EDMONTON – The sixth of August is a difficult day for Brock Boeser.
It is filled with emotion, mostly sadness, remembering the death of one of his best friends in high school in a car crash in which Boeser surely would have been involved in had he not been in Europe playing for the U.S. under-18 team on Aug. 6, 2014.
Until Thursday, that day was never about hockey. But this is an extraordinary year, also with too much sadness and fear.
Given a chance to play a National Hockey League playoff game on the sixth anniversary of Ty Alyea’s death, Boeser gave his old friend – and the crash survivors watching back home in Burnsville, Minn. – something special: a goal in the Vancouver Canucks’ 3-0 win over the Minnesota Wild.
After demonstrating the evolution in his game by winning a puck battle in the corner against two penalty-killers, then going back to the front of the net to fight for a rebound that opened scoring at 13:49 of the second period, Boeser quietly pointed to the heavens when he returned to the bench.
The game also demonstrated the evolution of the Canucks, who are supposed to be about flash and talent but have yet to allow a five-on-five goal while building a 2-1 series lead against one of the NHL’s best even-strength teams.
The Canucks can win their first playoff series since going to the 2011 Stanley Cup Final if they beat the Wild in Game 4 on Friday night.
“It’s obviously a tough day for my friends and I,” Boeser said after a game in which he had a goal, assist and two of the 22 blocked shots the Canucks had in front of goalie Jacob Markstrom. “It’s crazy how fast time flies. To be able to get one for him, it’s something special. It’s an emotional day for sure and I tried to make the most of it today out on the ice.”
Boeser has maintained his friendships from high school, including with Cole Borchardt, who was permanently injured in the crash. Boeser has said had he been home, he too would have been in the Jeep that rolled over after a summer outing to a nearby lake.
“I don’t think I’ve ever had a game since,” Boeser, 23, said of Aug. 6. “Obviously, it’s weird and different that we had a hockey game in August, but I know my friends are all hanging out today and being with each other.”
“A few of the boys went over to the grave today to pay their respects, which Brock would have done if he was in town,” Laurie Boeser, Brock’s mom, said over the phone from Burnsville. “It was a very traumatic thing. I think Brock really learned the value of friendship and not taking things for granted. There is a purpose and a meaning when he’s out there playing hockey. I think he appreciates his opportunity to be a professional, but he also knows he’s playing for others, too.”
The Canucks are also playing for each other inside the NHL bubble. Driven by young stars seeing playoff hockey for the first time, the team appears to be getting stronger each game.
“They’re growing, that’s for sure,” Canuck coach Travis Green said. “We’ve got a young group that hasn’t played these types of games yet. After Game 1 (3-0 loss), I thought our team looked a little nervous. I thought we played very well in Game 2 (4-3 win) and we talked about winning the next game.
“(But) it might not have been the skill that got us through tonight. It might have been a lot of will that got us this win tonight which, as a coach, you like to see.”
Canucks penalty killing blanked the Wild on seven power plays and 12:15 worth of advantages.
Grinding winger Antoine Roussel, who didn’t finish Tuesday’s win after getting drilled in the face by a puck, not only made it back to the lineup on Thursday but scored a huge breakaway goal at 2:18 of the third period, beating Minnesota goalie Alex Stalock on a backhand deke after the puck skipped past Wild defenceman Brad Hunt.
Markstrom made 27 saves and key penalty-killer Tyler Motte seemed to stop the rest, blocking seven shots.
“Every time there’s a blocked shot, everybody is banging their sticks (at the bench) and yelling,” Markstrom said. “That gives energy and adrenalin. It’s not only big hits and goals that guys are cheering for.”
Pettersson, Hughes and Boeser combined for seven points and their impact on the series has been immense. None has looked in awe of the playoff stage nor intimidated by the physical abuse the Wild is trying to inflict.
Pettersson survived a head-first boarding by Minnesota winger Ryan Hartman, whom the Canuck had injured in Game 2 with a shove from behind in retaliation for a high stick.
“I believe when you’re young, sometimes you don’t know the extent of what you’re playing for and what it means for everybody watching,” Roussel, 30, said. “As you get older, sometimes you really see. That naïveté — they’re not afraid of anything. I’ll go to battle with those guys any day.”
But the win, Green emphasized, was about more than just his three young stars.
“They played a big part of it,” he said. “Obviously, there were a lot of other guys that played a part in this win, for sure. We’ve talked about it for a few years that our guys need to gain experience in these type of games. But we’re not just here to get experience. We want to win the game, we want to win this series. We’ve put ourselves in a spot and we’re going to have to play a little better tomorrow if we want to win.”
Nikola Jokic Says Nuggets Miscommunicated On Defense During Final Play – RealGM.com
Nikola Jokic said that the Denver Nuggets miscommunicated on defense on Anthony Davis’ game-winning three during their 105-103 game 2 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Mason Plumlee started the final possession guarding Davis, with Jerami Grant guarding LeBron James.
