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Calgary Flames advance to 2nd round for 1st time in a decade

CALGARY, Alberta (AP) With a chance to clinch in their grasp, the Calgary Flames stayed determined.

Down 3-0 early and 4-3 midway through the second period, they turned a switch and beat the Vancouver Canucks 7-4 on Saturday to take the series and advance to the second round of NHL playoffs for the first time in over a decade.

Calgary will face the Anaheim Ducks in the Western Conference semifinal.

Matt Stajan scored the winner at 15:43 of the third period to give the Flames a 4-2 series win.

"Things happen so quickly out there and even when I go home, I'll probably blink my eyes and still have to pinch myself to realize what happened," said Stajan. "That's why we play the games. This is a special moment."

Jiri Hudler and Michael Ferland each had a pair of goals including empty-netters in front of a delirious Scotiabank Saddledome. Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan also scored for Calgary.

The Flames last advanced beyond the opening round in 2004 when they reached the Stanley Cup final and lost in seven games to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

"What about the crowd?" Flames coach Bob Hartley said. "The crowd never left us. We were down 3-zip and we felt their support. What a great story."

The Flames' opponent, the Ducks, have had a few days rest already.

They rallied from a deficit to win all four games of their series against the Winnipeg Jets, capped by a 5-2 victory in the clincher on Wednesday night in Winnipeg. Anaheim led for less than 39 total minutes of the four-game series.

Michael Ferland and Jiri Hudler each scored twice, and Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau added goals for Calgary. Hudler tied it at 4 with a power-play goal at 6:14 of the third period.

Canucks coach Willie Desjardins gave the Flames all the credit on their comeback.

"They found ways all year and they found a way again tonight," he said. "I'm proud of our guys. One hundred and one points this year was a good run."

Luca Sbisa, Brandon McMillan, Jannik Hansen and Radim Vrbata scored for Vancouver. The Canucks had a 3-0 lead midway through the first period.

"We looked at this game as a must-win on home ice," Monahan said. "We could knock them out and move onto the second round. We were still excited on the bench being down 3-nothing. We did whatever we could to push back and we found a way."

Flames starting goalie Jonas Hiller was pulled early in the first after allowing two goals on three shots. Karri Ramo stopped 17 of 19 shots in relief. Ryan Miller made 28 saves in the loss.

Calgary's fourth line of Stajan, Ferland and David Jones produced the winner. The Vancouver goalie made an initial save on Ferland, but Stajan banged in the rebound.

Vancouver scored three times on its first four shots. Hiller was replaced by Ramo after Vancouver's second goal at 7:32 and Ramo gave up a goal on the first shot he faced.

Ferland scored late in the first, and Monahan and Gaudreau tied it early in the second.

Sbisa put Vancouver back in front midway through the period.

With McMillan in the box for goalie interference, Hudler pulled the Flames even in the third. He corralled Monahan's deflection at the side of net and went backhand to forehand on Miller.

After Stafan gave the Flames the lead, Hudler and Ferland finished the scoring with empty-net goals.

Sun, 26 Apr 2015 06:48:00 +0000
Baseball fans asked to stay at stadium after violent protest

BALTIMORE (AP) Fans at the Baltimore Orioles-Boston Red Sox baseball game were briefly asked to stay inside the stadium toward the end of the game after a small group of Freddie Gray protesters became violent.

The protesters blocked an intersection near Oriole Park at Camden Yards for several hours and had a tense standoff with police Saturday night. The protesters were eventually cleared.

In the middle of the ninth inning, the public address announcer told fans that city officials requested no one leave because of "ongoing public safety issues." They were later allowed to leave but advised to avoid certain areas of the city. The Orioles won 5-4 in 10 innings.

The attendance was 36,757.

Demonstrators are angry Gray, a black man, died in police custody after suffering an unexplained spinal injury.

Sun, 26 Apr 2015 02:53:00 +0000
Eagles personnel chief says Tebow has improved

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Ignore the hype. Tim Tebow is just another guy competing for a roster spot on the Philadelphia Eagles.

