Panthers 2018 season opener countdown: 21 days to go We have exactly three weeks until we have real football on the field Panthers fans. The No. 21 brings us to safety Da’Norris Searcy. Searcy was a key off season pick up for the Panthers Youth Daryl Williams Jersey , singed to replace the departed Kurt Coleman. At this very moment though we have concern for Searcy since he left last nights preseason game against the Dolphins due to a concussion.Searcy was also flagged on the play for helmet to helmet contact. This was a prime example of how the NFL will enforce this new rule. In this case I didn’t think it was a bad call. Searcy came in helmet high. I didn’t feel that way about a similar call later in the game. Concussions are tricky to estimate recovery time. As we saw with Michael Oher a few seasons ago and of course Luke Kuechly as well, sometimes it can just take a few days and other times weeks or even months. Let’s hope he recovers soon simply for his own health.The Panthers on paper don’t appear to be very deep at safety. Beyond starter Mike Adams and long time back-up Colin Jones the Panthers have only unproven players behind Searcy. Yet I will say they have played pretty well in the preseason so far. I’m referring to rookie Rashaan Gaulden, Dezmen Southward and Demetrious Cox. This kids are athletic and learning quick. I feel pretty good about them. In the end the preference is for Searcy to get back on the field and be the ball hawk we hope he will be.Panthers 2018 season opener countdown: 10 days to go We are 10 days away from the beginning of the Carolina Panthers 2018 season. That means today we take a closer look at wide receiver Curtis Samuel.Curtis Samuel, Wide receiverBioHeight: 5’11”Weight: 195 lbsAge: 22College: Ohio StateNFL Experience: 2 yearsHere’s a brief summary of his career, courtesy of the Panthers’ team website:After an arduous recovery from ankle surgery, Samuel is back with a vengeance in 2018 and is ready to show everyone the reason he was drafted in the second round. So far this preseason he has done just that Stitched Daryl Williams Jersey , and has made a strong case that he should be the No. 2 wide receiver on the depth chart. His versatility and ability to make defenders miss will allow the Panthers to create mismatches on the field and take advantage of them. It’s up in the air as to whether or not the coaches will give Samuel the No. 2 spot over veteran Torrey Smith, but if they choose not to it certainly won’t be because Samuel didn’t earn it. Regardless of where he ends up on the depth chart, the Panthers should find plenty of opportunities to get him the football, and I’m excited to see what he can do with those chances whenever they occur.For your viewing pleasure, Samuel shared a highlight reel on his Instagram:
7 takeaways from the Ravens’ heartbreaking 12-9 loss to the Browns It took an entire 10 minute overtime period Stitched Morgan Cox Jersey , but the Ravens fell to 3-2 on the season as they lost 12-9 to the Cleveland Browns. Baltimore’s offense was anemic, while their defense was stout for a vast majority of the game. After being hyped up as one of the best teams in the AFC heading into Week 5, the Ravens were far from that on Sunday.1. Checkdown Joe‘Fluke-O’ is an infamous nickname that FS1’s Skip Bayless has given to Joe Flacco, and it may be an extremely accurate moniker. Flacco has been inconsistent, especially in the regular season, for a majority of his career. He has put together stretches of dominant performances while compiling several ugly games in the same year. Through the first five weeks of this season, Flacco has been more ‘January Joe,’ but against the Browns, he struggled mightily. Flacco made several horrible decisions and was extremely inaccurate for much of the game. The deadly accuracy he displayed last week against the Steelers was non-existent at FirstEnergy Stadium. Despite the entire offense being horrendous, the leader of the team let them down when it mattered most. ‘Checkdown Joe’ is another nickname that Flacco earned last season, as he finished with a league-low 5.72 yards per attempt. In Week 5, he finished with a measly 5.32 yards per attempt. Although his day was plagued with drops, and he was constantly under duress, Flacco failed to deliver, despite receiving plenty of ample opportunities in regulation and overtime. 2. Shuffle upHow many games does offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg need to watch where his offensive line struggles before he makes a change? Although James Hurst was serviceable at right tackle, Alex Lewis and Matt Skura continued to get bullied inside. Cleveland’s defensive line is stout, but this group was atrocious. Orlando Brown Jr. showed enough in the preseason to earn an opportunity. By putting Brown Jr. at right tackle, Hurst could move to left guard, a position he showcased an adept ability to play last year. In this scenario, the center position would be an open competition between Lewis, Skura and Hroniss Grasu. 3. Just run itBaltimore finished with 57 pass attempts to 25 rushing attempts, which is an inexcusable ratio. Alex Collins finished with 59 rushing yards off of 12 carries, while Javorius Allen had 34 yards. Taking into consideration the high-level Cleveland’s secondary was playing at, the Ravens’ pass-heavy game plan was irrational. They were having success at various points throughout the game Youth Morgan Cox Jersey , yet when it mattered most, Mornhinweg stuck with the aerial attack. The receivers were struggling to create separation, and their tight ends were a non-factor in the passing game. The Ravens shied away from outside zone concepts despite their success. After putting together two masterful game plans, Mornhinweg failed to deliver against a talented Browns defense. 