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Canucks 6, Sabres 3: Like a Lake Erie breeze – The Province



The Canucks picked up a nice win against the Sabres on Saturday afternoon.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Canucks have played plenty of warm-weather hockey this week with bad results. It turned out that what they really needed was for the hockey to be played in the afternoon and in Buffalo.

The temperature on the shores of Lake Erie hit 17 C, not far off the fine weather seen during the week in Florida.

Whatever the weather, the Canucks put together a much improved performance against the Sabres, winning 6-3 at the KeyBank Center.


The Sabres did score early but the Canucks, as they did in both Florida and Tampa, played a strong first period and tied the game up later in the period.

But unlike in their previous two games, they kept things rolling in the second and into the third, outscoring their hosts 4-2 in the process.

Captain Bo Horvat was delighted with his team’s performance.

“We wanted to come out hard and I thought we did that tonight and I think we played a full 60 minutes, we haven’t done that in a little bit and we stepped it up even harder in the third,” he said.

The Canucks got two goals from Brock Boeser, plus singles by Bo Horvat, J.T. Miller and Jake Virtanen, plus an empty-netter by Loui Eriksson. The Sabres got goals from Brandon Montour, Sam Reinhart and Zemgus Girgensons.

Here’s what we learned …

Slick mitts

Boeser has scored two goals in two straight games now on deft tips in front.

His first-period tally saw him deflect a Troy Stecher shot off the side boards essentially behind his back.

“I think the went off the D’s skate after, so you know sometimes you get lucky,” he said. “The main thing is getting good position on their defence because if they box you out, you’re not going to be able to get that tip so you know it’s something I’ve been working on.”

His second goal of the game was a patented wrist shot, fired after an unconventional give-and-go with Chris Tanev.

He’s up to 16 goals on the season and has recorded points in six-straight road games: he has four goals and four assists in that span.

“He’s not looking to shoot often, so you have to expect to get the puck back,” Boeser said, with a grin, of the sequence with Tanev.

Tanev admitted he initially thought about a shot on the play.

“I was. I sort of had to reach for it a bit so I mean I didn’t think I could get much on it and (Boeser) sort of slid into that open area and I think both their guys thought I was going to shoot it,” the veteran defenceman said.

What a high note for the winger to be riding in on to his home state on Sunday.

Tyler Motte also showed some crafty work with the puck when he set up Virtanen for the game’s fifth goal, a cross-crease backhanded pass right on the tape for Virtanen, who made no mistake with the finish.

Vancouver Canucks right wing Brock Boeser (6) makes a pass during the first period against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center.

Timothy T. Ludwig /


Captain’s call

Bo Horvat is playing some of the best hockey of the season.

Since Christmas he has three goals and six assists, while playing tough minutes.

The third goal was the go-ahead marker early in the second period, as he took a rebound off his initial pass attempt to Quinn Hughes off the wing and willed it home past Carter Hutton.

“It’s nice to finally get the bounces coming our way,” he said of the goal. “I was talking before the game would be nice to shoot a puck in the net for once. And thankfully we got a couple here tonight.”

Buffalo Sabres left wing Conor Sheary (43) watches as Vancouver Canucks goaltender Jacob Markstrom (25) dives to make a save during the second period at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Timothy T. Ludwig /


Stout defence

After four straight games giving up more than 30 shots — and five out of six games since Christmas — the Canucks limited the Sabres to a tidy 28 shots against.

“That was our best game since that win in Calgary, I think,” coach Travis Green said.

Keep away

In a shift reminiscent of one midway through Tuesday’s game in Tampa where the Canucks never found a way to take possession of the puck, which would let them get off the ice. In Tampa it meant a  quintet of Canucks were on the ice for two-minute-long shift before taking a penalty.

On Saturday, a pair of Canucks had a shift half again as long, with a worse ending.

Alex Edler and Tim Schaller ended up on the ice for more than three minutes because they were stuck on the ice killing a penalty. There was only one whistle. early in the penalty-killing scenario.

