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Evander Kane breaks out in important win for Edmonton Oilers

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Getting Evander Kane going might be the final piece of a championship-contending puzzle for the Edmonton Oilers.

After missing the equivalent of half a season with injuries, Kane had one of his best games of the campaign, netting a hat trick in an massive 6-4 win, on the road, against the Seattle Kraken on Saturday afternoon.

With the win, the Oilers extended their lead to three points on the Kraken for third place in the Pacific Division standings.

“It’s nice to help contribute to an important win; big points with the division so tight,” Kane told Oilers TV after the game. “I’ve been in and out of the lineup with injuries all year, so I’m just trying to get some rhythm heading into the playoffs and today definitely helps that.”

Kane had one goal in four games since returning from an undisclosed injury before breaking out in Seattle. Kane missed nine games with the injury, suspected to be an upper-body issue, adding to the 31 games he missed when his wrist was sliced open in Tampa Bay, inadvertently stepped on by Lightning forward Patrick Maroon.

Kane scored on the Oilers’ first shot on net, snapping the puck through the pads of Kraken goaltender Philipp Grubauer 1:35 into the contest.

Kane took a cross-ice pass from Zach Hyman on the play and beat Grubauer from the bottom of the left face-off circle. Hyman was back in the lineup after missing the past two games with an undisclosed injury.

“I’m happy for him; he’s a warrior, he plays through injuries,” Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft said of Kane. “He’s just getting up and running again, because of his injuries and whatnot; it’s kind of been a stop-and-start season for him. But he’s been all around the puck in every game that he’s played, and for three to go in for him today, I was happy.

Jaden Schwartz tied the game five minutes later, as a shot from Vince Dunn hit him on the way past Oilers goaltender Stuart Skinner, who finished with 33 saves. The puck bounced out to Dunn in front after Oilers defenceman Mattias Ekholm and forward Nick Bjugstad had issues clearing it.

Kailer Yamamoto restored the lead for the Oilers with three-and-a-half minutes left in the period, tipping in a centring pass from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

“It was a good forecheck and I think Leo (Leon Draisaitl) gave it to Nuge (Nugent-Hopkins),” Yamamoto told Oilers TV. “I thought Nuge was actually going to shoot it, but it was a great pass and I was able to slide it five-hole. It was nice, especially with my parents in the stands, it felt good.”

Hailing from Spokane, Wash., Yamamoto usually had a number of friends and family in the stands in Seattle.

Kane scored his second of the game 43 seconds into the second period, one-timing a pass from Connor McDavid after the puck bounced to him at right face-off circle.

Jordan Eberle cut the lead to 3-2 just under four minutes later, on a shot through Skinner. Eberle spun away from a check from Evan Bouchard and was fortunate to find the puck in his skates. He took an open lane to the net and beat Skinner from the slot.

Just after the goal, Grubauer skated to the bench in some distress, and had to be replaced by Martin Jones. Grubauer may have pulled something stretching out to try and contend with Kane’s one-timer minutes earlier.

Jones came in and gave up the first shot he faced, as Hyman scored from the slot on a puck knocked back to him by McDavid. The goal was Hyman’s 30th of the season, a career high for the free-agent signing two years ago.

“He just had some lingering stuff that was bugging him,” Woodcroft said of Hyman. “He’s had good numbers versus Seattle throughout the year, and he came up to me yesterday and said, ‘I’m in.’

“I was pleased, but sometimes when you play as hard as he does, when you’re a warrior like that, you accrue some bumps and bruises during the long grind of an 82-game schedule. And in the end, he played today and was a big factor in our win.”

Oliver Bjorkstrand cut the lead to 4-3 with 5:42 left in the period. He was left unattended in the slot, took a pass from Yanni Gourde and snapped a shot past Skinner.

Kane completed his hat trick at 10:20 of the third period, keeping the puck on an odd-man rush and snapping a shot past Jones. The sixth hat trick of Kane’s career put the Oilers up 5-3. He had one earlier this season with the Oilers in a win against the Nashville Predators in November.

“Part of my job is to be productive for this group,” Kane said. “We have two of the best players in the world, but they can’t carry a team and win a championship by themselves; you need everybody pulling their weight. We’ve had some really good depth scoring in the bottom half of our lineup and that’s been huge in some of our wins lately, and you need everybody going down the stretch here.”

McDavid sealed it with his 58th goal of the season, sifting a shot through Jones on the power play with just under four minutes to play.

Eeli Tolvanen scored with 47.5 seconds left in the game for the 6-4 final.

The Oilers return to Edmonton and host the San Jose Sharks on Monday in the first of a three-game homestand. They will host the Arizona Coyotes on Wednesday and Vegas Golden Knights Saturday.

“I like the way we started periods; we did some good things special-teams wise,” Woodcroft said. “It’s a tough building, they’re a good team. They have four lines that can all score and, in the end, we found a way to get the two points in a tough building. We’ll take them and move on.”

 

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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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