Metropolitan Division boasts the NHL’s strongest teams this season

Philadelphia has risen to fifth in the East behind 15 points from Jakub Voracek, a .930 save percentage from goaltender Steve Mason and a strong power play and penalty kill.Coach Dave Hakstol said the Flyers are finding different ways to win games, as evidenced by them beating the Edmonton Oilers 6-5 and then a few days later the Detroit Red Wings 1-0 in overtime.“I think we’re playing better defensively as a team,” said Voracek, who has 32 points and trails only Edmonton’s Connor McDavid in the NHL scoring race. “I would venture to say he’s probably the most fair coach as far as time off and days off and treating the players with respect and giving them their space and just allowing them to focus on one thing and one thing only, which is the 60 minutes ahead of them and the game. 3, Metro teams are an astounding 28-7-3, led by the Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins, New York Rangers, red-hot Philadelphia Flyers and Columbus Blue Jackets and streaking Capitals. “The top eight in the East is going to be tough to get in this year. We plan to be at the top.”

Even for the Capitals, who ran away with the division, the top seed in the Eastern Conference and the Presidents’ Trophy last season, that’s easier said than done.They’re on pace for 112 points, which would leave them in third place because the Metropolitan is home to five of the top-eight teams in the NHL.Since Dec. “I think we’re finally getting to see what the Metropolitan is all about.”Asked if Washington getting tested by a tougher division could help come playoff time after running away with it last year, Williams simply shrugged and said, “Maybe.”His coach definitely thinks so, or at least that the Metropolitan being this good isn’t a bad thing for any team that makes the postseason.“I think competition makes you better,” Trotz said.“I think the quality in the Metro this year is terrific. 27. The Flyers have won a league-best nine in a row, the Blue Jackets six and the Penguins five so the Capitals’ four-game winning streak doesn’t have them moving up the standings.“Win them all if you can,” coach Barry Trotz said. “You have a bad day, you could fall like three or four spots. “When we’re making mistakes, Mason is playing unreal … I think as an overall game we got better not only over the winning streak but in the games before. It’s a good challenge, and I think it prepares you just to have some consistency in your game. That’ll make all the teams better, not only ours. “There’s no room. We’re in our playoff push.”No team has pushed toward the playoffs harder than the Flyers, who were 13th in the East before their run began on Nov. We lost the games when we should’ve won earlier in the year and now we’re winning them. If you don’t, then you’ll fall out.” It’s a good sign.”The Penguins have avoided the dreaded Stanley Cup hangover thanks to Sidney Crosby’s league-leading 20 goals in his first 22 games.As Henrik Lundqvist sits, Rangers backup goalie Antti Raanta has won three-consecutive starts with a 0.33 goals-against average and .984 save percentage.After losing four of its first six games, Columbus is rolling under coach John Tortorella. It’s a two-way street with him, and I think it’s allowed us to excel.”Meanwhile, the Capitals shrugged off some early-season malaise, and Vezina Trophy-winning goaltender Braden Holtby said, “We’re realizing a little bit more who we are.” Three-time Hart Trophy winner Alex Ovechkin snapped a seven-game goal drought Sunday, but Nicklas Backstrom and others are picking up the slack.Defenceman Karl Alzner isn’t surprised by the Metropolitan might.“We all knew that when the divisions got made that ours was going to be really hard and it wasn’t as hard as it could’ve been, I think, the last few years,” Alzner said. You could go from being a wild-card team to not being in the playoffs to being second in your division if you win.”The competition is so hot that the New York Islanders are still in last place despite winning six of their last 10 and the New Jersey Devils and Carolina Hurricanes are five and seven points out of the last playoff spot in the East.At the top of the division, the Penguins, Rangers, Flyers, Blue Jackets and Capitals have combined to win their last 27 games.“Everyone’s playing at a high level,” Rangers centre Derek Stepan said. Goalie Sergei Bobrovsky is among the league leaders with a .932 save percentage and 1.98 GAA this season and forward Cam Atkinson has 27 points in 26 games.“Everybody’s bought in,” Columbus centre Brandon Dubinsky, who also played for Tortorella in New York. Justin Williams knows, from missing the playoffs twice with defending Stanley Cup champions, just how difficult it is to make it to the postseason, which is why the Metropolitan Division standings have his full attention.“I see our division, I see everyone winning,” the Washington Capitals right winger said.