The Sabres never relinquished the puck even after the power play expired; it wasn’t until Brandon Montour scored at 8:44 that play came to an end.

Holy post

Was there a hole in the post to the right of Sabres goalie Hutton? The officials took a long time to review a goal that turned out not to be.

All that was shown in the building was an overhead view that made it seem as if a Boeser wrist shot had picked the corner of the net.

It wasn’t until the Sabres broadcast showed a side view that it was clear that the shot had gone well over the net.

It was all a bit baffling as to why the review lasted so long.

“They showed us the overhead view and, you know, it kind of looks like it went in there but then there’s that one view where you could see I missed by a couple feet,” Boeser said about it, again with a grin.

Skid marks

Coming into Saturday’s game, Hutton hadn’t won in 10 straight starts.

Make it 11.


Vancouver Canucks vs. Minnesota Wild

1 p.m., Xcel Energy Center, TV: SNETP; Radio: SNET 650 AM

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Heat ride 17-5 run in 4th quarter to draw even with Nuggets in NBA Finals – CBC Sports



Staring down a 2-0 deficit in the NBA Finals, as the visitors in a hostile arena where no road team had prevailed in more than two months, the Miami Heat decided to do what they’ve done throughout the post-season.

They found a way. Against all odds. Again.

The Heat tied the NBA Finals and had to overcome a monster 41-point effort from Nikola Jokic to do it. Gabe Vincent scored 23 points, Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo each had 21 and Heat beat the Denver Nuggets 111-108 in Game 2 on Sunday night.

“Our guys are competitors,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “They love these kind of moments.”



They were down by as many as 15 points, down eight going into the fourth, and those numbers signified they were going to lose. Denver was 11-0 in these playoffs when leading by double digits at any point in a game, and 37-1 this season overall when leading by at least eight going into the fourth.

The Heat didn’t care. They outscored Denver 17-5 in the first 3:17 of the fourth to take the lead for good, eventually went up by 12, then frittered most of it away and had to survive a 3-point try by Jamal Murray as time expired.

“This is the finals,” Adebayo said. “We gutted one out.”

Game 3 is Wednesday in Miami.

Max Strus scored 14 and Duncan Robinson had 10 — all of them in the fourth — for the Heat, who had a big early lead, then got down by as many as 15. They had no answers for Jokic, who was 16 of 28 from the floor, the last of those shots a 4-footer with 36 seconds left to get the Nuggets within three.

Denver elected not to foul on the ensuing Miami possession and it paid off. Butler missed a 3, and with a chance to tie, Murray missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

“I just contested it,” Butler said. “Pretty glad that he missed it.”

‘Let’s talk about effort’

Denver lost at home for the first time since March 30, and for the first time in 10 home playoff games this year. And just as he did after a Game 1 win, Nuggets coach Michael Malone sounded the alarm after a Game 2 loss.

“Let’s talk about effort,” Malone said. “I mean, this is the NBA Finals and we’re talking about effort. That’s a huge concern of mine. You guys probably thought I was just making up some storyline after Game 1 when I said we didn’t play well. We didn’t play well. … This is not the preseason. This is not the regular season. This is the NBA Finals.”

The Kitchener, Ont., native Murray had 18 points and 10 assists for Denver, while Aaron Gordon had 12 points and Bruce Brown scored 11.

“They just played hard, and like I said, it was more discipline,” Murray said. “It’s defeating when you’re giving up mistake after mistake, and it’s not them beating you, you’re giving them open dunks or open shots. That’s tough to come back from.”

WATCH | Kitchener, Ont., cheering on Murray:

Canadian NBA star Jamal Murray gets hometown love in Kitchener, Ont.

14 hours ago

Duration 1:56

Fans in Canadian basketball star Jamal Murray’s hometown of Kitchener, Ont., are ecstatic as he and the Denver Nuggets drive for a historic NBA championship victory over the Miami Heat.

