penalty shot but was stopped by Andersen.Less than a minute later Fleury was forced to exit following a dangerous play in front of his net.Leafs winger James van Riemsdyk was tussling with Penguins defenceman Steve Oleksy when van Riemsdyk lost his balance partially, his left skate rising up and catching Fleury under the chin. Toronto had numerous chances around the Pittsburgh net in the second period but produced nothing tangible.Nazem Kadri danced around Ian Cole, but was stopped by Fleury. The 25-year-old, a free agent signing from Russia last summer, fired a shot from the right point that was batted by Oleksy in front before caroming off Fleury’s mask and into the goal.The Penguins’ challenge for goalie interference (van Riemsdyk in front) was denied. Frederik Andersen made 33 saves.Evgeni Malkin scored the lone goal for the Penguins. The club finished with 20 shots overall in the second, all of which were stopped by Fleury.The Leafs got themselves in penalty trouble in the third when Matt Hunwick drew a double-minor for high-sticking and Nikita Soshnikov was later whistled for delay of game. Sidney Crosby added an assist on the play. Opportunities on a pair of power plays also resulted in nothing, including a Tyler Bozak attempt around the net that the 30-year-old centre could not quite corral.Toronto was 0-4 with the man advantage over 40 minutes, totalling seven shots. Kris Letang and Trevor Daley were both sidelined by injury. Van Riemsdyk picked up his 200th point as a member of the Leafs on the play.Toronto generated some quality opportunities on a power play a short while later, including a van Riemsdyk attempt from the door-step that was stopped by the left toe of Fleury. Jake Gardiner scored the overtime winner, helping the Toronto Maple Leafs snap a three-game losing streak with a 2-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday.Gardiner was set up by Mitch Marner, whose shot just shuffled past Penguins defenceman Derrick Pouliot in front. He was set up nicely by defenceman Justin Schultz, who faked a shot from atop the slot before sliding it over to Malkin. The Penguins lost in overtime on Friday when Kessel’s stick broke against the Kings.Kessel, who was traded to Pittsburgh in the summer of 2015, was booed every time he touched the puck.The Penguins were playing without two of their top defencemen. Nikita Zaitsev also scored for the Leafs, who had dropped their previous four games at home. Pittsburgh and Toronto rank 1-2 in the NHL in shots per game.The Leafs entered the night with losses in six of seven games (1-3-3), scoring two or less in each of those defeats. Nikita Soshnikov sent a Marner feed from the slot wide moments later.A furiously-paced second period saw the two teams combine for 29 shots and 53 shot attempts.

Ottawa snaps three-game losing skid with 3-1 win over New Jersey

The Senators entered the third period up 2-1 and needed a great save from Condon in the final minute before Smith scored into the empty net with 14 seconds to play.For about 30 seconds midway through the third period the Devils controlled the puck in the Ottawa zone while Senators defenceman Mark Borowiecki stumbled and fell about five times after losing his skate blade.The referees finally blew the play dead allowing Borowiecki to make his way to the bench and get his skate repaired.The Senators got the game’s first goal four minutes in thanks to a little leg work from Smith. Mike Cammalleri picked up the assist on the goal giving him his 600th NHL point.Ottawa regained their one-goal advantage just 74 seconds into the second period when Brassard tipped a shot by Zack Smith past Kinkaid.That goal was also changed after originally being credited to Smith but changed to Brassard towards the end of the period.The Devils nearly tied the game a few minutes later when Taylor Hall beat Condon with a shot from the slot, but after hitting the post the puck was swept away by Dion Phaneuf.Notes– Ben Harpur, Craig Anderson and Mike Hoffman were the scratches for the Senators Saturday while Beau Bennett, PA Parenteau and Pavel Zacha were scratches for the DevilsForward Casey Bailey, acquired along with defenceman Dion Phaneuf last season, made his Senators debut SaturdayForward Jean Gabriel Pageau played his 200th NHL game Saturday, all with the SenatorsThe Senators are in Brooklyn Sunday to face the New York Islanders while the Devils will travel to Manhattan to take on the New York Rangers. Chris Kelly took a shot that was redirected by the knee of Ryan in front of Kinkaid.Kelly was originally credited with the goal but following further review it was changed to Ryan.The Devils tied the game just shy of the 11-minute mark of the first period when John Moore beat Condon with a point shot. Bobby Ryan, Derick Brassard and Zack Smith, into an empty net, scored for the Ottawa Senators in a 3-1 win over the New Jersey Devils on Saturday night .Mike Condon made 29 saves as Ottawa (17-11-4), snapped a season-high three-game losing streak.John Moore replied for the Devils (12-12-6), who have now lost five straight despite 28 saves from Keith Kinkaid.

