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Oilers' Draisaitl, McDavid tied atop NHL scoring race after win at Boston – CBC.ca

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Edmonton goalie Mike Smith took a deep sigh when asked how it felt to finally get a victory. The Oilers had a little bit of help from the Boston Bruins, too.

Darnell Nurse and Gaetan Haas each had a second-period goal off poor Boston plays, Connor McDavid added an insurance score in the third after being stopped twice by Jaroslav Halak and the visiting Oilers beat the Bruins 4-1 on Saturday.

Smith made 35 saves for his first victory since Nov. 23rd as Edmonton won for the second time in five games (2-2-1). Leon Draisaitl added an empty-net goal.

“It’s been a while since me personally was in for a win,” Smith said after the pause. “Obviously you want to contribute to the team’s success. That was a great team effort by everyone.”

WATCH | McDavid scores a beauty:

Zack Kassian set up Connor McDavid for a gorgeous goal in Edmonton’s 4-1 win over the Bruins. 1:02
David Pastrnak scored his NHL-leading 31st goal for the Bruins, who have won just four times in their past 10 games. Halak made 22 saves.

It was just Boston’s second home loss in regulation (14-2-9).

‘I made a mistake and it went in’

“Against a team like that, obviously you’ve got to manage the puck a little better,” Boston centre David Krejci said. “They have good forwards. If you make them chase the puck a lot, they get frustrated. I don’t think we managed the puck well today.”

Nurse’s goal with 6.3 seconds left in the second gave the Oilers a 2-1 edge. He fired what looked like a relatively easy shot to handle from the left circle, but the puck slipped into the net between the post and Halak’s right shoulder.

“I don’t even know how it went in honestly,” Halak said. “I thought I was right there. Hockey is a game of mistakes. I made a mistake and it went in.”

McDavid cut down the slot after taking a pass from Zack Kassian and slipped a wrister into the net for his 23rd goal 1:48 into the third period.

The Oilers tied it 1-1 in the second when Boston winger Jake DeBrusk turned the puck over right in front of his own net — whiffing on a pass — and Haas slipped a shot under Halak 7:41 into the period.

“That was a gift,” Haas said, breaking into a laugh.

Halak denies McDavid twice

Edmonton has three points in the first two of a five-game road trip.

“We talked about playing a full 60 minutes and competing hard for the 60 minutes and building on the team things we’re doing right now,” Oilers coach Dave Tippett said. “We capitalized on a couple of chances.”

Halak made a pair of splendid stops on McDavid in the opening period. On the first, he flashed his right pad when the centre came in alone down the left wing. The second was even better; the goalie quickly slid across the crease to block his wrister from the right circle at the end of a 2-on-1 break when McDavid had a wide-open shot after a cross-ice pass.

The Oilers entered the day with the league’s best penalty-killing unit on the road at 91 per cent, but the Bruins need just five seconds to score on their first opportunity.

With Draisaitl in the box for elbowing Torey Krug, Pastrnak fired a wrister from the left circle that hit the stick of Edmonton defenceman Kris Russell and popped into the right corner of the net under the crossbar 3:10 into the game, extending his point streak to 10 games.

Pastrnak and Brad Marchand are the first set of Boston teammates to reach 60 points before the team’s 45th game since Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito in 1974-75.

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Schwarber hits grand slam, Red Sox hammer Astros to take ALCS lead – Sportsnet.ca

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BOSTON — Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez walked off the mound with a six-run lead and a message for Carlos Correa and the rest of the Houston Astros:

Now it’s Boston’s time.

Tapping his wrist to mimic Correa’s Game 1 celebration, Rodriguez rode four more Boston homers — including Kyle Schwarber’s record-setting grand slam — to a 12-3 victory Monday night as the Red Sox took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven AL Championship Series.

The taunt drew a rebuke from Red Sox manager Alex Cora, who reminded his pitcher that they still need two more wins to advance to the World Series for the fifth time since 2004. Games 4 and 5 are at Fenway Park on Tuesday night and Wednesday.

“It’s not that I’m mad at him,” said Cora, who was celebrating his 46th birthday. “We don’t act that way. We just show up, we play, and we move on.”

One game after J.D. Martinez and Rafael Devers each hit grand slams, Schwarber hit a second-inning 3-0 pitch 430 feet into the right field grandstand.

Boston is the first team ever with three slams in a postseason series.

“Electrifying. It’s unbelievable,” outfielder Alex Verdugo said. “You can have a big swing and get four runs in on just that one play — it’s huge.

“It’s one of the best plays in baseball, man. You give up a grand slam, it takes a lot out of you,” he added. “And just to kind of keep stepping on their neck and adding the pressure, it’s huge.”

Martinez and Devers each homered again, Christian Arroyo also hit one, and Kike Hernandez had two more hits for Boston, which opened 9-0 leads and coasted to victory in back-to-back games. Right fielder Hunter Renfroe ended it with a diving catch of Correa’s sinking line drive.

“They count as one (loss),” Astros manager Dusty Baker said. “We come back and win tomorrow and the series is even. You don’t like it tonight, but you come back in the morning.”

Rodriguez gave up five hits, including Kyle Tucker’s three-run homer, and struck out seven. He retired Correa to end the sixth and let the Astros shortstop know that his gesture in Game 1 was not appreciated.