Ryan Tannehill’s knee injury less serious than first feared

He has a 13-12 record as a starter – giving him a career winning percentage better than Tannehill’s – but this week will be the first time Moore has started for a team with a winning record.The new backup quarterback is expected to be rookie Brandon Doughty, a seventh-round draft pick from Western Kentucky who grew up near the Dolphins’ complex.Tannehill likely finishes 2016 with career highs in passer rating (93.5), completion percentage (67.1 per cent) and yards per attempt (7.7). Despite the surprising news, Matt Moore is expected to make his first start since 2011 on Saturday against the New York Jets.Tannehill limped out of Sunday’s win in the third quarter after being hit by defensive end Calais Campbell as he released a completion. It’s a long, long process.”ACL surgery generally requires at least a nine-month recovery. 1 quarterback.After a slow start against Arizona, Moore led a late drive that ended with the game-winning field goal.The Dolphins won for the seventh time in the past eight games and forged a tie with Denver in the race for the final AFC wild-card playoff berth.Only two Dolphins on the active roster have been with the team longer than Moore, a 10-year veteran who joined Miami in 2011. He has 25 starts but none since the Dolphins drafted the durable Tannehill, who started 77 consecutive games in his first five NFL seasons despite taking 213 sacks.Moore has thrown 16 passes in the past four seasons, including five Sunday. Ryan Tannehill’s left-knee injury is less serious than first feared and no surgery is expected, but it remains unlikely he’ll play again this season for the Miami Dolphins.The quarterback’s injury was diagnosed as a sprained ACL and MCL, coach Adam Gase said Monday.When Tannehill was hurt Sunday against Arizona, the Dolphins (8-5) feared a torn ACL that would require surgery and a long, arduous rehabilitation. Miami led 21-9 when Tannehill was hurt and won 26-23 on a last-second field goal.The victory didn’t help the Dolphins’ glum mood. “I was happy for him. Gase said the Dolphins don’t know how long Tannehill will be sidelined by the sprained knee, but it’s questionable whether he would be available even deep into the postseason.While Tannehill was at the team complex Monday, Moore was not – his wife was having their third child. But he’ll soon be cramming as the new No. That’s a hard injury to come back from and rehab. Tannehill was red-eyed on the sideline as the game ended and left the stadium on crutches.But the Dolphins learned late Sunday he won’t need surgery.“Better than what we thought,” Gase said.

U.S. court won’t hear challenge to NFL concussion settlement

The league has announced it will spend hundreds of millions of dollars to study ways to improve player safety and has taken steps to outlaw some of the game’s most brutal hits.CTE, a progressive degenerative disease of the brain seen in athletes and others with histories of repetitive brain trauma, has been discovered during autopsies on several former players.They included Hall of Fame linebacker Junior Seau, who committed suicide, and safety Dave Duerson, who played on the all-time great 1985 Chicago Bears defense and later committed suicide. They also argued the deal unfairly favored currently injured retirees and left thousands of former players who have not yet been diagnosed with neurological diseases without a remedy.The objectors included Scott Gilchrist, the son of retired player Carlton Chester “Cookie” Gilchrist, a Buffalo Bills running back in the 1960s whose lawyers say died from CTE at age 75 in 2011.The NFL has come under increasing pressure in recent years from fans, politicians and parents to address the link between playing the sport and head trauma. It also said many of the symptoms associated with CTE, such as memory loss, are eligible for compensation under the settlement. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia wrote that those challenging it “risk making the perfect the enemy of the good.” Under the settlement, the NFL does not admit guilt.The deal was first approved in April 2015 by U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear a challenge to the National Football League’s estimated $1 billion settlement of concussion-related lawsuits with thousands of retired players brought by a small group of them who contend it is flawed.The justices rejected an appeal of a lower court ruling in April upholding the settlement, which resolved litigation brought by players who accused the NFL of covering up information that tied head trauma like that suffered playing football to permanent brain damage. In March, the NFL for the first time acknowledged a link between football and CTE.But the appeals court noted that the research surrounding CTE is still nascent, with no current way to test for the disease while an individual is still alive. The U.S. The dozens of retired players challenging the settlement complained that it did not cover potential victims of a degenerative brain disease that scientists have linked to repeated blows to the head.In upholding the settlement in April, the 3rd U.S. The settlement calls for payments of up to $5 million each to former players diagnosed with certain neurological disorders, but it does not address chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a condition that has been linked to concussions.The lawsuit was brought on behalf of more than 5,000 retired players, though the settlement could cover more than 21,000 former players, according to the appeals court.A smaller group of retired players objected to the agreement, saying it did not account for CTE. District Judge Anita Brody in Philadelphia.

Cristiano Ronaldo wins fourth Ballon d’Or award

I never thought in my mind to win four times. The emotion is like for the first one, it’s a dream come true again. I feel so proud and happy.”The Ballon d’Or, which merged with the FIFA World Player of the Year award from 2010-15 to create the FIFA Ballon d’Or, returned to France Football magazine this year, with only journalists voting and not national team coaches and captains. I’m so happy,” said Ronaldo, who won the award in 2008, 2013 and 2014. Portugal and Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo won the Ballon d’Or award for the fourth time on Monday after claiming the European Championship and Champions League titles in 2016.Ronaldo is now one short of his La Liga rival Lionel Messi’s record tally of five.“For me it’s a great honor to receive my fourth golden ball. “I take the opportunity to thank all my team mates, from the national team and for Real Madrid.

