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Quick Reaction: Raptors 137, Wizards 115 – Raptors Republic



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TOR Raptors 137 Final
Box Score
115 WSH Wizards

A. Baynes21 MIN, 8 PTS, 4 REB, 4 AST, 0 STL, 3-6 FG, 0-1 3FG, 2-2 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, 3 +/-

While he was slightly trigger happy on the threes, Baynes still brought a little bit of everything to the table tonight. He rebounded the ball well, racked up several screen assists and even drew a charge. When Baynes has an impactful game, you won’t necessarily see the highlights on Sportscenter; but his ability to play to his strengths, without taking opportunities away from his high-usage teammates, contributes to winning basketball in a big way.

P. Siakam34 MIN, 26 PTS, 5 REB, 2 AST, 1 STL, 9-18 FG, 3-4 3FG, 5-7 FT, 1 BLK, 1 TO, 27 +/-

He looked for his own shot early, got to the line at a great clip and overall, really looked like his old self yet again. Raptors fans know that the ceiling for Siakam is far from being reached, but he needs his 2019 confidence back if he hopes to get there. Not only did Siakam have the stats to suggest he was one of Raptor’s strongest players tonight, but he carried himself like it. A prickly detail that’s huge for his climb back to into the tier of special young talent.

K. Lowry32 MIN, 21 PTS, 4 REB, 5 AST, 2 STL, 8-14 FG, 5-8 3FG, 0-0 FT, 1 BLK, 1 TO, 14 +/-

If there was ever a game suited to Kyle Lowry’s style of play, it was the track meet that unfolded in Washington on Wednesday night. Kyle was in his happy place in this game, pushing the ball in transition, turning broken plays into pretty finishes and keeping the Washington defence on their heels all night long. Lowry kept the tempo of the game where it needed to be for four straight quarters, feeding the right guys at the right time and taking things into his own hands when he needed to. A classically great performance from the greatest Raptor to ever do it.

F. VanVleet34 MIN, 14 PTS, 4 REB, 7 AST, 0 STL, 5-10 FG, 2-5 3FG, 2-2 FT, 0 BLK, 4 TO, 27 +/-

Although he didn’t get to play his usual brand of methodical half court basketball, Freddy still managed to have himself a super effective (and efficient) game. Due to the track meet that this game turned into, his shot attempts were way down from his season average. However, when opportunities did present themselves in something resembling organized basketball, VanVleet seized them. He took great shots and made clever passes – both key ingredients to his team’s success.

N. Powell31 MIN, 28 PTS, 7 REB, 4 AST, 2 STL, 10-18 FG, 3-4 3FG, 5-5 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, 11 +/-

Getting off to his usual hot start, Powell had his handprints all over this one early. Norm’s aggression and eagerness to push the basketball at every given opportunity really helped set the table for how the Wizards wanted to play this game – as fast as humanly possible. Powell’s shot making lately is nothing short of impressive. So impressive that Nick Nurse is really going to have to weigh the pros and cons of sending him back to the bench in lieu of OG’s return – a very good problem to have.

C. Boucher24 MIN, 17 PTS, 16 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 5-10 FG, 1-2 3FG, 6-7 FT, 2 BLK, 1 TO, 16 +/-

BONJOURRRR! Boucher made up for his discrepancy in thickness with Robin Lopez, by dominating literally every other facet of their match up. He would not be denied his opportunities on Wednesday as the tallest Energizer Bunny north of the border threw his body at every rebound, block, and put back opportunity that presented itself. If the Washington D.C. area wasn’t familiar with the stylings of Chris Boucher before tonight, they damn sure are now.

D. Bembry23 MIN, 10 PTS, 3 REB, 3 AST, 0 STL, 4-5 FG, 2-2 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, -1 +/-

It can be tough to get subbed into a game where your team is absolutely rolling and keep that momentum going. Well, that just what Bembry did tonight. We saw some excellent decision making on Bembry’s part on Wednesday, which was an integral part of what kept Toronto in control for such a large portion of the game. Great performance from one of the Raps’ top glue guys.

