Max Domi scores winner as Habs improve their record to 5-1-0 in the last six games after battling back from 2-0 first-period deficit.
CALGARY — The Canadiens just missed making the playoffs last season, but they were a fun team to watch and they never gave up.
They created a new identity after finishing 28th in the overall NHL standings the previous season.
After going through an eight-game winless streak earlier this season, the Canadiens seem to have regained the identity they worked so hard on developing last year. On Thursday night at the Scotiabank Saddledome, the Canadiens were losing 2-0 after the first period and 3-2 in the third period before battling back to beat the Calgary Flames 4-3 in overtime on a goal by Max Domi.
The Canadiens now have a 6-2-0 record since that eight-game losing streak (0-5-3) and are 5-1-0 in their last six games, including back-to-back road wins in Vancouver and Calgary to start this Western Canada trip.
Brendan Gallagher, Joel Armia and Nick Suzuki scored for the Canadiens in regulation time against the Flames. Matthew Tkachuk, Elias Lindholm and Olivier Kylington scored for Calgary. The Canadiens outshot the Flames 43-27.
The Canadiens improved their season record to 17-12-6 and moved into second place in the Atlantic Division. They now have a 9-4-3 record on the road.
“When you go through a situation like we did, any team is going to lose a little bit of confidence,” coach Claude Julien said after the game about his team’s eight-game winless streak. “That’s why you talk about being fragile. It seems like every time you turn around the puck’s in your net or something bad is happening. But we’ve worked our way out of it and now we’re playing with obviously a lot of confidence, but also a lot of commitment. I didn’t think our first period was the best, not that it was bad. But second period we came out, we started skating the way we wanted our guys to skate and compete and that made a big difference. The rest of the game was see-saw.
“As a group in that dressing room, we as coaches give a lot of advice and ask for a lot of things,” Julien added. “But there’s a certain amount that happens in that dressing room with leadership and pushing each other and I think this is a group that respects each other to the point where they can push each other without taking it personally. And that’s where I think we’re getting better as a team.”
Tkachuk opened the scoring for the Flames at 7:34 of the first period as the result of a defensive breakdown by Canadiens defencemen Brett Kulak and Jeff Petry with centre Phillip Danault somehow caught alone behind the net. Winger Tomas Tatar scrambled to get in front of the net, but was too late and Tkachuk was left wide open to put the puck past Carey Price.
Suzuki came close to tying it for the Canadiens with three minutes left in the period when Price hit him with a breakout pass near centre ice. Suzuki streaked down the right wing and rang a shot off the goalpost.
The Flames went up 2-0 with only eight seconds left in the first period and Danault sitting in the penalty box for tripping. Lindholm completed a gorgeous tic-tac-toe passing play with Tkachuk and Johnny Gaudreau. Price had no chance. Giving up goals in the final minute of a period has been a big problem for the Canadiens this season.
Gallagher got the Canadiens on the board at 9:46 of the second period when he scored from an almost impossible angle. With his butt basically touching the boards at the goal line to Flames goalie David Rittich’s right, Gallagher fired on the net and somehow it went in on the short side for his team-leading 15th goal of the season.
Armia tied it up at 13:11 of the second period on another shot Rittich probably should have stopped, but the big forward surprised the goalie with a quick release. Armia fired a short-side shot from the high slot without any screen and it went in for his 12th goal of the season, one short of the career high he set last season.
Armia almost put the Canadiens ahead 3-2 when he went in on a breakaway and rang a shot off the post just under six minutes into the third period. That miss looked like it would prove costly when Kylington scored at 6:25 to put the Flames up 3-2, beating Price with a high shot to the glove side.
But the Canadiens battled back yet again and Suzuki scored a nice deflection goal at the 11:58 mark. The rookie had gone 12 games without a goal. Jordan Weal picked up an assist on Suzuki’s goal after going 15 games without a point.
When Domi was asked after the game if the Canadiens are starting to play like they did last season, he responded: “As far as we’re concerned we’re just worried about this year. Nothing else matters. We know what we have in this locker room. We want to play for each other. Everyone’s here to win hockey games and that’s all that matters. Confident group right now.”