Edmonton Oilers beat Winnipeg Jets 3-2

Patrik Laine has scored a lot of big goals in his rookie season with the Winnipeg Jets. The winner was credited to Edmonton forward Mark Letestu and stood as the game winner. That’s my comments,” said the Finnish rookie, who has 17 goals for the Jets in just 32 games. He’s scored nine goals in 15 career games against the Jets.“I can’t really explain it,” Letestu said. “Every defenceman, it goes in off them, so he has a story to tell.”Winnipeg started the scoring with 5:10 left to play in the first period when a Bryan Little tip went off the post, but Perreault got two whacks at it, sweeping it in past outstretched Oilers goalie Cam Talbot.Edmonton came close late in the first on a power play, but Jordan Eberle’s one-timer hit the crossbar behind Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck.The Oilers tied the game two minutes into the second period when a huge rebound from a Tyler Pitlick shot came to Klefbom, who hammered home his fifth of the season.Winnipeg regained the lead with eight minutes to play in the second period as Thorburn scored on a nice feed in front from Marko Dano.Edmonton looked to have pulled even again two minutes later, but a Zack Kassian breakaway goal was deemed to be offside upon review.The Oilers made it 2-2 2:28 into the third period on the power play as Connor McDavid set up Letestu for a chip shot goal in front.Edmonton got a break to go ahead 3-2 with 8:39 to play in the third as Laine swatted a shot into his own net with some authority in an attempt to clear it, giving Letestu credit for his second of the game.“He’s 18 years old. I’ve done it many times”The Oilers remain at home to play Columbus on Tuesday. “It was just a bad position for me. The Jets are off until Thursday, when they will play host to the Florida Panthers. An unfortunate goal.”Letestu has had five of his six goals this season come against Winnipeg. “It’s nice to be in the fight right now. He feels terrible,” said Jets captain Blake Wheeler. I think it’s just coincidental that it’s been against this team. Unfortunately, he scored a big goal for the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday.Laine accidentally rifled the puck into his own net as the Oilers snapped a four-game losing skid with a 3-2 victory over the Jets. We’ve put ourselves in the (division) lead and we have to keep it rolling.”Mathieu Perreault and Chris Thorburn scored for the Jets (13-16-3), who have now lost four straight games.Winnipeg head coach Paul Maurice sympathized with Laine’s bad luck.“Every guy in the National Hockey League’s got a goal like that,” he said. “These things happen. “The puck just goes in on certain nights. A really lucky third goal and on the power play, Connor (McDavid) finds me in a good spot.”Oscar Klefbom also scored for the Oilers (15-11-5), who improved to 7-6-1 at home.“These points are huge,” said Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. We’re battling every night and every point is so big we just have to find a way to get those points because it’s a tight race right now. Laine was clearly not in the mood to discus his late-game gaffe.“I think everybody saw what happened.

Varlamov stonewalls Maple Leafs as Colorado Avalanche leave Toronto with 3-1 win

My family’s here right now and I got a lot of support from friends and family so it’s really special.”The Leafs carried the play to Colorado in the opening period, outshooting their opponents 21-8, a season high for shots in one period for Toronto this season.But it was the Avalanche who skated away with a 1-0 lead.Rantanen scored the goal, on the power play with just over a minute left in the period, knocking home the puck into the open net with Bibeau caught out of position making an earlier save.Tyler Bozak was off for tripping at the time – a lazy penalty that occurred in the Colorado defensive zone.The defensive noose tightened in the goalless second period where scoring chances were kept to the bare minimum.In perhaps an attempt to light a fire under his team, Matt Martin of the Leafs engaged Nikita Zadorov in a fight late in the period, but to no avail. Toronto came into the Colorado game with a record of 0-4-1 in the back half of back to backs this season.It was also the second game in as many nights for the Avalanche, who were humiliated just 24 hours earlier, dropping a 10-1 loss in Montreal to the Canadiens.Maybe Patrick Roy had the right idea when he abruptly resigned as the Avalanche coach in August.Babcock was certain that Colorado would be primed to make amends against the Leafs.“What would you want from us if we got tuned last night,” Babcock said earlier on Sunday. “Unfortunately we couldn’t get the win but it was a really special moment. Pretty calm kid.”The Avalanche took a 1-0 lead into the third period on the strength of a power play goal by Mikko Rantanen all the way back in the late stages of the opening frame.The Avalanche would increase their total to 2-0 with another power play marker, the one by Nathan MacKinnon at the 7:22 mark.MacKinnon neatly stepped around Toronto defender Morgan Rielly at the Leaf blueline and then skated in to beat Bibeau with a low shot to the stick side.The Leafs finally broke through late in the game when Gardiner one-timed a blast past Varlamov at the 17:24 mark while Toronto was enjoying a two-man advantage and had their goaltender pulled.Blake Comeau then iced it for Colorado, sliding a long shot into the unmammed net with 1:11 left to play.Toronto outshot Colorado 52-19 on the game, but the majority of the shots were from far out as the Avalanche did a good job of limiting any second chances.“They get a good road win, they rode their goaltender and got it done,” said Toronto coach Mike Babcock. The power play had good looks, but we got to score on the power play, you just can’t get good looks.”The Leafs started the day eight points back of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference and the next week or so might provide a good opportunity for the club to make some post-season hay.Sunday’s contest marked the first of a five-game home stand for the Buds, who next will entertain the San Jose Sharks at the ACC on Tuesday.For the Leafs, coming off an impressive 4-1 win in Boston on Saturday, the back-to-back was their sixth of 18 scheduled for this season. “You’d expect us to come here and get our nose to the grindstone and bet back to it. And when the opponent was an Avalanche outfit who were shellacked 24 hours earlier in Montreal, you would have thought Toronto’s task would be that much easier.Instead, it was the Avalanche who were able to crush Toronto’s spirits on a snowy night in the big city, skating to a 3-1 win in a low-key, tight-checking affair.If you like your hockey with a heavy dose of defensive play with little in the way of gold standard scoring chances, this was your baby.The game marked the National Hockey League debut of Antoine Bibeau in the net for the Maple Leafs with regular goaltender Frederik Andersen getting that night off.If Bibeau was tense, it didn’t show and he was the least of Toronto’s problems in this plodding affair.“I sure hope he was nervous tonight, his first NHL game,” said Toronto’s Jake Gardner, the only Leaf to beat Colorado goaltender Semyon Varlamov. “But he didn’t look like it. Just when you think the Toronto Maple Leafs have finally turned a corner toward semi-respectability, up pops a baffling performance like Sunday night’s outing against the Colorado Avalanche.Returning to the cozy confines at the Air Canada Centre after a solid win Saturday night in Boston against the Bruins, one would have expected a fired up Toronto outfit to show up, ready to build on the momentum from that big road win. They’re going to be no different here, they’ve got proud guys.”As for Bibeau his first NHL start, Babcock said he expected the 22-year-old to be a tad nervous.Bibeau was whiling away his time with the Marlies in the American Hockey League when he got called up after Jhonas Enroth was waived and then demoted to the minors.“It was a really special game, obviously,” Bibeau said. “We had lots of opportunities to score and didn’t.