"Obviously, we were intrigued with what we saw there," Eagles personnel chief Ed Marynowitz said Thursday. "We saw a player who improved from the last time we saw him live, which was when he was here with New England. We had some conversations and some discussions, and we felt that it was an opportunity to bring in someone who could compete for a spot.

"Look, we've got 68 players who are on our football team right now. And Tim's one of them. He'll have an opportunity to compete for a roster spot. And his role will be determined by his performance and it's as simple as that."

Philadelphia's new vice president of player personnel was the first member of the organization to publicly discuss Tebow since the Eagles signed the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner to a one-year contract on Monday. Neither Tebow nor coach Chip Kelly has been available to the media.

Tebow was 9-7 as a starter for Denver in 2010-11, including playoffs. He threw just eight passes for the New York Jets in 2012 and also lined up as a punt protector.

Marynowitz said Tebow is here to play quarterback, not another position. Still, the innovative Kelly could try various ways to get Tebow involved in the offense. Sam Bradford, acquired in a trade from St. Louis, is penciled in as the starting QB. Mark Sanchez is the backup. Tebow is competing with Matt Barkley for the No. 3 job. G.J. Kinne also is on the roster.

Tebow has worked with former Texas Rangers pitching coach Tom House on his mechanics. The Eagles were impressed with his improvement during a private workout in March. Tebow's career completion percentage is 47.9.

Thu, 23 Apr 2015 17:13:00 +0000
AP Sources: Tim Tebow expected to sign with Eagles on Monday

PHILADELPHIA (AP) It's Tebow Time in the City of Brotherly Love.

Tim Tebow is expected to sign a one-year contract with the Eagles on Monday, according to three people familiar with the deal. The people spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Sunday because the contract hasn't been finalized.

Tebow hasn't played in the NFL since 2012 with the New York Jets. He was released by the New England Patriots before the 2013 season and spent last year working in television as an analyst for the SEC Network and ESPN.

Despite being out of the league, the 27-year-old Tebow remained one of the most popular players around. He has a legion of fans who follow him because of his strong Christian beliefs.

The former Heisman Trophy winner led Florida to two national titles and was a first-round pick by Denver in 2010. He started 16 games during two seasons with the Broncos, including a playoff victory over Pittsburgh in January 2012. Tebow was traded to the Jets after Denver signed Peyton Manning.

The 27-year-old Tebow joins quarterbacks Sam Bradford, Mark Sanchez, Matt Barkley and G.J. Kinne on Philadelphia's roster. The addition of Tebow would be the latest move in a stunning offseason for coach Chip Kelly. He traded Nick Foles, LeSean McCoy and allowed Jeremy Maclin to leave in free agency.

Tebow worked out for the Eagles last month and Kelly later said he's always "been a fan of Tim."

Tebow had some success in Denver, but his inaccurate passing and lack of pocket presence was an issue. His strength has been running the ball or improvising. Tebow has completed just 47.9 percent of his passes for 2,422 yards, 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He has 989 yards rushing, a 5.0 average yards per carry and 12 TDs.

Tebow worked with former major league pitcher Tom House on improving his mechanics. He joins the Eagles in time to start their offseason program this week.

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Follow Rob Maaddi on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AP-RobMaaddi

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

Mon, 20 Apr 2015 00:33:00 +0000
Jim Furyk tops Kevin Kisner in playoff to win RBC Heritage

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (AP) Jim Furyk won his first PGA Tour event in five years, making birdies on both playoff holes to outlast Kevin Kisner at the RBC Heritage on Sunday.

Furyk had a one-stroke lead when Kisner birdied the 72nd hole to force the playoff, the fourth one at Harbour Town Golf Links in the last six tournaments. On the first extra hole, Kisner rolled in a second straight birdie putt on the 18th to put pressure on Furyk. But the former U.S. Open champion answered with a birdie of his own.

After Kisner missed his birdie try on No. 17, Furyk sank a 12-foot birdie putt for his 17th PGA Tour career victory.

Furyk shot a 63 in the final round and Kisner a 64, leaving them at 18-under 266. Masters winner Jordan Spieth shot a 70 and was eight shots back.

Sun, 19 Apr 2015 19:08:00 +0000

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