The Calgary Flames came out for their first pre-season game of the 2021-22 season with a big, heavy and nasty line-up, ready to party like it was 2014, the height of the NHL’s heavy hockey era.
TORONTO — A poor start by Jose Berrios put the Toronto Blue Jays in an early hole Tuesday night. A lack of clutch hitting later in the game proved just as costly.
Jose Abreu homered in Chicago’s four-run first inning and the White Sox held off two late-inning threats in a 5-2 win over the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.
“When you’re struggling to score runs, it is tough,” Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo said of trying to overcome an early deficit. “But one thing about this team is they don’t quit. They’re facing good pitching and we were in the game until the end.”
The Blue Jays gave up a season-high 18 hits but still sent the potential tying run to the plate in the eighth and ninth innings. Reliever Liam Hendriks got out of both jams to help end Chicago’s three-game losing skid and send Toronto (65-59) to its eighth loss in 11 games.
Luis Robert scored twice for the White Sox (73-54), who got a strong start from Dylan Cease (10-6). He gave up a solo shot to Corey Dickerson, one of just four hits allowed over his seven innings.
Berrios (8-7) struggled from the outset in his shortest start in over three years. Robert and Yoan Moncada singled before Abreu belted an 0-1 offering – just the fifth pitch of the game from Berrios — for his 26th homer of the year.
Danny Mendick added an RBI double before Berrios fanned No. 9 hitter Zack Collins to end his 33-pitch frame. Berrios lasted just two more innings before being replaced by Trent Thornton.
“I felt strong and healthy, I just didn’t execute well in that first inning,” Berrios said.
Abreu drove in another run on a groundout after the White Sox put runners on the corners in the fourth. Cease, meanwhile, retired the first 11 batters before Vladimir Guerrero Jr., singled in the bottom half of the frame.
Toronto’s first extra-base hit came in the fifth on an Alejandro Kirk double. He moved to third on a Lourdes Gurriel Jr., single but both runners were stranded when Santiago Espinal popped up.
Abreu picked up his third hit of the game an inning later but Gurriel’s strong throw from left field prevented the Chicago slugger from stretching it to a double.
Josh Palacios and Teoscar Hernandez also had an assist apiece. It was the second time in club history that all three Toronto outfielders had assists in the same game.
Dickerson turned on a 97-m.p.h. fastball in the seventh inning for his fifth home run of the season.
In the eighth, the Blue Jays threatened after one-out singles by Espinal and Bo Bichette. Hendriks replaced Michael Kopech and walked Marcus Semien to load the bases for Guerrero, who worked a full count before grounding into an inning-ending double play.
Gurriel drove in Hernandez to make it a three-run game in the ninth. With two runners on, Hendriks struck out Palacios and got Espinal to ground out to end it.
Cease fanned seven and issued one walk over his tidy 95-pitch outing. Berrios, acquired at the trade deadline from the Minnesota Twins, allowed four earned runs and nine hits while striking out six.
Toronto entered play 4 1/2 games behind the Boston Red Sox in the race for the second American League wild-card spot. The Blue Jays started the day with a 13.1-per cent chance of making the playoffs, according to FanGraphs.
The White Sox started the day with a nine-game lead on the second-place Cleveland Indians in the AL Central. Announced attendance was 14,553 and the game took three hours 12 minutes to play.
Notes: Toronto pitching coach Pete Walker was ejected by home plate umpire Mark Carlson after a mound visit in the first inning. … The White Sox reinstated utilityman Leury García from the 10-day injured list before the game and optioned right-hander Ryan Burr to triple-A Charlotte. … Outfielders Joe Carter, Devon White and Shawn Green recorded an assist apiece for Toronto against the California Angels on July 5, 1995. … The Blue Jays will send left-hander Robbie Ray (9-5, 2.79 ERA) to the mound Wednesday night against right-hander Lucas Giolito (9-9, 3.77).
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 24, 2021.
Follow @GregoryStrongCP on Twitter.
The Calgary Flames came out for their first pre-season game of the 2021-22 season with a big, heavy and nasty line-up, ready to party like it was 2014, the height of the NHL’s heavy hockey era.
Edmonton came out with a bunch of swift and smart puck-moving d-men and forwards and proceeded to stomp the hell out of Calgary, beating them 4-0, and giving up next to nothing in their own end.
Evan Bouchard, Filip Berglund and company shredded the Flames with swift decisions and laser passes.
The game was never close.
Calgary outhit the Oilers 29 to nine. The Oilers outshot the Flames 49 to 15. Yes, the Flames hit the most in this game. But they never knew what hit them.
