Connect with us

Sports

Recap: Maple Leafs finish a dull game with passion; get their backup a win over Detroit – Pension Plan Puppets

Published

on


Are you ready to relive the game of the century? I’m sure you are, so let’s get to it.

Lines tonight are almost last night’s with Jason Spezza out and Trevor Moore (finally) reactivated from LTIR and on the fourth line. Timashov stays in the game.

First Period

Michael Hutchinson with the play of the game. Dylan Larkin got a breakaway when an Activated Justin Holl spontaneously fell down.

Leafs get an early power play when the evil Red Wings knock down Zach Hyman.

Plot twist! Calvin Pickard comes in for Jonathan Bernier who left for undisclosed reasons either a LBI or fear the Leafs might trade for him if he looked good. Tough spot for Pickard to come in cold on the PK.

Whoa! Pickard makes a save on the one-timer, but gives up a big backup rebound, and Marner nearly has a wide-open net.

Leafs let Larkin go for a slower rush, and this time Hutchinson actually has to make a save.

Travis Dermott with a heroic sliding block when a pinch goes awry. Er, sorry, an Activated Defender move results in the most probable outcome, er, I mean, when the system works as intended.

And a scoreless period closes. The Leafs have all the zone time, 58% Adjusted Corsi and 42% of the Expected Goals. Against the Detroit Red Wings.

Meanwhile in the AHL

The Marlies are playing in Belleville, and on my other monitor, as they help Greg Moore start his pro-coaching career. They have Joseph Woll in net, and you know what that means (they don’t, traditionally, offer up much defending in front of Woll). Pontus Aberg scored on the first shot of the game, giving Moore totally the wrong idea about this team, and then they did this:

This team needs some work. But it’s only 2-1 for the B-Sens, they can still come back.

Thoughts

Second Period

Auston Matthews carries the puck up the neutral zone with support, and he… dumps it in, and Kapanen goes and retrieves it, and he… cycles it back high personally, passes it to Tyson Barrie who is standing still in the centre of the blueline, and he wails on it like it’s the hardest shot contest at the All-Star break. Pickard with an easy save. This entire sequence was to hockey what Miracle Whip is to an aioli.

Red Wings get another chance on a two-on-one, and Holl comes to tidy up behind Hutchinson.

OMG. I’m writing a sternly worded letter of complaint to HNIC. “You might not know that Steve Yzerman and Brendan Shanahan were teammates.” Yes, yes, that’s before everyone’s time, sure.

Hutchinson has to make another big save, so the Leafs try that shooting at the net thing, and Pickard comes up equal to the task.

Trevor Moore with a nice move, but he misses the net. He’s been working hard in his very few shifts tonight.

Yay! A penalty behind the play. I guess the number two ref was bored. And it’s Alexander Kerfoot, Mr Penalty, who is going off, but he’s taking Fabbri with him, so it’s four-on-four.

Matthews cheats so high on a four-on-four play, Phil Kessel is jealous, and what comes of it is not a lot, since he can’t actually out-deke four Red Wings all alone.

Golly, I hope he does the lacrosse goal, next.

The pace of the game is somewhere between glacial and film running in reverse. The commentary is reduced to enthusing over defensive Activation! while the ensuing opposing breakaway is already in progress.

Sheldon Keefe comes up with a line of Hyman, Matthews and Marner because this team, frankly, sucks worse than they did last night.

Hyman gets hauled down on a breakaway, and he bowls Pickard. The ref is a coward and calls a penalty, not a penalty shot.

No, wait, this might be a goal.

Yup, they’re calling it a goal (technically an own goal by the Red Wings)

1-0 Leafs

Matthews looked like he was legit thinking of try the lacrosse goal. How be you score one yourselves the old-fashioned way first.

Oh, cool. Jake Muzzin takes a tripping call with under a minute to go.

And that period ends with the Leafs having given away all of their shot share, and now have 49% adjusted Corsi and 40% Expected Goals, and again, they are playing a historically bad team that has CALVIN PICKARD in net.

As noted by Kevin Papetti, Nylander and Kapanen have been benched for a large part of the second period since well before the goal.

Meanwhile in the AHL

Greg Moore obviously has an effective intermission speech, since the Marlies played their second period very well, upping the shots on goal to 11-12 on the period, and crucially scoring two goals to Belleville’s one. They lead 4-3 in a game they don’t really deserve to be winning.

Thoughts

As long as you’re loose and having fun, really, what else matters? Anyone for some ping pong?

Third Period

Leafs open the period by killing the rest of the Muzzin penalty.

The Leafs immediately get their own power play because the Red Wings are that dumb.