4. Captain obvious The Ravens had a tremendous game defensively in spite of rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield who finished with 342 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Don Martindale’s unit was a stinger, allowing only 12 points. The key to their success was their exotic looks on third downs that led to the Browns converting just six of 19 opportunities. Even without Tim Williams, the pass-rush was alive and well. They totaled five sacks, including one from Brandon Williams. The defense may have allowed a couple of significant plays in overtime, but this unit should not be held responsible for the loss. 5. This offense was offensive Aside from the questionable play calling, the offense could not execute, specifically on third downs. They finished four for 16, and zero for three in the red zone, including a drop by Michael Crabtree in the end zone that could have won the game. Crabtree’s performance may not look as bad as it was on paper since he finished with six receptions for 66 yards; however, his two drops were untimely and drive killers. Although his red zone incompletion may not go down in the official stat book as a drop, it bounced off of his hands and should have been caught.Baltimore had 15 drives in this game, and they started at their own 34-yard line or better seven times. The Ravens took over in Cleveland territory one time, while they only started inside their own 16-yard line three times. Field position was far from the issue, and considering how good their defense played, it was pathetic that Baltimore only amounted nine points. 6. The Lamar Jackson package needs to be fine-tunedThe ‘Lamar Jackson Package’ worked well against the Steelers. However, one week later, Baltimore did not build off of the looks they showed. In order to stay unpredictable and confuse defenses, play designs and concepts need to evolve and grow. The set of plays were essentially the same. Power run concepts with Jackson are not the solution. Mornhinweg could be saving his best stuff for later in the season, but in theory, running RPOs with Jackson would work well. The linebackers may overcommit to the run and Jackson could hit the open receiver Stitched Matt Judon Jersey , or they would honor the route of the receiver and Jackson/Alex Collins would have a less crowded box to run in. 7. Will the real Ravens please stand up?After the quarter pole of the season, Baltimore was considered one of the top contenders in the AFC. One week should not make-or-break that notion. However, with a tough slate of games upcoming for the Ravens, the true value of this team will be revealed. It is hard to get a read on Baltimore. They have looked atrocious in two of their three road games while looking dominant in their two home games. The Baltimore Ravens posed for photos on the sideline as the clock ticked down the final seconds, making sure to remember the moment.A franchise-record 11 sacks 鈥?one shy of the NFL record for a game 鈥?must be preserved and celebrated.Za'Darius Smith finished with a career-high three sacks, and Patrick Onwuasor got his first two this season as the Ravens shut down the Tennessee Titans 21-0 in the rain Sunday. They just missed matching the NFL record shared by five teams."Just a historic defensive performance," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said.The Ravens started sacking Marcus Mariota on the opening drive, with eight different Ravens getting at least one sack. Four got their first of the season:鈥?Nose tackle Chris Wormley got the first on the Titans' sixth play.鈥?Smith got the second on the very next snap.鈥?Safety Anthony Levine Sr. got No. 3 at the end of the first quarter.鈥?Onwuasor notched No. 4 in the second quarter.鈥?Smith followed again with his second two plays later.鈥?Terrell Suggs got No. 6 on the next drive.鈥?Safety Tony Jefferson sacked Mariota for No. 7 midway through the third.鈥?Cornerback Tavon Young added No. 8 late in the third.鈥?Linebacker Matthew Judon tied the franchise mark on the Titans' first play in the fourth quarter.鈥?Onwuasor set a new mark on the Titans' final first down.鈥?Smith finished with his third of the game and No. 11 overall on third-and-11.Smith said the Ravens didn't know how many sacks they had until tying the team record of nine and were told they could break the record set Nov. 24, 2011, against San Francisco."So we went and got two more," Smith said with a laugh.The Ravens even changed their Twitter handle to have an "S'' for each sack.Dean Pees and the Titans simply couldn't stop his old team as the Ravens outgained Tennessee 361-106 and punted only once against a defense led by their former defensive coordinator. Pees came out of a short retirement to join first-year head coach Mike Vrabel.Joe Flacco threw for 238 yards and a touchdown for Baltimore. Alex Collins scored on TD runs of 13 and 2 yards.The Titans (3-3) lost their second straight and were shut out at home for the first time since leaving Houston for Tennessee in 1997. Tennessee also has not scored a touchdown in eight straight quarters. The Ravens couldn't have looked much better handing Tennessee its first shutout since Nov. 28, 2010."The Tennessee Titans didn't do nearly enough in all levels to win the football game, or even make it competitive," Vrabel said.Marcus Mariota tried playing both with and without the partial glove covering his ring and pinkie fingers on his throwing hand. It didn't help as Mariota was sacked the most in his four-year NFL career.Mariota said he had never had a game like this. He ran twice for 25 yards and was 10 of 15 for 117 yards while being pummeled."We've got to do better," Mariota said.The Titans forced a turnover with All-Pro safety Kevin Byard getting his first interception this season. Tennessee did nothing with the ball late in the first half.Baltimore executed nearly flawlessly from winning the coin toss. The Ravens converted 12 of 17 third downs, not counting another off a Titans penalty. They also held the ball for more than 37 minutes.Flacco drove Baltimore 94 yards over 17 plays, eating up more than nine minutes of the first quarter before hitting Michael Crabtree on a 4-yard TD. Collins capped their next drive with a 13-yard run and a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter. After halftime, Collins finished off a 78-yard drive that ate up 7:20 of the third quarter.The Ravens quarterback enjoyed watching his teammates' defensive performance."It's fun to watch when they're over there doing those kind of things," Flacco said.INJURIESRavens left guard Alex Lewis was taken to Vanderbilt University Medical Center with a neck injury after being hurt within the first minute of the fourth quarter. Lewis had been blocking on a run by Gus Edwards when he turned away from the pile slowly and went down. Trainers strapped him to a backboard and carted him off the field.Harbaugh said there's a lot of optimism for Lewis, who was getting a CT scan at the hospital."We said a prayer as a team for him when we came in, so that's where our thoughts are right now with Alex," Harbaugh said.Titans linebacker Derrick Morgan hurt a shoulder and did not return. Left guard Quinton Spain hurt his right shoulder with 6:51 left in the third quarter and did not return.UP NEXTRavens: Finally back home hosting New Orleans.Titans: Franchise's first game in London as road team against the Chargers.
