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Datsyuk's late goal lifts Detroit over Boston 1-0

BOSTON (AP) Pavel Datsyuk scored at 16:59 of the third period, moments after Jimmy Howard's best save of the game, and the Detroit Red Wings beat the top-seeded Boston Bruins 1-0 in the opener of their Eastern Conference playoff series Friday night. The Bruins won the Presidents' Trophy for the best record in the regular season but were locked in a tight game in which neither team had many solid scoring opportunities. The winning goal came when Datsyuk carried the puck from the right side to the left in Boston's zone and put a 30-footer from near the left circle past goalie Tuukka Rask's left glove.

Sat, 19 Apr 2014 02:16:00 +0000
Ryan Getzlaf leads Ducks past Stars 3-2 in Game 2

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) Ryan Getzlaf had a goal and an assist while wearing a facemask over his lacerated jaw, Corey Perry scored his first playoff goal in three years, and the Anaheim Ducks beat the Dallas Stars 3-2 Friday night to take a 2-0 lead in their first-round series. Rookie Frederik Andersen made 34 saves in his second postseason start, and Andrew Cogliano scored a short-handed goal in the third period as the Ducks moved halfway to their first series victory since 2009. Anaheim has won just one postseason round since its only Stanley Cup title in 2007. Kari Lehtonen stopped 16 shots, while Alex Chiasson and Ryan Garbutt scored for the wild-card Stars, who took two one-goal losses to open their first playoff series since 2008. Game 3 is Monday in Dallas. Getzlaf was hit in the face by Tyler Seguin's shot in the final minute of Game 1, leaving him with bruises and a ragged cut on the left side of his face. His wife then gave birth to their third child early Friday morning, a daughter named Willa. None of it could stop Anaheim's captain from getting back in the lineup and making enormous plays to keep the Ducks on track. He wore a clear facemask around his jaw and mouth in a prudent concession by a player who doesn't like even wearing a visor. After a raucous pregame ovation from an Orange County crowd that recognized his toughness, Getzlaf then scored a first-period goal and set up Cogliano's short-handed tally in the third period. Perry hadn't scored a playoff goal in 10 games since April 2011, getting blanked during the Ducks' seven-game loss to Detroit in the first round last spring. But the Canadian Olympic gold medalist knows how to fill a net: He was the NHL's second-leading goal-scorer this season, trailing only Alex Ovechkin. Half of Dallas' skaters made playoff debuts in the series opener, but the Stars came out for Game 2 with more confidence and poise from the opening faceoff, and Chiasson put Dallas ahead early on a power play, one-timing a pass from captain Jamie Benn for his first career playoff goal. Both teams had an added physical edge in the rematch. Trevor Daley jumped on top of Perry and pummeled him with both hands in the Stars' crease during the first period in response to a perceived slight. Anaheim struggled to match the Stars' pace early, but after another fruitless Ducks power play, Getzlaf evened it by himself. He took the puck away from Erik Cole and skated in on Lehtonen, scoring high for his second goal of the series. Perry put the Ducks ahead late in the first period after intercepting a pass between Seguin and Benn before rocketing a slap shot past Lehtonen from close range. Anaheim killed a penalty to end the third period and then extended its lead during another kill early in the third. Cogliano, the Ducks' dominant forechecker and penalty-killer, got away with breaking Sergei Gonchar's stick in the Dallas end before Getzlaf controlled the puck and fed Cogliano for the score. Garbutt kept the Stars close with a goal in front of Andersen on a setup from Shawn Horcoff midway through the third. Dallas tilted the ice decidedly in its favor in the final minutes, but Anaheim killed a penalty on Getzlaf with 3 minutes to play before surviving a last-minute scramble. Nick Bonino blocked the Stars' final shot. NOTES: Dallas D Brenden Dillon missed his third straight game with a lower-body injury, and the Stars scratched veteran D Aaron Rome in favor of rookie Kevin Connauton, who made his playoff debut. ... The Ducks played without top-line forward Matt Beleskey, who aggravated a persistent lower-body injury late in Game 1. Devante Smith-Pelly replaced Beleskey in the Anaheim lineup, making his NHL playoff debut.