Strus, who was 0 for 10 in Game 1, had four 3-pointers in the first quarter of Game 2. Butler made a jumper with 4:56 left in the opening quarter to put Miami up 21-10, tying the second-biggest lead any opponent had built in Denver so far in these playoffs.

In a flash, it was gone — and then some.

The Nuggets outscored Miami 32-11 over the next 9 minutes, turning the double-digit deficit into a double-digit lead thanks to an absolute 3-point barrage.

In a 70-second span early in the second quarter, Denver got four 3s — more points than Miami got in that entire 9-minute stretch — and they came from four different players: Brown, then Jeff Green, then Murray, then Gordon.

Boom, boom, boom, and boom. Murray had five straight points to end the flurry, and Denver led 44-32 when it was over. It looked like everything was going Denver’s way.

Miami insisted otherwise. And for the 44th time this season, the Heat won a game by five points or less. None of them was bigger than this one.

“When it comes down to the wire,” Vincent said, “we’re strangely comfortable.”

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Montreal Canadiens sign Cole Caufield to eight-year contract extension – Habs Eyes on the Prize



The forward re-signs with the team for the maximum length.

Montreal Canadiens sign Cole Caufield to eight-year contract extension
Anton Rasegard

The Montreal Canadiens have signed forward Cole Caufield to an eight-year contract extension, the team announced on Monday.

The contract will have an average cap hit of $7.85 million per season, just under the AAV for the same length of contract signed by team captain Nick Suzuki last year. The contract will last until the end of the 2030-31 season.

Caufield finished last season with 26 goals, and held the team lead in that category for most of the season despite playing only 46 games before undergoing shoulder surgery. He also had 10 assists.

The contract now locks in the two franchise cornerstones Caufield and Suzuki for the maximum length and cap hits under $8 million. It’s a good bit of business for Kent Hughes to get this done before free agency, and has the potential for great cap management as the years go by.

In the sixth year of the contract, per CapFriendly, there is a 15 team no-trade clause that drops to 10 teams in year seven and five in year eight.

Patrik Bexell, Matt Drake, and Jared Book discuss the contract in a special Habsent Minded Extra.

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Blue Jays’ Chris Bassitt announces birth of child to cap ‘perfect weekend’



The Toronto Blue Jays had a memorable few days in New York, thanks to a three-game sweep of the Mets, but that’s not the biggest reason starting pitcher Chris Bassitt is all smiles these days.

Bassitt and his wife, Jessica, welcomed their second child over the weekend, with the veteran right-hander reporting that both mother and baby are doing well.

“Perfect weekend complete,” Bassitt wrote on Twitter. “Momma and Colson are doing great.”

Jessica went into labour Friday, while her husband took his normal turn in the Blue Jays’ rotation. Bassitt channelled all of his “dad strength” in that outing against the Mets, firing 7 2/3 innings of shutout ball with eight strikeouts in a 3-0 Toronto win. In a cruel twist from the universe, the start of the game was delayed more than 90 minutes due to inclement weather.


Once his outing was over, Bassitt rushed back to Toronto via private plane to be with Jessica for Colson’s birth. He made it in plenty of time, tweeting Saturday morning that the baby hadn’t arrived yet.

The 34-year-old will now be able to enjoy a few days with his family, as the Blue Jays placed him on the paternity list Saturday. Reliever Jay Jackson took his place on the 26-man roster.

Blue Jays pitcher Chris Bassitt dominated the Mets in his outing Friday. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Blue Jays pitcher Chris Bassitt dominated the Mets in his outing Friday. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

Bassitt’s Blue Jays teammates gave him even more reason to cheer by eking out a 2-1 victory Saturday before getting the brooms out with a 6-4 win in the series finale.

Brandon Belt was the hero Sunday, connecting for a go-ahead, two-run home run in the seventh inning after Toronto squandered an early 4-0 advantage. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. also went deep for the Blue Jays, while Whit Merrifield delivered a two-run double in the second inning.

Next up, Toronto welcomes the Houston Astros to Rogers Centre for a four-game series that begins Monday. Bassitt is listed as the probable starter for Wednesday’s contest.



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