T. Davis18 MIN, 13 PTS, 2 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 5-10 FG, 3-5 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, 12 +/-

TD was ready to let it fly when he checked into the game, and his execution on offense really helped sustain his team’s momentum. I’m not sure he had a play run for him all night long, but he took his chances as when came to him and ultimately played a valuable role in Toronto’s win.

S. Johnson13 MIN, 0 PTS, 0 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 0-1 FG, 0-1 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -5 +/-

Was part of a second unit that kept the mojo going while they were out there, and played great perimeter defence, but he was probably the only Raptor who didn’t do anything to make you notice him.

Nick Nurse

Nurse knew the style of game that needed to be played in order to overpower this deceptively talented Washigton team, and executed it to perfection. Not only was the tempo and offensive game plan looking as good as it has all season, the Raptor’s perimeter defence as a team really helped to keep the Wizard’s shooters at bay. Great stuff from a coach who snuffed out any jokes around his team’s 2nd half performance in Memphis having anything to do with his absence.

Things We Saw

  1. If you’re a sucker for a defensive battle, this game was not for you. Toronto engaged in what was probably it’s fastest tempo game all season, in what ended up being an all out offensive affair. Not the recommended tempo for most opponents in the NBA, but it turned out to be a briliant move as the Wiz just could not muster the firepower to keep up.
  2. With this win, Toronto improves to 4-1 on their recent road trip, and 1 game below .500 on the season. For all the turmoil that this team has experienced so far, they remain in a fairly good position to make a run in a wide-open Eastern Conference where they sit only 2 games back of the third seed.
  3. Is it time to start having the Norman Powell should be a full time starter conversation? I don’t have to tell you the impact that Powell has had since entering the starting lineup, nor do I have to explain OG’s elite defensive tools. But which skillset is most likely to stay in tact if it’s not featured in the starting 5? Nurse and Co. have a big decision to make in the coming days when OG makes his return, one which could seriously impact the Raptor’s ability to keep this thing rolling.

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Player grades: Adam Larsson leads Edmonton Oilers with stifling defence in 3-2 over Ottawa Senators – Edmonton Journal



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The Edmonton Oilers came out in iffy fashion, with goalie Mikko Koskinen letting in a nothing shot, but the team battled back.

The Oilers got an outstanding defensive effort from most players, Adam Larsson in particular, and thwarted the Ottawa Senators and most every turn in a 3-2 win, a score that flattered the Sens somewhat.

Edmonton had more Grade A chances in the second period, 10, than they had in any one game against the Toronto Maple Leafs in three losses.

Overall, the Grade A chances were 15 for Edmonton, and just six for Ottawa (running count).

Connor McDavid, 7. The power line had its moments, including a thrilling McDavid breakaway in the third. It was his ninth breakaway chance of the year. After a solid first period, McD also took a Draisaitl pass hard to the net on the power play early in the second. He made a swift pass to send Alex Chiasson in on his goal, his second assist of the game. Overall his Power Line out-shot the Sens 16 to 8 at even strength. McDavid made six major contributions to Grade A chances in the game, which is about his average on the season.


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Leon Draisaitl, 7. He and McDavid threatened to score all game. He made a gorgeous backhand pass to free McDavid for a rush in the first. Beat Joey Daccord with a sniper’s snipetty snipe snipe in the second, where the puck was on and off his stick in a tick. He did some great forechecking when Ottawa had pulled its goalie but missed a near open net shot.