Sat, 19 Apr 2014 04:53:00 +0000
Harang pulled with no-hitter, Braves beat Mets 6-0

NEW YORK (AP) Aaron Harang threw no-hit ball for seven innings but was pulled after 121 pitches, and reliever Luis Avilan gave up David Wright's two-out single in the eighth as the Atlanta Braves beat the New York Mets 6-0 Friday night. As Harang's pitch count increased on a chilly evening, it seemed doubtful manager Fredi Gonzalez would let him go the distance. Harang worked around six walks, including two in the sixth inning and another pair in the seventh. Harang (3-1) left for a pinch hitter during a long, four-run eighth. He was never in the on-deck circle - the decision had already been made that he was done. Jordan Walden completed the combined one-hitter. The Mets hit few balls hard against the resurgent Harang, who lowered his ERA to an NL-best 0.70 ERA. The closest they came to a hit off the 35-year-old right-hander was actually on a check-swing tapper by Travis d'Arnaud in the second inning.

Sat, 19 Apr 2014 02:19:00 +0000
Canadiens top Lightning again for 2-0 series lead

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Rene Bourque had two goals and David Desharnais and Brendan Gallagher also scored Friday night, helping the Montreal Canadiens beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-1 in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series. Carey Price stopped 26 shots for Montreal, redeeming himself following a less than stellar performance during a 5-4 overtime win in Game 1. A second road victory in three nights sends the Canadiens home with a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. Game 3 is Sunday. Bourque and Desharnais scored in the second period after defensive breakdowns left Tampa Bay goaltender Anders Lindback in tough situations. Gallagher made it 3-0 with an unassisted goal in the third period.

Sat, 19 Apr 2014 01:59:00 +0000
Flyers could have G Steve Mason back for Game 2

NEW YORK (AP) The Philadelphia Flyers might have No. 1 goalie Steve Mason back for Game 2 against the Rangers. Mason missed Thursday's 4-1 loss to New York because of an undisclosed upper-body injury. He was hurt last Saturday against Pittsburgh, when he was knocked over and hit the back of his head on the ice. Mason and the Flyers have declined to say whether he has a concussion. Mason took part in a goalie practice Friday at New York's Chelsea Piers and said afterward that he is feeling better than he did a few days earlier. He has set his sights on playing Sunday at Madison Square Garden. "I felt pretty good for being on the ice for the first time in a couple of days. It was a good step," the 25-year-old Mason said. "I felt great movement-wise. It was a pretty controlled setting and it felt good. "I'll know exactly when I am ready to go physically, but it is also a management and doctor's decision, as well." Ray Emery made 32 saves in Mason's absence Thursday and couldn't be blamed for the loss. The game was tied 1-1 in the third period but changed when the Rangers scored twice during a double-minor, high-sticking penalty against young forward Jason Akeson. Emery had little chance to stop either scoring shot. His backup's strong performance took some of the sting away from Mason. But he still hopes to get the call Sunday. "This is the time that you've worked all season to get to, and to see the team go out there in a playoff atmosphere at Madison Square Garden where the stakes are so high ... it's something that you don't want to be sitting out and watching," Mason said. "It was difficult, especially since the result. I think everybody expects a much better game on Sunday. I don't think anybody was happy with the way the team played." Mason expects to practice with his teammates Saturday. The rest of the Flyers had Friday off. Of bigger concern than their goaltending, the Flyers will have to show more discipline in Game 2 and figure out a way to get their top forwards going offensively. Along with the game-changing penalty by Akeson, Philadelphia was whistled for three other infractions that didn't lead to New York goals but prevented the Flyers from mounting a serious comeback. They were outshot 13-1 in the final frame. Philadelphia was outshot 36-15 overall. "They did a good job of getting those two goals on the power play, and then after the two goals we tried too hard to get some offense going and got out of position," Flyers captain Claude Giroux said of the Rangers, who held him to no shots. "We didn't get a lot of shots, but we did a lot of good things. "There is a reason why there are seven games. We need to see what we did wrong, and we will be ready for Game 2." So will the Rangers, who now own a nine-game home winning streak over the Flyers. "We are not going to overthink it here," Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist said. "We did a lot of good things, and we are going to continue building on that. It's one game, and we start over again on Sunday. You have to earn it every night." The emergence of Brad Richards also gave the Rangers another shot of energy and optimism. Richards scored the go-ahead goal Thursday and then assisted on insurance tallies by Derek Stepan and Carl Hagelin in the third period. Richards, a potential candidate to have his contract bought out over the summer, is proving his worth after a disappointing end to last year's postseason when he was benched for the final two games by former coach John Tortorella. "We controlled play," Richards said. "In a series, sometimes having the puck and wearing them out can benefit you later in the game. That was our main goal. We would like to get more pucks to the net, and we will try to do that."