Thomas Dimitroff is not quite as visible and talkative an exec as he once was Stitched Matt Schaub Jersey , but when he is interviewed, he tends to give some worthwhile glimpses at where the team is going to focus their attention. Just never believe him if he says the team is going to trade down in the first round, of course.That’s why I wanted to take some time on an otherwise quiet Saturday to chew through a few worthwhile Dimitroff quotes from his interview on 92.9 The Game earlier this week. Let’s do that now.I don’t know Dimitroff’s precise level of involvement in Koetter’s hiring, but I’m willing to bet he was a factor. Dimitroff saw Koetter drag a halfway decent offense out of a team without Julio Jones and with one of the worst offensive lines ever assembled back in 2013, and like Matt Ryan, he knows and is comfortable with the once-and-future play caller. The discipline quote is particularly interesting because the Falcons have averaged a little over 100 penalties with Kyle Shanahan and Steve Sarkisian at the helm, while under Koetter they had a frankly incredible 55, 91 Youth Matt Schaub Jersey , and 97 penalties in three seasons. Mike Smith was known for running more disciplined teams in general, but perhaps the return of Koetter and Mike Mularkey may well help in that regard.But we’ve got plenty of time to talk about Koetter, of course, What did Dimitroff have to say about the roster?It’s interesting to hear Dimitroff openly acknowledge that positional needs are a big deal to the Falcons, what with all the hay made of BPA in past years. The Falcons have big, obvious holes and can’t be dancing around them, and I certainly hope they focus their free agency and draft energies on the lines.And then there’s cornerback, which should be one of the most interesting positions to watch in the months ahead. Robert Alford was bad throughout much of 2018 and could find himself looking for a new team Stitched Derrick Shelby Jersey , Isaiah Oliver may or may not be ready for primetime, and Desmond Trufant and Brian Poole are the only other options under contract. I don’t think it should be a first round priority for Atlanta—they really need help in the trenches—but it sounsd like it may happen on the second day. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin opted to vent regarding subpar officiating, after Sunday’s victory over the Falcons. It could end up costing him.Unless it doesn’t.NFL executive V.P. of football operations Troy Vincent already has been in touch with Tomlin regarding his comments, and the situation is being reviewed for a fine, according to NFL employee Ian Rapoport.Here’s the caveat from Rapoport: “[O]ften post-game comments are given more latitude because of the emotion involved.”First of all, I’ve never heard of that latitude in the past, when fines have been imposed on coaches who have criticized officials in post-game comments. Second of all, the Steelers easily won by 24 points; what did Tomlin have to be emotional about?It feels like the league may be setting things up to give Tomlin a mulligan Youth Derrick Shelby Jersey , given his position on the Competition Committee, the general influence the Steelers organization has at 345 Park Avenue, and/or the fact that Tomlin’s criticisms were accurate and perhaps necessary.Regardless, Tomlin crossed a line that others have crossed, and others have paid for. It sounds like the league is trying to float a balloon here that Tomlin may be getting a pass.
Bird Droppings: Arizona Cardinals dealing with injuries on the defensive line Chandler Jones Jersey 2019 , Steve Keim is back, and more Happy Thursday one and all, hope your week has been a good one.The Arizona Cardinals are heading to Dallas in a couple of days to take on the Cowboys on Sunday Night Football, but we first have to get ready.The Cardinals are getting ready with their game week prep, the first under Steve Wilks, in order to get ready for the regular season.Let’s get the day started with a look around the web at the Arizona Cardinals.Injuries Lead Cardinals To Sign Pair Of Defensive TacklesWith Peters, Nkemdiche, Pierre ailing, team adds Tani Tupou, Nigel WilliamsGeneral Manager Steve Keim Returns To CardinalsAfter meeting requirements following DUI, suspension endsKeim - 'I'm Extremely Remorseful'GM Steve Keim meets the media following his return from suspension.Cards Daily - In Keim's WordsPaul Calvisi brings you the latest news and notes after GM Steve Keim was reinstated from his suspension.Wilks - 'Play Our Football'Head Coach Steve Wilks speaks with the media on the team's prep for the Cowboys.Josh Rosen leading Cardinals' rookie stand outs - Arizona Cardinals Blog- ESPNJosh Rosen, the No. 10 overall pick, has shown signs that the Cardinals can depend on him should they need someone to step in for Sam Bradford.Steve Keim, Arizona Cardinals GM, emotional after returning from DUI suspensionCardinals general manager Steve Keim spoke with reporters Wednesday, a day after he rejoined the team following a five-week suspension for being arrested on charges of extreme DUI in July. Keim said his actions were "inexcusable."Cardinals sign DTs after injuries hit Robert Nkemdiche, Corey PetersInjuries to Robert Nkemdiche and Corey Peters led to the Arizona Cardinals adding defensive tackles Tani Tupou and Nigel Williams to the roster on Wednesday.Cardinals GM Steve Keim returns from suspension after DUIArizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim returned Wednesday from a five-week suspension stemming from his July 4 DUI arrest.Cardinals GM Steve Keim apologizes for DUI: 'Embarrassing beyond belief'Arizona Cardinals GM Steve Keim sat in front of a microphone Wednesday and at one point held back tears as he addressed reporters in person for the first time since his July 4 arrest for extreme DUI.Bickley: Keim delivered more than an apology in return from suspensionArizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim delivered more than an apology in his official return to the spotlight from a five-week suspension.AZ Cardinals countdown: No, 18 Carl BirdsongHe punted for the Cardinals from 1981-1985.GM Steve Keim reinstated by Arizona Cardinal after five-week suspensionHe was suspended for an arrest and guilty plea for drunk driving.Arizona Cardinals sign DTs Tani Tupoe, Nigel WilliamsThey add players to the defensive line with injuries mounting.Versatility is fun for AZ Cardinals CB Ben茅 BenwikereHe likes being able to play anywhere on the field. GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — One thing for certain about Sunday’s game between the San Francisco 49ers and Arizona Cardinals: No team in the NFL will have a worse record than the team that loses this one.The 49ers and Cardinals stagger into the game at 1-6.San Francisco has lost five in a row since its lone win of the season, a victory over Detroit on Sept. 16, back before quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo went down with a season-ending knee injury.Arizona’s lone win came at San Francisco on Oct. 7.It’s been a particularly tumultuous week for the Cardinals. They fired offensive coordinator Mike McCoy last Friday, replacing him with quarterbacks coach Byron Leftwich. And three-time All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson asked to be traded, only to back off the request following a meeting with Cardinals President Michael Bidwill.When times are tough, San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan said, coaches learn a lot about their players.“Everyone is motivated when things are easy,” he said. “When things get really tough is when you find out who people truly are. Sometimes that is a necessity when you are trying to build a team and build an organization the right way. We went through a lot of it last year, and I thought we did have some pretty strong guys because we were able to start out 0-9 and finish 6-10.”Arizona’s first-year coach Steve Wilks made the change at coordinator with his team ranked last or nearly last in the NFL in virtually every offensive category. But how much can be done in one week of practice with a new coordinator?“I think he is trying to ease in,” Wilks said. “He’s not trying to, he says Black Larry Fitzgerald Jersey , ‘go cold turkey on it’ and switch everything. I think it’s going to be a slow, gradual process.”When Arizona beat the 49ers 28-18, San Francisco dominated the game statistically but turned over the ball five times to zero for the Cardinals.Here are some things to consider when the 49ers face the Cardinals:PROTECT THE BALLNo team has been worse at protecting the ball than the 49ers and no team has been worse at taking it away. That has added up to the five straight losses. The Niners rank last in the league with three takeaways — tied for the fewest after seven games since the 1970 merger — and have committed the most with 18. San Francisco has committed 14 giveaways since its last takeaway on Sept. 30 against the Chargers.“We can’t run away from it,” Shanahan said. “We keep talking about it, keep harping on it. We just go back to work and keep trying to get better.”ROSEN’S COORDINATORLeftwich is the fifth coordinator that Arizona rookie quarterback Josh Rosen has had in the past five seasons.“It’s not fun. If I could prefer it, I would have one offense, but that’s not really how it all worked out,” he said. “So, I’m just going to do the best I can with what I’ve got.”Rosen is coming off his roughest outing, throwing three interceptions and fumbling twice in last Thursday night’s 45-10 loss to Denver. He continues to talk positively, though.“I think what I have right now is a really good football team,” he said. “We are all underperforming a bit, but like I said in the past, I am very happy that we’re a really good football team playing not so well, as opposed to hitting our potential as a team take maybe doesn’t have as much potential.”WHERE ARE THE WIDEOUTS?The 49ers have struggled to generate much production from their wide receivers this season, with the group combining for just 64 catches for 798 yards through seven games. Several San Francisco receivers have been slowed by injuries, with Marquise Goodwin, Pierre Garcon, Trent Taylor and Dante Pettis all dealing with various ailments that have kept them out at times from practice and games.“It definitely makes it a little bit tougher just not having the same guys getting the same reps every week,” quarterback C.J. Beathard said. “It’s nice to have a routine, same guys in there. Obviously, it would help to have everyone healthy as it would at any position, but that’s part of football and you’ve just got to go with the guys that you have in there and trust in them.”ROOKIE RECEIVERWhile Arizona’s offense has been awful, Christian Kirk is off to a good start to his NFL career.Kirk, a second-round draft pick out of Texas A&M who grew up in suburban Phoenix, leads NFL rookie wide receivers with 28 catches. He is on pace for 64 receptions, which would be second most in Cardinals history: Anquan Boldin caught 101 passes as an Arizona rookie in 2004.LEFTWICH’S RISELeftwich has made a rapid rise to coordinator in his coaching career. He was a coaching intern under Bruce Arians two seasons ago and was promoted to quarterbacks coach by Arians last season.When Wilks replaced Arians, he kept Leftwich in the QB coaching job.
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NEW YORK (AP) — After a rough stretch Dallas Stars Hoodies Authentic , the New York Rangers are playing their best hockey in nearly two months.Chris Kreider had a goal and an assist, Henrik Lundqvist moved into a tie for sixth place on the NHL’s career wins list and the Rangers beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3 Thursday night for their third victory in four games.The Rangers won nine of 11 to move to 12-8-2 heading into Thanksgiving, but then followed that with just five wins in 21 games (5-11-5). Now, coming off a 6-2 win over Carolina on Tuesday night, New York has consecutive wins for only the second time since a three-game streak Nov. 17-21.“I think guys are just sick of losing,” coach David Quinn said. “Sometimes you employ your will in those situations and just make sure you do everything you can under your control to make sure that you get your job done and do your part. … I think we’ve done a better job of that over the last few games.”Mats Zuccarello, Filip Chytil and Mika Zibanejad also scored for New York. The line of Zibanejad, Zuccarello and Kreider has totaled nine goals and 10 assists over the last four games.“We’re skating with confidence,” Zibanejad said, “just demanding the puck, all three of us. Just holding onto pucks and making the right plays, not overthinking things.”Lundqvist stopped 24 shots to tie Terry Sawchuk with 445 wins, nine behind Curtis Joseph for fifth place.“It’s an honor to be up there Dallas Stars Hats Authentic , getting closer and closer to and already passing names that meant a lot to me growing up,” Lundqvist said. “It’s a very cool feeling.”Brandon Saad, Alex DeBrincat and Dominik Kahun scored for Chicago, which has lost five straight (0-3-2) and seven of eight. Collin Delia, making his eighth start of the season, finished with 29 saves.