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Oilers' dynamic duo too much for Canadiens to handle in 4-3 loss – Montreal Gazette

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Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl both score goals as Oilers hand Habs their first loss on Western Canada road trip.

EDMONTON — Before Saturday’s game at Rogers Place, Canadiens coach Claude Julien was asked how his team could stop the Edmonton Oilers’ dynamic duo of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, who ranked 1-2 in the NHL scoring race.

“Same way we have with those kind of players that are on different teams,” Julien said. “We’re a team that all five guys have to be aware when they’re on the ice and know that they’re there. So it’s not a big secret. We know that if they have time and space they’re going to make something happen. So we got to play these guys tight.”

Another key part of Julien’s game plan: “Stay out of the box. I think it’s pretty obvious that they’ve got a really good power play. We’re a team that, obviously, plays fairly well five-on-five, so discipline is definitely going to be a key word here for this game tonight.”


Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers battles against Canadiens’ Nick Cousins at Rogers Place on Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019, in Edmonton.

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Oilers coach Dave Tippett made things more difficult for the Canadiens when he decided to reunite McDavid and Draisaitl on the same line and they each scored a goal — McDavid’s was on the power play — as the Oilers beat the Canadiens 4-3. Josh Archibald and Riley Sheahan also scored for the Oilers.

Jeff Petry (short-handed), Phillip Danault (power play) and Max Domi scored for the Canadiens as they suffered their first loss in three games on this Western Canada road trip and saw their record fall to 17-13-6. The Canadiens also fell out of a playoff spot because the Toronto Maple Leafs and Florida Panthers both won Saturday to move past them in the standings. The Canadiens are now fourth in the Atlantic Division, two points behind the Leafs and one point behind the Panthers.

The Canadiens and Oilers both had 26 shots and Carey Price saw his career record against Edmonton drop to 3-8-1.

The Oilers opened the scoring only 1:30 into the game when McDavid cut to the inside at centre ice and blew past defenceman Ben Chiarot to set up a two-on-one with Draisaitl. McDavid and Draisaitl combined for a perfect play, giving Price no chance to make a save. It was a two-on-one that could be used in a teaching video for kids.

As for Chiarot, he’s not the first — or the last — defenceman McDavid will make look bad with his blazing speed.

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The Oilers went up 2-0 when Archibald scored at 11:51 of the first period on a play that started when Domi failed to clear the puck out of the Canadiens’ zone. Things went to hell in the defensive zone after that and Mike Reilly showed why he’s been a healthy scratch so often this season as Archibald tipped in a pass from in front of the net. The video from that goal could be used to show kids how not to play team defence.

Petry got the Canadiens on the board at 14:19 of the first period, scoring short-handed on an innocent shot that never should have gone in, beating Mikko Koskinen to the glove side as the Oilers goalie only got a piece of the puck.

Shoot the puck, kids.

Danault tied it up 2-2 at 8:29 of the second period when he deflected a point shot by Petry for the first power-play goal of his career.

McDavid put the Oilers up 3-2 at 15:40 of the second period when he used his speed once again to burst through the middle and made a nice move to his forehand to beat Price for his 21st goal of the season. McDavid’s goal came with Jordan Weal in the box for his second tripping penalty of the game.

Domi tied it up 3-3 at 1:09 of the third period with a nice individual effort, scoring on another shot Koskinen probably should have stopped. Petry picked up an assist, giving him a three-point night. It was the second goal in two games for Domi, after his game-winner in overtime Thursday night in Calgary.

But it was Sheahan who scored the game-winner on this night for the Oilers, completing another two-on-one with a beautiful pass from Archibald at 7:48 of the third period.

At the end of the game McDavid (21-40-61) and Draisaitl (22-38-60) remained 1-2 in the NHL scoring race.

The Canadiens knew what they were getting into against the Oilers, they just failed to follow the game plan.

The Canadiens will wrap up their Western Canada road trip Monday in Winnipeg against the Jets (8 p.m., TSN2, TSN3, RDS, TSN 690 Radio).

scowan@postmedia.com

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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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