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Player Grades: Evan Bouchard leads pre-season slaughter of big, belligerent & bewildered Calgary Flames – Edmonton Journal

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The Calgary Flames came out for their first pre-season game of the 2021-22 season with a big, heavy and nasty line-up, ready to party like it was 2014, the height of the NHL’s heavy hockey era.

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Edmonton came out with a bunch of swift and smart puck-moving d-men and forwards and proceeded to stomp the hell out of Calgary, beating them 4-0, and giving up next to nothing in their own end.

Evan Bouchard, Filip Berglund and company shredded the Flames with swift decisions and laser passes.

The game was never close.

Calgary outhit the Oilers 29 to nine. The Oilers outshot the Flames 49 to 15. Yes, the Flames hit the most in this game. But they never knew what hit them.

Ryan McLeod, 7. How did he not score? Had all kinds of amazing chances. His unit forechecked well all game. But McLeod failed to cash in on a delicious power play rebound in the second.  Also just missed on a tip shot on the rush. In the third he almost slammed home a wrap-around attempt. He had nine shot attempts, five on goal.

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Tyler Benson, 7.  How did he not score? Cooper Marody set him up with a wide open net in the third and Benson ripped a great shot only to be foiled by an even better save. Took an early penalty on an over-aggressive screen. He won battles, passed the puck well, and did not hurt his cause to make the Oilers, though Brendan Perlini made more of a statement.

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Cooper Marody, 6. Pretty quiet, though he combined well with his teammates, especially setting up Benson in the third.

Brendan Perlini, 8. All kinds of chances. Had a power forward kind of game. He got off a wicked slot shot off some fine work by Turris and Bouchard in the second. A bit later, he stole the puck at the blueline from lumbering Calgary d-man Erik Gudbranson, kicked the puck to his forehand, and moved in on a breakaway to fire a hard shot, then slammed in the rebound for Edmonton’s fourth goal. He got set up early in the third by Turris for another near breakaway and almost scored, drawing a penalty.

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Devin Shore 5. Not that noticeable this game. Won a couple of board battles in the first, leading to a dangerous Turris backhander. He played a team low 11:28.

Kyle Turris, 7. He looked good on the power play and good moving the puck.

Colton Sceviour, 6. Fairly quiet game as well. He got blasted into the boards by Martin Pospisil of the Flames in the first. But he worked well on the forecheck on Edmonton’s third goal.

Derek Ryan, 8. He centred the Oil’s best line. Looked fast and pesky. Scored on a hard-working power play shift early in the second to give his team a 2-0 lead, taking a pass out from Bourgault and stuffing it in the net. He was part of a ferocious Edmonton cycle with Sceviour and Bouchard that led to Bourgault’s goal, with Ryan making the final pass. He led the Oilers on the dot with 10 wins and five losses, 67 per cent.

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Xavier Bourgault, 7. He flashed major skill and calm. He won a board battle on the power play to flip the puck out front on Ryan’s goal. A bit later, took a pass from Ryan and hammered in a sharp-angle one-timer shot for Edmonton’s third goal.

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James Hamblin, 6. A quiet game, save for one big play when he pounced on a bouncing puck early in the second, got a breakaway, and made a sharp move to his backhand to score the first goal of the game.

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Adam Cracknell, 5. Quiet game, though he almost scored late in the game off a Kemp point shot.

Raphael Lavoie, 5. Won a battle on the board in the first. Won some more battles on a great shift in the third. But his line never really got going other than few spurts.

Slater Koekkoek, 7. Solid game, just kept moving that puck over to Bouchard and good things happened. With the Oilers up 4-0 in the third in a nothing pre-season game, he blocked a blistering power play shot. Evidently he wants to make this team.

Evan Bouchard, 9. Wow! He utterly dominated the game. Of course, it was just a pre-season game. He nonetheless schooled the Flames, with his feints, dekes, spins, zips and bombs. If he can do that against tougher competition, the Oilers have their man to replace Adam Larsson in the Top 4. His skating was once questioned, but he showed strong edge work and acceleration, constantly shaking Flames forecheckers. He got nine shots on net, six of them hitting the mark, a number of them ripper slap shots.

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Philip Broberg, 6. Skated miles, not always to great effect, but was certainly active. Took a tough pass from partner Filip Berglund in his own zone in the first and got hammered by Milan Lucic with a hit. He let Brett Ritchie in behind him for a third period rush and shot. He and Berglund were also beat on a dangerous third period cross-seam pass in the third. Plenty of flash in his game, and he logged the second most amount of ice time, 22:22, but still finding his way in the North American pro game.

Filip Berglund, 7. He was good, really good. Smart and solid with the puck, good decisions all over the ice.He led the team with 23:30 time-on-ice. Some savvy defensive stops in the defensive slot and neutral zone to win pucks and get his team going in the right direction. Covered up for a Broberg on a mistimed pinch, tracking back fast to shut down the Flames attack.

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Phil Kemp, 6. Solid game. Got a good block in the first. Had some trouble moving the puck, but his clearance bounced to Hamblin on the first goal.

William Lagesson, 6. He kicked off the scoring sequence on Edmonton’s first goal with a sharp d-zone pass up the middle. In the third he broke down the wing to get off a good shot. He played just 15:28 on the third-pairing, but was solid in that time.

Stuart Skinner, 6. Not tested much but stopped everything that came his way in the first.

Ilya Konovalov, 6. Had little to do in the second when he came in, but did fire off a nice pass up the middle of the ice. He made best Edmonton save of the night on pass that sliced across the net-front to Matthew Phillips, but Konovalov stoned him.

