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Canadiens sting Blues to snap losing skid

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MONTREAL — Determined to snap a six-game losing skid, the Montreal Canadiens fought tooth and nail during an intense third period to earn a 5-4 win against the St. Louis Blue on Saturday.

The Habs and Blues scored five goals in the final frame but Josh Anderson netted the game winner by tapping in a backhand from Jonathan Drouin past the goal line at 11:30.

The Blues (19-18-3) only managed to get one shot on net after Anderson’s goal while Montreal (16-21-3) blocked six shots, including five in the final two minutes, to hold on for the win.

“I think it’s the Saturday night energy,” said Habs coach Martin St. Louis. “You knew there would be energy in the building tonight and we built our game as it went on.

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“Our special teams were good tonight and as the game went on, the guys knew we were playing well, and when you’re in the game in the third it’s easier to have passion.”

“It shows a lot of resilience on our side,” Drouin added. “We knew we were going to get chances with the way we were playing this whole game and it was huge to get that tying goal from Joel and another one after.”

Joel Armia scored two goals. Kirby Dach and Cole Caufield also scored. Jake Allen made 18 saves and allowed four goals as he swept the season series against his former team.

After being a healthy scratched in Montreal’s 6-3 loss to the Nashville Predators on Jan. 3, Armia has scored in consecutive games.

“I don’t feel like I played that well,” said Armia of his play before getting scratched. “You just need to sometimes look in the mirror and demand better, better of yourself.”

“I had many discussions (with Armia) since the start of the season but they can only bring him so far,” said St. Louis. “He needs to reflect and get himself out of it. I’m happy for Army.”

The Blues were helped by their fourth line. Alexey Torpochenko scored while Nikita Alexandrov netted his first NHL goal. Brandon Saad and Pavel Buchnevic added goals.

Jordan Binnington gave up five goals and made 22 saves.

“We just lost coverage around our net on a couple of plays. One play, we don’t get it out of the blue line and it comes back at us,” said Blues coach Craig Berube. “Mistakes, too many penalties. Eight minutes in penalties tonight.”

Christian Dvorak tried to rekindle the magic from the last Canadiens-Blues encounter, where he recorded a hat trick in a 7-4 win. Late in the first period, Dvorak found his way between Blues defencemen Calle Rosen and Justin Faulk but Binnington denied the centre’s effort to score the first goal.

Seconds later, the Blues broke the ice on the counter attack. Brayden Schenn passed over to Saad on a two-on-one down the ice giving the visitors a 1-0 lead by the first intermission.

Armia levelled the score for Montreal in the second period. The winger made Jack Neighbours fall by spinning and winding up a wrist shot that beat Binnington.

St. Louis regained their lead when former Hab Tyler Pitlick found Torpochenko, who scored his second goal of the campaign.

Montreal had a golden opportunity to tie the game at 2-2 after Ivan Barbachev took a four-minute high-sticking call. After three minutes of sustained pressure, it seemed as though the Blues would escape from their lengthy penalty but Dach equalized from the high slot.

“It’s definitely something we’ve all been working on,” Drouin said. “If you’re not scoring on the power play, at least you want to be generating chances and making the other team work for their PK and I thought we did that tonight. There’s a lot of good movements, a lot of shots coming from a lot of areas and it’s just great to capitalize on one.”

The Canadiens took their first lead of the game 36 seconds into the third period. Nick Suzuki sent a high pass for Caufield from behind the net and the winger surprised Binnington for his 23rd goal of the season.

The Blues tied the game less than two minutes later when Alexandrov hopped on Allen’s rebound to score his first NHL goal.

St. Louis made it a 4-3 game on the power play after former Blue Joel Edmundsson’s weak clearance ended up on Buchnevic’s stick in the slot.

The Habs tied the game yet again when Jake Evans hit the post but Armia grabbed the rebound and netted his second of the night.

The Canadiens took their second lead of the game when Drouin’s backhand slid under Binnington and Anderson tapped the puck past the goal line.

“It’s huge for us,” said David Savard. “It was a tough month, we were going on a tough stretch right now and to finally get a win at home, it doesn’t matter how you get it.

“There was a lot of momentum swinging in that game and we handled it pretty well. We kept forechecking, creating stuff and we finally get a win at home.”

NOTES

Blues defenceman Robert Bortuzzo suffered a lower-body injury in the first period and did not return to the game.

DEFENCEMEN REACH MILESTONES

Canadiens defenceman David Savard skated in his 700th NHL game. The Ste. Hyacithe, Que., native split his 12-year NHL career between the Canadiens, Columbus Blue Jackets and Tampa Bay Lightning and collected 191 points (45 goals, 146 assists) along the way.

On the other side of the ice, Blues defenceman Justin Faulk laced up his skates for an 800th NHL game. The 33-year-old also played 12 seasons in the NHL with the Blues and the Carolina Hurricanes totalling 368 points (119 goals, 249 assists).

