Thursday, March 31, 2011



Josh McFadden and Michael Sgarbossa scored goals 58 seconds apart early in the third period Thursday night and the Sudbury Wolves rallied for a 5-3 victory over the Ottawa 67's to complete a surprising sweep of their first-round Ontario Hockey League playoff series.

The 67's scored first and were up 3-1 at one point, but the Wolves scored four unanswered goals. McFadden scored the winner when his shot from the point changed direction off a 67's player and beat Petr Mrazek at 6:35 of the third, period less than a minute after Sgarbossa's second goal of the game.

"It's the kind of thing we had all series, we just never gave up," Sgarbossa said.

Sgarbossa and Joshua Leivo, with an assist, each scored shorthanded while Eric O'Dell scored into an empty net with 6.9 seconds remaining to seal the win for the Wolves.

The second-seeded 67's were playing in their home rink for the first time in the best-of-seven matchup. They opened the series at Scotiabank Place, home of the NHL's Ottawa Senators, before playing twice in Sudbury.

However, it will be the 67's only home playoff game after dropping four straight to the underdog Wolves, who were seventh in the Eastern Conference during the season, finishing 31 points back of the 67's.

"We knew all along (people) weren't expecting too much of us and that's what we wanted," Sgarbossa said.

Elsewhere in the OHL, it was: Niagara 4, Brampton 1; London 5, Owen Sound 2 and Saginaw 4, Guelph 3.

At Ottawa, Gregory Jambrosich had two assists and Alain Valiquette made 34 saves for Sudbury, which lost forward Marcus Foligno in the first period after he was given a five-minute major and game misconduct for a hit to the head of Adam Sedlak. The 67's defenceman left the game with an apparent shoulder or collarbone injury and didn't return.

Dalton Smith had two goals, including a power-play marker, and Shane Prince also scored for Ottawa.

Tyler Toffoli recorded two assists and Mrazek finished with 32 stops.


IceDogs 4, Battalion 1

At Brampton, Ont., Andrew Aggozino scored twice as Niagara beat the Battallion to complete a first round sweep.

Johnson Andrews and Myles Doan also counted for the IceDogs.

Stephon Thorne replied for Brampton.

Mark Visentin made 28 saves for Niagara. Cody St. Jacques was chased from the Battalion net after giving up four goals on 11 shots. Matej Machovsky stopped all 13 shots he faced.


Knights 5, Attack 2

At London, Ont., Jared Knight scored twice to pace the Knights to a win over Owen Sound.

London evened the best-of-seven Western Conference quarter-final 2-2, with Game 5 slated for Owen Sound, Ont., on Saturday.

Dane Fox, Matt Rupert and Seth Griffith also beat Attack goalie Jordan Binnington and chased the 17-year-old by the eight-minute mark of the third period. Binnington allowed five goals on 40 shots and was replaced by Tampa Bay prospect Michael Zador.

Dylan MacEachern and Sacha Guimond each had a pair of assists for London, the No. 8 seed in the conference.

Owen Sound, which won 46 of 68 games in the regular season to lead the Western Conference standings, got goals from Keevin Cutting and Brendan Childerley.

Michael Houser stopped 35 shots for the Attack.


Spirit 4, Storm 3

Ay Guelph, Ont., Mavric Parks made 30 saves, including 14 in a big second period, and Saginaw edged the Storm.

The Western Conference quarter-final series is tied 2-2. Game 5 is Saturday in Saginaw, Mich.

The Spirit scored all their goals on 16 shots in a busy second period for both goaltenders. Jordan Swarz, Brad Walch, John McFarland and Josh Shalla all beat Guelph goalie Brandon Foote. Ryan O'Connor added two assists.

Francis Menard scored twice for Guelph, while Kyle Pereira had the other goal. Foote finished with 26 saves.

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{allcanada} NHL: Replays of Flames shot inconclusive


It wasn't the most painful disallowed goal in Calgary Flames history, but the one in the second period of their 4-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks still hurt.

Television viewers and most of the 19,289 Saddledome fans on Wednesday night thought Tim Jackman had tied the score at 2-2 with five minutes left in the middle period of a game that was critical to the Flames' playoff hopes.

Replays appear to show the puck well over the line, sitting on top of Anaheim goaltender Ray Emery's blocker. But it was ruled no goal on the ice and a lengthy review at the NHL control centre in Toronto didn't see enough to overturn the call, even on the slightly fuzzy overhead view seen repeatedly on TV.