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At the Cult

STAPLES: Massive opportunity here for Benson and Lagesson

LEAVINS: The Archibald conundrum

McCURDY: Day 3 of on-ice at Edmonton Oilers camp and the first cuts come down

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Astros' Garcia to start Game 6 of ALCS against Red Sox – Sportsnet.ca

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HOUSTON – Rookie Luis Garcia will start for the Houston Astros against the Boston Red Sox in Game 6 of the AL Championship Series on Friday night with a trip to the World Series on the line.

Garcia started Game 2 and gave up a grand slam in the first inning before leaving with no outs in the second because of discomfort in his right knee. Manager Dusty Baker announced Thursday that Garcia would get the ball for Game 6 and said the Astros are confident the problem is behind Garcia and he’ll be 100% healthy for Friday’s start.

The Astros fell behind 2-1 in the series after two big wins by the Red Sox. But they rode their powerful offence to consecutive victories in the last two games to take the series lead and move within a win of advancing to the World Series for the second time in three seasons.

The Astros won the championship in 2017, a crown tainted by the team’s sign-stealing scandal, before losing to the Washington Nationals in seven games in the 2019 World Series.

The Red Sox previously announced that Nathan Eovaldi would start Game 6. Eovaldi got the win in a solid Game 2 start but was charged with the loss in Game 4 after giving up the go-ahead runs after coming in with the game tied in the ninth.

The Astros got eight terrific innings from Framber Valdez in a 9-1 win in Game 5. The performance gave Houston’s taxed bullpen a much-needed break after relievers pitched 29 1/3 innings combined through the first four games.

Baker said Jake Odorizzi would be available for long relief Friday if needed. Odorizzi threw 82 pitches in four innings in Game 2 after taking over following the injury to Garcia.

Baker also said rookie center fielder Jake Meyers, who hasn’t played this series after injuring his shoulder in the final game of the ALDS, probably wouldn’t return to the lineup in this series. He said Meyers could pinch-run or pinch-hit but isn’t ready to return to the field. Fellow rookies Chas McCormick and rookie Jose Siri have filled in at center against the Red Sox.

Houston is without ace Lance McCullers Jr. for this series because of a flexor pronator muscle strain in his right arm. Baker said Thursday that McCullers still hasn’t resumed throwing, so it’s unclear if he would be available to return if the Astros were to advance.

If necessary, Game 7 would be Saturday night in Houston.

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NFL Prop Picks For Browns vs. Broncos: Bet This Donovan Peoples-Jones Over/Under On Thursday Night Football – The Action Network

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Credit:

Jason Miller/Getty Images. Pictured: Donovan Peoples-Jones #11 of the Cleveland Browns celebrates after a touchdown

Sean Koerner, our Director of Predictive Analytics, is highlighting his favorite player prop for every primetime game throughout the 2021 season. He has a 428-326-6 (56%) all-time record on NFL bets he’s tracked in the Action app.


Broncos-Browns Prop Bet

Donovan Peoples-Jones Under 2.5 Receptions

Editor’s Note: Now that Odell Beckham Jr. is officially active, Browns player props are off the board at most books.

Peoples-Jones has been on fire over the past two weeks, posting lines of 5/70/0 & 4/101/2 against the Chargers and Cardinals, respectively. However, I believe it’s time to “sell high” on him as he’s due for some regression.

He’s caught a ridiculous 86.7% of his targets this season despite seeing an aDot of 15.7. Players with an aDot that high typically average a catch rate in the 57-60% range.

There are a few other reasons why my projections are lower for him compared to the market:

  • Case Keenum is starting in place of Baker Mayfield tonight. Peoples-Jones has shown great chemistry with Mayfield over the past couple of games. The QB change seems like a setback for him.
  • Weather could be a factor tonight. Steady winds of approximately 20 mph are expected with the possibility of some occasional rain. That would (in theory) negatively impact a high-aDot player like Peoples-Jones.

  • Jarvis Landry is making his return from IR. He should be Keenum’s main target tonight, while the TE group should also see an increase in target share after a season-low five targets as a group last week. I also expect RB/WR Demetric Felton to have an expanded role tonight and he has been heavily targeted (37.5% of routes run) when on the field this season.

I’m projecting DPJ for 2.3 receptions tonight with a median projection of 31.5 receiving yards (market is currently at 38.5) — I’d give this under about a 60% chance of hitting. He’s the type of player who could clear his yardage prop on a couple of deep catches, so the safer play here is to take the under for his receptions, especially since we are getting + money. I would bet this down to -105.

Pick: Donovan Peoples-Jones Under 2.5 Receptions (+115) at BetMGM

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Canadiens fans welcome Kotkaniemi back to Montreal with boos, vulgar chant – Yahoo Canada Sports

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Carolina Hurricanes forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi (82) was not welcomed back to Montreal with open arms. (Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports)

The Carolina Hurricanes were in Montreal on Thursday night to face the Canadiens at the Bell Centre, marking the return of Jesperi Kotkaniemi, who was at the centre of petty off-season drama after signing an offer sheet with the Canes.

In true hockey fashion, the Bell Centre crowd greeted the 21-year-old with boos and taunting chants.

The Canadiens acknowledged the former third-overall pick by displaying him on the jumbotron, which in turn sparked another wave of disapproval from the near-sellout crowd.

It was Kotkaniemi who got the last laugh, though, tipping in a goal in the third period for his first point with the Hurricanes — much to the delight of Hockey Twitter. Carolina ended up walking away with the 4-1 victory, keeping Montreal winless on the season.

The native of Pori, Finland appeared in 171 games for the Habs over three seasons, scoring 22 goals and notching 40 assists. He also registered 12 points in 29 playoff games, including five goals in Montreal’s run to the Stanley Cup Final last season.

Carolina tendered an offer sheet to Kotkaniemi in late August, offering a one-year contract at $6.1 million. Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin chose not to match, and Montreal received a first- and third-round pick as compensation.

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