“We just have to stop giving them chances off our mistakes,” DeBrincat said. “Teams capitalize on that and we’ve just got to play, battle a full 60 minutes and not give up those Grade-A chances.”DeBrincat pulled the Blackhawks to 3-2 with his 24th goal on a one-timer off a pass from Eric Gustafsson at 1:40 of the third period. It was Chicago’s second power-play goal of the night and ninth during a seven-game streak with at least one.Delia, 0-2-3 in his last five starts, made a stellar save on Jimmy Vesey in front about six minutes later, and corralled an attempt by Zuccarello from the left circle with 7:40 left to keep Chicago within one.New York went on its first power play of the game less than 30 seconds later and managed six shots on goal during the advantage, but Delia stopped them all.Zibanejad scored an empty-netter with 18 seconds remaining to give the Rangers a two-goal lead. Kahun beat Lundqvist from between the circles with 1.5 seconds left for the final margin.With the Rangers leading 2-1 after one period, Zibanejad appeared to push the lead to two a little more than seven minutes into the second Custom Dallas Stars Jerseys , but his goal was overturned after a coach’s challenge for offside.Kreider put New York up 3-1 on his 22nd with 6:51 left in the middle period after Zuccarello’s centering pass for Brady Skjei was deflected by Chicago defenseman Duncan Keith.Saad got the Blackhawks on the scoreboard first with a power-play goal 5:41 into the game, putting in a rebound of Artem Anisimov’s deflection off a post for his 14th.Chytil tied it with 6:40 left in the first as he picked up a loose puck in the defensive zone, skated up the right side, sped around fellow 19-year-old Henri Jokiharju, skated in on Delia and fired the puck into the top right corner for his eighth.The Rangers went ahead a little more than four minutes later when Zuccarello knocked in a deflection off a post by Kreider with 2:22 left in the period. It was Zuccarello’s eighth goal of the season, and fourth in the last four games.“We had a couple of letdowns, mental errors,” Chicago coach Jeremy Colliton said. “I thought we played really well at the beginning of the game, scored the first goal and things are going well. And then we end up down 2-1. Again, we’re playing uphill after that.”NOTES: Patrick Kane had an assist on DeBrincat’s goal, extending his point streak to seven games (10 assists, 15 points). It was his 554th career assist, tying Doug Wilson for third place in franchise history. Stan Mikita leads with 926 and Denis Savard is second with 719. … Rangers forward Kevin Hayes missed his eighth straight game due to an upper-body injury. … Zuccarello www.officialredwings.com , who had a career-high three assists in New York’s 6-2 win against Carolina on Tuesday night, extended his point streak to four games.UP NEXTBlackhawks: Host the Washington Capitals on Sunday to open a two-game homestand before the All-Star Game.Rangers: At the Boston Bruins on Saturday night in their final game before the All-Star break. PITTSBURGH (AP) — The puck fluttered into the air and Matt Cullen turned away so he wouldn’t get smacked in the face.Too bad. The Pittsburgh Penguins forward missed his fourth — and unlikeliest — goal of the season, one that helped propel Cullen’s surging team to a 4-0 victory over Winnipeg on Friday night that extended Pittsburgh’s winning streak to eight and pushed its early season funk further into the rearview mirror.“Yeah it’s funny how that goes,” Cullen said after teammate Zach Aston-Reese’s pass caromed off Cullen’s left shoulder and past Connor Hellebuyck to give Pittsburgh a 2-0 first-period lead it would never come close to relinquishing. “When things are going not good, pucks are bouncing in your net and they’re not going in for you. Obviously this run here, things have gone our way.”It’s not just luck. The Penguins bottled up the Central Division-leading Jets for long stretches, keeping them mostly to the outside and limiting the number of quality scoring chances goaltender Matt Murray faced. Murray responded by stopping all 33 shots for his third shutout of the season and ninth of his career.A bit of a mess in October and November when he battled both injuries and his form, Murray is 7-0 with a 1.27 goals against average and a .961 save percentage since returning from a 13-game absence on Dec. 15.“He always has a calm demeanor in goal, a quiet confidence when he’s at his best,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. “From that standpoint I think he’s in a whole different place than he was mentally earlier in the year when it was a struggle not just for Matt but all of us.”Olli Maatta picked up his first goal since late March when his shot from the point deflected off Winnipeg’s Blake Wheeler and slipped past Hellebuyck 14:19 into the first. Cullen’s unlikely bank shot followed 33 seconds later and the Penguins were in firm control. Dominik Simon and Kris Letang also scored for Pittsburgh, which has won 10 of 11 overall.The Penguins have won 18 straight over the Jets in Pittsburgh, a streak that dates back to 2007 when Winnipeg played in Atlanta. The Jets came in 8-1 in their last nine road games, but that momentum stopped abruptly at PPG Paints Arena Detroit Red Wings T-Shirts Authentic , just like always.“I think they were faster than we were, that’s a fact,” Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice said. “But they looked like they’ve looked recently on their streak. They looked quick. They have real good sticks. Knocked a lot of stuff down. Blocked an awful lot of shots.”Hellebuyck finished with 29 saves for Winnipeg and played spectacularly at times but received little help at the other end of the ice.Pittsburgh’s eight-game run is the longest since it won eight in a row from March 26-April 7, 2016. The Penguins captured the franchise’s fourth Stanley Cup that season and after stumbling through the early portion of the schedule, they appear ready to contend well into the spring again.“If you go through a season and you don’t face a lot of adversity you’re inevitably going to face it in the playoffs,” Sullivan said. “The adversity this team has faced early in the season has made us a better team.”The Jets carried the play for much of the second period in an attempt to get back in it but Murray stood firm and the Penguins extended their lead despite a magnificent effort by Hellebuyck. The Penguins came in on the rush and Evgeni Malkin slid the puck over to Simon, who redirected the puck toward the open net. The shot nicked the far post and Hellebuyck reached out to snatch it with his glove.The call on the ice was a save but following a lengthy review — one that included the 552nd consecutive sellout chanting “goal” — officials ruled Hellebuyck caught the puck behind the goal-line to give the Penguins a three-goal cushion.