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Canucks’ win streak survives mistake-filled roller coaster against Blackhawks – Sportsnet.ca

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VANCOUVER – This is the ugliest six-game winning streak in franchise history. Of course, in 50 years, the Vancouver Canucks have had precious few six-game winning streaks with which to compare it.

The Canucks matched their longest victory march in more than six years by somehow beating the Chicago Blackhawks 7-5 on Thursday, when Vancouver blew two one-goal leads, then overcame a two-goal deficit before winning it on Adam Gaudette’s goal out of thin air with 4:11 remaining.

Canucks captain Bo Horvat capped his excellent, plus-four night by blocking Erik Gustafsson’s slapshot in the final seconds, then scoring into an empty net from 130 feet.

Vancouver was awful at the start of the second period, risky with the puck most of the night and lucky to get a couple of deflections and a couple of bounces as the Canucks won a sixth straight National Hockey League game for the first time in three years.

The last time Vancouver won seven in a row, John Tortorella was their one-and-done coach in 2013-14.

Everyone at Rogers Arena loved the mistake-filled, goal-choked roller coaster. Well, everyone except coaches, goalies, the official scorer and hockey purists.

“Obviously, it’s better to be on the winning end of it,” Horvat said after the Canucks clung to their playoff position. “But I’d rather win a game 3-2 to be honest with you. Or 4-2 with an empty net, but not 7-5. Sometimes you’re going to have games like that and you’ve got to figure out a way to win them.

“Not getting down on ourselves down by two (in the second period), and for us to come back. . . against a good team right now, that was a big win for our group.”

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The Blackhawks, who seized control of the game with three goals in four minutes early in the second period before a timeout by coach Travis Green helped the Canucks wrestle it back, had won five of their previous seven games.

“It was kind of an ugly game,” Vancouver winger J.T. Miller said after his one-goal, three-assist night tied his career-high for points in a game. “You don’t want to win 7-5 too many times. We got into a little bit of a track meet there. Sometimes that happens against those guys. It’s important that we didn’t quit in the second period there when it got a little ugly, and we found a way to get it together and get two points. At the end of the day, that’s all that really matters.”

But wasn’t it fun?

“No, not really,” Miller said. “Normally, when you’re giving up five (goals), it means you’re doing something wrong. I think it’s important. . . after they got their fourth, we dialled it in and played a pretty good hockey game after that.

“We definitely don’t want to play a wide-open game. When we defend well, we spend time in the other team’s end and we grind them down, I think that’s when we know we’re playing at our best. I’m just glad to get two points, honestly.”

For the second time during this winning streak, Green halted opposition momentum with an early timeout. He called his players to the bench after Jonathan Toews banked a centring pass in off Canucks rookie Quinn Hughes to make it 4-2 for the Blackhawks at 8:17 of the second period.

Atrocious in those first eight-plus minutes, the Canucks were a different team after their timeout and quickly tied it on goals by Hughes and Elias Pettersson at 10:20 and 11:45.

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Horvat, who until three games ago hadn’t scored on home ice this season, got a lucky go-ahead goal at 8:10 of the third period when his harmless backhand flip from a sharp angle was swept by Chicago goalie Robin Lehner off the back of defenceman Dennis Gilbert and into the Hawks’ net.

Naturally, the Canucks couldn’t hold the 5-4 lead, although they had reason to complain about a non-call when Patrick Kane squeezed a shot between Jacob Markstrom’s pads on a two-on-one at 13:44 a few seconds after Toews clearly interfered with Hughes at the Vancouver blue line.

No matter, the Canucks won it anyway two minutes later when Gaudette skated free from Ryan Carpenter, took Miller’s pass and beat Lehner from the slot for his first game-winning goal.

Amid all that scoring, Horvat made the block of the night on Gustafsson as the Blackhawks attacked six-against-five.

“The boys are so good, they all recognized that,” Horvat said of the block, which complemented his nine-shot night that included a 10-7 faceoff record. “They gave me some fist bumps and some props for it. It actually felt better than the goal.”

The Canucks have been outshot 210-167 during their streak, and Markstrom twice won them games when the shooting deficit was nearly two to one. They’ve blown leads in three of the games. Yet, here they are.

“We feel confident,” Pettersson said. “That’s easy to say after six games in a row with a win. But we feel confident out there. We stay humble. We can’t have shifts like we had in the second period. It went our way this game.”

“Our best hockey is still yet to come,” Horvat promised. “I think we’ve still got some learning to do, some things to work on. We’re going to continue to do that.”

Do we hear seven?

The New York Rangers visit the Canucks on Saturday.

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LeBron Saves Team USA in Thrilling Exhibition Against South Sudan at O2 Arena

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LONDON — In what could have been one of the most monumental upsets in international basketball history, Team USA narrowly escaped with a 101-100 victory over a spirited South Sudan team at the O2 Arena in London on Saturday night. This exhibition match, serving as a tune-up for the 2024 Olympics, showcased the rapid rise of South Sudanese basketball and the indomitable spirit of the American team led by LeBron James.

The atmosphere at the O2 Arena was electric, with fans witnessing a game that turned out to be far more competitive than expected. South Sudan, a team composed largely of refugees and players from the diaspora, pushed the heavily favored Americans to their limits.

First Half Highlights:

  • South Sudan came out firing on all cylinders, building a surprising 16-point lead in the second quarter.
  • Team USA struggled with their three-point shooting, missing 12 of their first 13 attempts from beyond the arc.