"None of the video review angles could conclusively tell that the puck was over the goal line," an NHL spokesman said Thursday.

A puck had gone off Matt Stajan's arm into the crease, players piled in and Jackman looked to have poked it in amid the wild scramble.

"I'm telling you it was in, that's all I can say," Stajan said later.

The replay also showed Anaheim's Ryan Getzlaf sneak a hand into the net and take what looked to be the puck away, although he said later it wasn't him.

Shortly after, Lubomir Visnovsky scored to give the Ducks a 3-1 lead.

The loss dealt a severe blow to Calgary's playoff hopes. It left the Flames in a tie with Dallas in ninth place in the Western conference with 87 points, three points behind Chicago, who held the eighth and final playoff position.

But Calgary, now with four games left in the regular season, has played two more games than Chicago and three more than Dallas.

And the Flames put themselves in trouble by going into a 3-5-2 skid in their last 10 games.

Many Flames fans still burn over what may have been a goal late in Game 6 of the 2004 Stanley Cup final, when Martin Gelinas' shot looked to have just got over the line before Tampa Bay goalie Nikolai Khabibulin swept it out with his right pad. That one also wasn't counted.

If it has, the Flames would almost certainly have won their second Stanley Cup, but the Lightning prevailed and then won the Cup at home in Game 7.

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{allcanada} Canucks win Presidents' Trophy


VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP)—Vancouver defenseman Christian Ehrhoff(notes) scored the go-ahead goal with 0.9 seconds left in the second period and the Canucks won their first Presidents' Trophy for the NHL's best record with a 3-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday night.

Daniel Sedin(notes) tied it with 5 minutes left in the second period, then added his NHL-leading 100th point of the season by setting up Ryan Kesler's(notes) goal on a two-man advantage with 4:26 left in the third. Roberto Luongo(notes) made 18 saves to help the Canucks win their fifth straight game and 12th in the last 13.

Vancouver, which wrapped up the Western Conference in its previous game, celebrated its 40th season by adding to a franchise record with 113 points (52-17-9), 11 more than the second-place Philadelphia atop the NHL standings. The Flyers, who lost 1-0 to Atlanta, only have five games left and can't catch the Canucks.

Kyle Clifford(notes) scored for the Kings, but was tossed out of the game and given a major penalty for checking from behind after hitting Canucks defenseman Chris Tanev(notes) face-first into the end boards. Matt Greene(notes) took a penalty for cross-checking Kesler, who rounded out the scoring on the 5-on-3.

Jonathan Quick(notes) made 32 saves for Los Angeles, which had a four-game win streak snapped and failed on a chance to move past Phoenix and into fourth place.

After Kesler had a goal called back because it crossed the line right after the horn sounded to end the first period, Ehrhoff beat the buzzer to end the second frame. Kings defenseman Drew Doughty(notes), caught deep on a rush of his own, hustled back to turn a 3-on-1 rush into a 3-on-2, but ended up screening Quick as Ehrhoff snapped a shot through both of them from the high slot.

The Kings were playing their second game since losing top scorer Anze Kopitar(notes) to torn ankle ligaments that required surgery, and their fourth since No. 2 scorer Justin Williams(notes) went out with a dislocated shoulder. But Los Angeles outshot the Canucks 11-7 in the first period, and led thanks to a nice play from Doughty.

Doughty was alone at the left side of the net and patiently waited for Luongo to go down before sending a pass across the ice to Clifford at the bottom of the faceoff circle for a quick shot past a diving Luongo.

Sedin tied it with 5 minutes left in the second period, holding and dragging the puck back into the middle on a 2-on-1 with Victor Oreskovich(notes) and firing a shot from the slot past Quick's glove second before being hammered by Doughty as he caught up on the back check. It was the 41st goal of the season for Sedin, who forced Quick into a tough save alone in tight a minute later.

An already physical game featuring plenty of post-whistle pushing and shoving got ugly late. First Kings forward Michael Handzus crashed hard into the boards after an awkward collision with defenseman Aaron Rome(notes). Then 2 minutes later, Clifford hit Tanev, sending both players out of the game.

NOTES: Los Angeles didn't manage a shot in the third period. … Vancouver D Alex Edler, who hasn't played since Jan. 24 after having back surgery, and D Andrew Alberts(notes), out since Feb. 14 with a broken wrist, are both skating and could return to practice Friday. D Dan Hamhuis(notes), who missed his second game with a concussion, could also return before the playoffs.