Fri, 18 Apr 2014 20:04:00 +0000
Grizzlies PG Nick Calathes suspended for 20 games

Memphis Grizzlies point guard Nick Calathes has been suspended for 20 games for violating the NBA's anti-drug policy. The league said Friday night in a release that Calathes tested positive for tamoxifen. The suspension begins Saturday night when the Grizzlies take on Oklahoma City in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series. Yahoo Sports was the first to report the suspension. Calathes, a 25-year-old rookie reserve, averaged 4.9 points and 2.9 assists in 71 games this season.

Sat, 19 Apr 2014 03:52:00 +0000
Silver wants age limit change, no rush on others

NEW YORK (AP) Even as the NBA prepares for a draft that could be headlined by freshmen, Commissioner Adam Silver remains committed to keeping them in college. So much so that NCAA President Mark Emmert was invited to discuss his involvement with owners. Silver is moving cautiously on potential changes to areas such as the lottery format and playoff structure, but makes it clear that raising the draft age limit to abolish the so-called "one and done" is one of his priorities. Freshmen Andrew Wiggins of Kansas and Jabari Parker of Duke are expected to be top-five picks in June, but Silver believes teams are taking those players young because of the system in place, not because it's their preference. "The fact that our teams would draft these players if they were coming out of high school as they used to, or one year out of college, I think doesn't mean change isn't necessary," Silver said Friday. The age limit requiring American players to be 19 and a year out of high school was implemented in 2005, creating a system where players would simply go to college for a year and then declare for the draft. Silver and predecessor David Stern have long spoken about the desire to increase the limit to 20. But no change, which would have to be discussed with the union, was made during the last round of collective bargaining in 2011. The sides haven't been able to have much serious discussion since then. The union has been without an executive director since ousting Billy Hunter 14 months ago, but Silver's desire for change remains. "We're ready to go," Silver said. "We've been thinking about this issue for a long time." Silver said a change was unlikely for next season, and a transition period would be necessary whenever one was made. In the meantime, he wants the NCAA part of the discussion, so Emmert addressed owners during the two-day meetings. "One thing that we also agree on is that historically what you've heard is that the age issue is one that needs to be negotiated almost in isolation between the NBA and its union. What Dr. Emmert and I agree on is that the NCAA needs to have a seat at the table, as well, for those discussions," Silver said, "that if we are going to be successful in raising the age from 19 to 20, part and parcel of those negotiations go to the treatment of those players on college campuses, that closing the gap between what their scholarships cover and their other incidental expenses, having a longer discussion about eligibility periods so they can make the best decisions for them and their families if they do decide to come out early." Overseeing his first board meeting since replacing Stern in February, Silver seems open to considering anything to improve the league. Owners heard a discussion on ways to change the lottery system, which could be a way to erase the desire to "tank" - seeking a poor record to have the best chances at the No. 1 pick. Silver said there was also discussion about redesigning the playoff structure to qualify the top 16 teams, rather than the top eight in each conference. Phoenix, which finished ninth in the West with 48 wins, would've tied for third in the East. But Silver said those items should be discussed first at length by the competition committee. "For me, the league is doing so well right now, I just want to be very deliberate and cautious about any major changes like that," Silver said. "It doesn't mean that we shouldn't make changes." Silver also said owners weren't ready to vote on the potential sale of the Milwaukee Bucks yet, though that could happen soon once owners could review all the financial documents. Owner Herb Kohl reached agreement to sell the franchise to New York investment firm executives Marc Lasry and Wesley Edens for about $550 million.