Rebecca Johnston leads Canada in 5-3 win over U.S. in women’s hockey

We were obviously really excited to see some success, especially here in this building where worlds is going to be taking place.”Sophie Shirley, Micah Hart, and sisters Amy and Sarah Potomak added some youth to Canada’s senior team as Melody Davidson, Hockey Canada’s general manager of national women’s teams programs, considers her roster for the worlds and the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.“It was great to be able to see them in this kind of environment,” said Schuler. “But I think as a whole our team really took it to them and had a lot of energy. “All four of those players it was great to get them this kind of international experience.” Alex Rigsby turned aside 18 shots in net.Johnston opened scoring on the power play 6:37 into the first then added two goals in the third. Spooner also scored in the third as Canada reeled off three unanswered goals.“(Johnston) is a kid that is extremely positive and she never stops working,” said head coach Laura Schuler. was 2 for 10 with the man advantage.“I felt like I had my legs and our line was playing really well,” said Johnston. She had a tremendous game for us for sure.”The game was the first of two exhibitions between the powerhouses, designed to help them tune up ahead of the world championships in Plymouth, Mich., from March 31 to April 7. “Tonight was her doing just that, not stopping and just going hard and getting up the ice and doing her magic. Rebecca Johnston had a hat trick as Canada’s national women’s hockey team rallied past the United States 5-3 on Saturday in an exhibition game.Jillian Saulnier and Natalie Spooner also scored for Canada. It’s back to back and it’s best-on-best competition. The two teams will meet again on Monday in Sarnia, Ont.“Every time we play them it’s such a hard-fought battle and it’s always an exciting game. The Canadians were 1 for 4 on the power play and the U.S. Special teams were key in Canada’s victory. We killed off a lot of penalties and I think that gave us a lot of momentum and energy when we’re 5-on-5 and on the power play.”Brianna Decker scored twice for the Americans, while Hilary Knight added a power-play goal. Ann-Renee Desbiens stopped both shots she faced in eight minutes of play. Shannon Szabados stopped 32-of-35 shots in 51 minutes of work in net for the Canadians.

Price pulled after letting in four, Canadiens lose to Sharks

13, 2014.Down 4-0, the Canadiens upped the pressure late in the third. He had an assist on Montreal’s second goal.This was the first game of a back-to-back for Montreal. Winger Sven Andrighetto started in his place.Michael McCarron made his season debut for the Canadiens. Carey Price, who is still looking for his 250th NHL win, was pulled in the second period after conceding four goals on 18 shots. Flynn ended Jones’ shutout bid with 9:32 remaining in the period before Petry scored his fifth of the season with 6:12 left on the clock.Andrew Shaw was out of the lineup with concussion-like symptoms. The San Jose Sharks got goals from four different players as they beat the Montreal Canadiens 4-2 on Friday night to extend their winning streak to four games.David Schlemko, Patrick Marleau, Timo Meier and Melker Karlsson scored for the visiting Sharks (19-11-1). Michel Therrien’s men were on three days rest after Monday’s overtime loss to the Bruins.Montreal got into penalty trouble early on and it cost them. Goalie Martin Jones made 26 saves.Brian Flynn and Jeff Petry scored in the third period for the Habs (19-7-4). Montreal has only beaten San Jose once in the last six years (1-7-1).Despite being pulled, Price was hardly to blame as the Habs looked sloppy from the get-go. Shaw took an elbow to the head from Boston’s Torey Krug in Monday’s overtime loss to the Bruins. The home side took three minor penalties in the game’s first eight minutes and San Jose scored on two of them.With Paul Byron in the box for hooking, Schlemko got the ball rolling with his first goal of the year, beating a screened Price top shelf with a wrister from the half wall.With the Sharks on another power play two minutes later, Marleau made it 2-0 from the slot after blown coverage by Alexei Emelin.Still in the first period, the 20-year-old Meier, making his NHL debut, added San Jose’s third at 13:18.The Sharks chased Price from the game at 6:44 of the second after Karlsson made it 4-0 by batting a bouncing puck into the roof of the net.It was the first time Price was pulled from a game (not due to injury) since Oct. Al Montoya made five saves in relief.Losing 4-0 in the third, the Canadiens made a game of it but ran out of time. The team travels to Washington face the Capitals on Saturday.