Pittsburgh Steelers overcome three interceptions to beat Buffalo Bills

It was the second three-TD game of his career, and first in which he scored three times rushing.Bell broke the franchise rushing record set by Willie Parker, who had 223 yards against Cleveland on Dec. Washington (7-5-1) snapped a two-game losing streak and remained in the middle of a jumbled playoff race. 7, 2006.He also extended his streak to four-straight games with 100 yards or more rushing, a span in which he’s combined for 620 yards on the ground.The Bills mustered no response on offence or defence at a time when both quarterback Tyrod Taylor and coach Rex Ryan are having their future in Buffalo questioned.Taylor finished 15-of-25 for 228 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.Lions 20, Bears 17DetroitMatthew Stafford ran for a go-ahead, seven-yard touchdown with three minutes 17 seconds left after throwing two interceptions in the fourth quarter, one that was returned for a score on the previous possession. The Eagles (5-8) have lost four in a row and eight of 10 after a 3-0 start.Packers 38, Seahawks 10Green BayAaron Rodgers passed for 246 yards and three touchdowns as the Green Bay Packers routed the Seattle Seahawks 38-10 on Sunday. Le’Veon Bell scored three times and set a franchise record with 236 yards rushing in finding traction on a slick, snow-covered field, leading the Pittsburgh Steelers to a 27-20 win over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday afternoon.The Steelers overcame three interceptions thrown by Ben Roethlisberger to win their fourth straight game to improve to 8-5 and keep pace in the AFC playoff race. Green Bay gained more than 300 yards in Seattle’s first game without former All-Pro safety Earl Thomas, out for the season with a broken leg. The NFC North-leading Lions (9-4) have won five straight and eight of nine.Washington 27, Eagles 22PhiladelphiaChris Thompson’s 25-yard touchdown run with 1:54 remaining lifted Washington to a 27-22 victory over Philadelphia. They’re two games back of first-place Detroit in the NFC North, but play division opponents in the last three weeks of the season. Matt Barkley completed two passes that put the Bears in a position to at least attempt a tying field goal in the final minute, but both were negated by penalties, before Chicago turned over the ball on downs from the Detroit 44. Seattle’s Russell Wilson threw a career-high five interceptions and the Packers (7-6) won their third straight game to keep their playoff hopes alive. He had nine rushes for 72 yards alone and capped the 82-yard drive by waltzing into the end zone from five yards.Bell also had 62 yards receiving to account for 298 of the 460 yards gained by Pittsburgh. After scoring in the first half on three- and seven-yard runs, Bell put the game away on the opening drive of the third quarter. Kirk Cousins threw two touchdown passes, including an 80-yard toss to DeSean Jackson, and had a pick-six. The loss all but mathematically eliminated the Bills (6-7) from contention, and puts them in jeopardy of extending the NFL’s longest active playoff drought to 17 years – the longest since New Orleans ended a 20-year drought by reaching the postseason for their first time in 1987.