“What third goal? It wasn’t in,” Hellebuyck said. “There’s no way. I need to see the camera angle. I know they wouldn’t call it a goal if it wasn’t, but one camera angle shows it in and one doesn’t. From my view, I’ve been scored on like that and I was above that, so I don’t see it going in.”NOTES: Penguins captain Sidney Crosby’s five-game multi-point streak ended. Crosby did appear in his 902nd career game. He will tie Hall of Famer and team owner Mario Lemieux’s franchise record of 903 games on Sunday night against Chicago. … Pittsburgh D Jamie Oleksiak returned to the lineup for the first time since suffering a concussion against Washington on Dec. 19. … The Penguins went 1 for 3 on the power play. The Jets went 0 of 1. … Winnipeg forward Nikolaj Ellers left in the first period with an injury and did not return.UP NEXTJets: Begin a stretch of 5 of 6 at home when they host Dallas on Sunday.Penguins: Will celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the 2009 Stanley Cup champion squad Sunday when the Blackhawks visit.
CHICAGO (AP) — Jonathan Toews loves playing alongside Patrick Kane Calgary Flames Hoodies Authentic , and the feeling is mutual.With the Chicago Blackhawks struggling once again, coach Jeremy Colliton tried an old favorite.Toews had three goals and two assists, Kane added two goals and three assists, and the Blackhawks handed the Washington Capitals their season-high fifth consecutive loss with an 8-5 victory on Sunday.While Chicago’s power play has been humming along quite nicely, the last-place Blackhawks have been struggling with their even-strength attack. Colliton mixed up his lines in response, putting Toews together with Kane — a common answer for predecessor Joel Quenneville during his 10-plus seasons in charge.It worked.“I know what he likes and how he likes to play and vice versa,” Toews said. “I think we can complement each other well. Obviously Kaner’s been playing with a ton of confidence, so for me it was just go out there and make his life easier and get him the puck and get to open areas.”Brandon Saad and Alex DeBrincat also scored and Dylan Strome added an empty-netter as last-place Chicago stopped its own five-game slide. Collin Delia made 34 saves, including impressive stops on John Carlson and Tom Wilson in the second.The Stanley Cup champion Capitals held a short players-only meeting after the loss.“Our biggest battle is that we’re not complacent,” said goaltender Braden Holtby, who allowed four goals on 11 shots before he was replaced by Pheonix Copley 2:30 into the second. “It’s one of those things that’s going to be hard, is getting over the fact last year is last year. You move on.”Washington’s defensemen accounted for each of its five goals while star forwards Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov were kept off the scoresheet. Carlson scored twice, Dmitry Orlov and Matt Niskanen each had a goal and an assist, and Brooks Orpik got his second of the season.It was Washington’s first game in Chicago since Devante Smith-Pelly heard chants of “basketball, basketball Calgary Flames Hats Authentic , basketball” while the black forward was sitting in the penalty box in the third period of a 7-1 loss last February. The fans were promptly ejected, and then banned from Chicago’s home games.Smith-Pelly was sent off for unsportsmanlike conduct in the second period of Sunday’s loss, but he said he had no trouble with any fans.“I said it the day after and I probably repeated it. It’s just a couple of people,” Smith-Pelly said. “I don’t hold it against the city. I wasn’t excited or nervous to come back here. It’s just another game.”Carlson trimmed Chicago’s lead to 4-3 when he blew a one-timer past Delia 3:09 into the third. Kane responded with a power-play goal, and Toews sent a wrist shot past Copley to make it 6-3 at 7:20.It was Kane’s 14th goal in his last 14 games. He has seven goals and 13 assists during an eight-game point streak.After Washington pulled within one again on goals by Carlson and Niskanen, Toews danced around Orlov and beat Copley with 5:03 remaining. Toews’ 21st goal made it 7-5 and completed his sixth career hat trick.“To see the caliber and level he brings and elevates in those key moments, it’s really special,” Kane said.It was part of an up-and-down day for Orlov, who got his third goal of the season when his shot from the left boards went under Delia 15:24 into the second. But he also batted a puck out of the air and over Holtby to hand Toews his first goal 14:53 into the first.NOTES: Blackhawks D Henri Jokiharju was a healthy scratch. The 19-year-old Jokiharju has no goals and 12 assists in 36 games in his first NHL season. “We’ve got some young players. Eighty-two game season, it’s hard to keep that level night-in and night-out,” Colliton said. “So we may end up with a rotation where they’re able to, it’s not necessarily performance specifically why they’re coming out.” … First-year Capitals coach Todd Reirden is from nearby Deerfield, about 30 miles north of Chicago. “I didn’t have to get a lot of tickets. I do have a lot of passes,” a smiling Reirden said before the loss.UP NEXTCapitals: Host the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night.Blackhawks: Host the New York Islanders on Tuesday night. BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) Jack Eichel has difficulty accepting the sorry state of the Buffalo Sabres Custom Calgary Flames Jerseys , who haven’t had a sniff at the playoffs in the three years since his celebrated arrival.”When I got drafted, if you would’ve said we’d be in this position, I probably would’ve told you to give your head a shake,” Eichel told The Associated Press.Instead, it’s the 21-year-old shaking his head in disbelief over a franchise that’s finished no better than 14th in the Eastern Conference since 2012-13 and in jeopardy of finishing last in the overall standings for the third time in five years.This isn’t what anyone – from since-fired GM Tim Murray to Sabres fans encouraging the team to tank – were anticipating during the 2014-15 season. That’s when Buffalo was in a race to the bottom for the right to draft one of the two touted, generational prospects: Eichel and Connor McDavid, who was selected first overall by Edmonton.What’s worse for Eichel is seeing other teams jumping ahead of Buffalo in the rebuilding process.”You look at Colorado and some of these teams, New Jersey, that make a quick turnaround and all of a sudden they’re in the playoff hunt,” he said.If misery likes company, the Sabres aren’t the only ones stuck in a rut.Whatever watershed moment the 2015 draft was supposed to represent by infusing game-changing talent to the NHL’s neediest teams, it has yet to make more than a ripple in the standings.Eichel hasn’t made a dent in the Sabres’ fortunes despite averaging nearly a point a game. For all of McDavid’s offensive exploits and earning NHL MVP honors last season, the Oilers will miss the playoffs for the second time in his three years.Instead, the 2015 draft serves as a cautionary example of how bottoming out doesn’t guarantee instant turnarounds.With the exception of Toronto, three of the teams www.officialhurricanes.com , including Arizona, with top-five selections in 2015 have already been eliminated from this year’s playoffs, and a fourth, Carolina, could join them soon.So much for the tanking tenet held by several NHL executives, who thought the best way to build a champion was to start by losing big.Pittsburgh did that in building its three most recent Stanley Cup champion teams with two No. 1 draft picks (Sidney Crosby and goalie Marc-Andre Fleury) and a No. 2 (Evgeni Malkin). Chicago’s three most recent Cup winners followed the Blackhawks selecting Jonathan Toews with the No. 3 pick in 2006 and Patrick Kane No. 1 the following year.And yet, there are exceptions.Detroit won four titles from 1997 to 2008 despite not drafting higher than No. 19 from 1992 to 2013.Boston has had a top-10 pick just twice in 10 years.Just look at the NHL expansion Vegas Golden Knights, who have clinched a playoff berth and are leading the Pacific Division with a team cobbled together from scratch.”A lot of teams have a lot of good hockey players, but there’s not many Malkins and Crosbys in the NHL. No, we don’t have them,” Vegas coach Gerard Gallant said. ”It’s all about being a team. And we’ve been a team since Day 1.”This year, Nashville is leading the NHL with a roster featuring one top-five draft pick, forward Ryan Johansen, who was acquired in a trade with Columbus, and no other player selected in the top 10.”You don’t always have to be real bad for a few years to win Carolina Hurricanes T-Shirts Authentic ,” Predators veteran forward Mike Fisher told The AP.Goalie Pekka Rinne credits Predators management for assembling the team through trades and identifying talent in the later rounds of the draft. The Predators feature six players Nashville selected in the fourth round or lower, including Rinne, an eighth-rounder in 2004.”We’ve never had to rebuild,” Rinne said. ”And for a guy like myself being here for a long time, it’s nice to have that. You don’t have to waste any years.”Having a wealth of high picks is no guarantee.Florida has made the playoffs twice since 2001-02 despite having a top-10 pick 10 times over that span.The Oilers have made the playoffs once since 2010 despite selecting first four times.The New York Islanders will miss the playoffs for a sixth time since selecting John Tavares with the No. 1 pick in 2009.After 2015, there are even fewer benefits to finishing last after the NHL altered its draft lottery formula. Now, the last-place team is assured of nothing more than the No. 4 pick, as opposed to No. 2.On Wednesday, the NHL announced the team finishing last will have an 18.5 percent chance of landing the first pick, up from 18 percent last year. The odds also improved for teams finishing second to last (13.5 percent, up from 12.1) and third last (11.5 from 10.3).Coyotes forward Brad Richardson wondered whether teams adopting a strategy to lose had lasting effects.”I don’t want to say tanking, but when you do tank, I think it sets a precedent in your organization that it’s OK to lose, and you’re showing the young guys that losing’s acceptable,” Richardson told The AP.HOLLAND’S FUTURERed Wings GM Ken Holland told The AP he has received no assurances from the team he’ll return for a 21st year Carolina Hurricanes Hoodies Authentic , despite reports indicating he will be back.MLive.com on Tuesday cited an unnamed person in reporting Holland will be back ”with or without a contract.” The Detroit Free Press quoted a person familiar with the situation saying ”he’s going to be back as the GM,” but reported it’s unclear how Holland’s contract will be structured.Holland, in a text to The AP, declined to discuss whether he’d return without a contract, saying: ”I’ll talk when the final decision has been made.”LEADERS (Through Tuesday’s games)Points: McDavid, 102. Goals: Alex Ovechkin (Washington), 45. Game-winning goals: Sean Monahan (Calgary) and Nathan MacKinnon (Colorado), 11. Rookie points: Mathew Barzal (Islanders), 78. Goals-against average (minimum 40 games): Fleury (Vegas), 2.12.GAME OF THE WEEKTop spot in the overall standings could be on the line Sunday, when the Western Conference-leading Predators travel to play East-leading Tampa Bay.—
WASHINGTON (AP) — Jordan Greenway pumped his fist http://www.officialhockeyjetsshop.com/authentic-adidas-nikolaj-ehlers-jersey , and Luke Kunin held out his arms waiting for teammates to join him.They celebrated like kids after performing like seasoned veterans.With the Minnesota Wild outside a playoff position with little margin for error, the kid line of Kunin, Greenway and Ryan Donato pumped in two crucial goals to beat the defending Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals 2-1 on Friday night. Minnesota snapped a two-game skid and leapfrogged the Arizona Coyotes and Colorado Avalanche to move into the second wild-card spot in a competitive Western Conference race.“When we have the focus that we did tonight, the confidence, the commitment, I think we can do a lot of good things, and we can beat anyone,” Greenway said. “Whether it’s Washington or whoever, I think we can beat them.”Minnesota fed off the confidence of the second line of 21- and 22-year-olds to hand the Capitals their second consecutive loss. Devan Dubnyk made 21 saves, but more impressive was the Wild holding Washington to 22 shots a game after it put up 58 on NHL-leading Tampa Bay.