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About Last Night: Semi-Ducharmed kind of life as Habs down 3-0 in final – Montreal Gazette

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Coach Dominique Ducharme’s return behind the bench fails to spark the Canadiens as Montreal on verge of being swept.

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The Montreal Canadiens lost the first Stanley Cup final game in Bell Centre history 6-3 to the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 3 on Friday night, and are now a Game 4 loss away from being swept by the defending champions. The Lightning scored two goals in the opening four minutes of both the first and second periods in coach Dominique Ducharme’s return to the bench.

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The Canadiens wanted to take advantage of last change on home ice by putting defensive centre Phillip Danault against Tampa scorer Brayden Point, but Point was in front of the net screening Carey Price on the opening goal 1:52 in the first. Tampa got the matchup they wanted after an icing, with Jan Rutta scoring from the point on a seeing eye shot.

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With Eric Staal in the box after flipping the puck over the glass, Victor Hedman was left alone at the point with the Habs penalty killers looking for the cross-ice pass. Hedman’s deliberate slapshot squeezed past Price, putting the Lightning up 2-0 only 3:27 into the contest. Ducharme, coaching for the first time in these finals after a positive COVID test during the Vegas series, called a timeout to calm his group.

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The timeout worked, as the Canadiens settled down afterward. Cole Caufield nearly had one, carrying the puck through the middle and ripping one off the post.

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Just past the midway point of the first, Danault scored his first of the post-season. He and Brendan Gallagher escaped their zone together and went down the ice. Danault waited for Gallagher to skate in front of Andrei Vasilevskiy and fired through the screen off the post and in to make it 2-1 Tampa Bay. Danault was the first Quebec-born player to score for the Habs in a final since Stéphan Lebeau in 1993. The period ended with the Habs down a goal, but they outshot the opposition 17-12 and recovered after digging themselves an early hole.

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The second period proved just as disastrous early on as the first. At 1:40 in the period, Erik Cernak caught the Canadiens on a line change, sending a stretch pass to Ondrej Palat for a 2-on-0. Palat passed to Kucherov, who flipped the backhand over Price to restore Tampa’s two-goal lead.

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Less than two minutes later, Tampa Bay extended its lead to 4-1. Mathieu Joseph raced down the left side and made the first attempt. Price made the save, but Tyler Johnson was able to swoop in and backhand the rebound for the quick-strike goal.

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With under two minutes left in the second period, the Canadiens made it 4-2. Nick Suzuki carried the puck by himself from the blue line down the right side and caught Vasilevskiy flat footed with a snapshot to give the Habs some life heading into the third.

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Unlike the previous two periods, the Canadiens held the Lightning off the scoresheet in the opening minutes of the third. But the Habs also couldn’t generate momentum through the neutral zone as the Bolts clogged the ice. Hard for the Habs to maintain composure with their season on the ropes.

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Late in third, the Habs needed to take chances on offence, but an Erik Gustafsson pass up the middle to Johnson was likely not what they had in mind. Johnson entered the zone alone and made the first shot on Price, which the goalie had trouble with, then Johnson potted his own rebound to make it 5-2.

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Under a minute later, with Price on the bench for an extra skater, Corey Perry patiently waited out the defenceman by carrying the puck out front from behind the net. His wide angle shot was enough to beat Vasilevskiy high and once again put the Habs within striking distance at 5-3 with just over four minutes remaining.

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With Price still pulled, Blake Coleman scored in the empty net to give the Lightning a 6-3 lead, which is how the game ended. The Canadiens and Lightning meet again for Game 4 on Monday at the Bell Centre, with the Habs hoping to keep their season alive with a win. The Tampa Bay Lightning are formidable, and have a second straight Cup victory in their sights. The Montreal Canadiens have battled adversity all season, and now they’ll face their tallest mountain on Monday. The Liveblog commenters didn’t give me much to work with afterwards, but there were some nuggets of wisdom early in the night.

3. “Feels like ‘95” -Justin Miller

2. “I’m old, so the Habs have won 17 Cups during my lifetime. However, I can’t remember ever being so anxious and hopeful for another Cup as I am this year. Go Habs Go!” -Bob Taylor

1. “It was a great run. Tampa is playing their best. They have too much to deal with. This team gave so much to get here. Defense is better, attack is much better. Vasilevskiy is playing better than Price. He is probably a better goalie at this stage in their careers. Tampa is the current champion and their luck made it so they could have an even better team this season. I’m super proud of our boys and will watch right up until the last minute. We simply don’t have what it takes. I love that they don’t quit.” -Joseph Barrie {“_id”:””,”type”:”raw_html”,”shortcode_tag”:”related_links”,”shortcode”:”[related_links /]”,”content”:”

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Doping raises its head as BMX marred by crashes

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American swimmer Ryan Murphy stoked controversy at the Tokyo Games on Friday when he raised the spectre of doping after losing his second Olympic title to Russian rival Evgeny Rylov.