Hawks exact revenge on Raptors after early December blowout

Heading into Friday night, Raptors coach Dwane Casey had instructed his players to forget about that lopsided victory.The Hawks clearly didn’t.With Paul Millsap back in the lineup – he’d sat out the previous meeting – Atlanta raced out to a 19-point lead in the first half, and took a 95-82 advantage into the fourth quarter.Lowry looked intent on single-handedly dragging the Raptors back into the game, and his three-pointer with just under five minutes to play pulled Toronto to within nine points. Dwight Howard had 27 points as the Atlanta Hawks exacted revenge on the Toronto Raptors with a 125-121 victory on Friday.DeMar DeRozan had 34 points to lead the Raptors (18-8), who lost for just the second time in 12 games and first in five outings.Kyle Lowry added 27 points, while Cory Joseph had 17, Jonas Valanciunas had 11, and Terrence Ross and Patrick Patterson finished with 10 apiece. Atlanta led 69-52 at halftime.DeRozan led the way with 13 points in the third quarter as Toronto pulled to within five points, but the Hawks ended the quarter with a 12-4 run.The Raptors are in Orlando on Sunday to face the Magic, return home to host the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday, then depart for a six-game road trip. The Raptors had humiliated the Hawks two weeks earlier in a 128-84 rout, the largest margin of victory – 44 points – in franchise history. A Ross three-pointer, a dunk by DeRozan with 3:47 on the clock, and suddenly it was just a six-point deficit.A handful of defensive errors by the Raptors proved costly, as easy baskets by Millsap and Dennis Schroder put the Hawks up by eight with 1:22 on the clock.A dunk by Valanciunas and a pair of baskets by DeRozan pulled Toronto to within three points with 11 seconds left, but Schroder sealed the deal for Atlanta with a free throw, much to the dismay of the capacity Air Canada Centre crowd of 19,800.Lowry tossed up a three-point attempt as the clock ticked down, the ball bounced unceremoniously off the rim as the buzzer sounded.It was only the Hawks’ fourth win against Toronto in their last 12 meetings.The Raptors, who were coming off a 123-114 victory two nights earlier in Philadelphia, remained within a couple of points in a back-and-forth first quarter, but the Hawks hit two baskets in the final minute, to stretch their lead to 35-27 to end the frame.A pair of Ross free throws cut the Hawks lead to just four points with 5:47 left in the first half, but a three by Kent Bazemore capped a 23-8 Atlanta run that had the Hawks up by 19 points.