Plumlee and Grant both ended up on James, giving Davis space to receive and shoot the ball.
“Either going to be him or LeBron [James to take the last shot], so we kind of knew it. Just happened, a little bit of miscommunication. I think I had a really good contest, to be honest. I think I was right there. As soon as he shot the ball, he shot it really well. Like, I kind of felt it going in,” said Jokic of Davis’ shot.
The Nuggets are now down 2-0 in the series.
Jokic and Michael Malone said that the Nuggets needs to continue fighting in the series, though Malone found a positive in that the Lakers needed a last second shot to win the game.
“The only thing you can talk about tonight is we were in the game. They had to rely on a great shot by a great player to beat us at the buzzer. But as long as we’re putting ourselves in position to win games, that’s all you can ask for. One thing I know about our group, even though we are disappointed, frustrated, angry, we’ll use that motivation to come out and try to take Game 3.”
Seahawks stuff Cam Newton on final play, beat Patriots in thriller – Sportsnet.ca
SEATTLE — Russell Wilson continued his sizzling start throwing five more touchdown passes. Unheralded second-year defensive end L.J. Collier made the play that assured those five TD tosses came in a victory.
Collier stuffed Cam Newton at the 1-yard line on the final play, and the Seattle Seahawks held off the New England Patriots 35-30 on Sunday night.
Wilson and Newton — two of the premier quarterbacks in the NFL — claimed the spotlight in a wild primetime showcase. Wilson was masterful, leading Seattle to a 35-23 lead with less than 5 minutes remaining.
But Newton took over the final minutes and yet another Seahawks-Patriots matchup was decided in the closing moments on a play snapped at the 1.
This time, it was the Seahawks erupting off the sideline in celebration.
“It’s an extraordinary moment for football players and for a team. You either come through or you don’t,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “There’s so much intensity in that moment. The guys on the field will never forget it.”
Newton led New England 80 yards in the closing moments. They reached the 1 on a pass to N’Keal Harry with 3 seconds left. On the final play, Newton tried to run power to the left, but was upended by Collier in the biggest play of his young career. Newton, who had two rushing touchdowns in the game, never got close to the goal line.
Collier and Jamal Adams said from the formation it was clear where the Patriots were going with the play.
“Just to finish it off it’s a hell of a play. Imagine if we had fans here today. It would still be shaking,” Collier said.
Newton was excellent in his first road game with the Patriots throwing for 397 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He ran for another 47 yards, but couldn’t get the last three feet to give New England a victory.
“We put ourselves in position to win. When you do that, you’ve just got to finish and we didn’t do that,” Newton said.
Wilson was masterful on the other side, completing 21 of 28 passes for 288 yards. It was his fourth career game with five touchdown passes. Tyler Lockett, DK Metcalf, David Moore, Freddie Swain and Chris Carson all took turns celebrating in the end zone. Carson was the last, running under a 18-yard rainbow toss from Wilson against the blitz with 4:32 left to give the Seahawks a 35-23 lead.
Wilson became the first QB in Seahawks history to throw at least four TDs in consecutive games after he had four TD tosses in Week 1 against Atlanta.
“They’ve got a great quarterback. Glad we only have to play him once every four years,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said.
The entire night in a normal setting would have left CenturyLink Field shaking with delirium, especially after the final play. But the stadium built for noise was empty due to the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving fans to celebrate Seattle improving to 2-0 for the second straight year at home.
“You missed the fun of it all. This game is meant to be played in front of thousands and thousands of people, it’s so special,” Wilson said.
Newton did his best to spoil any celebration. His second TD run pulled New England to 35-30 with 2:16 left. It was his eighth career game with at least two rushing TDs, setting an NFL record.
New England held the Seahawks to a three-and-out after Seattle threw on third-and-1 and Wilson couldn’t connect with Lockett on a deep shot.
Newton needed just five plays to move New England from its 19 to the Seattle 36 with 41 seconds left. After a penalty, Newton hit Edelman for 18 yards to the Seattle 13 with 20 seconds left and the pair nearly connected again in the end zone but Newton’s pass was high with 9 seconds remaining. Newton found Harry but was stopped at the 1 and New England used its final timeout, setting the stage for the final play.
Edelman finished with eight catches for 179 yards.
Metcalf’s 54-yard TD catch came against Stephon Gilmore, the reigning defensive player of the year. It was the first TD allowed by Gilmore as the primary defender since 2018. Gilmore shadowed Metcalf most of the night and at one point the two tussled into the Seattle bench.
“Like I said, it’s a physical game,” Metcalf said.