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{allcanada} Backstrom backstops Wild to 4-2 win over Oilers


ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP)—The Minnesota Wild finally gave their fans a reason to stand and cheer.

Outscored 22-8 over four losses in a row on home ice, they faced just the right foe for stopping the slide, the Edmonton Oilers.

Goalie Niklas Backstrom(notes) ended a six-start winless streak, beating his favorite opponent in the Wild's 4-2 victory over the Oilers on Thursday night.

Backstrom, who made 33 saves, has never lost to the Oilers, improving to 14-0 in his career against them. The Wild beat Edmonton at home for the 16th straight time, matching the longest current run of consecutive home wins against one team in the NHL. They've outscored the Oilers 58-21 during the stretch.

Backstrom shrugged off that success like he always does.

"For me I don't really think about it," Backstrom said. "I think I try to approach every team the same way. It doesn't matter who we play against."

Wild coach Todd Richards, though, had a theory.

"I think there is a psyche to it. I really do," he said. "It's almost one of those things where you're waiting for bad things to happen just because of the way things have gone in the past with playing in a certain building."

Oilers defenseman Tom Gilbert(notes) offered his own bad-luck view.

"We're just not getting the bounces here," he said. "Obviously it's a tough start when two goals go off your own skate. It's tough to come back from that."

Gilbert and Linus Omark(notes) each had power-play goals—a rarity for Edmonton's struggling special teams unit—but speaking of streaks: The last-place Oilers fell to 0-8-3 in their last 11 games.

Credit Backstrom, again.

"He stands on his head a lot when he's playing against us, and that's why he's a great goalie," Gilbert said. "He's tough to beat. We gave ourselves a lot of opportunities and back-door plays, and he covers the net as well as anyone in the league."

Nikolai Khabibulin(notes) started his seventh straight game in goal for Edmonton without a win, his last coming on Feb. 17. He was unlucky at first, with Antti Miettinen's(notes) goal glancing of Ladislav Smid's(notes) skate, and Marek Zidlicky's(notes) hitting off Jeff Petry's(notes) in a span of 35 seconds midway through the first period.

The Oilers played hard, though, despite several of their top skaters finished for the season due to injuries.

"We're not packing it in," coach Tom Renney said. "We're not quitting in any games. We're not quitting in a single period, and we're not quitting in a shift. As much as that seems like cosmetic surgery, it's real. If you're going to redefine your team and you're going to rebuild an organization, you'd better start with that first and foremost."

Sam Gagner(notes), Taylor Hall(notes) and Ales Hemsky(notes) headline the list of absences. Those are their top three scorers.

"You can only imagine what this would look like if we had some other players here," Renney said. "We don't. We're not going to dwell on it. This is it, and that's that."

This late-season tilt between division foes was one of those try-not-to-get-hurt games, but Miettinen took a face-first spill into the boards on a cross-check by Jim Vandermeer(notes), shortly after a four-minute high-stick penalty on Miettinen. There were other mini-scuffles that broke out, too, though no serious injuries were apparent.

Brad Staubitz(notes) and Martin Havlat(notes) also scored for Minnesota, which has won two in a row since an eight-game winless streak that ended all hope of a playoff spot.

"That stint we went through was really tough on all the guys mentally," Staubitz said. "That was something we needed as a group, a good team win like that."

But perspective was pervasive.

"There's always that empty feeling. You win the game and you're happy you won the game, but you always want more," Richards said. "From now until the end of the year that's the way I'm going to feel. Hopefully everyone else feels the same way."

NOTES: Oilers rookie Chris Vande Velde(notes), a high school star in Moorhead, Minn., played his first pro game in his home state. … Gilbert, of Bloomington, is also a Minnesotan. Cullen, from Moorhead, notched his 500th career point and ranks eighth in NHL history in scoring by Minnesota natives. Phil Housley is the leader. … Gilbert scored for the first time in 49 games since Dec. 10.

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{allcanada} Canucks clinch 1st Presidents' Trophy


The Vancouver Canucks clinched the Presidents' Trophy for the first time since entering the NHL in 1970 by beating the Los Angeles Kings 3-1 on Thursday night.

The win, combined with Philadelphia's 1-0 loss to Atlanta, gives the Canucks 113 points, assuring them of finishing first in the regular-season standings  for the first time. They also finished March with a 13-2-0 record, setting a team mark for the most wins in a single month.

NHL scoring leader Daniel Sedin had a goal and an assist to become the first player this season to reach 100 points.