Kailer Yamamoto, 6. Went to the kill floor where the damage is done and tipped in Darnell Nurse’s shot in the first. Otherwise played a quiet game, effective but quiet.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, 6. A high-event game for Nugent-Hopkins. He had some good work on the power play, but not so much at even strength. If he’s going to lead his own line to success, he’s going to have to dig in a bit harder. His line got worked over by Ottawa’s vicious cycle in the first, culminating in two rapid Grade A chances against. Took a hard slash to the face from Mike Reilly. He worked his way in for a sneaky hard wrist shot on the power play that rang off the post in the second. A moment later he set up Alex Chiasson near the crease for two jam shots. Nugget then somehow failed to cash in on a stupendous steal and feed from Puljujarvi in the second, with the Ottawa goalie Joey Daccord on his belly. His line got outshot four to eight.

Jesse Puljujarvi, 6. He led the team with five hits. He came out fast and feisty, throwing a hard hit early on. He took an ill-advised penalty for putting the puck in the stands, even as he wasn’t under great pressure just then. He made a gritty puck protect move on a board battle in the second to get out the puck from Edmonton’s end. A moment later he came close to jamming in a shot off an Adam Larsson rush. Excellent hustle and skill play to set up RNH in the second, but Nuge couldn’t score.


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Tyler Ennis, 4. Quiet game, kind of like the guy he replaced in the line-up Dominik Kahun. Too quiet. He was out of position to stop a wicked third period point blast that was almost deflected in.

Jujhar Khaira, 6. Part of a solid defensive effort with his customary physical play. His semi-legal hit on Josh Norris led to a hard fight with nasty Erik Gudbranson. The refs called him on a super iffy trip call in the third.

Kyle Turris, 7. He made his sweetest play of the season setting up Alex Chiasson for a one-time cross-seam shot in the first. Turris followed that up by winning a battle and setting up Khaira for a Five Alarm slot shot. He kept the good times rolling early in the second, driving a Devin Shore cross-seam pass on net. He got some justice for all that good work, setting up Draisaitl’s goal with a clean feed. His run of good play ended when he gambled for a steal and allowed a three-on-two in late in the second, with Stutzle scoring on a hard wrister through a double screen.

Devin Shore, 6. He and Bear got beat by a Brady Tkachuk pass leading to a dangerous Tim Stuzle power play chance in the first. Hustled hard all game and was in on a few good plays.

Gaetan Haas, 6. Lots of speed, lots of hustle, not much in the way of results. Some solid work on the PK, including a key third period clearance.

James Neal, 5. Hustled hard, won some battles.

Alex Chiasson, 7. A typically solid game from Chiasson, where he played to his strengths, screening, battling and. shooting. Failed to score on a golden chance in the first, and also on two jam shots on the power play in the second. But the fourth time pays for all, as he lasered in a wrister a moment later, the sixth Grade A chance of that particular power play, so a bit of justice in the dice there. He led the team with six shots.


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Darnell Nurse, 8. Twenty-six solid minutes where he gave up pretty much nothing to the Sens, but made numerous strong plays with the puck. Doug Harvey in his rocking chair.

Tyson Barrie, 7. His eyes-up stretch pass kicked off Edmonton’s third goal scoring sequence. He deflected in Ottawa’s second goal, but a bit of hard luck play there.

Adam Larsson, 8. He’s playing excellent shut-down defence, game after game.  He also submarined in on a rush in the second to set up Puljujarvi for a Grade A shot. He got a key clearance on the kill in the third. A moment later he wiped out Tkachuk with a body blow on a late Ottawa rush.

Kris Russell, 7. He’s now in mid-season form and is looking faster again just now. Another fine defensive game.

Caleb Jones, 5. He was hammered hard with a check in the first. His puck handling and defending was a bit shaky, but to give him credit, he was generally in bend-but-do-not-break mode. He made a nice pass on a scoring chance sequence early in the second.

Ethan Bear, 6. Looked a bit more solid than his partner on defence, Jones. He won a board battle on the kill in the third, leading to a Haas clearance. Looks like he’s finding his “A” game again, which is big for the Oilers, especially if he’s going to play ahead of Evan Bouchard.