Matthews isn’t out for the power play, and the Leafs have only four guys on the ice. Finally the bench notices.

And because you can look like a fool one minute and still be the hero, Matthews gets an old-fashioned goal on the power play.

2-0 Leafs

It’s possible Matthews realized he’d just narrowly missed being a gigantic idiot on Hockey Night in Canada on home ice.

Nylander and Kapanen are playing with Kerfoot in this third period, so maybe some messages have been learned all around. Engvall is with Tavares and Mikheyev, while the line that scored the goal, Hyman, Marner, Matthews is the other top line.

Red Wings get another odd-man rush, and the shot goes wide, and in the “there is no deserve in hockey” theme of the night, Hyman makes it 3-0 Leafs on the return rush.

Great shot and a great play, so it’s not like they didn’t work for the goal, but they’ve only worked for it some of the time tonight.

The Leafs look like they’ve twigged to the fact they owe their goalie some effort, and they’re spending a lot of time in the Detroit zone again.

All that hockey-playing pays off and Matthews makes it 4-0 Leafs.

And now there’s a not-fight in the corner. Mantha vs Muzzin, and this went horribly wrong. A wresting move where Muzzin takes Mantha down ends with the trainers on the ice, after Mantha hits his head on the ice.

I. Hate. This.

Muzzin reacted to being jumped by Mantha, but went way overboard. Muzzin gets a roughing and an unsportsmanlike penalty, and Mantha gets a roughing minor as well. Mantha looks bad, and yes he started it, but that was an unfortunate ending to say the least.

Detroit has a power play for the rest of the game.

Dammit. The Red Wings spoil the shutout on the power play.

4-1 Leafs

Dermott gets a game misconduct for slapping his stick on the ice from the bench to make a show of how much he didn’t like the extra penalty to Muzzin. I’m not clear what the extra penalty was for to be clear.

And now, here we go. Athanasiou takes a knee-on-knee run at Kerfoot, and Justin Holl goes for him. Good man, Holl, on that move, that was a dirty hit.

Athanasiou gets six or so penalties, including a fighting major, just to get him out of the game. Holl joins him.

And this dull, tepid, lackadaisical game comes to a limping close. I hope Mantha is well. Most of the rest of it was just stupid.

Meanwhile in the AHL

The Marlies can take a period or two off because they have a significant scoring skill advantage over almost the entire NHL. They upped the score to 7-3 in a third period that the B-Sens basically handed them. Sound familiar?

Thoughts

Every once in a while I think the Leafs should post the ticket prices the fans pay in the locker room. This game was one of those times. But maybe a fight forgives all sins?

Michael Hutchinson did his job, and eventually, so did the rest of the team. Let’s call this a teaching moment, I suppose as well as two necessary points in the books.

Please thank Omar for making this recap tell you a meaningful story with his gifs, and follow him on Twitter.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Sports

Anthony Davis hits buzzer-beater as Lakers grab 2-0 lead over Nuggets – Sportsnet.ca

Published

on


LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Anthony Davis has never been this deep in the playoffs, never had the chance to take such an important shot.

It’s nothing new for the Los Angeles Lakers, though.

So when Davis’ 3-pointer swished through the net as time expired to give the Lakers a 105-103 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Sunday night and a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference finals, coach Frank Vogel thought of a Laker who had done it before.

“That’s a shot Kobe Bryant would hit,” Vogel said. “To me, AD coming off, just flying to the wing like that, catch-and-shoot with the biggest game on the line of our season, nothing but net, it’s a Mamba shot.”

The Lakers were wearing their black Mamba jerseys. They were co-designed by Bryant, their Hall of Fame guard who died Jan. 26 in a helicopter crash. Davis said wearing the jerseys that mean so much to the team made his winner feel even better.

“In the jersey we wore tonight, it just makes it even more special,” he said.

Davis finished with 31 points. He scored Los Angeles’ last 10 points and had 22 in the second half to help the Lakers avoid becoming the latest victim of a Denver comeback.

“Special moment for a special player. Happy to be a part of it,” said LeBron James, who had 26 points and 11 rebounds.

The Nuggets had trailed by as much as 16, but Nikola Jokic scored 11 straight Denver points down the stretch, including a basket that made it 103-102 with 20 seconds to play.

Alex Caruso then missed a 3-pointer and Jamal Murray blocked Danny Green’s shot out of bounds with 2.1 seconds to play. Rajon Rondo inbounded under the basket and found Davis curling toward the sideline, and the All-Star forward swished it to put the Lakers halfway to the NBA Finals.