Ryan McLeod, 7. How did he not score? Had all kinds of amazing chances. His unit forechecked well all game. But McLeod failed to cash in on a delicious power play rebound in the second. Also just missed on a tip shot on the rush. In the third he almost slammed home a wrap-around attempt. He had nine shot attempts, five on goal.
Tyler Benson, 7. How did he not score? Cooper Marody set him up with a wide open net in the third and Benson ripped a great shot only to be foiled by an even better save. Took an early penalty on an over-aggressive screen. He won battles, passed the puck well, and did not hurt his cause to make the Oilers, though Brendan Perlini made more of a statement.
Cooper Marody, 6. Pretty quiet, though he combined well with his teammates, especially setting up Benson in the third.
Brendan Perlini, 8. All kinds of chances. Had a power forward kind of game. He got off a wicked slot shot off some fine work by Turris and Bouchard in the second. A bit later, he stole the puck at the blueline from lumbering Calgary d-man Erik Gudbranson, kicked the puck to his forehand, and moved in on a breakaway to fire a hard shot, then slammed in the rebound for Edmonton’s fourth goal. He got set up early in the third by Turris for another near breakaway and almost scored, drawing a penalty.
Devin Shore 5. Not that noticeable this game. Won a couple of board battles in the first, leading to a dangerous Turris backhander. He played a team low 11:28.
Kyle Turris, 7. He looked good on the power play and good moving the puck.
Colton Sceviour, 6. Fairly quiet game as well. He got blasted into the boards by Martin Pospisil of the Flames in the first. But he worked well on the forecheck on Edmonton’s third goal.
Derek Ryan, 8. He centred the Oil’s best line. Looked fast and pesky. Scored on a hard-working power play shift early in the second to give his team a 2-0 lead, taking a pass out from Bourgault and stuffing it in the net. He was part of a ferocious Edmonton cycle with Sceviour and Bouchard that led to Bourgault’s goal, with Ryan making the final pass. He led the Oilers on the dot with 10 wins and five losses, 67 per cent.
Xavier Bourgault, 7. He flashed major skill and calm. He won a board battle on the power play to flip the puck out front on Ryan’s goal. A bit later, took a pass from Ryan and hammered in a sharp-angle one-timer shot for Edmonton’s third goal.
James Hamblin, 6. A quiet game, save for one big play when he pounced on a bouncing puck early in the second, got a breakaway, and made a sharp move to his backhand to score the first goal of the game.
Adam Cracknell, 5. Quiet game, though he almost scored late in the game off a Kemp point shot.
Raphael Lavoie, 5. Won a battle on the board in the first. Won some more battles on a great shift in the third. But his line never really got going other than few spurts.
Slater Koekkoek, 7. Solid game, just kept moving that puck over to Bouchard and good things happened. With the Oilers up 4-0 in the third in a nothing pre-season game, he blocked a blistering power play shot. Evidently he wants to make this team.
Evan Bouchard, 9. Wow! He utterly dominated the game. Of course, it was just a pre-season game. He nonetheless schooled the Flames, with his feints, dekes, spins, zips and bombs. If he can do that against tougher competition, the Oilers have their man to replace Adam Larsson in the Top 4. His skating was once questioned, but he showed strong edge work and acceleration, constantly shaking Flames forecheckers. He got nine shots on net, six of them hitting the mark, a number of them ripper slap shots.
Philip Broberg, 6. Skated miles, not always to great effect, but was certainly active. Took a tough pass from partner Filip Berglund in his own zone in the first and got hammered by Milan Lucic with a hit. He let Brett Ritchie in behind him for a third period rush and shot. He and Berglund were also beat on a dangerous third period cross-seam pass in the third. Plenty of flash in his game, and he logged the second most amount of ice time, 22:22, but still finding his way in the North American pro game.
Filip Berglund, 7. He was good, really good. Smart and solid with the puck, good decisions all over the ice.He led the team with 23:30 time-on-ice. Some savvy defensive stops in the defensive slot and neutral zone to win pucks and get his team going in the right direction. Covered up for a Broberg on a mistimed pinch, tracking back fast to shut down the Flames attack.
Phil Kemp, 6. Solid game. Got a good block in the first. Had some trouble moving the puck, but his clearance bounced to Hamblin on the first goal.
William Lagesson, 6. He kicked off the scoring sequence on Edmonton’s first goal with a sharp d-zone pass up the middle. In the third he broke down the wing to get off a good shot. He played just 15:28 on the third-pairing, but was solid in that time.