How the long snapper became the hardest NFL player to replace

That’s why Travis Kelce is the Chiefs’ No. Washington’s emergency long snapper is backup quarterback Colt McCoy. They’re much slicker.“I don’t know why they do that, but it was real waxy,” Celek said.The Eagles signed Rick Lovato to replace Dorenbos, who had played in 162 straight games since 2006. “He’s obviously really good at what he does.”Celek’s only snap on a 50-yard field goal try was low and Jones couldn’t handle it. “That’s a doomsday scenario, for sure.”NFL teams didn’t always dedicate a roster spot to a player who was only a long snapper. But when I went out to do it, I was good at it. Ngata’s snap on an extra point was successful. Neither Celek nor Burton knew that kicking balls aren’t the same as game balls. He doesn’t fit the profile for the position, but McCoy volunteered for the job in the summer.“I told them I could do it, which was a lie,” McCoy said. “I’ve never done it before. That was one of the first things he taught us because it’s definitely got a lot value. His son, Jake Matthews, is Atlanta’s starting left tackle and backup long snapper behind Josh Harris.“I’ve been doing it since like peewee,” Jake Matthews said. They used guys who also played other positions. Long snappers are the most overlooked starters in the NFL until they mess up or get hurt.The Philadelphia Eagles were down to the No. It can take you a long way.”That’s why Kendricks started practising on his own earlier this season with the Eagles after his playing time on defence was reduced.“The more you can do, the longer you can stay in the league,” Kendricks said.The role has become so specialized that each team has a player who serves only as a long snapper. “My dad did it forever in the league. Burton’s snap sailed high, punter Donnie Jones reached up to make the catch and put it down in time for Caleb Sturgis to stutter-step and kick a 41-yard field goal that gave the Eagles a short-lived lead.“Donnie made an unbelievable play,” Burton said. I was serviceable. 3 guy on their depth chart after Jon Dorenbos broke his wrist and backup Brent Celek suffered a stinger in a 27-22 loss to Washington last Sunday.Things got comical at that point. But snapping the ball on punts and kicks is a different, tougher task. I’ve gotten a lot better ever since, and if they need me, I’ll step in and do it.”McCoy also is the backup punter and holder.“We tried everybody who had shoulder pads – everybody who was dressed,” Redskins coach Jay Gruden said. 2 guy on punts and fullback Anthony Sherman is the backup on kicks.“The idea behind using both guys is that it’s so hard to be a snapper, to do a long snap and then shift to a short snap so I just wanted Kelce to focus on long snapping and then Sherman is another guy that we can use in a short snapping situation,” Chiefs special teams coach Dave Toub said.Long snappers have to fire spirals to a punter standing 15 yards away and to a holder 7 or 8 yards deep. The Denver Broncos even have two long snappers on their roster because Casey Kreiter strained a calf a month ago so they signed veteran Thomas Gafford. Defensive end Bryan Braman also attempted a few snaps.But versatile tight end Trey Burton got the call in a clutch spot in the fourth quarter. They may even use kicking balls.“I haven’t done it since training camp,” Burton said.Lovato played two games for the Redskins last month after Nick Sundberg was injured. Not much of a blocker, but he’s pretty good.”The Ravens once turned to star defensive tackle Haloti Ngata after Morgan Cox tore his right ACL in a game in 2014. Linebacker Mychal Kendricks decided to try out for the job on the sideline. But Boyer wouldn’t reveal what the team would do in an emergency now.“It’s a scary deal if you’re in our position,” said Boyer, who played with Eagles special teams coach Dave Fipp in college at Arizona. Jason Taylor, the six-time Pro Bowl defensive end, was Purdum’s backup that year. Celek and Burton now plan to snap a little more in practice. “He’s pretty good actually. The Associated Press His brother, Jason Kelce, is Philadelphia’s starting centre. Baltimore almost used running back Willis McGahee when Cox tore his left ACL in a game in 2010, but Cox finished the game out.Most teams have more traditional backups – linemen, tight ends, linebackers.Travis Kelce, a 2015 Pro Bowl tight end, is one of Kansas City’s backups. Hall of Fame offensive lineman Bruce Matthews was a long snapper throughout his career for Houston/Tennessee. It requires speed and perfect placement because timing is crucial for kickers.“Those guys are specialists for a reason and they’re so good and you don’t realize how bad you’re going to miss them until something like that happens,” Jets special teams co-ordinator Brant Boyer said.Tanner Purdum has been New York’s long snapper since 2010.