Toronto FC looks forward to 2017 after pain of MLS Cup loss

I don’t think we did,” Altidore said. It’s up to us now to get back in preseason, work hard and try to get the club back in position to win.”The reason for optimism is based on the fact that all three of TFC’s designated players are not the fading international stars that used to, and in some cases still do, come to MLS to wind down their careers with some easy money. History was made, all right. It was the crowning save of a night of holding off the TFC offence, which came at Seattle in waves only to be frustrated by Frei and his teammates, who rode a razor’s edge to victory. The cruel twist here is that Frei is a former TFC keeper, a five-year veteran of the team who was shipped out after the 2013 season in one of the Reds’ many house-cleanings before finally figuring things out in 2016.But there is a “but” here.This is not an old-style MLSE team, ripe for a roster blow-up. It will only make us better as we go into next year and stronger as a group as we try to get back to this and come away winners.“It’s a group that’s grown incredibly over the last two years. Altidore, Bradley and striker Sebastian Giovinco are still in their prime years. “We have a front office that’s committed to that core group of guys and committed to some stability with those guys.“This is a group that’s really close together and already thinking about how we can get together, push the envelope and get back to where we are today.” Their team was set to be the first Canadian champion in MLS history. By winning 5-4 on penalty kicks, the Seattle Sounders became the first MLS Cup champion to win without getting so much as a single shot on goal through 120 minutes of regulation and extra time, which ended 0-0. “There are a lot of lessons we can take away from this run. We’re just getting started.”Defender Drew Moor, who played a brilliant game on the back line with Eriq Zavaleta and Nick Hagglund, says of his teammates, “I hope they all stay here. It would also be the first team owned by MLSE to win a major championship. I think one of our key moves in the last couple years is we picked up designated players in their primes, not designated players who are at the end of their games.“We’ve got a very deep team, probably deeper than some people know. The only significant loss for next season is expected to be midfielder Will Johnson, 29, who is headed for free agency.“I thought we played in the playoffs like a team that really wanted to go and try and win a championship,” head coach Greg Vanney said. “I think we showed them what can be. Up to that point, Bradley was a shoo-in as the most-valuable player of the game.Instead, the award for MVP of the championship game went to Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei, who made not only that save on Bradley but an acrobatic one-handed stab on a header by TFC striker Jozy Altidore in the 17th minute of extra time. Bradley and Giovinco are both 29 and Altidore is 27.Supporting them is a solid mix of MLS veterans and young players from a development system that is starting to pay off. I know their heads are down now but they’ll come back fighting once we start reaching it next year. It was easy, after 120 minutes of regulation and extra time and then the agonizing penalty kicks, to confirm a widely held belief that Toronto teams, in particular Toronto teams owned by Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, are cursed.Going into Major League Soccer’s championship game on Saturday night, fans of the heavily favoured Toronto FC were expecting history to be made. We’ll rest and recover and come back strong next season.”The 2016 campaign, during which the Reds won their first playoff game, brought the team close together, much closer than many MLS teams where players collect their cheques, put in some playing time and then go their own way.“Yeah, we have a great core group of guys,” Zavaleta said. Their first shot on goal came on their first penalty kick.Capping the penalty-kick nightmare was the sight of TFC’s star midfielder Michael Bradley shanking his penalty kick for an easy save. In the midst of the pain of losing a championship game on the wonky grounds of penalty kicks, the TFC players and their coach pointed out this is a team built for the long haul and how they expect to start preparing for a second appearance in the MLS Cup when training camp starts in about seven weeks.“I think the whole city was behind us and you can feel like we let them down. This off-season, we’ll look to make one or two moves, three moves at the most, to strengthen our team.

Diego Costa’s goal delivers Chelsea’s ninth straight win

The Spain international is the top scorer in the Premier League with 12 goals.Last season, Costa – a striker who constantly plays on the edge – appeared to be more interested in picking fights than scoring goals and it hurt Chelsea, which finished 10th in a dismal defence of its title.Fast forward to this season and Costa is leading Chelsea’s revival under coach Antonio Conte, who reacted to the winning goal by punching the air in delight and jumping into the arms of two members of the coaching staff.Since Conte switched to a 3-4-3 formation following a 3-0 loss at Arsenal on Sept. Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp said the goals his team conceded “could have been avoided.” Defence is the area where Liverpool seem to be most vulnerable this season as the team fights for the title.Manchester United 1, Tottenham 0After being slowly integrated at United, Henrikh Mkhitaryan is looking the part and scored the goal in a significant win for Jose Mourinho’s team against a rival for Champions League qualification.Mkhitaryan raced onto Ander Herrera’s through-ball and drove home a rising shot in the 29th minute for his first Premier League goal. Randolph flapped at Sadio Mane’s cross and the ball fell to the feet of Divock Origi, who tapped home from close range in the 48th. This was the Saints’ 24th match so far, taking in a Europa League group-stage campaign that ended Thursday with Puel’s team getting knocked out of the competition.Leading striker Charlie Austin injured his shoulder in midweek and Puel said Sunday the player would be out for 3-4 months.Middlesbrough stayed three points off the relegation zone. In his past four games in all competitions, Mkhitaryan has scored two goals and set up two others, underling his growing importance to United.An ankle injury that forced him off in the 85th minute will set back his progress, though. Mourinho expects the Armenian to be out for around two weeks.United has had problems closing out games this season but encountered few worries against Spurs, whose in-form striker Harry Kane barely threatened.United is three points below fifth-placed Tottenham and six adrift of Manchester City, which occupies the fourth and final Champions League place.Southampton 1, Middlesbrough 0Sofiane Boufal showed just why Southampton broke its transfer record to sign him in the off-season.The Morocco forward struck from 25 metres for his first Premier League goal since joining from French club Lille for £16-million ($26.4-million) in August.Southampton won despite coach Claude Puel rotating his team as he deals with a busy part of the season. Fiery striker Diego Costa used his aggression in the right way to keep Chelsea’s winning run going in the English Premier League on Sunday.Costa muscled West Bromwich Albion defender Gareth McAuley off the ball before cutting inside and curling a shot into the top corner in the 76th minute to seal a 1-0 win for Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea has won its past nine matches in the league – the team’s best run since 2009 – to power to the top of the standings and Costa has scored in seven of them. 24, Chelsea hasn’t dropped a point and is three points clear of second-placed Arsenal.Here’s what else happened on Sunday:Liverpool 2, West Ham 2Liverpool dropped six points behind Chelsea after conceding more sloppy goals against West Ham.Under-fire goal keeper Loris Karius, who was criticized for his fumble that gifted Bournemouth an injury-time winner last weekend, got a hand to Dimitri Payet’s 27th-minute free kick but failed to keep it out as West Ham cancelled out Adam Lallana’s early goal at Anfield.Liverpool centre back Joel Matip then allowed a long ball down the middle to get through to Michail Antonio, who prodded a finish past a static Karius to put the visitors ahead in the 39th.Another mistake, this time from West Ham goal keeper Darren Randolph, earned Liverpool a point.