Stuart Skinner, 6. Not tested much but stopped everything that came his way in the first.
Ilya Konovalov, 6. Had little to do in the second when he came in, but did fire off a nice pass up the middle of the ice. He made best Edmonton save of the night on pass that sliced across the net-front to Matthew Phillips, but Konovalov stoned him.
DETROIT (AP) — Justin Tucker ended the game as if he was starting it, backing up an extra step or two and kicking the football with every bit of force he had in his right foot.
Tucker set an NFL record with a 66-yard field goal, bouncing it through off the crossbar as time expired to lift the Baltimore Ravens to a 19-17 win over the Detroit Lions on Sunday.
“That one was more like a kickoff,” he said. “It’s like you’re a competitor in a long-drive contest. You just let it rip and hope it stays straight.”
The kick topped the 64-yard field goal Matt Prater made for Denver against Tennessee on Dec. 8, 2013. Prater’s attempt at a 68-yard kick for Arizona on Sunday fell short and was returned 109 yards for a touchdown by Jacksonville’s Jamal Agnew, a former teammate in Detroit.
Lamar Jackson — and perhaps a break from the officials — made the record-breaking kick at Ford Field possible.
On fourth-and-19 from the Baltimore 16, he threw a 36-yard pass to Sammy Watkins to get the Ravens across midfield with 7 seconds left. The superstar quarterback spiked the ball to stop the clock, and on the next snap, he threw it away after TV footage suggested the play clock expired.
“We’ll get an apology and it doesn’t mean anything,” Detroit coach Dan Campbell said.
Then Tucker — who made a 61-yard kick to beat the Lions in Baltimore’s previous visit to Detroit eight years ago — came out and made the record-breaking field goal.
“I love Detroit,” said Tucker, who is the most accurate kicker in NFL history. “I’m thinking about getting a place here.”
Referee Scott Novak told a pool reporter that he had not seen a replay of the play in which the play clock appeared on TV to expire before Jackson’s incomplete pass to the sideline, adding he had no idea if there was an error made.
“The back judge is looking at the play clock and if it were to hit zero, he sees the zero, and he then looks to see if the ball is being snapped,” Novak said. “If the ball is being snapped, we will let the play go. If it’s not moving, it’s delay of game. Those are the mechanics that we apply on that play.”
Baltimore (2-1) went into the fourth quarter with a 16-7 lead and ended up trailing briefly.
Ryan Santoso made a go-ahead, 35-yard field goal with 1:04 left, giving Campbell an opportunity to win his first game with the Lions (0-3).
“It hurts because you put yourself in position to win,” Campbell said. “The silver lining is we’re getting better and I’m proud of the way they competed.”
Santoso was promoted from Detroit’s practice squad on Saturday after kicker Austin Seibert went on the COVID-19 reserve list.
Jackson was 16 of 31 for a season-high 287 yards with a touchdown and an interception. His teammates dropped at least four passes that could have potentially turned the closely contested game into a rout.
Mark Andrews had five receptions for 109 yards for the Ravens, who have won 11 straight games against NFC opponents.
Jackson perfectly placed two passes on one drive that should have been touchdowns, but Watkins and Marquise Brown failed to catch the football. Brown also dropped two passes on a single possession late in the first half, forcing Baltimore to punt.
Detroit’s Jared Goff was 22 of 30 for 217 yards and D’Andre Swift had 107 yards of offense and a score.
“I know this city and this franchise have gone through a lot of gut punches in the last few years, but I’m telling you we will remain true and remain resilient and the gut punches will stop,” Goff said.
The Ravens often had to settle for field goals, and they’re fortunate to have one of the best ever handling that job for them.
Tucker, who was wide right on a 49-yard field goal in the first quarter, made a 39-yard kick with 10:05 left in the first half to put them ahead 3-0. Tucker made two field goals in the third.
“He’s a huge part of our game,” Jackson said. “If we’re not getting it done, he’s going to come through and give us three points here, three points there.”
The Lions have a history of losing on long kicks. In addition to the two by Tucker, Detroit was also on the wrong end of Tom Dempsey’s then-record 63-yarder in 1970 for New Orleans. Buffalo’s Dan Carpenter beat the Lions with a 58-yarder in 2014.
WHAT A RUSH
The Ravens ran for 116 yards, surpassing 100 yards for the 42nd straight game to pull within one of the NFL record set by Pittsburgh from 1974-77.
Calvin Johnson set aside his hard feelings for the Lions long enough to be honored at halftime, receiving his ring of excellence from the Pro Football Hall of Fame after being inducted last month.