Mikko Koskinen, 5. In terms of this game, that first Ottawa goal against was the Titanic hitting an iceberg. It was the second time this year he’s let in that same kind of goal where he’s failed to hug the post on an easy outside shot. But he didn’t sink, making a rebound save off Stuzle a few shifts later. He fought off a Stuzle’s power play chance late in the first as well. He almost made up for that early gaffe with a heads up pass on the power play that kicked off the Chiasson’s scoring drive. Ottawa’s second goal was tough as it deflected off Barrie’s stick. In the third he stopped a tough redirected shot Ryan Dzingel. A moment later he put up a wall on a tricky Matthew Peca shot. He did enough for his team to win.

At the Cult

STAPLES: Mysteries of the Edmonton Oilers revealed! Who is the team’s top power couple and how can they drive success?
STAPLES: Ennis is back
LEAVINS: 9 Things, including memories of Walter Gretzky and other hockey dads
MCCURDY:  The Oilers snap a 3-game skid with a BOA win – Player Grades


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Canucks tie it late, beat Canadiens in shootout – TSN



VANCOUVER — Bo Horvat scored in the shootout Monday, giving the Vancouver Canucks a 2-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens.

The Canucks captain was the lone player to beat Carey Price in the shootout, sending a wrist shot past the Canadiens goalie and into the top-left corner of the net.

The Habs (11-6-7) nearly took two points in regulation after getting a power-play tally from Jeff Petry early in the first period.

Vancouver’s Adam Gaudette forced extra time, scoring with 40.5 seconds left on the game clock. Horvat registered an assist on the goal.

Price had 28 saves for the Canadiens and Thatcher Demko stopped 29 shots for the Canucks (12-15-2).

The result extends Vancouver’s win streak to three games.

Brock Boeser nearly eked out a win for the Canucks in extra time but Price stretched out the length of his crease to make a glove save and force the shootout.

Gaudette’s goal 19:19 into the third ensured overtime on Monday.

He ripped a shot from the left face-off dot, ringing it off the post and in to knot the score with his third goal of the season.

Vancouver pulled Demko with 1:20 left on the clock in a bid to net the equalizer, and nearly took its second too-many-men penalty of the night in the process. Horvat jumped over the boards before the officials noticed the errant forward.

A sloppy line change proved costly for the Canucks early in Monday’s game.

Vancouver was called for too-many men, giving Montreal a power play and Petry capitalized, using a screen by Corey Perry in front of the net to sneak a long shot past Demko and open the scoring 4:37 in.

The Habs were 1-for-2 with the man advantage. Vancouver failed to convert on three power plays, despite getting a minute and 25 seconds of 5-on-3 hockey midway through the first period.

Tyler Toffoli nearly gave Montreal a two-goal lead early in the second, firing a pair of slap shots at Demko.

The Canucks goalie stopped both, but a rebound on the second attempt popped up as he fell back into the net and landed in the corner of the crease, dangerously close to the goal line. Defenceman Tyler Myers swept it out of harm’s way.

Gaudette had two prime chances to even the score for Vancouver in the second.

A wraparound shot from teammate J.T. Miller pinged off Gaudette’s shin and just wide of the post around the eight minute mark. About two minutes later, the Canucks forward blasted a slap shot from the slot, only to see it swallowed up by Price. Gaudette responded by looking skyward.

Moments later, Montreal’s Joel Armia picked the puck off Vancouver defenceman Quinn Hughes in the neutral zone and got a breakaway. Demko got just enough of the ensuing shot to send it careening wide of the net.

The Canucks and Canadiens will battle again in Vancouver on Wednesday.

NOTES: Vancouver defenceman Jordie Benn was injured early in the third period and did not return. … Demko was named the NHL’s second start of the week earlier on Monday. He posted a 3-0-0 record last week with a 1.00 goals-against average and .969 save percentage. … Montreal equipment manager Pierre Gervais worked his 3,000th game. An announcement of the feat elicited stick taps from both teams.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 8, 2021.

