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In a mighty forgettable loss to Stars, Oilers suffer two key setbacks – Sportsnet.ca

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EDMONTON — A key injury to Duncan Keith and the end to Connor McDavid’s points streak. Those two setbacks and a 4-1 loss made the Edmonton Oilers‘ trip into Dallas a mighty forgettable one Tuesday night.

Hey – it could have been worse, as a beleaguered Stuart Skinner made some circus stops to stop this one from being a laugher. It was just one of those games: McDavid couldn’t keep the puck on his stick from one zone to the next; the Stars out-checked and outworked Edmonton all over the ice, and Leon Draisaitl had more minor penalties (two) than points (one).

“A few too many penalties,” said defenceman Cody Ceci of the five minors taken by the Oilers. “They got some momentum with some goals on those penalties and changed the whole course of the game.”

Edmonton’s defence was too soft in front of its own net, as the Stars tipped two pucks past a chanceless Skinner, and a usually stout penalty kill gave up two goals, and another just seconds after a Dallas power play had expired.

“I don’t think we deserved as many (penalties) as we got,” groused head coach Dave Tippett.

What does a team do when the minors start adding up?

“You try to kill ’em,” said Tippett, whose penalty killing units were ranked second in the NHL prior to the game. “That’s the difference — we didn’t kill ’em tonight. We gave up two power-play goals — actually three, one right at the end — against a heavy team like that. They got the two power-play goals in the first period and that just allows them to … make it harder on you.”

And the Oilers’ power play? To our eye Edmonton deserved the penalties they were assessed, but the Oilers surely could have had a better shake from the zebras on a couple of Stars infractions that went uncalled — particularly a high stick on Ryan McLeod that was missed.

The two calls Edmonton did receive on the night led to power plays that lasted just 35 and the final 19 seconds of the game. Dallas went two-for-five, another statistic that accurately depicted the flow of possession on this night.

“They moved it around well,” Ceci complimented. “It’s a pretty balanced power play. They showed it tonight, but we’ve got to move on pretty quickly. We have another game (Wednesday) night.”

Edmonton is in Arizona Wednesday, where Mikko Koskinen will get the start in goal.

Black and Blue Line

Add another Top 4 defenceman to the injury pile, with Keith leaving Tuesday’s game after two periods with what they are calling an upper-body injury.

Keith made a simple D-to-D pass along the blue line to Tyson Barrie, and immediately bent over in pain. He went to the Oilers bench where trainer T.D. Forss was seen checking Keith’s lower back.

Edmonton is already missing left side D-man Darnell Nurse (broken finger) for at least two weeks, and lefty Slater Koekkoek (ankle), both of whom are on the injured reserve. Keith is also a left-sider.

“The three guys that were on our left-side defence last week are not here right now. That’s a challenge,” assessed Tippett.

William Lagesson is on the trip and will almost certainly draw into the lineup Wednesday in Arizona. He, Kris Russell and Philip Broberg will comprise the left side of the blue-line against the Coyotes, barring a Keith return. Broberg has played two NHL games and Lagesson 27, while it will be the 889th game in Russell’s long career on Wednesday.

“It’s definitely a challenge,” Ceci said. “Those (injured) guys eat up pretty big minutes, but …Broberg has come up and played pretty well for us. He’s a great skater, and he gets his shots through. It’s exciting for him, but it’s tough for us to have those guys all missing.”

Broberg has looked very comfortable through the first two games of his NHL career. And these injuries will ensure that he gets an even longer look than was likely planned, as the smooth skating Swede looks every bit like his billing said he would; big, an excellent skater, and very composed with the puck.

Fun while it lasted

McDavid’s 17-game point streak off the start of the season is the third longest in Oilers team history. We’ll let you guess who had numbers one and two.

Of course, it was Wayne Gretzky, who had a 30-game skein to open the 1982-83 season. Then the very next season The Great One challenged Joe DiMaggio’s legendary 56-game hit streak, when he stretched his consecutive games points streak to an NHL-record 51 games.

“His accomplishment so far has been unbelievable,” Tippett said of McDavid. “You know, the streak’s over. Move on.”

McDavid actually had a run of 25-straight games with a point, going back to last season. But it was a night of frustration for No. 97, who just couldn’t find his way through the Dallas traffic often enough to furnish him with the kinds of looks that makes him hockey’s most dangerous player.

He closed out the night with three shots on net and two more attempts in 20:50 of ice time.

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Italy, Portugal drawn in same bracket for World Cup qualifying playoffs – CBC.ca

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The World Cup in Qatar is sure to be without either Italy or Cristiano Ronaldo.

Italy and Portugal, the current and previous European champions, were drawn into the same qualifying playoff bracket Friday, meaning at least one will fail to qualify for next year’s tournament.

Italy will first face North Macedonia at home in a playoff semifinal next March, and the winner will play away at either Portugal or Turkey for a spot at the World Cup.

Four-time champion Italy failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, missing the tournament for the first time since 1958 after losing in the playoffs to Sweden. Now, after winning Euro 2020 in July, it may have to beat Euro 2016 champion Portugal to avoid a second straight failure.

“It’s not a great draw and it could have gone better,” Italy coach Roberto Mancini acknowledged. “Just like we wanted to avoid Portugal, they would have wanted to avoid Italy.”

Ronaldo has led Portugal to every World Cup since 2006 and this could be his last attempt at winning international soccer’s biggest trophy. He will turn 37 before next year’s tournament starts.

Ronaldo helped Portugal get through the playoffs for the 2014 World Cup, scoring a hat trick in a 3-2 win over Sweden that featured an epic duel between superstars, with Zlatan Ibrahimović netting twice for the Swedes.

“It’s not worth thinking about (Italy),” Portugal coach Fernando Santos said. “It’s important that we concentrate on beating Turkey.”