“The Western road trip is a big turning point in the year,” Domi added. “If we can come away with as many points as possible in this roadie going into a couple of days off at Christmas, I think that’s what winning teams do. We’re finding ways to win right now, so we just got to keep it going.”
The Canadiens flew to Edmonton after the game and will look for their third straight road win Saturday against the Oilers (7 p.m., SNE, CITY, TVA Sports, TSN 690 Radio).
Astros erupt for seven runs in ninth, beat Red Sox to tie ALCS – Sportsnet.ca
BOSTON — Six outs from falling behind 3-1 in the AL Championship Series and facing elimination in Game 5 in Boston — where the Red Sox had yet to lose this postseason — the Houston Astros offence awakened.
After tying it in the eighth inning on Jose Altuve’s solo homer, the Astros bullied the Boston bullpen for seven runs in the ninth to win 9-2 on Tuesday night and even the best-of-seven playoff at two games apiece.
“This is one of the great things about baseball,” said the Astros’ 72-year-old manager, Dusty Baker. “When you’re dead in the water and things aren’t going good, and then all of a sudden, boom, boom, boom, and you got seven runs.
“That’s what they’ve been doing to us this whole series,” he said. “And we’re capable of doing that as well.”
Jason Castro looked off a potential third strike from Nathan Eovaldi before driving in watch-tapping Carlos Correa with the go-ahead run in the ninth, then the AL West champions kept on scoring to guarantee themselves at least one more game back home.
Game 5 is Wednesday in Boston, with Games 6 and 7 back in Houston on Friday and, if necessary, Saturday.
The Red Sox are 5-0 after playoff losses under manager Alex Cora.
“We’re feeling pretty confident,” said Eovaldi, the Game 2 winner who made his first relief appearance since 2019. “That’s been one of our strengths is being able to turn the page and come in tomorrow.”
In a series that had been dominated by offence — especially Boston’s, which has hit 10 homers in the series, including a record-setting three grand slams to turn Games 2 and 3 into routs — the teams traded first-inning home runs.
Alex Bregman hit a solo shot into the Green Monster seats, then Xander Bogaerts topped it with a towering, two-run drive onto Lansdowne Street in the bottom half to give the Red Sox a 2-1 lead.
Then, the pitchers took over.
It was still 2-1 when Altuve homered against Garrett Whitlock to tie it in the eighth. It was his 21st career postseason home run, breaking a tie with Derek Jeter for third-most in baseball history and trailing only Manny Ramirez (29) and Bernie Williams (22).
Eovaldi, making his first relief appearance since he was coming back from an injury two years ago, came on for the ninth and gave up Correa’s leadoff double.
The Red Sox thought they were out of the inning when Eovaldi’s 1-2 breaking ball appeared to catch the plate for strike three on Castro. Still alive, Castro singled in Correa to give Houston the lead.
“Yeah, a lot of people thought it was a strike,” Cora said. “It was a good game until the end, right? We were one pitch away from ending that inning, and it didn’t happen, and then they scored seven.”
Michael Brantley hit a three-run double off Martin Perez. Yordan Alvarez added an RBI single. Perez’s throwing error on Correa’s infield single allowed a run to score, and Kyle Tucker singled in another run.
Houston has scored 36 runs with two outs in the postseason, including 18 of its 22 in this series.
“We knew with this team that we’re playing we wanted to pad the lead,” Baker said. “And pad the lead we did, you know what I mean? That one run might not have stood up, especially in this ballpark.”
The Red Sox, who were the first team in major league history to have double-digit hits six straight times in a single postseason, had just five on Tuesday — two of them when already trailing by seven in the ninth.
Nick Pivetta allowed just one more hit after Bregman’s homer before leaving with a 2-1 lead through five innings. Eovaldi took the loss, allowing four runs while getting just two outs.
Kendall Graveman, the fifth Houston pitcher, threw two scoreless innings for the win. The Astros had special praise for Cristian Javier, who pitched three scoreless innings to get them through five as Houston’s bullpen delivered 7 2/3 shutout innings.
“What the relievers did today was amazing,” Altuve said.
It was the third straight game the Red Sox got five or more innings from a starter, and the third straight that the Houston starter didn’t make it out of the second inning; Zack Greinke got just four outs on Tuesday.