Despite the odds, South Sudan’s players, many of whom have overcome significant personal and professional challenges, played with remarkable cohesion and determination. Their performance was a testament to the rapid progress the team has made under the guidance of former NBA star Luol Deng.

With the game hanging in the balance, LeBron James demonstrated why he remains one of the greatest basketball players of all time. Benched at the start of the third quarter, James returned to the floor with a determination that was palpable.

Key Moments:

  • Third Quarter: Anthony Davis’ defensive prowess helped shrink the deficit. LeBron’s return brought stability and focus back to Team USA.
  • Final Minute: With just 20 seconds left, JT Thor of South Sudan scored over LeBron, giving his team a one-point lead.
  • Game-Winning Shot: LeBron drove to the basket, scoring the decisive layup with eight seconds remaining.

South Sudan’s journey to this point has been nothing short of inspirational. The country gained independence from Sudan in 2011, and the basketball program, still in its infancy, has quickly become a source of national pride.

Notable Contributions:

  • Carlik Jones: Delivered a triple-double with 15 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists.
  • Wenyen Gabriel: LeBron’s former teammate with the Lakers, contributed 11 points.
  • Marial Shayok: Led South Sudan with 24 points.

The team’s formation and rise have been spearheaded by Luol Deng, who played a pivotal role in recruiting and funding the program. His efforts have culminated in South Sudan qualifying for the Olympics, marking a historic achievement for the young nation.

Stephen Curry: “Wild game. They played really intense. It was nice to see how we responded. LeBron with a great finish down the stretch.”

Steve Kerr: “The whole team was embarrassed at halftime. We were challenged today, and it was good for us to feel that now. This was a reminder that we need to bring our best every game.”

Luol Deng: Expressed immense pride in his team’s performance, emphasizing the significance of their journey and the obstacles they have overcome.

This exhibition game was more than just a pre-Olympic warm-up. It highlighted the potential for underdog stories in sports and underscored the global reach and impact of basketball. Team USA, despite the narrow escape, was reminded of the importance of every game and the challenges that lie ahead.

South Sudan, on the other hand, has cemented its place on the international stage, showcasing that with determination and the right support, even the newest teams can compete with the best in the world.

As both teams prepare for the Olympics, this game at the O2 Arena will be remembered not only for its thrilling finish but also for the remarkable stories of resilience and ambition that played out on the court.

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UFC Vegas 94: Amanda Lemos vs. Virna Jandiroba – Main Event Recap

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In a thrilling main event at UFC Vegas 94, strawweights Amanda Lemos and Virna Jandiroba faced off on Saturday night. After an evenly matched first round, Jandiroba secured a dramatic submission victory in the second round, just moments before the bell.

Fight Summary:

  • First Round: The opening round was highly competitive, with both fighters showcasing their skills and maintaining a close contest.
  • Second Round: In the final seconds of the second round, Jandiroba managed to secure a submission, forcing Lemos to tap out. The win marks an impressive fourth consecutive victory for Jandiroba.

Post-Fight Remarks:

  • In her post-fight interview inside the Octagon, Jandiroba confidently called out UFC President Dana White, declaring, “Dana, I’m the next one. Dana, I’m your next champion.”

Future Implications:

  • With this victory, Jandiroba has positioned herself as a strong contender for the strawweight title. Tatiana Suarez, who was the rightful next contender for Weili Zhang, has been sidelined due to an injury. Jandiroba’s current four-fight win streak and her dominant performance at UFC Vegas 94 make a compelling case for her title shot.

Stay tuned for more updates as the UFC strawweight division continues to evolve, and see if Virna Jandiroba will indeed become the next challenger for the championship belt.

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Jake Paul vs. Mike Perry: Fight Night Updates

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Jake Paul is back in the ring, and he’s promising fireworks as he takes on former UFC star Mike Perry at the Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida. The fight will be broadcast live on DAZN. Originally, Paul was set to fight Mike Tyson, but Perry stepped in after Tyson suffered an injury.

Fight Details:

Jake Paul (9-1, 6 KOs)

  • Paul is coming off a first-round TKO of Ryan Bourland in March.
  • He has promised that Perry won’t survive the second round.
  • Paul is more experienced in boxing but still relatively new to the sport.

Mike Perry (0-1)

  • Perry, known as “Platinum,” brings over a decade of fighting experience, mainly in MMA and bare-knuckle fighting.
  • He believes Paul is still green in the fight business and intends to use his experience to pull off an upset.

Main Event:
Jake Paul vs. Mike Perry

Live Updates: Follow DAZN for all the live updates, results, and highlights from the Paul vs. Perry pay-per-view main card.

Main Card Results:

Amanda Serrano def. Stevie Morgan via TKO

  • Round 2, 0:38
    • Watch the finish

Lucas Bahdi def. H20 Sylve via knockout

  • Round 6, 2:27
    • Watch the finish

Corey Marksman def. Tony Aguilar via majority decision

  • Scores: 76-76, 77-75, 78-74

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. def. Uriah Hall via unanimous decision

  • Scores: 59-55, 59-55, 58-56
    • Recap

Stay tuned for the main event updates and see if Jake Paul can deliver on his promise of another highlight reel knockout or if Mike Perry will teach him a lesson and pull off a major upset.

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