Italy’s forward Federico Chiesa (L) challenges Switzerland’s defender Ricardo Rodriguez during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualification Group C football match between Italy and Switzerland on November 12, 2021 at the Olympic stadium in Rome. (Akberto Pizzoli/AFP via Getty Images)

Other matchups

Also in the 12-team draw, Scotland will face Ukraine at home, and the winner will play at Wales or Austria in the final of their bracket.

Russia will host Poland for the right to face Sweden or the Czech Republic in their bracket final. Russia or Poland will host the final.

Scotland looks to end a 24-year wait to play at the World Cup while Wales’ only appearance was in 1958.

“At the moment, the way the team is playing, the confidence the boys have got, we would be happy to play anyone, anywhere,” said Scotland coach Steve Clarke, whose team has won six straight since September.

However, Ukraine won at Hampden Park in June, in the Euro 2020 round of 16 against Sweden, and went unbeaten through a World Cup qualifying group won by France.

Scotland players celebrate as they leave the pitch after the FIFA World Cup 2022 Group F qualification football match between Scotland and Denmark at Hampden Park in Glasgow on November 15, 2021. (Andy Buchanan/AFP via Getty Images)

Sweden will not have Ibrahimović for its semifinal against the Czechs. The 40-year-old forward has a one-game ban for getting yellow cards in the qualifying group.

“We already did it last time (in 2018) and we of course (know) that we can do it again,” said Sweden coach Janne Andersson.

The six playoff semifinals will be played as single-leg games March 24. The three finals are played five days later.

The three winners will complete Europe’s entry of 13 nations in the 32-team lineup in Qatar.

FIFA will make the tournament draw on April 1 in Doha.

The European playoffs feature the 10 teams who finished second in their qualifying groups along with two teams — Austria and the Czechs — who won Nations League groups last year.

Also, FIFA said Qatar will host the intercontinental playoff in June that will decide the last two qualifiers for the tournament.

Intercontinental draw

The intercontinental draw paired the team from Asia against the team from South America, and a team from North American region CONCACAF against Oceania’s representative.

Those qualifying campaigns are still being played.

The winners of the two single-leg games on June 13-14 will complete the 32-team World Cup lineup.

The intercontinental playoff was originally scheduled for March 2022 as two-leg, home and away series. The games were pushed back as the global qualifying program stalled during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Canadiens @ Sabres Top Six Minutes: Just send Norlinder home already – Habs Eyes on the Prize

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For our new readers and members, the Top Six Minutes is a continuation of the discussion in the game thread. We try to keep it light and entertaining. Full recaps are up the morning after every game.

  • Olofsson, Dahlin, Lehkonen, and Norlinder – Go Frölunda!

First Period

  • Thompson scores, from a Lehkonen turnover in Montreals zone, followed by some defence miscues. Here we go, again…
  • Montembeault with a brain fart, he has to scramble to make a fantastic save to keep the score at one down.
  • Post – Girgensons almost scores out of nothing.
  • Josh Andersson scores! Game is tied at one.
  • Toffoli goes down, but controls the puck and gets a good shot off.
  • Armia, then Caufield with giveaways in their own end.

Second Period

  • The Second period has started, not sure Montreal knows that. They barely get out of their own zone.
  • Olofsson gets in all alone on Montembeault, who somehow saves without knowing where the puck is.
  • It’s all Buffalo.
  • Dvorak with a sneaky move, Tokarski saves it after some initial problems.
  • Petry joins the attack, good moves, but drops the puck. Three-on-two the other way and Eakin makes it 2-1 Sabres.
  • Double power kill for Montreal.
  • Okposo gets like 15 chances, and scores on one of them. 3-1, blue.
  • Dvorak into the boards, awkwardly getting up.
  • … and a penalty to Montreal. Savard to the sin-bin.
  • Montreal kills off that penalty.
  • Norlinder TOI after the second period – 5:55. Montreal, and Marc Bergevin, seems to see it as a weakness to send him back to SHL.

Third Period

  • Gallagher-Evans-Lehkonen kickstarts the third period. No goal but a really good shift.
  • Almost Dvorak.
  • 4-1, Thompson.
  • Another break for Buffalo, Montembeault saves.
  • Chaos, utterly chaos in their own end.
  • This is a team without any confidence; no-one, absolutely no-one wants the puck on their stick.

EOTP 3 Stars

3) Someone has to win that game

2) You can’t say the Canadiens’ special teams haven’t been productive this season

1) One of the players is going to let this slip some night

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One of Italy or Portugal will miss World Cup after qualifying draw – Sportsnet.ca

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ZURICH — European champion Italy and Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal were drawn in the same World Cup qualifying playoffs bracket Friday, meaning at least one of them will miss next year’s tournament in Qatar.

Italy will face North Macedonia at home in a playoff semifinal next March, and the winner will play away at either Portugal or Turkey for a spot in the World Cup.

Italy failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup — losing in the playoffs to Sweden — and now will likely have to beat Ronaldo and Portugal to avoid missing the tournament for a second straight time. Portugal has always qualified during Ronaldo’s career. He first played at the 2006 World Cup.

Also in the 12-team draw, Scotland will face Ukraine at home, and the winner will play at Wales or Austria in the final of their bracket.

Russia will host Poland for the right to face Sweden or the Czech Republic in their bracket final. Russia or Poland will host the final.

The six playoff semifinals will be played as single-leg elimination games March 24. The three finals are played five days later.

The three winners will complete Europe’s entry of 13 nations in the 32-team lineup in Qatar.

FIFA will make the tournament draw on April 1 in Doha.

The playoffs feature the 10 teams who finished second in their qualifying groups along with two teams — Austria and the Czechs — who won Nations League groups last year.

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