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Derek Fisher clubs two homers as Blue Jays edge Red Sox – Sportsnet.ca

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BOSTON — Blue Jays outfielder Derek Fisher hit two home runs as Toronto rallied for an 8-6 win over the Boston Red Sox in the exhibition opener for both teams on Tuesday.

Fisher’s second homer, a two-run shot off Ryan Brasier in the ninth, broke a 6-6 tie.

The Jays tied it earlier in the ninth on an errant pickoff attempt at first, allowing Rowdy Tellez to score from third following his leadoff double.

Rafael Dolis picked up the save for Toronto.

Blue Jays starter Nate Pearson was roughed up in the first inning.

Pearson, considered one of the top prospects in baseball, settled down after giving up four runs in the first. The right-hander didn’t allow another run before exiting with two out in the fourth.

Competing for a spot in the Blue Jays rotation, Pearson gave up a three-run home run to Mitch Moreland in the first. The frame ended with just two out when Pearson reached his pitch limit for the inning.

Blue Jays left-hander Ryan Borucki, also competing for a starting spot, gave up two runs in 2 2/3 innings of relief. The scoring came on a J.D. Martinez two-run homer in the fifth.

Tellez also homered for the Blue Jays.

The teams meet again on Wednesday night in Boston before the Blue Jays travel to Tampa Bay for their season opener on Friday.

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Vancouver Canucks advance to NHL playoffs – News 1130

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EDMONTON — The <a class="sn-team-post-link bound" href="https://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/teams/vancouver-canucks/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" data-team="vancouver-canucks" data-league="nhl" data-an-opt-label="Vancouver Canucks (nhl) – Canucks rally in overtime to beat Wild, advance to Stanley Cup Playoffs (4948052)" data-an-category="Team Tooltip Link" data-an-track-hover="true" data-original-title="

Vancouver
Canucks
9th western conf
4th pacific div
78 Points

record
36-27-6
9th

gpg
3.25
8th

pp%
24.1%
4th

last 10
4-5-1

gaa
3.10
21st

pk%
80.5%
16th

” data-toggle=”tooltip” data-placement=”auto” data-html=”true” data-trigger=”hover click focus”>Vancouver Canucks battled back from deficits three times Friday to beat the <a class="sn-team-post-link bound" href="https://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/teams/minnesota-wild/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" data-team="minnesota-wild" data-league="nhl" data-an-opt-label="Minnesota Wild (nhl) – Canucks rally in overtime to beat Wild, advance to Stanley Cup Playoffs (4948052)" data-an-category="Team Tooltip Link" data-an-track-hover="true" data-original-title="

Minnesota
Wild
10th western conf
6th central div
77 Points

record
35-27-7
10th

gpg
3.16
12th

pp%
21.3%
10th

last 10
7-3-0

gaa
3.14
23rd

pk%
77.2%
25th

” data-toggle=”tooltip” data-placement=”auto” data-html=”true” data-trigger=”hover click focus”>Minnesota Wild 5-4 and qualify for the NHL playoffs for the first time since 2015.

Chris Tanev scored on a wrist shot from the blue line 11 seconds into overtime at Rogers Place to give the Canucks a 3-1 win in the best-of-five qualifying series.

Rookie scoring sensation Quinn Hughes had a goal and assist to power the Canucks. Tanner Pearson, Brandon Sutter, and Bo Horvat also scored.

Eric Staal, Luke Kunin, Nico Sturm and Joel Eriksson Ek replied for Minnesota.

The Wild have now missed the post-season for two consecutive seasons, with first-round exits in each of three seasons before that.

Minnesota was hampered by the loss of top defenceman Ryan Suter, who did not dress after playing big minutes in the first three games. The league is not releasing injury information or any individual COVID-19 test results.