John Tortorella’s comeback success could win him NHL coach of the year

Louis and Brad Richards to rely on for offence, Columbus is being led offensively by Cam Atkinson, Nick Foligno and Alexander Wennberg – good players, but hardly household names. He checked all the boxes.”Tortorella replaced Todd Richards seven games into last season and posted a 34-33-8 mark – not bad considering injuries limited goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky to 37 games. The team that finished last in the Metropolitan Division a year ago with 76 points – leaguewide only Edmonton and Vancouver had fewer – has rebounded in a big way.“He had a lot of work to do with us,” said Blue Jackets defenceman Jack Johnson. John Tortorella is the odds-on favourite to win the NHL coach of the year honours, which may surprise some people, but not John Davidson, who never lost faith. Louis, then with Columbus, and in both cases helped to oversee turnarounds in organizations with massive credibility issues. It’s happened quickly here.” His passion and confidence trickle down into all of us.”Tortorella won the Jack Adams Award as coach of the year in 2004 and is currently two victories shy of 500 for his career. Davidson trusted him – and more importantly, he trusted that Tortorella would not go off the deep end the way he had in previous NHL stops with the Rangers and the Canucks, which eventually created irreconcilable differences with the management and ownership of those teams.Davidson remembered how Tortorella led the Tampa Bay Lightning to the 2004 Stanley Cup championship and how he got the Rangers to block shots so consistently. Unlike that Lightning team, which also had the enormously talented trio of Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. “But we wanted someone that’s won, someone with a passion for the game and someone who wanted to prove he could still do it. This year, Bobrovsky already has more wins (17) than he had all of last year and is doing for Columbus what Nikolai Khabibulin did for Tortorella in Tampa. Louis, Doug Armstrong really pushed for Ken Hitchcock. But Tortorella has cobbled a young, disparate group together and turned them into a cohesive unit. When Tortorella was fired by Vancouver in 2014, one year into a five-year contract, there was some conjecture he might never coach again. We’ve had a pretty good start here, but that means nothing. The fact that he did get back in had a lot to do with a long-standing relationship with Davidson that dates back almost 20 years to when Tortorella was a New York Rangers assistant coach and Davidson worked for the Madison Square Garden Co. “Not just getting us to play the way he wants us to play, but to get the mentality of the team turned around, so you’re going out to play with the mentality that you’re expecting to win rather than hoping to win. “We did extensive research and talked to the really good players and people he’d coached with – and there were zero negatives. Davidson is the Columbus Blue Jackets’ president of hockey operations and currently oversees the NHL’s most unexpected early-season success story. Those things don’t happen overnight.“There’s an old saying: The speed of the ship is the speed of the captain. “When we were in St. He’s done a nice job there, but there was risk. But Davidson tested the limits of his own credibility by going to bat for Tortorella. So we’re always trying to test each other mentally.”Things have fallen nicely into place now, but did Davidson ever see any risk in the hire, which was controversial at the time?“There’s always risk in everything you do,” he replied. He describes himself as a more patient coach this time around and says that last year he was able to figure out who’s who on the Blue Jackets and that, at the same time, the players were able to figure him out.“I think we’re much more comfortable with one another,” he said. I give Doug credit for that.“With us, as an organization – and through no fault of Todd Richards – we needed to change the culture. as a television colour commentator.Davidson eventually got into the hockey business, first with St. The Blue Jackets entered Friday’s game with the Calgary Flames with the fewest regulation losses in the league (five) and boast a winning percentage of better than .700, both at home and on the road. I knew the man, which is different than the perception of him that’s out there.”Davidson paused here.“Now, he’s earned the perception – and we talked extensively about that too,” he said. And he understood why so polarizing a figure had also earned the most NHL victories of any U.S.-born coach.“John really wanted to coach again – he wanted one more kick at it,” said Davidson. A group that has simply gone along and played and said, ‘This is okay’ – that’s how you end up in 27th. “I’m not so sure if it’s about roles. We have to be better, because other teams are going to get better as we go through here.“A young group has to understand that. You have to raise the standard if you want to compete in this league. It’s just about a standard of play for the team – individually, but as a team too.

