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Demko stands tall for Canucks in overtime win over Senators – Sportsnet.ca

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OTTAWA — The Canucks had their way with the Senators in a three-game sweep in late January, outscoring Ottawa by a combined 16-3 score in Vancouver.

Monday night proved to be far more difficult, showing the progress the young Senators have made since. The Canucks needed an overtime goal from J.T Miller and 44 saves from goaltender Thatcher Demko to dispatch the stubborn Senators 3-2.

“I’m happy we won the game, but I didn’t think we skated very well. I didn’t think we passed the puck very well,” said Canucks coach Travis Green. “Our goalie gave us the game.”

Ottawa outshot the Canucks 46-28, rallying from a 2-0 deficit with a season-high shot count. It marked the fourth time this season that Demko has made at least 40 saves, the most among NHL goalies.

Colin White, whose errant pass led to Vancouver’s second goal, forced the overtime with 2:10 remaining with a one-timer from the slot with the Ottawa net empty.

In OT, the Canucks took advantage of an Ottawa line change as Miller beat a tired Senator at the blue line and then deked Joey Daccord for the winner at 1:40.

The Senators, playing their second game in as many nights, had their chances — often helped by some sloppy Canucks play. Ottawa hit the post three times and was denied an early goal by a quick whistle.

“We looked sluggish tonight …. We just didn’t play well enough throughout the whole game,” said Green. “But we did find a way to win it.”

Miller paid tribute to Ottawa.

“That team, you can’t take them lightly,” he said. “We knew that going in. They’ve been playing really good hockey. They work really hard and they have some skill that can get you when they force you into mistakes.

“Obviously we gave them a little too much tonight, we know that.”

Ottawa didn’t get any help from its power play, which fizzled on four opportunities.

Ottawa outshot Vancouver 18-9 in the first period and hit the goalpost twice, but headed to the dressing room trailing 2-0.

Jayce Hawryluk and Tanner Pearson also scored for Vancouver (14-16-2). Josh Norris also scored for Ottawa (10-20-2).

The two teams meets again Wednesday at the Canadian Tire Centre.

“They’ve had our number this year. We owe them one for sure,” said White. “I think we’re real excited for Wednesday.”

The Canucks, kicking off a four-game road trip, arrived having won four of their last five including a 2-1 victory over the visiting Oilers on Saturday.

Ottawa was coming off a 4-3 win Sunday over visiting Toronto. But it had lost five of its previous seven, including three straight in Edmonton.

Daccord started in the Ottawa goal for the second straight game in place of No. 1 Matt Murray, who suffered an upper-body injury in the warmup prior to Sunday’s game against Toronto.

The 24-year-old Daccord, a seventh-round draft pick out of Arizona State, posted his first career NHL win with a 33-save performance as Ottawa held on to edge the Leafs 4-3. He was good again Monday.

“I think he brings a lot of confidence and a lot of swagger,” said Norris. “He’s not afraid to show that either and I think that’s important as a goalie … We feed off of that.”

The Sens recalled goaltender Filip Gustavsson from the AHL’s Belleville Senators as backup. Goaltender Marcus Hogberg, the normal No. 2, is on the injured reserve list.

The Canucks had their own injury problems. Elias Pettersson, Tyler Motte, Antoine Roussel and Jay Beagle all missed Monday’s game. Green said Pettersson would not join the team on the road trip.

Demko, who has been outstanding of late, started in goal for the Canucks for the sixth straight game and ninth in the last 10.

Miller hit the goalpost some four minutes into the game on Vancouver’s first shot on net after a giveaway by Ottawa defenceman Thomas Chabot. At the other end, Sens rookie Tim Stutzle unsuccessfully tried to recreate the backhand pass across the goal to linemate Drake Batherson that resulted in a goal Sunday.

Ottawa started fast, outshooting the Canucks 9-2 in the early going.

But Vancouver scored first at 10:14 of the first with Hawryluk poking the puck in during a goalmouth scramble after a Canucks faceoff win led to a Jordie Benn shot from the point. It was the first of the season for the former Senator.

Late in the period, a Vancouver turnover on an Ottawa power play led to Brady Tkachuk firing a shot off the post.

The Canucks made it 2-0 at 18:49 of the first after White, fighting for the puck behind his net, for some reason dumped the puck into the slot to a grateful Pearson for his sixth of the season.