Jokic said there was miscommunication on the final play, when it appeared centre Mason Plumlee let Davis drift free believing there was going to be a switch. Jokic raced out to him, but too late.

“Great players make great shots and he did it, so he’s a really good player,” Jokic said.

Jokic had 30 points and nine assists, and Murray scored 25 points.

Game 3 is Tuesday night.

James carried the Lakers early, with 20 points in the first half. But they went more in the second half to Davis, who had 37 in an easy Game 1 victory.

This one was much tighter and appeared it would be another huge rally by the Nuggets, who were down 16, 19 and 12 in the final three games against the Clippers, when they erased a 3-1 deficit.

They had climbed all the way out this hole when Murray scored for an 87-86 lead with 7:26 to play. But Green and Rondo hit 3-pointers and, after a basket by PJ Dozier, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope made another 3 to make it 95-89.

It was 100-92 after another 3 by Davis before Jokic answered with nine straight, tipping in a miss by Murray to give Denver a 101-100 edge with 31 seconds to play. Davis put the Lakers back on top with a basket in the lane, but Jokic backed him down on the other end to put the Nuggets back on top with 20 seconds remaining.

James started 5 of 6 while the rest of the Lakers missed their first 12 shots before Green’s layup 7 1/2 minutes in gave them a 14-12 lead.

The lead was five midway through the second quarter before the Lakers had an 11-0 run that featured a steal and dunk and a 3-pointer by Alex Caruso that pushed it to 52-36 with about 4 minutes remaining in the half. Denver trimmed it to 60-50 at the break.

TIP-INS

Nuggets: Denver is 8-8 in this post-season. … Michael Porter Jr. had 15 points. … Dozier was 1 for 5 from the foul line in the fourth quarter.

Lakers: Los Angeles missed nine of its first 10 shots. … Green and Caldwell-Pope both scored 11 points.

BUZZER BEATERS

The Lakers said Davis was just the seventh Laker to make a buzzer-beater in the playoffs, a list that includes playoffs. Also on the list: Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, Derek Fisher, Robert Horry and Metta World Peace.

THROUGH THIRTY

This was the 30th post-season game between the Lakers and Nuggets. The Lakers lead 23-7 and have won all six series.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Sports

Pogacar rides to victory at COVID-defying Tour de France – Sportsnet.ca

Published

on


PARIS — In a stunning performance for the ages, Tour de France rookie Tadej Pogacar won cycling’s showpiece race Sunday on the eve of his 22nd birthday, becoming the second-youngest winner of the 117-year-old event that this year braved — and overcame — France’s worsening coronavirus epidemic.

Turning him from promising prodigy into cycling superstar, Pogacar became the youngest winner since World War II and the first from Slovenia.

His victory was remarkable, too, for the way in which he sealed it: at the last possible moment, on the penultimate stage before Sunday’s finish on Paris’ Champs-Elysees. During the three-week cycling marathon over all five of France’s mountain ranges and 3,482 punishing kilometres (2,164 miles), Pogacar held the race lead and its iconic yellow jersey for just one stage — the last and most important one into Paris, with a yellow bike to match.

Pogacar KO’d the race and Slovenian countryman Primoz Roglic by snatching away the yellow jersey that he’d worn for 11 days, in a high-drama time trial Saturday.

Their 1-2 is the first for one country since British riders Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome also took the top spots at the 2012 Tour. Australian Richie Porte rounded out this year’s podium, at age 35, after his brilliant time trial that hoisted him from fourth to third overall.

Irish rider Sam Bennett won the prestigious final sprint on the Champs-Elysees, giving him his second stage win at this Tour. He also won the race’s green jersey, awarded for picking up the most points in sprints during and at the finish of stages.

With jets trailing plumes of red, white and blue smoke above the riders as they raced on the Champs-Elysees, lined with French tricolour flags, the Tour was also celebrating a victory — over the coronavirus.

When the race, delayed because of the epidemic from its usual spot in July, left the start town of Nice three weeks ago, it was unsure that riders would be able to stay virus-free to the finish.

But none of the 176 riders who started, or the 146 finishers, tested positive in multiple batteries of tests, validating the bubble measures put in place by Tour organizers to shield them from infection.

Roadside fans still cheered them on, mostly respecting riders’ pleas that they wear face masks, but were kept well away at stage starts and finishes.

The only COVID-19 positives touched a handful of team employees and the race director, even as infection numbers soared across the country.

The director was back after a week of self-isolation and, in a mask, signalled the start of Sunday’s stage at Mantes-La-Jolie west of Paris with a wave of his flag through the sunroof of his car.