UP NEXT

The Canadiens end their three-game homestand by hosting the Seattle Kraken on Monday.

The Blues cap off back-to-back road games in Minnesota against the Wild on Sunday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 7, 2023.

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Maple Leafs’ Morgan Rielly calls his shot on John Tavares’ big night – Sportsnet.ca

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Bengals vs Chiefs Touchdown Props for the AFC Championship – Best Touchdown Scorer Bets – Covers

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The AFC Championship on Sunday features a rematch of last year’s conference title game as Cincinnati travels to Arrowhead to take on Kansas City. Read more to find out our favorite anytime touchdown props for Bengals vs. Chiefs.

Last Updated:
Jan 29, 2023 2:43 PM ET

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Read Time: 4 min

The second of Sunday’s two Conference Championship games could be an absolute classic, with the Cincinnati Bengals facing the Kansas Chiefs for a trip to the Super Bowl

There’s plenty of scoring opportunity in this game for bettors, so why don’t we get right into the action? Don’t miss our NFL anytime touchdown prop picks for the Bengals vs. Chiefs on January 29.

For more, be sure to check out Jason Logan’s full AFC Championship betting preview, as well as our Bengals vs. Chiefs prop picks

Bengals vs Chiefs touchdown props

Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.

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Bengals vs Chiefs TD props

Mr. Dependable

At +100, you won’t find a better prop bet for the AFC Championship game. While the injury to Patrick Mahomes will probably limit Kansas City‘s volume of passing, Travis Kelce is the heartbeat of this team and will always be involved — especially in the red zone.

He’s had 14 touchdowns this season, with two of those coming last week against the Jaguars. With the season on the line and Mahomes banged up for most of it, Kelce was still targeted an incredible 17 times and recorded 14 receptions. 

The Mahomes-Kelce connection is one of the strongest in the NFL. With the chance to reach the Super Bowl in play, you can guarantee they’ll be looking for their All-Pro tight end to play an important role. 

Prop: Travis Kelce anytime touchdown (-105)

Chase can’t be caught

If Kelce is the man to trust for the Chiefs, then the same can be said of Ja’Marr Chase for the Bengals. His chemistry with Joe Burrow is arguably in the same bracket as that of Mahomes and Kelce, dating back to their time playing together at LSU.

Chase finished the regular season sixth in touchdowns scored (9), which is not bad for a player who missed all of November with a hip injury.

The star wideout has scored in each of the Bengals’ two playoff games and has been targeted at least eight times in all but one game this season. At odds of +100, it makes too much sense to bet on Chase’s anytime market.

Prop: Ja’Marr Chase anytime touchdown (-105)

Covers NFL betting tools

1B to Chase’s 1A

You could make a serious argument that Tee Higgins is the best second option in any team’s receiving corps. Although he isn’t always Burrow’s first read, he’s still a hugely important part of this team and can often thrive with the opposition’s best corner shadowing Chase.

Higgins surpassed 1,000 yards on the season, scored seven touchdowns, and could very well add to that tally against a Chiefs secondary that is far from the best in the NFL. 

Although he’s gone scoreless in his past three outings for the Bengals, Higgins successfully reached paydirt in all of the four games prior. When these two teams met in early December, Higgin hauled in three of his five targets and scored a touchdown.

It wouldn’t be a shock to see him do it again on Sunday.

Prop: Tee Higgins anytime touchdown (+195)

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Eagles ride ground game to Super Bowl LVII with win over 49ers – TSN

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Jalen Hurts can conduct a singalong about as well as he can orchestrate the kind of punishing scoring drives that sent the Eagles into the Super Bowl.

At the end of one more triumph, Hurts stood on the stage on the field — as his Eagles teammates passed around the NFC championship trophy — and clutched a microphone in front of what was suddenly Philadelphia’s largest karaoke joint. His rendition of the team fight song was a tad off-key.

Hurts may not sing as well as he can score, but it was another memorable moment in a season full of them. And the Eagles don’t believe they’re done yet.

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“We’ve got new moments,” Hurts said. “New moments and new times.”

Hurts had one of Philadelphia’s four rushing touchdowns and the Eagles soared into the Super Bowl, forcing both of San Francisco’s quarterbacks out of the game with injuries and beating the wounded 49ers 31-7 in the NFC championship game on Sunday.

The Eagles, who won the Super Bowl five years ago with a different coach and quarterback, will try to do it again behind the formidable duo of Hurts and coach Nick Sirianni. Philadelphia will play either the Cincinnati Bengals or former Eagles coach Andy Reid’s Kansas City Chiefs.

“We get to do it because we did it better than anyone in the NFC this year,” Sirianni said.

Hurts had a modest game by his standards after a season in which he was a finalist for MVP. He was 15-of-25 passing for 121 yards and ran for 39, improving to 16-1 as a starter this season. The Eagles (16-3) lost two games that he missed with a sprained right shoulder.