Goalie Alex Stalock had 26 stops for Minnesota

Vancouver goalie Jacob Markstrom, whose stellar play in the regular season made it possible for the Canucks to make the post-season tournament, stopped 24-of-28 shots but fought the puck all night, allowing two sharp-angle short-side goals and giving up juicy rebounds.

Minnesota opened the scoring about three minutes into the first period. Kunin, on the power play, took a pass on the end line from Mats Zuccarello, crashed the net, and jammed the puck over Markstrom’s goalpad.

Pearson tied the score at the 12:52 mark, corralling a perfect stretch pass from Tanev at the left face-off dot and releasing a wrist shot that banked off the far goalpost and in.

Minnesota responded 40 seconds later. Staal, standing below the face-off circle to Markstrom’s right, took a pass from Marcus Foligno, who was behind the net, and sniped a puck past Markstrom’s ear on the short side.

In the second period, the Wild went up 3-1. Eriksson Ek grabbed a rebound off a point shot and lifted the puck over Markstrom.

The Canucks immediately cut the lead to 3-2 when Hughes’s point shot got deflected high up in the air and landed behind Stalock, allowing Sutter to jam it over the goal line.

Hughes tied the game just over a minute later on the power play, wristing the puck from the high slot through heavy traffic and in.

With under a minute to go in the period, Sturm flew in on the left wing and fired a wrist shot near the endline that managed to elude Markstrom under the arm.

The Canucks tied the game late in the third period, when Pearson fought off a check behind the net and fed Horvat for a one-timer in the slot, setting the stage for overtime.

The series was a case of Hughes and the Canucks’ high-flying top six forwards against the smothering team defence of the Wild.

Hughes, the Calder Trophy nominee, led all rookies in scoring in the abbreviated regular season (eight goals, 53 points) and kept the hot hand in the playoffs with a goal and five assists.

Vancouver’s top six didn’t score a lot but they scored enough. Brock Boeser, Bo Horvat and Pearson each had two goals while Elias Pettersson and J.T. Miller had one each.

Winger Tyler Toffoli didn’t play since Game 1, out with an apparent foot injury.

Vancouver lost the opener 3-0, but came back to win 4-3 and 3-0 before Friday’s clincher.

It was a close-checking, low-scoring series dominated by penalties that continued early in the game when Vancouver’s Jake Virtanen squared off and scrapped with Minnesota’s Ryan Hartman.

The 12 Western Conference teams have been playing at Rogers Place, with players in isolation to avoid contracting COVID-19. The Eastern Conference teams are doing the same in Toronto.

The tournament was created after the NHL prematurely ended the regular season in mid-March due to the COVID pandemic.

Vancouver will now play one of the top four seeds: the Colorado Avalanche, St. Louis Blues, Dallas Stars or Vegas Golden Knights.

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Player grades: Coaching mistakes and iffy defence as Edmonton Oilers eliminated from playoffs – Edmonton Journal

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Article content continued

Riley Sheahan, 4. He was a bit slow on the backcheck in the second on a Patrick Kane Grade A chance. He played just 6:51.

Zack Kassian, 2. Too quiet. Accomplished little. He had not one hit all game. Not one hit. No one. Almost became the hero in the third but he couldn’t lift the puck over a sprawling Crawford.

Jujhar Khaira, 3. He was puck watching in the first and allowed a point blank slot shot. He played just 6:55.

Gaetan Haas, 5. He looked good out there. His speed was welcome. Charged down the wing in the first and set up Alex Chiasson for a hard jam shot.

James Neal, 7. He brought veteran intensity all game. Looked dangerous on the attack. He was yet again James-on-the-spot setting up RNH’s goal. Almost scored on a gorgeous Draisaitl power play feed early in the third.

Alex Chiasson, 6. He played his usual hustling game. Busted hard down the wing to get off a shot in the second, with James Neal almost cashing in on the rebound.