Astros: CF Jake Meyers, who injured his left shoulder crashing into the wall in the Division Series clincher, was originally listed in the starting lineup but “wasn’t quite ready yet,” Baker said. Chas McCormick started in centre instead.
Red Sox: Schwarber appeared to tweak his left hamstring on a swing in the fourth inning. He limped out a groundout and remained in the game.
Game 5 is Wednesday at 5:08 p.m. Chris Sale will start for the Red Sox after allowing one run over 2 2/3 innings in Game 1. Framber Valdez goes for Houston. He gave up two earned runs in 2 2/3 innings during the series opener.
Golf-Olympic gold medallist Schauffele pumped for Zozo Championship in Japan
AmericanXander Schauffele returns this week for the Zozo Championship in Japan nearly two and half months after winning the gold medal at the Tokyo Games and the 27-year-old said he is looking to grab a “special” victory at the PGA Tour event.
The tournament returns to Japan at the Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club on Thursday after last year’s edition was moved to California due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The $9.95 million event will feature Asia’s first Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama, two-time major winner Collin Morikawa and Schauffele, who won gold for the United States at the Tokyo Olympics in August with a one-stroke victory.
Schauffele, whose grandparents reside in Japan, said winning at the Zozo Championship would be a huge honour for his family.
“I’m very excited,” Schauffele, who also won the Ryder Cup with the United States last month, said on Wednesday.
“Winning here would be really cool. It would be really special to sort of win twice in Japan, especially since I don’t live here.
“I think it would be a huge honour for my family if I was able to do that and I’m going to do my best this week.”
American Morikawa, whose father is of Japanese descent, said he is looking forward to playing in front of an energetic crowd with 5,000 spectators allowed each day.
“These are some of the best fans,” Morikawa said. “I remember my first tee shot out here two years ago when there were fans on stools and lined up five, six people deep.
“They would cheer for you walking to tee boxes, hitting every tee shot whether it’s good or bad.
“They bring so much energy. I’ve said it since we returned from COVID, it’s just really good to see people out here again.”
(Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru; editing by Kim Coghill)
NHL suspends Evander Kane for 21 games over COVID-19 vaccination status – Global News
The league on Monday announced the suspension without pay and said Kane will not be eligible to play until Nov. 30 at New Jersey. Kane will forfeit about US$1.68 million of his US$7 million salary for this season with the money going to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
The league also announced that a concurrent investigation into allegations of sexual and physical abuse made against Kane by his estranged wife, Anna, could not be substantiated.
“I would like to apologize to my teammates, the San Jose Sharks organization, and all Sharks fans for violating the NHL COVID protocols,” Kane said in a statement. “I made a mistake, one I sincerely regret and take responsibility for. During my suspension, I will continue to participate in counseling to help me make better decisions in the future. When my suspension is over, I plan to return to the ice with great effort, determination, and love for the game of hockey.”
The Sharks have not said what Kane’s status will be after the investigations. Kane had not been around the team since the start of training camp while these investigations were ongoing in an agreement between him and the team.
“While we are encouraged by Evander’s commitment to moving forward, we are extremely disappointed by his disregard for the health and safety protocols put in place by the NHL and the NHLPA,” the team said in a statement. “We will not be commenting further on Evander’s status prior to the conclusion of the NHL’s mandated suspension.”
Kane had previously been cleared by the NHL in an investigation into allegations made by Anna Kane that he bet on hockey games, including some against the Sharks.
Edmonton Oilers fans enter Rogers Place for 1st time amid new COVID-19 protocols
But the league did determine that Kane violated the COVID-19 protocols. A person familiar with the investigation said earlier this month that the league was looking into allegations that Kane submitted a fake vaccination card. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because details weren’t made public.
Using a fake vaccination card is illegal in both the United States and Canada, as well as against NHL rules.
Commissioner Gary Bettman said last week that only four players on active rosters hadn’t been vaccinated.
Kane, 30, is three seasons into a $49 million, seven-year contract. He’s with his third organization after being drafted by and debuting with Atlanta/Winnipeg and a stint in Buffalo.
Last season, he had 22 goals and 27 assists in 56 games.
© 2021 The Canadian Press
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