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The Candiens overcame adversity through the power play – Habs Eyes on the Prize

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Tuesday night could have gone badly for the Montreal Canadiens. The Vancouver Canucks were good, the officiating was not, and through 40 minutes it was very hard to envision the Habs leaving Vancouver with two points.

With the way things have been going lately for the Tricolore, it seemed inevitable that the home team would be taking the win.

An absurd tripping call on Tomas Tatar gave the Canucks their first and only lead of the night. Tatar has admittedly been in the box more than you want to see this year, but it’s quite hard to jump on him for that particular infraction when Jake Virtanen went down easier than my first beer after a long week at work.

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Then the officials inexplicably called back a goal for the Canadiens, ostensibly due to goaltender interference. It would have made it 2-1 for the Habs heading into the third, but somehow Artturi Lehkonen was guilty of obstruction despite clearly being pushed into Jacob Markstrom.

There was every reason to believe that the Habs were going to lose, especially given their recent misfortune and inability to generate goals. It almost felt inevitable.

Then, the third period happened.

The power play was crucial to the reversal of fortune on the night. They didn’t get a single opportunity through 40 minutes, but they got one early in the third, and made quick work of breaking the tie thanks to a crazy effort by Phillip Danault to set up Tomas Tatar.

And since Danault drew a penalty to boot, they went right back to work with Shea Weber extending the lead. I know how shocked our readers will be to hear this; but I was going to write a lengthy and pointed complaint about the officials until the Habs power play made that a moot point. I appreciate them saving me from that misery.

The power play has been the biggest improvement this team has seen over last year. It is still middling in the NHL on the season, but that is a significant leap from what they were a year ago. They are at least somewhat dangerous, and they were rewarded for that in Vancouver.

Danault — and I can’t stress this enough — made an absurdly beautiful play to both draw a penalty, and set up a goal to capitalize on that which was already on the board. Weber found himself all alone on the back door during the penalty that Danault drew, and he dunked it.

Carey Price played very well, and he deserved to get the result he did. The Habs could have floated around feeling sorry for themselves about the questionable Zebra decisions, but they went out and did right by their goaltender. Ironically, the Zebras doing what they’re there to do created the chances to make it right. Thankfully, the Habs capitalized on those chances.

There is still a lot of work to do, and here’s to hoping that the Canadiens can deal with adversity the way they did last night.

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Lionel Messi brings magic in Inter Miami's 2024 opener: "He's motivated" | MLSSoccer.com – MLSsoccer.com

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Luis Suárez makes debut for Inter Miami: “I’m so happy”

National Writer: Charles Boehm

Real Salt Lake sniff out Inter Miami weak spots: “They can make mistakes as well”

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New England Revolution solve CA Independiente in Concacaf Champions Cup

Lionel Messi brings magic in Inter Miami’s 2024 opener: “He’s motivated”

Messi & Suárez assist as Inter Miami start 2024 with win over RSL

HIGHLIGHTS: Inter Miami CF vs. Real Salt Lake | February 21, 2024

Goal: D. Gómez vs. RSL, 83′

Goal: R. Taylor vs. RSL, 39′

WATCH: MLS Commissioner Don Garber talks 2024 season kickoff

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McAvoy, Bruins recover after blowing 3-goal lead, defeat Oilers in OT – NHL.com

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“I think that’s an identity of ours,” Bruins goalie Jeremy Swayman said. “It was not exactly how we drew it up, but it was really special to get those two points and the way we did it through adversity and their push, I think that’s really something special for our group moving forward. The mentality our group has is just do whatever you need to do to win, no matter whether it’s a 1-0 game or a 6-5 game, we’re going to do whatever it takes to win.

“We know how valuable every point in this league is, especially at this stage in the year, and it’s really special to see our group come together and fight through no matter what comes our way.”

David Pastrnak and Jake DeBrusk each had a goal and an assist, and Mason Lohrei had three assists for the Bruins (34-12-11), who have won the first two of a four-game road trip. Swayman made 37 saves.

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“I just loved the way we kept forging ahead,” Boston coach Jim Montgomery said. “We didn’t worry about what happened, positively or negatively, I thought we continued to play. Obviously, they had a great push by a great team in the third period and it kind of snowballed, but we went right back to work afterward.

“When they made it 4-4, the next four minutes I thought we controlled the game and started to push back. We got the ‘Pasta’ goal and they came back, it was great for the fans.”

Warren Foegele scored twice, and Connor McDavid had two assists to extend his home point streak to 20 games for the Oilers (33-18-2), who had won two in a row and nine straight at home. Skinner made 30 saves.

McDavid, who has 14 assists in his past five games and 64 to lead the NHL this season, has 12 goals and 36 assists during his 20-game home point streak. He became the sixth player in NHL history to have multiple 20-game home point streaks (21 games last season).

Foegele moved up to Edmonton’s top line with McDavid and Hyman because Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (illness) was out.

“We missed him, but throughout the year you’re going to be missing some of your better players,” Oilers coach Kris Knoblauch said. “It’s an opportunity for somebody to stand up and an opportunity for Foegele tonight. He absolutely stood up.”

Foegele cut it to 4-2 at 15:27 of the second period after backhanding in a centering pass by Hyman.

“It’s great that we got that point, and we fought our way back,” Foegele said. “But it just felt like a game where we made a really good push. I really thought we were going to get the win. We’ve got to have a better second period. It felt like today, even though the goals were going in, that we actually had a better second period.

“But it’s something that’s bleeding into our game, and something we know we’ve got to improve on.”

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Blue Jays slugger Guerrero Jr. has ‘no hard feelings’ after salary arbitration case

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The Toronto Blue Jays used different approaches when it came to the delicate matter of salary arbitration with their two homegrown franchise cornerstones.

A year ago, shortstop Bo Bichette and the team agreed to a three-year deal that ensured the two sides wouldn’t go through a process that can sometimes be unpleasant. The club was unable to work out something similar with first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who won his arbitration case earlier this month.

The good news for the team is the slugger appears to be in good spirits at the team’s development complex as preparations continue for the upcoming season.

“It’s part of the business, so no hard feelings,” Guerrero said Tuesday, via interpreter Hector Lebron, in his first public comments since the decision.

Guerrero was awarded $19.9 million US when a three-person panel picked his request over the team’s offer of $18.05 million. He was on hand in Scottsdale, Ariz., for the hearing while the Blue Jays’ case was presented by a lawyer.

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The team’s decision to go the arbitration route was somewhat eyebrow-raising given the risk for potential acrimony that could impact future contract talks.

The 24-year-old first baseman, who earned $14.5 million last year, is under team control for two more seasons. Unless his contract is extended, he’ll become eligible for free agency after the 2025 campaign.

‘I’ll be ready to go’

While it can be difficult for some players to hear why their team doesn’t feel they’re worth the requested salary, Guerrero said he’s aware of how the parties had to approach the proceedings.

“I understand it’s part of the process for both sides,” Guerrero said. “In the end, you turn the page and it’s all good. I’ll be ready to go in ’24.”

The three-time all-star has produced strong offensive numbers since his rookie season in 2019. His best year came in 2021, when he finished second in the American League MVP race after hitting .311 with 48 homers and 111 RBIs.

His numbers have slipped over the last two years. He hit .264 last season with 26 homers and 94 RBIs.

When asked about the relationship and the potential for hurt feelings, Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins said it’s up to him and the team — “not on Vladdy,” he said — to make sure the arbitration was “behind us.”

“I do acknowledge that it’s not an easy process,” Atkins said at the recent MLB media day in nearby Tampa, Fla. “These are stressful things to go through. We would love to avoid that but money isn’t just the solution. There’s a process that’s in place that we have to be respectful of. We tried hard to avoid that hearing. We do not like going to hearings and would rather not be in a hearing with any player.

“Having said that, it’s in place for a reason and when the gap is too big, we have to be respectful of that process.”

Usual smiley self

Guerrero, who said he had a conversation with team brass after arriving at camp, has been his usual smiling self at camp this week.

He looked trimmer upon arrival after adjusting his workouts in the off-season. Guerrero said he feels like he did during his career year in 2021.

“I believe I had a great off-season,” he said. “I achieved all the goals that I wanted to achieve.”

Guerrero also said he used a different mental approach three years ago, one he plans to return to for the upcoming campaign.

“I’m not going to think about anything, mentally-wise, about putting up numbers,” he said. “I think it might work out. Maybe the same numbers [as ’21], maybe better.”

His bio lists him at six foot two and 245 pounds, but Guerrero appeared lighter than that on the first full workout day with all position players now in camp.

“It just allows him to be a little bit more durable and be a little bit more fresh every single day,” said Blue Jays manager John Schneider. “He plays a ton.

“So I think really taking ownership of that this off-season and showing up the way he did is exactly what we were hoping for.”

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