Fri, 18 Apr 2014 19:42:00 +0000
Stanton's slam sends Marlins past Mariners 8-4

MIAMI (AP) Giancarlo Stanton hit a grand slam with none out in the ninth inning, and the Miami Marlins took advantage of an overturned call on a replay review to beat the Seattle Mariners 8-4 Friday night. Reed Johnson was called out on a force play following a bunt, but the umpires reviewed the ruling and determined third baseman Kyle Seager had juggled the ball. The Mariners then deployed five infielders, and Stanton cleared them all with a towering homer to the left of the home-run sculpture. Stanton had five RBIs to increase his total to 26, most in the majors. The Mariners lost their fourth game in a row, while the Marlins won for only the second time in the past 11 games. Johnson singled to start the ninth against Yoervis Medina (0-1), and Christian Yelich beat out a sacrifice bunt for his third hit. Marcell Ozuna's bunt loaded the bases following the replay review, and Stanton hit his sixth homer on a 1-2 count. Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit his second homer for the Marlins, who won despite two errors that led to three unearned runs. The Marlins' Nathan Eovaldi pitched six innings and allowed three runs, one earned. He lowered his ERA in seven interleague starts to 1.70. Steve Cishek (1-0) pitched a perfect ninth. The Mariners, beginning their first series in Miami since 2005 and their second ever, squandered repeated scoring chances. They went 2 for 11 with runners in scoring position. Abraham Almonte had a double and a triple and scored twice, but slumping Robinson Cano went 1 for 5 and is 4 for 22 on the Mariners' trip. The Mariners' patchwork rotation again failed to go deep into a game. Chris Young lasted only three innings while giving up seven hits and four runs. A miscue by Marlins right fielder Stanton led to two unearned runs. The Marlins have allowed 14 unearned runs this season, and they came into the game tied for the most in the majors. The Marlins also overcame some bad baserunning, a problem since the season started. Yelich was an easy out trying to score from second on a two-out infield hit, and Saltalamacchia was picked off first. Miami scored twice in the first on run-scoring singles by Stanton and Casey McGehee. Stanton went 3 for 3 and was intentionally walked twice. The Marlins went ahead 3-2 in the second on a sacrifice fly by Ozuna. The Mariners twice erased two-run deficits, and they tied the game in the seventh with an unearned run. Miami second baseman Derek Dietrich's fourth error of the season extended the inning, and Corey Hart took advantage with a two-out RBI single. Seattle took advantage of sloppy defense by Miami in the second inning. With Michael Saunders on first, Dustin Ackley singled to right. Stanton charged the ball and it hopped over his glove and rolled to the warning track, and both Saunders and Ackley scored. Almonte led off the fifth with his first triple and scored on Brad Miller's groundout. NOTES: Seattle OF James Jones made his big-league debut when he came off the bench in the seventh inning, and he singled in the eighth. ... Yelich extended his hitting streak to 12 games. ... McGehee is 8 for 15 (.533) with runners in scoring position. ... Eovaldi needed 13 pitches to retire Hart in the first inning. ... Marlins manager Mike Redmond, a Seattle native, grew up a Mariners fan and said he probably attended their home opener 15 years in a row. ... LHP Roenis Elias (1-1, 2.16), who earned his first major league win in his most recent outing, is scheduled to start Saturday for Seattle against Henderson Alvarez (0-2, 4.30). Alvarez turned 24 Friday.