Hurts sat alone at his locker dressed all in purple and he took a few puffs of a cigar as the Eagles celebrated around him. He understood there was one more game to win.

“I never knew how far we’d go,” Hurts said, “but I never said it couldn’t be done.”

Miles Sanders ran for two touchdowns and linebacker Haason Reddick made the hit that forced 49ers rookie quarterback Brock Purdy out of the game with an elbow injury. Reddick also recovered a fumble by Purdy’s replacement, Josh Johnson, who later suffered a concussion.

That forced Purdy back into the game, but his injury was clearly a factor as the 49ers all but gave up on the passing game, even while trailing by multiple scores. Purdy said he was unable to throw the ball more than 10 yards after his elbow got hurt.

San Francisco’s bad luck at quarterback was finally too much to overcome as its 12-game win streak ended. The Niners (15-5) lost both Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo to season-ending injuries, and Purdy — the final pick in April’s draft — lost as a starter for the first time.

Philadelphia police greased traffic and light poles in what proved again to be a futile attempt to slow the postgame revelry. The city now has its beloved Birds in the Super Bowl just three months after the Philadelphia Phillies reached the World Series.

“When you guys go into our indoor (practice facility), there’s always that picture in the back part of it of the 2017 NFC championship game, and it’s just the electricity of the stadium,” said Sirianni, who was hired two years ago to replace the Eagles’ Super Bowl-winning coach, Doug Pederson. “We’re looking forward to getting another picture up there of this special moment that we had.”

The game disintegrated in the waning minutes and Philadelphia’s K’Von Wallace and San Francisco’s Trent Williams were ejected for their roles in a brawl. Williams yanked Wallace from behind and slammed him to the ground.

The moment only seemed to rile up Eagles fans even more as they soon waved their green towels and went wild as confetti fluttered around them.

“We’ve got one more game for the rest of our lives,” Sanders said.

TAKING CONTROL

The Eagles broke the game open in the final two minutes of the first half, getting a rise out of a crowd that had been quiet with nervous energy since a touchdown on the opening drive.

Sanders broke free for a 13-yard run for a 14-7 lead, concluding a 14-play, 75-yard drive extended by three 49ers penalties.

Johnson bobbled a shotgun snap and fumbled on the next drive, and Reddick — the free-agent pickup from Carolina having one of the great defensive seasons in franchise history — recovered at the San Francisco 30. Boston Scott scooted 10 yards for a touchdown and 21-7 lead.

Even with Hurts almost a non-factor — he had 97 yards passing in the first half — the Eagles were firmly in control. His 1-yard rushing touchdown on Philadelphia’s signature rugby-style QB sneak made it 28-7 late in the third quarter.

“We’ve got a chance to go out there and win it all,” Hurts said. “So we want to go prepare to go do that.”

The Eagles used quick thinking as they scored on their opening drive for the second straight playoff game. DeVonta Smith made a sensational one-handed grab for 29 yards, but replays showed he appeared to lose control of the ball as he hit the ground. Smith popped up and frantically waved the Eagles to the line. Niners coach Kyle Shanahan did not challenge the call and the Eagles got off the next play. Sanders scored on a 6-yard run.

“Smart players do smart things,” Sirianni said. “He did a smart thing right there. I’m going to say he caught it, though.”

NINERS’ NADIR

Purdy left the game with an elbow injury after he was drilled in the arm by Reddick on San Francisco’s first drive. The play was initially ruled an incomplete pass, but replays confirmed it was a fumble.

“I knew that was a sack-fumble because I got my hand on the ball,” Reddick said.

He also got his hand on Purdy’s arm, changing the course of the game. The 23-year-old Purdy’s improbable rise from “Mr. Irrelevant” to playoff starter ended with a whimper as he failed to become the first rookie QB to lead a team to the Super Bowl.

He was improbably needed again in the third quarter after Johnson, a journeyman backup signed in December, was also injured.

“I hurt for these guys,” Shanahan said. “We felt really good about this game. It was tough circumstances.”

With little hope they could get anything going behind Johnson, the 49ers turned to Christian McCaffrey, a midseason acquisition who led the team with 13 TDs in the regular season and playoffs, to get on the board. He broke three tackles on a 23-yard touchdown run that made it 7-7 in the second quarter.

That turned out to be the only moment of hope for Shanahan’s Niners, who managed 164 yards of offense and 11 first downs.

“You’re never out of the fight,” McCaffrey said. “We believed it and it just didn’t turn out our way. We got beat and wish we had another shot at it with everybody.”

IN THE HOUSE

First lady Jill Biden, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, actor Bradley Cooper, comedian Kevin Hart, Los Angeles Angels star Mike Trout and several 76ers, including Joel Embiid, attended the game.

UP NEXT

The Eagles will play in the fourth Super Bowl in franchise history on Feb. 12 in Glendale, Arizona.

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AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

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