Kelly: Toronto FC suffers the agony and the ecstasy of the penalty kick

But it didn’t.This was a championship game and a professional reputation decided by a centimetre.Immediately afterward, Morrow was cornered for a sideline interview. It’s primal.You can’t remove that from this sport without also yanking out its most vibrant theme – agony in direct relation to ecstasy. Only Morrow didn’t put his on the net. Someone once asked French international soccer player Christian Karembeu if penalty kicks to decide elimination games are fair.“It is loading a bullet into the chamber of a gun and asking everyone to pull the trigger. Twelve men took penalties on Saturday. They define you unduly.Sport is mostly about pleasure, but there is also pain. He hit it square. “Fair? And it will reduce them to nothing,” he said. He makes one-thirtieth of Bradley’s salary.He played all two hours for Toronto on Saturday, but made little impression on the game.But because of the way this works – better players tend to go earlier – Morrow was next man up when the shootout entered do-or-die territory.On the long walk up from midfield, he didn’t look nervous. The team finally has an epic disaster to commemorate, rather than a long series of pointless ones.In Major League Soccer’s frozen final on Saturday, Bradley had one of the finest games of his fine career. “But what else is there?”He meant that from a game-management perspective. The ball hit the underside of the woodwork and bounced out.A Seattle player sealed the contest a minute later. At one point, the Italian was considered the best player in the world. It was a weak attempt and easily saved, but at least it was on target.“It can be a cruel game sometimes …” Bradley said afterward, and then let the thought trail off. He neither hurried nor delayed his preparation. That’s indelible and momentous. He had the dazed look of a man who’s trying to speed-process how badly he’s screwed up, and leaning hard on lose-with-dignity clichés in the interim.“Maybe I struck it a little bit too high,” Morrow said dully. It could be argued to the entire MLS season.And that unfairness is why penalty kicks are so perfect.Those 10 or so dramatic minutes are where sport is most like dreary, everyday life – capricious and random. “Like I said, gotta congratulate the other team.”Morrow had to hit an area of 192 square feet from 36 feet away – what might fairly be called the broad side of a barn – and missed. But it works on many other more important and telling levels as well. Someone will get the bullet, you know that. He’s been in and out of MLS over the past seven years. But nobody forgets the guy who missed. He stutter-stepped up to the ball – always a bad sign – and scuffed his shot. Fairness is not even an issue.”

Karembeu spat that out right after his team had won. Nobody will blame him out loud, but, quietly, to themselves? Mostly because the more memorable failure was still to come.Justin Morrow is a 29-year-old journeyman. He ran to the ball confidently. He beat the goal keeper. Few people outside those city limits will remember him in a couple of years. Bradley went second. He did not beat the crossbar. If it had been aimed at an angle one degree lower, or hit with a fraction less force, or if the temperature had been a bit warmer, it may have slipped in. It is an enduring mark of Cain.This morning, Michael Bradley and Justin Morrow share it in Toronto.Bizarrely, that represents progress for Toronto FC. They stick with you. Which is why everyone hates penalty kicks – even the winners – but no one really wants to see them go.“Penalties are awful, unfair,” said another great Frenchman, Laurent Blanc. Genuine disappointment – deep, hurtful defeat – inspires far more awe and, in its weird way, respect than any amount of joy.Enduring it publicly is what makes an athlete most like the people who watch him or her. He’s scored a total of four goals in that time. For statistical purposes, it wasn’t even a shot on goal. There is no more unfair way to lose in all of sport. On a field full of Pinocchios, he was Geppetto – pulling all the strings.After 120 goalless minutes, his evening ended in penalty-shootout ash. You know they will.That’s not fair on a bunch of levels – to the player, to his team (who were the better side all night long), to the title game. That’s what it makes it so compelling and necessary.Maxime Bossis, a defender who missed the penalty that cost France its chance at the 1982 World Cup, was shattered thereafter. He played for another decade and never again took a PK.“A football match should be decided by an action of play,” Bossis’s teammate, Michel Platini, fumed.“Not some contrived process whose end result is to mark a fine player such as Bossis, [Franco] Baresi or [Roberto] Baggio for the rest of his career.”Baggio may be the most awful example. No close follower of MLS will ever forget Morrow now.Still photos best captured how close his shot was to going in. “It’s not for the weak.”Bradley’s a big deal. Things go wrong that can be explained by the pressure of the moment, but often aren’t forgotten or forgiven. He’ll recover. Then he planted the last shot of the 1994 World Cup a good 10 feet over the bar.When you hear his name now, that’s all you remember – five terrible seconds out of 500 remarkable professional games.Baggio, a famously tranquil convert to Buddhism, would later say that it was the one thing in his life he wished he could change.It’s often difficult to recall the man who made the winning penalty in a big game, or which particular effort was turned away by the goal keeper.