Ethan Bear, 5. Failed to take out Matthew Highmore’s stick on Chicago’s second goal. He was run hard into the boards from behind and left the game in the second. When he returned, he got off a wicked point slapper, pretending he was a Blackhawks d-man for a second there. He was solid, but not inspired. More needed from him and other d-men on the attack.

Darnell Nurse, 2. He missed the net with a few seconds left, which summed up his night. Not sharp on his passes much of the game.  Bobbled the puck repeatedly. He was the victim of an iffy penalty call on a Drake Caggiula dive on Edmonton’s five minute power play in the second. He bobbled the puck in the second leading to a lightning Chicago blitz ending with Koskinen stopping Kane point blank. A terrible game, I’m sorry to say. Out of sync, like many of the Oilers.

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Crosby says Penguins window may be closing after Cup Qualifiers loss – NHL.com

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Sidney Crosby was left wondering what went wrong for the Pittsburgh Penguins and said their championship window may be closing after they were eliminated in the Stanley Cup Qualifiers.

“It’s a really hard one to evaluate,” the Penguins captain said Friday after a 2-0 loss to the Montreal Canadiens in Game 4 at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto. “That’s the honest truth as far as trying to break this all down. It’s a tough one to evaluate overall.”

The Penguins, the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference, were left with few answers after losing to the No. 12 seed in the best-of-5 series. Montreal advanced to the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and will play the winner of the round-robin game Saturday between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Philadelphia Flyers in Toronto, the East hub city (8 p.m. ET; NBC, SN1, SN360, TVAS).

Pittsburgh has a 12.5 percent chance at the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NHL Draft in the Second Phase of the NHL Draft Lottery, to be held Monday.

The Penguins, who won the Stanley Cup in 2016 and 2017, lost to a team that was 24th in the NHL standings (31-31-9, .500 points percentage) when the season was paused March 12 due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus. No team had ever won an NHL postseason series finishing that low.

The Penguins have lost nine of their past 10 postseason games since defeating the Washington Capitals 3-1 in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Second Round on May 3, 2018. They were swept in a best-of-7 series against the New York Islanders in the first round last season.

“It’s an indication of how hard it is to win,” Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said. “You’re talking about three completely different seasons. Three completely different teams. I’m not sure that adds up.”

Video: Lehkonen, Price help Canadiens earn series win

But Crosby, who won championships with center Evgeni Malkin and defenseman Kris Letang in 2009, 2016 and 2017, said they might have limited opportunities to win a fourth.

“With age, it’s a possibility,” said Crosby, who turned 33 on Friday. “But I can only speak personally. Obviously, I would’ve liked to stay a little bit healthier and play a full season.”

Crosby had 47 points (16 goals, 31 assists) in 41 games this season.

Things looked promising when he returned from core muscle surgery with a goal and three assists Jan. 14 in a 7-3 win against the Minnesota Wild. The Penguins were 18-6-4 in 28 games without him.

But after moving into first place in the Metropolitan Division with a 5-2 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Feb. 18, Pittsburgh was 3-8-0 in its final 11 regular-season games.

Sullivan said anything that happened from January to March is unrelated to this series loss. He also said nothing has shaken his confidence in Crosby, Malkin (34 years old) and Letang (33).

“I think these guys are still elite players. I believe in this core,” Sullivan said. “They’re elite hockey players, and I still think there’s elite play left in them. So that’s just what I believe. Obviously, at some point, everybody’s window closes. So you could argue that with any team in the League. But I strongly believe that this group has a lot of elite hockey.”

Crosby scored three points (two goals, one assist) in the series. Malkin had an assist. Letang had no points.

On Thursday, Malkin said he wasn’t ready for this run to end. One day later, the Penguins managed 22 shots on goal and were shut out by Carey Price.

“I think we still believe in the core group of this team,” Letang said. “I think we have a lot left in the tank. We’re going to keep playing hard and give everything for the Penguins. I think we have to be better. This year, we didn’t play good enough to win, but I feel comfortable with the group of guys that we have.” 

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