Sat, 19 Apr 2014 02:36:00 +0000
Warriors and Clippers take dislike to playoffs

LOS ANGELES (AP) As much as the Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors don't like each other, they're a lot alike in some ways. There's an All-Star point guard on each side, they're both young and athletic, and each franchise is trying to distance itself from an inglorious past that cast them as afterthoughts for most of their years in the NBA. The dislike between the teams goes beyond the Southern California vs. Northern California sense of superiority. They've tangled while splitting their four games this season, most famously on Christmas, when Blake Griffin was elbowed by Warriors forward Draymond Green. In March, Griffin and Warriors backup center Jermaine O'Neal squabbled in a Clippers victory and it carried over after the game. "I don't have Jermaine's number so I don't really talk to him," Griffin said Friday. "I don't know if there's a lingering issue or not." With both teams having been down so long and now competing for a title, Clippers forward Matt Barnes said there's going to be "some hostility and animosity and hatred." "It'll be an entertaining series just because how the regular season went," Warriors star Stephen Curry said. "You've got to be prepared for anything." Some of the Clippers, including Griffin and Barnes, got into a playoff mindset by watching "Bad Boys," an ESPN documentary about the Detroit Pistons teams of the 1980s and `90s that premiered on Thursday. Barnes said he wishes today's players could be as physical as the Pistons. He joked that if he fouled as hard as Isiah Thomas did back in the day, he'd be tossed out of the NBA and need to find a new job. Warriors guard Klay Thompson added some heat to the fire this week when he said Griffin flopped a lot in games. Griffin is averaging 24.1 points and shooting 53 percent. "If he's flopping, keep doing it because those numbers look awful good to me, so flop on," first-year Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. "Blake's kicking a lot of people's butt and they need something to say about him." Here are five things to watch for as the best-of-seven series opens Saturday at Staples Center: CURRY VS. PAUL: Curry is the best pure shooter in the NBA. Chris Paul is a wily veteran who can do it all, whether it's scoring or getting the ball inside to the Clippers' big men. Curry's dead-aim will test Paul's defense. "I'm looking forward to the challenge," Curry said. NO BOGUT: Warriors center Andrew Bogut is out indefinitely with a broken rib, leaving O'Neal to start in his place. The 35-year-old veteran averaged 7.9 points and 5.5 rebounds when healthy this season. "I've been through a lot of battles in the playoff field and I know how intense it is and I have great experience in that," O'Neal said. Defensively, they'll need all five starters to block shots, take charges and grab rebounds. "We'll be able to do some different things, be a little quicker and switch a lot more, but we'll definitely miss him," Curry said. DEFENSE: Both teams' gaudy offensive numbers make it easy to overlook defense. The Warriors and the Clippers each held opponents to about 44 percent shooting, among the top in the league. TRASH TALK: Can Griffin keep his cool when he gets fouled hard? He racked up the maximum 16 technical fouls during the regular season. Paul drew his share of techs, too. "There's a line that you don't want to cross," Rivers said. "For the most part we've been on the right side of it. You try to regulate it and figure out how far you can go with it. The key is allowing both teams to play." 3-POINT SHOOTING: Both teams love to shoot the 3. Led by Curry and Thompson, the Warriors average 38 percent from long-range; the Clippers 35 percent. Los Angeles knows it has to limit Golden State's offensive rebounds or else the Warriors will kick the ball out for a 3. "That's one of the things they really kill teams with," Griffin said. Clippers starting guard J.J. Redick is a threat from long-range, but he's been bothered by a back injury and it's uncertain how many minutes he can play effectively. Jamal Crawford, the Clippers' 3-point shooter off the bench, is working to regain his rhythm after missing several games with a tendon injury.

Fri, 18 Apr 2014 22:42:00 +0000
TNT's Sager to miss NBA playoffs due to leukemia

ATLANTA (AP) TNT analyst Craig Sager will miss the NBA playoffs as he undergoes treatment for leukemia. A sideline reporter famous for his brightly colored suits, Sager's sense of humor was intact in a statement released by Turner Sports on Friday. Sager describes the postseason as "my favorite time of year - city to city, round by round, 40 games in 40 nights." He says that "a dramatic turn has matched me with acute myeloid leukemia. From the sidelines to being sidelined, 40 veins and 40 electrolytes." Sager jokes about the often-terse in-game interviews with San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich: "Too bad, I had some probing questions for Pop."

Fri, 18 Apr 2014 23:28:00 +0000