Antoine Vermette, Corey Perry help Anaheim Ducks overpower Ottawa Senators 5-1

Antoine Vermette and Corey Perry each had a goal and an assist and the Anaheim Ducks scored a season-high three power-play goals to beat the Ottawa Senators 5-1 on Sunday.Joseph Cramarossa, Nick Ritchie and Sami Vatanen also scored, and John Gibson made 21 saves.Ryan Dzingel scored for the Senators, who lost their second straight game in Southern California. Mike Condon made 10 saves before being removed for Andrew Hammond in the second period. Perry has scored twice in the last three games after going 18 games without a goal.Dzingel scored at 7:53 in the first when he finished off a feed from the corner boards by former Duck Bobby Ryan, tying the game at 1.Cramarossa scored on a rebound 2:58 into play to open the scoring. Hammond stopped 16 shots. Vermette set up Ritchie’s goal with a beautiful backhand pass into the slot at 10:29 in the second period, giving the Ducks a 4-1 lead. Vermette also capitalized on the power play with 47 seconds left in the first period to make it 3-1.Vatanen closed the scoring with a power-play goal off the crossbar at 7:59 in the third period.Perry scored his first power-play goal of the season at 12:05 of the first to break a 1-1 tie.

Junior hockey players vie for second chance to put Canada on the podium

26. Eighteen of the 31 players in camp are 19 years old and they will likely take most of the spots when the roster is trimmed to 22 at the end of camp.The go-to players will be the returnees, led by Strome, the third overall pick in the 2015 NHL draft who started the season with the Arizona Coyotes before being returned to the Erie Otters of the OHL.What Strome learned in Finland was how quickly the tournament can end.“You’ve got to take every day like it’s your last,” he said. And Canada is not the only country that will be missing star 18- and 19-year-olds. Now they want gold as the event shifts to Toronto and Montreal beginning Dec. “It’s probably no different from Sam Reinhart and Curtis Lazar and Connor McDavid two years ago in Toronto and Montreal.”Canada could have had even more returning players, but it seems NHL clubs are keeping more junior age players every year. “It’s pretty easy to remember,” Strome said Sunday as a four-day team selection camp opened at the Centre d’Excellence Sports Rousseau. “In a game like that, it’s back and fourth, so you’ve got to stay positive and find ways to get back out there.“We’ve got to see how good teams are in this tournament and know we’ve got to be better every day.”Two years ago, Canada was coming off a heartbreaking loss to Russia in the bronze medal game in 2014 in Malmo, Sweden, and managed to bounce back with a win on home ice.“They’re hungry, especially after not winning last year,” player personnel director Ryan Jankowski said of the returning players. “If we got those guys back, great, but we don’t, so we’re focused on the 31 players that are here.“We’ve got high end returning players, which is great. university program, Tyson Jost of North Dakota. The five players returning from Canada’s team at last year’s world junior hockey championship feel they’ve got something to prove the second time around.Dylan Strome, Mathew Barzal, Julien Gauthier, Mitchell Stephens and defenceman Thomas Chabot were on the Canadian squad that lost in the quarter-finals to host Finland and finished out of the medals a year ago. “To have those guys in the locker room to share that experience is really important.”Some players to watch for in camp include OHL scoring leader Taylor Raddysh, who is Strome’s teammate in Erie, as well as the only invitee from a U.S. Unfortunately we fell short, but we’ve got another chance this year.”The 10-team tournament for players under 20 will be played in Canada’s two biggest cities for the second time in three years and, much like in 2015 when Canada won gold on home ice, they will have a relatively experienced team. 19.“That’s what we’re faced with every year,” Jankowski said. Finland won’t have Winnipeg Jets sniper Patrik Laine, for instance.There are six Canadians eligible to play in the world juniors now playing in the NHL, including McDavid in Edmonton, Toronto’s Mitch Marner, Lawson Crouse and Jacob Chycrun in Arizona, Travis Konecny in Philadelphia and Anthony Beauvillier with the New York Islanders.The NHL deadline for teams to decide whether to loan a player to a world junior team is Dec. Jost and Strome looked good playing together at the team’s summer development camp.In recent years, Hockey Canada has named its two goalies before the selection camp, but this time there are three vying for the two spots – Carter Hart of the Everett Silvertips, Connor Ingram of the Kamloops Blazers and Michael McNiven of the Owen Sound Attack.“All three deserved to be here,” Jankowski said. “It’s not a good feeling.“So many friends and people in your country watch the game, so you want to be the guy who wins the gold medal. He wants the second year players to be leaders on the squad.“Those guys experienced how quickly you need to adjust your game and the little things that can make a difference,” Ducharme said. We’ve got high end players who weren’t here last year, which is great.”Another returnee is the head coach, Dominique Ducharme, who was an assistant last year under Dave Lowry.