Murphy, who won three gold medals at the 2016 Rio Games, said his 200 metre backstroke final was “probably not clean” after he lost to Rylov, competing as part of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC).

The comments threw an unwelcome spotlight on doping for Tokyo 2020 organisers as the blue riband athletics competition got under way, on a day further marred by accidents on the BMX track, including a horrendous spill that saw 28-year-old American favourite Connor Fields rushed to hospital.

Held in Tokyo without spectators and after a year’s delay because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Games have been characterised by tumult and scandals from the get-go.

With China and Japan jostling for top spot in the medal tally https://graphics.reuters.com/OLYMPICS-2020/MEDALTALLY/rlgpdynkjvo/media-embed.html ahead of the United States, it hasn’t been a ratings boon for global broadcasters either.

Data from the opening ceremony and the first few nights show the Tokyo Games are so far the least watched Olympics in recent history across Europe and in the United States.

TV viewership is up in Australia and Japan, however.

COVID-19 infections have also risen, totalling 3,300 in Tokyo on Friday, after hitting a record 3,865 a day earlier, adding to the strain on the medical system.

The government broadened a state of emergency to four more prefectures and extended Tokyo’s until the end of August from Aug. 22.

‘THOUGHTS WOULD GET ME INTO TROUBLE’

Murphy, who won gold in the 100 metre and 200 metre Rio finals, surrendered both titles to Rylov in Tokyo.

“I’ve got 15 thoughts, 13 of them would get me into a lot of trouble,” he said when asked by a reporter if he had any doping concerns about his races, subsequently suggesting the 200m had been tainted.

Later, said he had no intention of making an allegation against his opponent. Rylov said Murphy was entitled to his thoughts given that there had been scandals.

The World Anti-Doping Agency handed Russia a four-year ban from top sporting events in 2019. Those sanctions were then lessened by a sports arbitration court.

More than 300 Russian athletes are competing at the Tokyo Games as part of the ROC. While they are not allowed to compete under their own flag, they can wear their tri-colour uniforms.

In other swimming events, the medals were again spread between countries other than traditional powerhouses.

South African Tatjana Schoenmaker won the women’s 200 metre breaststroke in a world record time, while China won their first men’s swimming gold in Tokyo with Wang Shun’s victory in the 200 metre medley.

Emma McKeon won the 100 freestyle for Australia’s sixth gold in the pool, holding off Hong Kong’s Siobhan Haughey down the final straight to win by 0.31 seconds.

BILES’ STRUGGLES

In gymnastics, Zhu Xueying led China to the top two podium positions in the women’s trampoline as Canada‘s Rosie MacLennan was denied a golden hat-trick.

That sport has also been overshadowed by drama around U.S. star Simone Biles. On Friday, she spelled out her struggles to perform, days after pulling of competitions, but shed no clear light on whether she would take part in further events.

In fencing, the top four teams in the men’s team epee crashed out in the quarter-finals. One of the day’s biggest surprises, Japan, ranked eighth, defeated top-ranked France, who will miss out on a medal for the first time since 1992.

In badminton, world number three Nozomi Okuhara was beaten by number nine China’s He Bing Jiao. Another surprise was the entry of world number 59, Guatemala’s Kevin Cordon, into the men’s quarter-finals.

The final day of Olympic rowing also delivered thrills when Greece’s Stefanos Ntouskos upset the favourites in the men’s single sculls and Canada ended U.S. dominance of the women’s eights. Four-time Olympian Emma Twigg, of New Zealand, ensured her country kept a grip on the sport with another gold in the women’s single sculls.

Athletics exploded into life with the women’s 100 metres round-one heats. Ivorian Marie-Josée Ta Lou roared across the finish line with a blistering 10.78 seconds at a hot and spectator-less Olympic Stadium in Tokyo.

Defending Olympic champion Jamaican Elaine Thompson-Herah ran a scorching 10.82 seconds to advance, while compatriot Shelly Anne Fraser-Pryce posted 10.84 seconds.