New England played without running back James White after his father was killed Sunday in a car crash in Florida, authorities said. The wreck that killed Tyrone White happened around 1 p.m. in Cooper City, Florida, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release. White, who was the captain of the Miami-Dade Police Department, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Seattle lost its starting and backup free safeties in the first half. Starter Quandre Diggs was ejected late in the first quarter for a helmet-to-helmet hit on New England’s N’Keal Harry. On fourth-and-3 from the Seattle 30, Newton hit Harry on a slant for 13 yards. The rookie was immediately hit by Diggs in a violent collision that snapped Harry’s head backward. The penalty helped lead to Newton’s 1-yard TD run.
Diggs was the first Seattle player ejected since 2017 when Sheldon Richardson and Quinton Jefferson were both ejected in a loss at Jacksonville.
Marquise Blair moved from nickel cornerback to safety in place of Diggs, but left with a right knee injury in the second quarter. Blair had to be helped off the field and the team immediately ruled him out. Lano Hill took over at free safety with Blair out.
Carroll said Blair still needs and MRI but they believe it to be a significant injury.
Patriots: Return home to host Las Vegas.
Seahawks: Host Dallas next Sunday.
Davis hits game-winning 3 at buzzer, Lakers take 2-0 lead on Nuggets – TSN
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Anthony Davis has never been this deep in the playoffs, never had the chance to take such an important shot.
It’s nothing new for the Los Angeles Lakers, though.
So when Davis’ 3-pointer swished through the net as time expired to give the Lakers a 105-103 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Sunday night and a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference finals, coach Frank Vogel thought of a Laker who had done it before.
“That’s a shot Kobe Bryant would hit,” Vogel said. “To me, AD coming off, just flying to the wing like that, catch-and-shoot with the biggest game on the line of our season, nothing but net, it’s a Mamba shot.”
The Lakers were wearing their Black Mamba jerseys. They were co-designed by Bryant, their Hall of Fame guard who died Jan. 26 in a helicopter crash. Davis said wearing the jerseys that mean so much to the team made his winner feel even better.
“In the jersey we wore tonight, it just makes it even more special,” he said.
Davis finished with 31 points. He scored Los Angeles’ last 10 points and had 22 in the second half to help the Lakers avoid becoming the latest victim of a Denver comeback.
“Special moment for a special player. Happy to be a part of it,” said LeBron James, who had 26 points and 11 rebounds.
The Nuggets had trailed by as much as 16, but Nikola Jokic scored 11 straight Denver points down the stretch, including a basket that made it 103-102 with 20 seconds to play.
Alex Caruso then missed a 3-pointer and Jamal Murray blocked Danny Green‘s shot out of bounds with 2.1 seconds to play. Rajon Rondo inbounded under the basket and found Davis curling toward the sideline, and the All-Star forward swished it to put the Lakers halfway to the NBA Finals.
Jokic said there was miscommunication on the final play, when it appeared centre Mason Plumlee let Davis drift free believing there was going to be a switch. Jokic raced out to him, but too late.
“Great players make great shots and he did it, so he’s a really good player,” Jokic said.
Jokic had 30 points and nine assists, and Murray scored 25 points.
Game 3 is Tuesday night.
James carried the Lakers early, with 20 points in the first half. But they went more in the second half to Davis, who had 37 in an easy Game 1 victory.
This one was much tighter and appeared it would be another huge rally by the Nuggets, who were down 16, 19 and 12 in the final three games against the Clippers, when they erased a 3-1 deficit.
They had climbed all the way out this hole when Murray scored for an 87-86 lead with 7:26 to play. But Green and Rondo hit 3-pointers and, after a basket by PJ Dozier, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope made another 3 to make it 95-89.
It was 100-92 after another 3 by Davis before Jokic answered with nine straight, tipping in a miss by Murray to give Denver a 101-100 edge with 31 seconds to play. Davis put the Lakers back on top with a basket in the lane, but Jokic backed him down on the other end to put the Nuggets back on top with 20 seconds remaining.
James started 5 of 6 while the rest of the Lakers missed their first 12 shots before Green’s layup 7 1/2 minutes in gave them a 14-12 lead.
The lead was five midway through the second quarter before the Lakers had an 11-0 run that featured a steal and dunk and a 3-pointer by Alex Caruso that pushed it to 52-36 with about 4 minutes remaining in the half. Denver trimmed it to 60-50 at the break.
Nuggets: Denver is 8-8 in this post-season. … Michael Porter Jr. had 15 points. … Dozier was 1 for 5 from the foul line in the fourth quarter.
Lakers: Los Angeles missed nine of its first 10 shots. … Green and Caldwell-Pope both scored 11 points.
The Lakers said Davis was just the seventh Laker to make a buzzer-beater in the playoffs, a list that includes Bryant. Also on the list: Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, Derek Fisher, Robert Horry and Metta World Peace.
This was the 30th post-season game between the Lakers and Nuggets. The Lakers lead 23-7 and have won all six series.
More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
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