Mask-wearing spectators waiting for the rumble of the riders’ arrival on the handlebar-shaking cobbles of the Champs-Elysees said holding the Tour had lit up a dark year and demonstrated that the coronavirus need not bring all life to a grinding halt, if health measures are respected. The famous boulevard lacked its usual fervour, a victim of the virus, with the usually rows-deep crowds limited to a socially distanced maximum of 5,000 people, clumped in pens by police and barriers.

But Pauline Bourbonnaud, a 22-year-old podiatry student, said it was nothing short of “an exploit, enormous” that the Tour succeeded in keeping riders virus-free. At previous Tours, she’d been roadside when they zoomed through her region in central France. But this year’s postponement to September, when she was back in Paris for her studies, allowed her to soak in the finish for the first time.

“It’s important to have events like this that are diverting. People needed the Tour after a year like this,” she said.

One of the most enthusiastic backers of the pandemic-defying Tour was also its most powerful: French President Emmanuel Macron. With his government trying to revive France’s COVID-battered economy, Macron praised the race as “the pride of the country” and an example of how it must learn to live with the virus and the restrictions it imposes.

“Even in September, the Tour de France is magic!” Macron tweeted Saturday after Pogacar crushed Roglic in the time trial.

Largely deprived of racing as the epidemic tore across the globe, and with those in lockdown only able to keep fit on home trainers, riders arrived at the Tour somewhat race-rusty but with the pent-up energy of caged hounds, their disrupted seasons reconfigured to make them peak physically on cycling’s biggest stage.

After a slow-burn start, with multiple crashes, the racing became increasingly furious. Roglic, the winner of last year’s Spanish Vuelta and a pre-Tour favourite, was backed by a powerful Jumbo-Visma team of star riders devoted to putting him in yellow — achieved on Stage 9 — and then keeping the prized jersey until Paris.

But UAE Team Emirates rider Pogacar hadn’t read their script.

He first demolished Roglic’s 57-second lead and then built his own Tour-securing margin of 59 seconds in the time trial, an incredible reversal of fortunes.

The birth of the Pogacar supernova is now set to ripple across the cycling galaxy for years to come. His future rivals are unlikely to repeat Jumbo-Visma’s mistake of allowing him to ride his way back into contention, as he did after losing time in crosswinds in the first week, when he slumped from third to 16th.

By conquering the Tour on his first attempt, Pogacar joined an elite club of rookie winners that includes, among others, the great Eddy Merckx, who ended up winning five. He unseated Egan Bernal, who was 22 when he won last year, as the Tour’s youngest champion since World War II. And he become the race’s second-youngest winner ever, behind only Henri Cornet, who was just shy of 20 when he was crowned in 1904.

The lone Canadian in the race, Hugo Houle, a support rider for the Astana Pro Team, finished 47th. The 29-year-old from Sainte-Perpetue, Que., finished 91st in last year’s Tour.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Sports

JONES: Gary Bettman sings praises for Edmonton as Hub City – Edmonton Sun

Published

on


Article content continued

“I think we need a better sense of when we’re going to get to normalcy before we can commit to any dates.

“As it relates to the World Juniors, I think part of the announcement was an indication from the Oilers organization was what they learned from working with us helped make them a better candidate and a more viable candidate for the world juniors and to whatever extent we can be helpful to making the world junior championships a success, we would of course be willing to do that.

“The cooperation and the expertise we got from the organization that you have here in Edmonton was a critical element in making the logistics of this work and in making this building work as everybody envisioned it could because it’s world class, state-of-the-art. We’re grateful of that support and anything we can do to replay it, you know we will.”

The session that included Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly who Bettman maintained to be the man who actively headed the entire operation, went on for more than an hour. It included a endless parade of reporters asking about next season and Bettman and Daly taking turns on answering them that they had no idea.

“Anything that anybody suggests or reads or writes or commentates about next season is nothing more than speculation,” said Bettman.

“Dec. 1 has always been a notional date. I will not be surprised if it slips into later December. It could slip into January. There’s still too much we don’t know.

“Nobody can tell me whether or not the border between Canada and the United States is going to be open by a date certain. Nobody can tell me what the state of COVID-19 is going to be. Nobody can tell me whether we can have either socially distanced or occupied buildings,” said Bettman.

He did say his intention is still to play a full 82-game schedule, plus playoffs.

One thing for sure, Gary Bettman and the NHL have so far come out of this looking brlliant.

And just for fun, because Bettman has come to have a sense of humor about it, maybe he should get Chief Content Officer Steve Mayer to put on some canned crowd noise of the fans booing, just to make it feel normal when he presents the Cup.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending