EDMONTON — Alexander Radulov had two goals and an assist as the top Dallas line finally came to life, and the Stars beat the Colorado Avalanche 5-3 on Saturday night to open the second-round Western Conference playoff series.
After that top line of Radulov, captain Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin had no points in the Stars’ seven-goal finale in the opening series, the trio combined for a goal four minutes into Game 1 against Colorado, and teamed up for another goal in the second period.
Hart Trophy finalist Nathan MacKinnon had two goals and had an assist for the Avalanche, who lost top goalie Philipp Grubauer to an injury early in the second period. Colorado defenceman Erik Johnson was severely limited after his right leg appeared to awkwardly turn midway through the first period, though returned for the start of the second before leaving the bench again late in the period.
Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is Monday night.
Seguin opened the scoring with his first goal of this post-season, taking Benn’s pass from behind the net. Benn had three assists and Seguin also had an assist. The eight points by that top line were only two fewer than they combined for in the first nine post-season games.
Former Colorado player Blake Comeau and Roope Hintz also had their first goals of the post-season for the Stars. The shot by Hintz provided a cushion midway through the third period.
The Stars led 3-1 late in the first period after Benn got control of a bouncing puck for an odd-man rush. He made a cross-ice pass to Radulov, who then scored on a slight backhander through the legs of Grubauer.
Colorado’s goalie went face down on the ice after pushing away a shot with his right skate in the second period. He stayed that way for several moments before being helped off and replaced by Pavel Francouz, who had 27 saves in a 4-0 shutout over the Stars in round-robin play 2 1/2 weeks earlier in Edmonton.
After Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog got his first goal of the post-season, a nifty poke around the post after going past the net to get within 3-2 five minutes into the second period, Radulov got his second goal to restore the Stars’ two-goal lead right after coming back on the ice.
Radulov was behind the coverage and got in an odd-man rush with Seguin, whose hard shot ricocheted off Francouz. Radulov scored on the rebound for his fourth playoff goal.
Dallas never trailed, though MacKinnon got the puck from Landeskog and took a shot from above the circles that got past Khudobin to tie the game just more than a minute after Radulov’s first goal. Comeau put the Stars ahead to stay on his 57-foot shot that deflected off the stick of Avs defender Ryan Graves midway through the first.
Anton Khudobin had 28 saves for Dallas, including a sliding save when have to come all the way across the net to stop a shot by Landeskog with about seven minutes left in the first period. That came about a minute after defenceman John Klingberg knocked a puck away to keep Colorado’s Ian Cole from being to take advantage of an open net after a rebound.
Grubauer, who was 5-0-1 with a 1.49 goals against average and .937 save percentage coming in, allowed three goals on 10 shots. Francouz stopped 18 of 20 shots.
NOTES: The Avalanche pulled Francouz off the ice with 3:24 left, though they got only two shots on goal with an extra skater. Khudobin stopped one of them without his stick that had gotten stuck in the net, securing it with his hands. … MacKinnon, the NHL points leader this post-season with 16 (six goals, 10 assists), has a point in all nine games for the Avalanche, one short of Joe Sakic’s franchise record for the longest point streak to begin a post-season.
More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
New York Mets vs. Tampa Bay Rays – 9/23/20 MLB Pick, Odds, and Prediction – Sports Chat Place
Tampa Bay Rays (36-19) at New York Mets (24-30)
MLB Baseball: Wednesday, September 23, 2020 at 7:10 pm (Citi Field)
Tyler Glasnow (4-1) (4.21) vs. Michael Wacha (1-3) (6.75)
The Line: New York Mets +190 / Tampa Bay Rays -210 — Over/Under:
Click Here for the Latest Odds
The Tampa Bay Rays and the New York Mets meet Wednesday in MLB action from Citi Field.
This will be the third and final installment in a three-game series between the Mets and Rays this week. Tampa Bay landed the first blow with a 2-1 win on Monday. In the Tuesday game two, the Mets were able to strike back with a 5-2 victory of their own. Check back all season long for free MLB picks and MLB predictions at Sports Chat Place.
The Rays posted just five hits to the Mets’ 10 in the Tuesday loss, and could only come up with a pair of runs. Willy Adames put up a solo homer with two runs for Tampa Bay in that one, and starting pitcher Blake Snell took the loss with 5.2 innings, three earned runs, six hits, three walks and nine strikouts.
For the Wednesday starting pitcher outing, Tampa Bay will go with Tyler Glasnow. In his 10 starts this year, Glasnow has a 4-1 record with a 4.21 ERA and 83 Ks in 51.1 innings. Over his MLB career, Glasnow is 14-18 with a 4.46 ERA and 375 Ks in 309.0 innings.
Over on the Mets’ side, starting pitcher Seth Lugo put up 6.1 innings in a win on Tuesday with four hits, two runs (one earned), one walk and seven strikeouts. Pete Alonso slapped a homer with three RBI and two hits on the night.
In the Wednesday game three starter job, the Mets are going with Michael Wacha. In his seven games (six starts) this year, Wacha is 1-3 with a 6.75 ERA and 33 Ks in 28.0 innings. Across his MLB career, Wacha is 60-42 with a 4.00 ERA and 792 Ks in 895.2 innings of work.
The Rays are 12-2 in their last 14 games following a loss and 4-1 in their last five Wednesday games. Tampa Bay is 18-6 in their last 24 road games and 12-4 in their last 16 games as a road favorite.
Meanwhile, the Mets are 14-3 in their last 17 Wednesday games and 2-5 in their last seven home games. New York is 6-16 in their last 22 games as an underdog and 24-53 in their last 77 games as a home underdog.
