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In the Habs Room: He shoots … he scores! – Montreal Gazette

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“Again, when he shoots the puck … we saw last year he’s capable of scoring goals,” Claude Julien says after Max Domi scores winner in OT.

CALGARY — It was Wayne Gretzky who once said: “You miss 100 per cent of the shots you don’t take.”

The Great One knew a thing or two about scoring goals with an NHL record 894 during his Hall of Fame career.

The Canadiens fired 43 shots at Calgary goaltender David Rittich, including the overtime winner by Max Domi, in a 4-3 victory over the Flames Thursday night at the Scotiabank Saddledome. For Domi, it was his first goal in 12 games and only his seventh of the season. Brendan Gallagher, Joel Armia and Nick Suzuki scored for the Canadiens in regulation time.

“Again, when he shoots the puck … we saw last year he’s capable of scoring goals,” coach Claude Julien said about Domi, who scored a career-high 28 last season. “But you know, he’s gotten better, I think, on this trip. He’s played two pretty good games so far, so I think he’s finding his groove again.”

Domi had two assists in Tuesday night’s 3-1 win over the Canucks in Vancouver and now has 1-4-5 totals in the last four games.

In overtime against the Flames, Domi cruised over the blue line, wound up and took a slapshot on what looked like an innocent play that was basically a one-on-two. But the puck went in.

What was that Gretzky said again?

“I was absolutely out of gas, to be honest,” Domi said after the game. “The shift before that we were dancing around pretty good and didn’t score. They had a chance, Pricey (Carey Price) made a save and he just kind of kicked it out to me and I went down. I know Gio (Flames defenceman Mark Giordano) a little bit from back home. I know how good he is. I’m a big fan of him. He’s one of the best defenders in the entire league. So I knew I wasn’t going to beat him at the end of a shift like that. I just figured I’d shoot it through him and got lucky with the shot.”

You miss 100 per cent of the shots you don’t take.

Apart from Gretzky, nobody knows that better than Gallagher, who scored his team-leading 15th goal of the season on a shot that never should have gone in from an impossible angle against the boards on the goal line to Rittich’s right.

“I think Gally scores a bunch of those,” Price said. “Just getting pucks on net. Gretzky said it. We’re finding ways to score in that sense. We put up 40-some shots tonight and we were able to get four. It seems like a good recipe.”

Indeed.

Armia’s goal was his 12th of the season, one short of the career high he set last season. It came on a quick shot from the top of the slot that beat Rittich on the short side.

“It was a quick release,” Julien said. “When you look at Army’s goal you can say whatever you want. I think he caught the goaltender by surprise because that release was so quick and he’s got a great shot. But no doubt, if you got people in front of the net you throw pucks at the net and every team does it. From bad angles, it hits people, it trickles through, whatever. A shot on net is never a bad play.”

That’s what happened on Suzuki’s goal that tied the score 3-3 at 11:58 of the third period. Nick Cousins threw the puck at the net from a bad angle and Suzuki tipped it in for his first goal in 13 games. It was one of a team-leading six shots for Suzuki.

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“He was involved in a lot of different areas on the ice and that’s what we’ve talked about,” Julien said about the 20-year-old rookie. “I don’t just want to see him make great plays on the power play, which he did again tonight. But five-on-five, he’s very capable of creating a lot of stuff for himself and for others. I thought he did a great job of that tonight and one of his better games no doubt. I like the direction he’s going.”

The Canadiens’ top defence pairing of Shea Weber and Ben Chiarot had a huge night. Chiarot logged a team-leading 26:00 of ice time, picked up an assist and was plus-4, while Weber played 24:38, had an assist and was plus-2. Weber now has a five-game point streak and has 11-18-29 totals for the season, one point behind Tomas Tatar (13-17-30) for the team lead. Weber is a team-best plus-13, while Chiarot is plus-12.

Domi was asked if he felt a sense of relief after finally ending his long goal drought.

“No, not at all,” he said. “That’s just part of the game. Sometimes they go in, sometimes they don’t. Winning hockey games, that’s all that matters.”

It’s easier to do that when you shoot the puck.

Just ask The Great One.

scowan@postmedia.com

twitter.com/StuCowan1

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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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