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What made Rheal Cormier one of Canada’s greatest baseball players –



TORONTO – Early in the 2000 season, Rheal Cormier and the Boston Red Sox were visiting Jason Dickson and the Anaheim Angels, as they were known then, bringing the New Brunswick pitchers together for the first time.

“The bullpens are stacked (at Angel Stadium), one on top of the other, and that’s where we struck up a conversation through the fence,” recalls Dickson. “I’ll never forget meeting him that first time. I’m the one that probably should have went up to him and introduced myself. I was too nervous to, but he didn’t hesitate to come up and congratulate me on being in the big leagues, ask how my family was doing, ask if I talk to people at home, get into a discussion around New Brunswick and senior baseball and fishing and hunting and all those things that make you a Maritimer. It was just like talking to one of the guys at home.”

Their shared roots made them a rarity in the majors, not only as Canadians, but as two of the three New Brunswick natives at the time enjoying success at the sport’s highest level, along with slugger Matt Stairs of Fredericton.

Cormier, from Cap-Pele, was five years older than Dickson, from Chatham, so the two didn’t cross paths on their way up to the majors. By the time they did meet, Cormier was establishing himself as one of the steadier left-handed relievers in the majors after Tommy John surgery ended his days as a starter, while Dickson was trying to return after a year lost to shoulder surgery.

“You’d hear the stories about Rheal, just like blue-collar work ethic, chopping wood, doing his thing — very grounded with who he was. Just unassuming, kind and generous,” says Dickson, who is now Baseball Canada’s president. “The last time I saw him was at Senior Nationals in Miramichi — I was there for Baseball Canada, and Rheal kind of snuck in late to the game. He wanted to see some people, but no big entry, no big whatever. I gave him a hug, asked him how he was doing, and that was so him, so unassuming. The guys he played with often talked about how hard he worked, didn’t take anything for granted, and I think that sums him up.”

Those are some of the lasting memories of Cormier, who passed away Monday after fighting pancreatic cancer. He was 53.

Quietly, Cormier enjoyed one of the greatest careers by a Canadian in MLB history, with his 683 games second only to Paul Quantrill’s 841 among Canuck hurlers. In 2012, he was inducted to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.

Cormier posted a 4.03 ERA over 1,221.2 innings while producing 12.8 WAR as calculated by FanGraphs, logging a career-best 186 frames during his first full season in the majors with the 1992 St. Louis Cardinals, who chose him in the sixth round of the 1988 draft.

Trades to Boston in 1995 and then Montreal in 1996 allowed him to log 159.2 innings over 33 games for the 1996 Expos team that went 88-74 and finished second in the National League East. But his elbow blew the next year, Tommy John surgery followed and in 1999 he rejoined the Red Sox, where he transitioned to the bullpen and posted a 3.69 ERA in 63.1 innings.

During the ’99 playoffs, he logged 7.2 innings over six appearances without allowing a run.

After the 2000 season, Cormier joined the Philadelphia Phillies, with whom he logged a 3.62 ERA over 363 games until a 2006 deadline deal sent him to the Cincinnati Reds, where his performance dipped. In May 2007, the Reds released him after just six appearances, though he joined Atlanta on a minor-league deal afterwards, and finished his professional career with five games for triple-A Richmond.

And though his MLB days were done, Cormier did pitch for Canada at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, a full-circle achievement after being on the 1988 team at the Seoul Games when baseball was a demonstration sport. Cormier also represented Canada at the 1987 Pan Am Games and Intercontinental Cup, and 2006 World Baseball Classic.

“Rheal probably doesn’t get as much credit as he should,” says Dickson. “I always go to the different websites and pull up Rheal’s stats to show people, and they’re shocked to see how long he played and how well he did it. That’s just him, just kind of flying under the radar.”

Cormier is survived by his wife, Lucienne, and two children, Justin and Morgan.

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