Pick: Going Rays again here. There aren’t a lot of teams I’d pick over Tampa Bay right now; they’re just cooking. Glasnow has been great lately as well, with at least seven strikeouts in each of his last seven starts. In all likelihood, this will be Glasnow’s final start before the playoffs begin, and he’s got a nice opportunity to help the Rays put one of the final nails in the Mets’ 2020 season coffin.
Tampa Bay Rays -210
Blue Jays rout Yankees, inch closer to playoff berth – TSN
BUFFALO, United States — The Toronto Blue Jays showed Wednesday night why they could be a dangerous wild-card team in the playoffs.
Danny Jansen hit two solo homers as the Blue Jays used a 16-hit attack and eight-run sixth inning to bulldoze the New York Yankees 14-1 at Sahlen Field. Jansen had four hits and three runs to help the Blue Jays move closer to nailing down a playoff berth.
“Putting ourselves in this spot is a great feeling,” Jansen said. “But we’ve still got work to do.”
Toronto (29-27) trimmed its magic number to one with the victory and can secure its first post-season spot since 2016 with a win in Thursday’s series finale.
Cavan Biggio scored three times, Randal Grichuk added a pair of runs and Vladimir Guerrero Jr., had three RBIs. Starter Robbie Ray was effective over four-plus innings and A.J. Cole threw a scoreless fifth inning for the win.
Under Major League Baseball’s expanded playoff structure, 16 teams will reach the post-season. Division winners will be seeded No. 1 through No. 3 in each league, second-place teams will be seeded fourth through sixth, and two third-place wild-card teams will get the seventh and eighth seeds.
The Los Angeles Angels, currently ninth in the AL, kept their faint playoff hopes alive earlier Wednesday with a 5-2 win over the San Diego Padres.
Facing veteran right-hander Masahiro Tanaka (3-3), the Blue Jays took advantage of a couple breaks to put up two quick runs in the first inning.
With Biggio on after a leadoff walk, Teoscar Hernandez hit a double-play ball up the middle that took an unexpected high bounce near the lip of the grass and rolled into the outfield.
Guerrero stroked a single that scored Biggio with the game’s first run. Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez tried to pick the young slugger off first base but a wide throw went down the right-field line as Hernandez trotted home.
Ray breezed through the first inning but issued two walks in the second. Gio Urshela singled to load the bases and a passed ball allowed Luke Voit to score the Yankees’ lone run.
New York loaded the bases with none out in the fifth inning. But Cole (3-0) held off the heart of the Yankees’ order by fanning Giancarlo Stanton and getting Voit — who leads the majors in homers — on an infield fly and then Gleyber Torres on a flyout.
“That was really the game,” Jansen said. “Saving that was huge for us. Bases loaded, no outs, coming in and getting that. There’s a lot of momentum swing right there.”
Toronto followed New York’s lead by putting its first three batters on base in the sixth. The Blue Jays took full advantage by batting around with a two-run single by Lourdes Gurriel Jr., and Biggio’s two-run double serving as highlight blows.
The victory came a day after New York dumped Toronto 12-1.
“Today was a big game after yesterday,” said Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo. “That’s what they’ve done all year — come back from top losses. It was great to see, facing another good pitcher like Tanaka, coming back tonight and scoring all those runs. A big win for us.”
New York (32-24) had four hits and a season-high four errors. The Yankees have a magic number of one to secure a second-place finish in the East Division.
Ray, who was pulled after the first two batters reached in the fifth, allowed three hits, four walks and had five strikeouts. Tanaka gave up three earned runs, eight hits and three walks while striking out five.
Jansen, who went deep off Tanaka in the fourth, added another shot in the eighth off Yankees catcher Erik Kratz, giving the Toronto backstop six homers on the season.
Toronto was a wild-card entry when it last reached the post-season four years ago. The Blue Jays went on to reach the AL Championship Series for the second straight year.
Notes: Ross Stripling threw four shutout innings of relief for his first save. … The game took three hours 39 minutes to play. … The Blue Jays will send ace Hyun-Jin Ryu (4-2, 3.00 ERA) to the mound on Thursday. The Yankees will also start a left-hander in Jordan Montgomery (2-2, 5.12). … The Blue Jays will close out their regular season with a three-game weekend series against the Baltimore Orioles.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 23, 2020.
Follow @GregoryStrongCP on Twitter.
Lightning’s Stamkos returns, scores in Game 3 of Cup Final vs. Stars – Sportsnet.ca
Steven Stamkos is back.
The Tampa Bay Lightning captain is playing his first NHL game since February as he returns to the ice for Game 3 of the team’s Stanley Cup Final matchup with the Dallas Stars on Wednesday.
And in his third shift of the game, Stamkos buried a goal over the blocker of Stars goalie Anton Khudobin. Stamkos took a pass in the neutral zone from Victor Hedman, glided into the Stars’ zone and sniped a shot past Khudobin to lift Tampa Bay to a 2-0 lead in the first period.
Stamkos had yet to suit up in the 2020 post-season, suffering an injury before the Lightning reconvened from the season pause to begin training. The centreman’s last game came on Feb. 25 — amid a 15-game, 22-point scoring streak — after having core muscle surgery. 210 days have passed since then. The 30-year-old finished the campaign with 66 points across 57 games.
The Cup Final is level at one game apiece after the Lightning’s 3-2 win over the Stars on Monday.
Watch Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Dallas Stars at 8 p.m. ET/ 5 p.m. PT on Sportsnet and SN NOW.
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