Houston Texans best Indianapolis Colts with ‘unbelievable’ defence

“We didn’t execute and you’ve got to execute to have a chance to win the game.”Frank Gore and Adam Vinatieri continue climbing the NFL charts. “It was like a playoff game.”Win a couple more, and it will be a playoff game.By snapping a three-game losing streak, Houston (7-6) and Tennessee remained tied atop the AFC South, though the Texans are better positioned because of season sweeps over the Titans and Colts (6-7).The Texans won their second straight game in Indy after losing their first 13 and have won nine straight over division foes. This one sure wasn’t easy.Nick Novak made five field goals, and Lamar Miller ran 21 times for 107 yards and scored on a two-yard run late in the first half for all of the points.Osweiler, meanwhile, went 14-of-24 for 147 yards with no touchdowns despite twice starting drives inside the Colts’ 20-yard line.Still, the old-school style played right into the hands of Houston’s defence, which picked off Andrew Luck twice and recovered a fumble after Jadeveon Clowney beat tight end Dwayne Allen on third-and-goal from the three-yard line.They finished it off by beating the Colts with a blitz that forced an errant throw on Indy’s final play.Luck blamed himself.“Bad plays – I mean those turnovers,” he said after going 24-of-45 for 276 yards with two TD passes. He has 1,012 yards this season – a pretty good return for a team that signed the free agent to a four-year deal in March. The Houston Texans hoped to cash in on a hefty off-season investment in the offence.Turns out, their rugged defence may still be the way to the playoffs.On a day the Texans scored only one touchdown against Indianapolis, the defence forced three turnovers and stopped the Colts on fourth-and-one with 1 minute 24 seconds left in the game to preserve a 22-17 win on Sunday. Gore, the Colts’ top running back, finished with 74 yards from scrimmage to move past Terrell Owens (16,185) for No. He’s achieved that feat nine times since joining the Colts, a franchise record.Texans linebacker Brian Cushing finished with six tackles, giving him 639 in his career – breaking DeMeco Ryans’s franchise record (636).While Houston ran 41 times for 185 yards, Miller reached the 1,000-yard mark for the second time in his career. The milestone came on a 20-yard run midway through the fourth quarter. “What the defence did is truly unbelievable,” quarterback Brock Osweiler said. 11 on the NFL’s list.And Vinatieri scored five points, ending the day with 104 to extend his NFL record to 19 100-point seasons.

Alex Ovechkin, Braden Holtby team up to lead Washington Capitals past Vancouver Canucks 3-0

But he received no help from an attack that has been blanked five times this season. Washington killed five Vancouver power plays to complete a two-game season sweep.Holtby was rarely tested in his 25th career shutout, the second this season.Ovechkin put Washington in front with his first goal in eight games, a wrist shot from the left circle at 13:46 of the opening period. He became the 18th player in NHL history with 200 career power-play goals.It was Ovechkin’s team-leading 13th goal of the season, the first since his hat trick the night before Thanksgiving.Vancouver was playing its second game in less than 24 hours and fourth in six days. Alex Ovechkin scored a power-play goal in the first period and Braden Holtby made it stand up, stopping 20 shots to help the Washington Capitals beat the weary Vancouver Canucks 3-0 on Sunday night.Washington nursed a 1-0 lead until Ovechkin earned an assist on a goal by Justin Williams with just under 15 minutes left. Tom Wilson scored into an empty net with 52 seconds remaining to seal the Capitals’ fourth straight victory. The Canucks hastily travelled up the East Coast after losing to the Florida Panthers on Saturday night.Jacob Markstrom started in goal for veteran Ryan Miller, who missed a second straight game with an undisclosed injury.The 6-foot-6 Markstrom had 38 saves against Florida and followed it up with another solid performance, stopping 26 shots by Washington.

Calgary Flames rout Winnipeg Jets for sixth straight win

Now we’re a really confident group.“We’re not relying on a couple guys,” Tkachuk added. “We know every night something different is probably going to happen and it seems like we’re getting basically everybody involved. “We were behind the game the entire night.”“We didn’t play the game,” Ehlers said. “We didn’t play hard enough. We didn’t have that belief we could win. Two good plays by him, for sure,” said Hamilton, who’s scored four goals in the last four games. “At the beginning of the year, everybody knows it, we were finding ways to not win. After starting the season with just five wins in their first 16 games, Calgary has won 11 of its last 15 outings and is riding its longest winning streak in a calendar year.“Right now we’re playing to win and we’re finding ways to win,” Tkachuk said. As the scoreless clash neared the midway point, Hamilton received a drop pass from Matthew Tkachuk, gave his teammate time to set the screen and promptly zipped a shot through the legs of both Tkachuk and the defender and past Winnipeg goalie Michael Hutchinson for his first of two goals on the night.It set off a four-goal outburst in the middle frame.“I yelled at (Tkachuk) pretty loud and he laid it in there perfectly for me and set a good screen. It’s been really fun the last little while when you’re having success.”Chad Johnson, who’s been paramount in the Flames’ turnaround, stopped 26 shots. “I saw their ‘D’ and him and just kind of waited until I could see some white space in there. We didn’t play smart.”Hutchinson, who started consecutive games for just the second time this season, turned aside 25-of-29 shots in 40 minutes before giving way to Connor Hellebuyck, who made six saves. The opening existed for just a split second, but Dougie Hamilton hit it perfectly.Hamilton’s thread-the-needle second-period goal sparked the Calgary Flames to a 6-2 thumping of the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday night for a sixth consecutive win that’s vaulted them into top spot in the Pacific Division. We’ve just got to keep this rolling. As soon as it opened up, I tried to put it through.“I couldn’t see the goalie so I was just trying to put it through their legs and upstairs.”Hamilton’s tally opened the floodgates, with Sam Bennett and Mikael Backlund also scoring for Calgary (16-13-2) before the second intermission.Lance Bouma and Sean Monahan had the other Flames goals on a night Hamilton, Backlund and Tkachuk each had three points.The three points marked a career best for Tkachuk, the rookie who celebrates his 19th birthday on Sunday.But he isn’t he only one on the Flames with reason to celebrate. His shutout bid was snapped late in the third period when Nikolaj Ehlers collected a power-play goal and Jacob Trouba rounded out the scoring with one-tenth of a second remaining on the clock.While the Flames are riding high, the Jets (13-15-3) are going in the other direction, having lost three in a row with four wins in their last 13 games.“Be real careful about the effort word here,” head coach Paul Maurice said.