Kelly: Milos Raonic in danger of always being good and never great

From that point on, he was an exemplar of consistency without the benefit of any particular inspiration. Both are relentless pluggers. That says more about tennis than the man. He was seventh in the world in July. The thumbnail of Weir’s career is “Masters champion – was otherwise pretty good.” Leave out the first part and all that’s left to show for a quarter-century of effort is an enormous pile of money.If Weir were given a sporting Sophie’s Choice – you can keep either the Masters title or the cash – I’m going to confidently guess which thing means more to him.Raonic is a higher-profile athlete than Weir ever was, both here and abroad. Few thought Raonic was among them.At the least, where are the hosannas about the transubstantiation of Canadian tennis from a mild embarrassment into a national point of pride? He finished the year ranked No. Raonic did win one tournament in 2016 – the Brisbane International, back in January. (By contrast, Jim Furyk, a player of similar quality born on the same day as Weir, won 17.)Weir was a top-10 player for parts of five consecutive years in the teeth of the Tiger Woods/Phil Mickelson heyday.That’s truly something, but it wouldn’t matter much if it hadn’t been for one glorious weekend in 2003. His high-water mark was the finals of Wimbledon – a first for a Canadian man.For just a little while there, after he’d beaten Roger Federer in the semis, it seemed like this was the aspirational moment Raonic and Canada had been waiting years for. Jeered by champagne-swilling toffs on the biggest day of his life – one assumes this was not how he imagined it going down.After Wimbledon, Raonic continued his trudge up the rankings. Neither dominated over long stretches.In 25 years as a pro, Weir won eight PGA tournaments. He was fourth by October. Milos Raonic made the final five in balloting, but amounted to a human rounding error.As one booster put it, “Let me make the case for a guy who had an incredible year – and didn’t win a damn thing.”That was a small exaggeration for effect. By this time next year, 19-year-old Brooke Henderson may have overtaken him. No Canadian men’s golfer has yet matched his feats, but they’re in the discussion. It won’t last.That makes things simple. He got there by virtue of persistence rather than brilliance, but still.Judged in relation to history, what Raonic has done this year is rather like climbing Everest with your ankles zip-tied together. 3. These days, he has more profile as a vintner than a golfer.The thing keeping Weir’s head above the waterline of anonymity is that Masters. But until Raonic finds his way to a major title, it all feels pencilled in. In the midst of its golden age, Canadian tennis is failing the Glengarry Glen Ross rule of ABCs – Always Be Closing. They gave out the Lou Marsh Trophy for Canada’s best athlete this week. That’s holistic success.Raonic has already managed the same trick, with teenage players such as Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime coming up fast from behind. Then a permanently injured, bottom-end one. It guarantees he will never be forgotten, in golf or in Canada.Milos Raonic has already accomplished a great deal – far more than Weir had pre-2003. Raonic has several good years left to play – and only one good reason to play them. Going into the Lou Marsh discussions, everyone agreed it had been such a boffo year for Canadian sport that any one of four competitors might win. But were he to retire tomorrow, Raonic would be forgotten internationally in a month and back home in a couple of years.Weir’s career returned to regularly scheduled service immediately after winning the most major major. Never a star, he became a top-end journeyman. They thought their countryman was taking the piss. There are none.Eugenie Bouchard used up all that good will a couple of years ago. Polite Canadians – yes, har har, good one.Unnerved, Murray blurted out, “No, it’s true.”The camera helpfully panned to Raonic, who stared straight ahead with a pained look of indifference. Both have genial, retiring personalities and are easily missed in a crowd. But his career will have amounted to a long and lucrative disappointment. Then he was rudely shoved aside by Andy Murray, both during and after the championship match.At the Centre Court trophy presentation, the highest praise Murray could find for Raonic was noting “he’s made big improvements.” (This rather made it sound as if a Grand-Slam finalist should be happy with a participant’s ribbon.)Sensing he’d gone down the wrong rhetorical path, Murray began feebly name-checking the Canadian’s support team, calling them “very, very polite and well-mannered.”The largely British crowd laughed. The Big Four era isn’t anywhere close to what it was, but the Big Four are still (intermittently) playing. Other nations win major titles and get the Cadillac car. It didn’t end well. Raonic has cracked that club down the middle over the course of an entire season.And yet, where’s the ovation? But if he continues on as he has – as remarkable as that run has been – he’s in danger of being relegated to the special hell reserved for athletes in individual sports who were always good and never great.What Raonic faces in 2017 might be called the Mike Weir Test.Weir did for Canadian golf what Raonic is doing for Canadian men’s tennis – make a global sport relevant as a homer concern.Weir’s career had a salutary knock-on effect, cutting a trail for those who followed. But when they eventually manage to leapfrog the top man, Raonic will not get the same consideration.Because Weir did what Raonic has not: win the big one.Though gifted in very different ways, Weir and Raonic are essentially the same athlete. Canada gets the steak knives.Raonic is 25 years old and at the peak of his powers. Everything is reduced to two weeks, four times per year.If he doesn’t win a Grand Slam, he will still be the greatest Canadian player of all time.