Ravens: Rookie LB Daelin Hayes (ankle) and S DeShon Elliott (quadriceps) were hurt during the game. The defense started the game without DE Derek Wolfe (back, hip injuries), and LBs Jaylon Ferguson and Justin Houston and DL Brandon Williams and Justin Madubuike went on the reserve/COVID-19 list Friday.
Lions: LB Trey Flowers (shoulder, knee) was inactive.
Ravens: Play at Denver next Sunday.
Lions: Play at Chicago next Sunday.
Follow Larry Lage at https://twitter.com/larrylage
More AP NFL coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL
This version has been corrected to show that Tennessee was the opponent on Prater’s 64-yard kick in 2013.
This in from Reid Wilkins of 630 CHED, the Edmonton Oilers expected line combos tonight against the Calgary Flames, a game that will live-streamed on EdmontonOilers.com.
1. It’s the first pre-season game, but first impressions are huge for at least two young-ish Edmonton Oilers prospects who need to put on a big show if they’re finally going to crack the Oilers roster. They will have other chances to do so, yes, but the clock is ticking, all Oilers organizational eyes are on them, and it’s time to shine if they hope to stick in Edmonton. They both have golden opportunities.
2. Tyler Benson is the first of the two. The kid was drafted in 2016, five years ago. Indeed, Benson is no longer a kid. He’s 23, and all kinds of fellow forwards from that draft have established themselves as NHLers, like Auston Matthews, Matt Tkachuk and Patrik Laine from the top of the draft, but also forwards taken late in the first round or in the second round and after, such as Alex DeBrincat, Jordan Kyrou, Jesper Bratt, Tage Thompson, Max Jones, and Brett Howden. It’s Last-Chance-Gas for other relatively high picks like Sam Steel, Rasmus Asplund, Nathan Bastian and Boris Katchouk. Can they finally grab an NHL job?
3. Oilers GM Ken Holland said this past week in a radio interview that Benson is penciled into the line-up and that it’s his job to loose. That’s good news for the young forward, but as the old saying goes, that and $2.00 will get him a coffee at Tim Horton’s. Benson has to earn it now on the ice, Holland said. So far in camp, the reports have been good, with Benson coming to camp in excellent shape and looking quicker on the ice.
4. Benson has been teamed up in camp with his AHL linemates Ryan McLeod and Cooper Marody. They were arguably the AHL’s best two-way line last year. McLeod has already made the jump to the NHL and played OK two-way hockey there late last season. He earned a spot in some playoff games. Marody, like Benson, is in Last-Chance-Gas territory as a prospect. But the trio can wheel on the attack and defend effectively. They need to do both tonight against Calgary. There is an outside shot, say 20 per cent, that the trio could somehow find their way forward together as the Oil’s third scoring line to start the year.
5. The other Oilers prospect on the hot seat is “Wild” Bill Lagesson, who has played seven full seasons since he was drafted 91st overalll in 2014. If he makes it, he’ll be a super rarity, a player who eventually makes the NHL as 25-year-old who is still with the original team that drafted him. It’s such a glorious storyline that one has to think whichever entity is running The Simulation will align things to make it happen.
6. Lagesson got an early boost heading into camp, with veteran Kris Russell still injured and with even more veteran Duncan Keith out until his COVID quarantine ends next Friday. Lagesson is going to get some exhibition games, maybe a few more than anyone had originally planned, but what will he do with them? Will he be the player who looked like he might just hand in there as a shut-down d-man when he played so well with Adam Larsson early in the 2020-21 season? Or will he be the guy who struggled as that same season went on and he got hurt? Injury is a major factor in any player’s career, of course.
7. Right now, Benson is slotted into the fourth line left wing spot. Lagesson ranks fifth on the left d-man chart, after Darnell Nurse, Keith, Slater Koekkoek and Russell. But injuries happen. Veterans slide. And sometimes a long-time prospect turns the corner and plays the kind of impactful hockey that allows him to stick in the NHL for a season or two or five.
8. The Flames have plenty of Big Bobby Clobbers in their line-up — Erik Gudbranson, Nikita Zadorov, Milan Lucic, Brett Ritchie and Martin Posisil — while the Oilers are going with skill. It will be an interesting test to see if Edmonton’s skill can stand up to and get the best of Calgary’s muscle. Rock beats scissors, so the Oilers will have to do more than make fancy plays. They’ll have to fight through the rough stuff and be all over these Flames, harassing and covering them at every turn. Paper beats rock.
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