“You just have to have a short memory when that stuff happens and just move forward,” said White.

Demko made a fine pad save to deny Tkachuk from in-close on the power play early in the second.

Ottawa cut the lead to 2-1 at 3:52 of the second after defenceman Artem Zub made a fine play to keep the puck in at the Vancouver blue line, sending it over to Stutzle. The German rookie’s ensuing shot hit the post but Norris hammered the rebound home for his sixth of the season.

The Sens hit the crossbar late in the second, this time on Nick Paul’s blue-line shot. Ottawa’s Austin Watson headed to the dressing room after taking a Nate Schmidt shot in the throat. He soon returned to action, his neck reddened by the contact.

Norris nailed Hawryluk in the boards at the Ottawa bench but escaped punishment.

The shot count was 29-16 in Ottawa’s favour after 40 minutes.

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Drouin must return to mentality that’s led to success this season – Sportsnet.ca

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It was something Dominique Ducharme said after his Montreal Canadiens played an abysmal game against the Ottawa Senators last week, something that only truly resonated after they lost 3-2 to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday — a game that emboldened the struggle Jonathan Drouin’s currently enduring.

“Ninety per cent of the mistakes we made were mental, and the rest of it was above our shoulders.” the coach said after the 6-3 loss to Ottawa last Saturday, somewhat channelling New York Yankees legend Yogi Berra with this bit of wit and wisdom.

It was hard not to think of those words watching Drouin play the way he did on Wednesday. For much of this season, the talented left winger has played a primary role in Montreal’s success. He’s led them with 19 assists, been tenacious on the forecheck, physically engaged all over the ice, cerebral as always in his execution and, as he’s said on several occasions, relatively unconcerned by whether or not his name has been featured on the scoresheet.

But it seemed clear, after watching Drouin dump a breakaway into Jack Campbell’s chest with one of 32 shots the Maple Leafs goaltender turned aside to set a franchise record with his 10th consecutive win, he had diverted from that. And that affected the way he played the rest of the game.

It was Drouin’s fifth in a row without a point, his 18th without a goal, and he’d have to be a robot not to be suffering the mental wear of not seeing the puck go in more than twice since the season started, the torment of seeing only three per cent of his shots hit the back of the net through 36 games after 10 per cent of them resulted in goals through the first 348 games of his career.

“It is weighing on me where, when I have a chance and miss the goal, I might be trying to score too much,” Drouin said. “It’s something I obviously think about — every player would — and I’ve just gotta put it past me and just keep shooting pucks.”

Ideally, the 26-year-old wouldn’t be thinking about any of this. These are thoughts that weigh a player down and right now the Canadiens are in tough without Brendan Gallagher for the rest of the season and Drouin needs to be light and free to help account for that loss. And in order for him to do that, he needs to focus on what he does best.

Because the reality is that even though Drouin can score more, scoring isn’t what he needs to do in order to be at his best and really help this team.

“When his feet are moving and he’s making plays, Drou’s a pass-first guy,” explained Jake Allen, who made 29 saves in Carey Price’s absence. “When his feet are moving, his head’s always in it. When his feet are moving, he’s controlling the play, controlling the puck. He’s a guy who really can control the play for a whole line. You want the puck on that guy’s stick and let the other guys do the dirty work and he’ll find them.”

But when Drouin’s feet aren’t moving, there just isn’t enough of that other stuff happening.

When Drouin’s feet weren’t moving, he lost a battle for the puck in the offensive zone and allowed the NHL’s leading goal scorer to start the rush that resulted in the winning play of Wednesday’s game.

Auston Matthews to Mitch Marner, back to Matthews, off Allen and slammed into Montreal’s net by Zach Hyman with 9:39 remaining in the third period, with Drouin watching from just inside his own blue line.

“You give a 3-on-2 to the Matthews line and it’s the kind of play they’re going to make you pay on,” said Ducharme.

Was Drouin still thinking about that shot he didn’t bury in the second period?

It’s understandable if he was, but those are the kind of thoughts he needs to shake right now.

“He wants to do well, and I’m sure it’s getting a little bit in his head,” said Ducharme. “I think the best remedy for him is to be scoring that goal or making that big play, and I think he’s going to be energized by that and less thinking, more acting.