Cora chastised Rodriguez before giving him a hug when he reached the dugout.

“He just told me `Don’t do that,’” said Rodriguez, who said he would apologize to Correa if he sees him. “It was something that was part of the moment. But (Cora) just told me, ‘We don’t do that here. Stay humble. Just go out there and play hard every time.”’

“Besides that,” Cora said, “he was outstanding.”

Correa said he “loved every single bit of it.”

“It’s just the way baseball should trend, moving forward,” he added. “You need to let the players have fun.”

Boston matched a franchise record with its seventh straight postseason win at home. The Red Sox had 11 hits in all, becoming the first team in major league history to reach double digits six straight times in a single postseason.

Hernandez, who has 18 hits during the playoffs and is batting .500 — both leading the majors — left the game after six innings.

Asked why, Cora said with a smile: “He has been running the bases a lot in the last few days, or weeks, or whatever.”

The Red Sox capitalized on two Astros errors and the struggles of Houston starter Jose Urquidy, who gave up six runs, five earned, on five hits and two walks, striking out one in 1 2/3 innings.

Rodriguez, who missed all of last season with COVID-related heart problems, retired the first six batters before running into the trouble in the third, when Tucker made it 9-3.

His outing enabled Cora to keep Nick Pivetta fresh for a Game 4 start.

ERRORS

To the delight of the Fenway fans, who targeted him with profane chants for his role in the Astros 2017 cheating scandal, Jose Altuve struggled at the plate and in the field.

A Gold Glove and AL MVP-winner, the three-time batting champion went 0 for 4 and let Arroyo’s chopper bounce off his chest for an error with the bases loaded in the second inning. One batter later, Schwarber hit Boston’s third grand slam in 11 innings.

The Red Sox, who only had three grand slams during the regular season, matched the 1998 Atlanta Braves as the only clubs to hit three in a single postseason. Boston has 20 homers this postseason, matching the 2004 Astros for the most through the first eight games of the playoffs, per MLB.com.

Altuve also waved at a throw from Martin Maldonado on Hunter Renfroe’s stolen base in the third; the error went to the catcher. The throw to third was also wild, but the Astros were saved another error when the ball missed the dugout and bounced off the padding back toward the field.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Astros: Baker said outfielder Jake Meyers, who injured his left shoulder crashing into the wall in Game 4 of the Division Series, is doing better and could start as soon as Tuesday.

UP NEXT

The teams play Game 4 on Tuesday night. The Red Sox are expected to rely on Pivetta, who was 9-8 with a 4.53 ERA in the regular season. Houston will call on RHP Zack Greinke, with RHP Cristian Javier ready to follow the veteran. Greinke has been limited over the past two months due to a neck issue and a positive COVID-19 test.

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Canada's women's team drops third straight game with 8-0 loss to Drumheller Dragons – The Globe and Mail

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The Drumheller Dragons held Canada’s women’s hockey team off the scoresheet Monday, blanking the national squad 8-0 in a tune-up game.

Adam Raesler scored a hat trick for the Alberta Junior Hockey League side, while Luke Fennig added a pair of goals. Ty Daneault, Grayson Dietrich and Ty Whitford all scored singles.

Canada’s Kristen Campbell stopped 19-of-22 shots in two periods of work and Emerance Maschmeyer made six saves in relief.

Eric Ward saved all five shots he faced in 29 minutes of play for the Dragons and Garrett Fuller finished out the game, making six stops.

Neither side capitalized with the man advantage, with Team Canada going 0 for 3 on the power play and Drumheller going 0 for 2.

Canada has now lost three games in a row to junior-A hockey teams as it prepares for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

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Olympics-Small minority of U.S. Olympians oppose COVID-19 vaccine mandate, say officials

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The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) said on Monday its decision to make COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for those competing at next year’s Beijing Olympics has been met with some resistance.

In a bid to create a safe environment and restore some level of consistency in planning, the USOPC announced last month that Team USA athletes hoping to compete in the Beijing Olympics will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

“The response is as you would expect: Within our general population, there are some people who are extremely happy that we introduced this policy,” Jonathan Finnoff, the USOPC’s chief medical officer, said during the virtual Team USA media summit.

“And there are others that are upset and would like to not have any mandate regarding vaccinations.”

According to Finnoff, it is only a “very small minority” of Team USA athletes who oppose the mandate and the USOPC is having one-on-one conversations with each one to discuss their feelings and explain why the decision was made.

Last month’s announcement by the USOPC came days before the International Olympic Committee said the Beijing Olympics would have tight COVID-19 measures in place to ensure the safety of all participants during the Feb. 4-20 event.

Finnoff said the “more stringent” Beijing measures, which he added unlike the USOPC’s rules will not grant religious exemption, would supersede the  U.S. policy.

Any athlete who is granted a medical exemption will have to go through a 21-day quarantine in Beijing before they can begin training ahead of their event.

“These are challenging times but the vaccine policy that we’ve put in place and that China has put in place is going to make the Games as safe as possible,” said Finnoff.

USOPC Chief Executive Sarah Hirshland said the COVID-19 mandate is all about the safety and health of the team.

“The presence of this virus makes the challenge greater for all of us in a Games environment but we are committed to doing everything we can to mitigate illness and to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” said Hirshland.

 

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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