AMERICAN “AWAKE” AFTER CRASH

Reigning BMX champion Fields, who crashed heavily in the third run of his semi-final, was “awake” in hospital awaiting further checks to determine the extent of his injuries, an American team spokesperson said.

He was close to the front heading into the first steeply-banked corner at the Ariake Urban Sports Park and appeared to tangle with another rider, crashing heavily.

The semi-finals were marred by other crashes after a 45-minute rain delay, although the course was dry and did not appear to be a factor.

“I don’t think that the track or the weather had anything to do with the crashes,” Dutch rider Merel Smulders, who took bronze in the women’s race after her sister Laura also crashed in the semi-finals, told Reuters.

“I feel like there were a lot more crashes in Rio. But there were some bad crashes today and no one wants to see that.”

(Reporting by David Dolan and Mari Saito; Writing by Leela de Kretser and David Dolan; Editing by Stephen Coates and John Stonestreet)

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Pistons select Cade Cunningham with No. 1 overall pick in 2021 NBA Draft – Sportsnet.ca

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The Detroit Pistons selected Oklahoma State’s Cade Cunningham with the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft Thursday night.

Cunningham had been widely expected to be the first name called in New York, though Pistons general manager Troy Weaver wouldn’t reveal plans earlier this week and said the team would look at every scenario, including trades.

In the end, Detroit stuck with the 19-year-old mentioned as a potential top pick before ever stepping foot on the Oklahoma State campus.

The 6-foot-8, 220-pound point guard from Arlington, Texas, lived up to expectations with his size and fluid game to become a first-team Associated Press All-American. He averaged 20.1 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists with a game that allowed him to hit from 3-point range, score off the dribble or find teammates out of traps.

Cunningham — the first player in Oklahoma State history to be picked No. 1 overall — joins a Pistons franchise that has won 20 games for two straight seasons and hasn’t finished better than .500 for five straight years.

Cunningham was the headliner of a class that included scorers, playmakers and potentially elite defenders at the top. That group included Southern California freshman big man Evan Mobley, Gonzaga freshman point guard Jalen Suggs and Florida State freshman forward Scottie Barnes.

There are also a pair of preps-to-pros prospects in guard Jalen Green and forward Jonathan Kuminga, both of whom bypassed college basketball to play in the G League.

The draft is later than its traditional late-June slot for the second straight year due to the COVID-19 pandemic that interrupted the 2019-20 season. The 2021-22 season is scheduled to return to its normal schedule, with next year’s draft set for June again.

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NBA Draft 2021: Toronto Raptors select Scottie Barnes with the 4th overall pick – RaptorsHQ

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The Raptors have upended consensus in the 2021 NBA Draft, opting to select Florida State forward Scottie Barnes with the fourth overall pick. To say this was a complete shock is not entirely true — there was buzz the Raptors were at least somewhat intrigued by Barnes’ potential — but it also felt like Toronto would not take the gamble (e.g. it felt like Jalen Suggs at no. 4 was a lock).

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Barnes joins the Raptors just before his 20th birthday. He’s listed at 6’9” and 227 pounds, which puts him in the small forward category, by my math. Barnes spent one season at Florida State during which he averaged 10.3 points, 4.1 assists, and 4.0 rebounds per game across 24 contests. Admittedly, the numbers don’t exactly pop — Barnes only started seven games — but Toronto must love his potential.

Said potential is what our guy JD got at in his column here. Barnes has serious defensive skills, a player who can already guard almost every position via his strength, speed and know-how. The broadcast compared him to Draymond Green, which is not a bad place to be — particularly for a Raptors team that obviously values defensive ability and versatility. Like Green, Barnes has flashed an advanced play-making game for a forward, and he also has a limited offensive arsenal. Few are looking at Barnes, who shot 28 percent from three and 62 percent from the free-throw line, to be a lights-out gunner. Maybe he gets there in time, or maybe his skill-set is less dependent on his shot.

So then the risk: did the Raptors just get a player who can’t start for the current squad with OG Anunoby and Pascal Siakam locked in at the small and power forward position? Could it be that Barnes only tracks as another second or third-ranked player on a championship calibre team? (If that; some are worried he’s the next Stanley Johnson.) In all, the question remains: will Toronto regret missing on Suggs?

Or do the Raptors have something else planned with regards to their roster construction? Right now it’s unclear, but we do know one thing for now: Toronto has selected Scottie Barnes in the 2021 NBA Draft.

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