“That was just a playoff game,” Dubnyk said. “The focus was there.”Donato — acquired from Boston in February — was the best player on the ice for much of the night and assisted on the Greenway’s goal in the first period and Kunin’s go-ahead goal with 7:35 left in the third. Coach Bruce Boudreau believes having three young players on a line together gets rid of the expectation to pass to a veteran, and this mix is working lately.“We’re learning from each other,” Donato said. “I think we’re starting to get each other’s habits, where we’re going to be on the ice Patrik Laine Jersey , where the other guys are going to be, where they like to pass to. Being able to learn with each other, it makes you feel comfortable on the ice. You don’t feel like you’re doing anything wrong.”It wasn’t a masterpiece, but Minnesota needed two points in any way possible. Returning to face the team that gave him his start in the NHL, Boudreau knew full well that with only two games Friday night, the Wild were the only ones who could gain ground after getting some help from a Coyotes loss on Thursday.Remembering his team’s recent roller-coaster play, Boudreau said the victory only “means temporarily we’re in a playoff spot.”The Capitals are in a good spot atop the Metropolitan Division, but have now lost four of six. They missed an opportunity to add to their division lead and still lead the New York Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins by four points.“We didn’t play our game at all,” captain Alex Ovechkin said. “We knew they were going to play desperate — they need points as we do — but I think the sense of urgency was on their side, not on our side.”Brett Connolly scored his 21st goal of the season and Braden Holtby made 25 saves for Washington, which didn’t have the same intensity as its showdown against the Lightning two days earlier.“After coming off some emotional games lately, I think we didn’t ramp it up enough for this one, for their situation, how they were playing Vladimir Sobotka Jersey Womens ,” Holtby said.Despite losing seven of their previous nine games, the Wild remain in control of their playoff hopes with seven games remaining.“It’s never easy when it’s out of your control, so for us having it in our control and getting a win like that, it’s definitely a feel-good win,” Donato said.NOTES: Minnesota improved to 20-15-2 on the road. … Donato’s primary assist on Greenway’s goal was the 10,000th point in Wild franchise history. … Connolly has 13 points in his past 16 games. … Washington’s power play went 0 for 3 with just one shot in those six minutes. … Capitals D Christian Djoos returned to the lineup to replace Michal Kempny, who’s out indefinitely with a lower-body injury. … LW Carl Hagelin was a late scratch with an illness and was replaced by Chandler Stephenson. … Ovechkin remained two goals away from his eighth career 50-goal season.UP NEXTWild: Visit the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday in Victor Rask’s first game against his former team since being traded for Nino Niederreiter.Capitals: Look to end their brief losing streak Sunday when they host the Metropolitan Division-rival Philadelphia Flyers. ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — The Anaheim Ducks had all weekend to stew over their worst game of the season. They responded Monday night with a win against the NHL’s top team.Rickard Rakell’s goal in the fourth round of the shootout propelled the Ducks past Nashville 2-1 and handed the Predators their first road loss this season.“We felt that we embarrassed ourselves with our effort and competitiveness in the last game (a 5-1 loss Friday to Minnesota) and we needed a response game to feel good about ourselves. We feel like we got that tonight,” Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said.Rakell got his first game-deciding goal in a shootout when he beat Pekka Rinne. John Gibson then stopped Kevin Fiala to snap the Predators’ five-game winning streak.Anaheim’s Pontus Aberg and Nashville’s Kyle Turris scored in the first round.“I had a little plan before I went out there,” said Rakell, who improved to 7 for 20 in shootouts. “Previous times this year (it) hasn’t really worked for me, so I just tried to throw everything out there. It was really nice to see it go in.”Nashville had won its first eight road games, a franchise record and the third-longest streak to begin a season in league history. The 2006-07 Buffalo Sabres won their first 10 away from home, and the 2009-10 New Jersey Devils reeled off nine straight.Gibson Carter Hutton Jersey Womens , who made 34 saves, and the Ducks’ penalty-killing unit were big keys in the win. Anaheim was 7 for 7 killing off Nashville power plays and is 19 of 21 when down a man over the last five games.Ryan Johansen thought he won it for the Predators with a wide-open shot on the power play late in overtime, but Gibson made a diving stop.“They have a good power play, so we knew they were going to get shots. That one just hit my glove and I scrambled,” Gibson said. “I was fortunate enough to get a piece of my glove on it. Whatever it hit, I kept it out.”Ryan Getzlaf scored in regulation for Anaheim, which improved to 2-2 in shootouts.Fiala had Nashville’s lone goal in regulation, and Rinne made 29 saves. It was the Predators’ first shootout of the season.“We fought back again and got one point so we are happy about that,” Fiala said. “We had a chance to bring two points back, but overall we have to play better. We can’t just think we can do it in the third period all the time.”Getzlaf gave the Ducks the lead with 30 seconds remaining in the second when he took a backhand pass from Rakell and tipped it past Rinne for his ninth of the season. The Ducks captain has points in six of his last eight games, with four goals and five assists.Fiala tied it three minutes into the third when he beat Gibson with a shot from the left circle. It was the left wing’s second goal, and first in 10 games.NOTES: Anaheim has won eight of its last 10 home games against Nashville. … The Predators placed forward Viktor Arvidsson on injured reserve with an upper-body injury. He is second on the team with eight goals. … Nashville did not have a shot on goal the final 11:53 of the second period. … Ducks RW Ondrej Kase played his first game of the season. He missed the first 18 games after suffering a concussion in the final preseason game. … Rakell has an assist in five of the last seven games. … Anaheim D Cam Fowler took a puck to the face on a shot by Nashville RW Craig Smith with 3:06 remaining in regulation and did not return.UP NEXTPredators: Continue their four-game road trip against San Jose on Tuesday.Ducks: Journey outside of California for the first time in nearly three weeks when they face Vegas on Wednesday.