“It is a fine line. Those kind of thoughts is not something that you want to happen. But when you receive that puck and you see the opening and stuff, (the slump) comes back to (your mind). That’s why the mental part of the game is something that’s very tricky. It’s not his will to be thinking that way. Every player who’s going through a time like that will have that thought and scoring that goal will take him to a different level. At those kind of times you need to make it even simpler and being even more inside going at the net and finding a garbage (goal) right there and you put it in and sometimes you go on a little run. It might be that kind of goal that he needs to get that monkey off his back.”

It’s the kind of goal Corey Perry scored twice to give the Canadiens a chance in this game.

But Drouin isn’t Perry, who rightly pointed out after the game he’s made a career of scoring goals that way. And even if Drouin can borrow from what Perry does next time he has a chance like the one Brett Kulak set him up with for that breakaway, there are other ways he can positively impact the game.

You can appreciate that Drouin said he’s putting pressure on himself to score more and help make up for the goals the team will be missing with Gallagher sidelined, but that might not get him to where he needs to be mentally to contribute as much as he already has this season.

What would, though, is a sharp turn towards the mentality he described just days ago. The one that’s enabled him to be a much more consistent player this season than he has in seasons past.

“When I was younger, I’d stay on one game or stay on one play for too long and wouldn’t be able to let it go for a bit or a couple of days,” Drouin said. “But I think for me now it’s can I look at myself in the mirror after a game and did I give my good effort? Was I a part of this game? Was I doing something right in a lot of areas?

“That’s what I do now. I think points are there, goals are there, assists are there, but it’s just about playing that real game and playing to help your team win.”

Drouin’s done a lot of that this season and has a chance to get right back to it when the Winnipeg Jets visit the Bell Centre Thursday.

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Scioscia to lead U.S. baseball bid for spot at Tokyo Olympics

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(Reuters) – Mike Scioscia, who won World Series both as a player and manager, was named manager of the U.S. men’s national baseball team on Tuesday, as they seek a spot at the Tokyo Olympics.

After 19 seasons as manager of the Anaheim Angels, guiding them to their only World Series win in 2002, Scioscia will make his international coaching debut in June when the United States hosts the Baseball Americas Qualifier in Florida.

For the tournament the U.S. will be grouped with the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Nicaragua in Pool A while Canada, Colombia, Cuba, and Venezuela will make up Pool B.

The top two teams from each pool will advance to the Super Round, where the country with the best overall record will earn a spot in the Tokyo Olympic tournament.

Second and third-place finishers will advance to a final qualifier, joining Australia, China, Taiwan, and the Netherlands.

“Mike’s tenure with the Angels’ franchise was nothing short of spectacular, creating and celebrating a culture of success with six division titles, an American League pennant, and its first-ever World Series title,” said USA Baseball Executive Director/CEO Paul Seiler in a statement. “More impactfully, his leadership, integrity, and character are unparalleled in our game, making him the perfect fit for the USA Baseball family.”

The Olympic tournament will take place from July 28-Aug. 7 in Fukushima City and Yokohama.

Hosts Japan, Israel, South Korea, and Mexico have already secured a berth in the six-team field.

 

(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto. Editing by Toby Davis)

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Masters 2021: Tiger Woods says he'll miss Champions Dinner, running up DJ's bill – Golf Channel

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AUGUSTA, Ga. – Dustin Johnson will host his first Champions Dinner on Tuesday night in the Augusta National clubhouse, and he’ll be joined by several past Masters champions.

One former winner who won’t be there is five-time champ Tiger Woods, who is still home in South Florida recovering from a serious car accident in February near Los Angeles. Justin Thomas, who is still working toward his invite to the prestigious dinner, said Woods texted him Friday night and was “bummed” to not be at the Masters this year.

Woods then tweeted Tuesday afternoon that he’ll miss one of his favorite nights of the year.

“I’ll miss running up @DJohnsonPGA’s bill at the Champions Dinner tonight,” Woods said. “It’s still one of my favorite nights of the year.”

Johnson responded to Woods’ tweet, saying: “Will miss having you here. This week isn’t the same without you.”

The PGA Tour announced that the club would leave a seat open for Woods at the dinner, though the tweet has since been taken down.

Johnson will serve a menu including filet mignon, sea bass and peach cobbler.

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