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{allcanada} Mad Men Deal Is Finally Done! AMC Renews Don Draper & Co. for Two Seasons.and Possibly More! 

Cheers, Mad Men fans!

After some back and forth and lots of drama involving showrunner Matt Weiner, AMC and Lionsgate have announced that Mad Men has been renewed for a fifth and sixth season. And yes, Weiner will stay on as show runner.

And if the chips fall in their proper place, Mad Men might be seeing a seventh season as well…

Weiner says in a statement: "I want to thank all of our wonderful fans for their support. I also want to thank AMC and Lionsgate for agreeing to support the artistic freedom of myself, the cast and the crew so that we can continue to make the show exactly as we have from the beginning. I'm excited to get started on the next chapter of our story."

Along with announcing the multiple season deal for Mad Men, it was revealed that Matt Weiner himself has also signed a new three-year deal with Lionsgate, which likely means Mad Men will see a seventh season.

But that's it.

"These will be the last three seasons," Weiner told "I'm going to take it one year at a time without the distraction to ever have to go through this again. I'm incredibly grateful for the the outpouring of support and overwhelmed that I get to finish telling the stories I want to tell."

Despite all the controversy surrounding salary requirements and cast firings, Mad Men fans can now breathe a sigh of relief. You will be getting more television from your Men for years to come.

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{allcanada} Greening scores twice, Senators beat Panthers

SUNRISE, Fla. (AP)—Rookie Colin Greening(notes) scored twice in the second period and the Ottawa Senators completed a season sweep of the Florida Panthers with a 4-1 victory Thursday night.

Nick Foligno(notes) and Filip Kuba(notes) also scored for the Senators, who have won six in a row against Florida dating to last season. Marek Svatos(notes) had two assists.

Craig Anderson(notes) made 37 saves to improve to 9-4-1 since being acquired in a trade with Colorado in February.

Michal Repik(notes) scored for the Panthers, whose season-high losing streak stretched to seven games.

Scott Clemmensen(notes), starting in goal with Tomas Vokoun(notes) nursing a back injury, stopped 19 shots.

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{allcanada} Maple Leafs beat Bruins 4-3 in shootout

BOSTON (AP)—Nazem Kadri(notes) scored the only shootout goal to help the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Boston Bruins 4-3 on Thursday night.

With the point for reaching overtime, the Bruins clinched a tie for the Northeast Division title. The next Boston win or loss by Montreal will give the Bruins the division title.

Toronto is 10th in the Eastern Conference, five points behind seventh-place Buffalo and the New York Rangers for one of the eight playoff spots.

Joffrey Lupul(notes) scored twice for Toronto, Luke Scheen added a goal and former Bruins forward Phil Kessel(notes) had a pair of assists. Brad Marchand(notes), David Krejci(notes) and Andrew Ference(notes) scored for Boston.

Bruins goalie Tim Thomas(notes), who made 28 saves, made a right-pad save on Mikhail Grabovski's(notes) penalty shot 43 seconds into overtime, but Kadri beat him with a backhand shot over the left shoulder in the shootout.

Tyler Seguin(notes), Michael Ryder(notes) and Rich Peverley(notes) each failed in the shootout for the Bruins. James Reimer(notes) made a glove stop on Peverley to end it.

Grabovski was awarded the penalty shot when he was hooked by Steven Kampfer after beating Zdeno Chara(notes) for a clean breakaway. Thomas also made a sliding right-pad save on that scoring bid.

Boston had a power play for the final 1:05 of overtime after Lupul was whistled for slashing, but Reimer made a couple of good stops on long-range shots. He finished with 35 saves.

Lupul's second of the game tied it at 3 with just over 12 minutes left in the third period. He slipped a wrister past Thomas from the right circle.

Trailing 1-0, the Bruins came out strong in the second period after limited number of scoring chances in the first.

Marchand's short-handed goal tied it just 2:09 into the period. He collected a loose puck nearly center ice, shifted around winger Clarke MacArthur(notes) and lifted a backhander by Reimer for his fifth short-handed goal of the season.

Krejci's goal gave Boston a 2-1 edge just 59 seconds later when he redirected Milan Lucic's(notes) pass into the net from the top of the crease.

But Toronto tied it at 2 on Lupul's power-play goal at 7:06 before the Bruins took the lead on Ference's goal 1:25 later. Ference charged from the point to a loose puck along the boards and fired a shot that deflected off a Maple Leafs player and between Reimer's pads.

The Maple Leafs grabbed a 1-0 lead on Scheen's goal 7:06 into the opening period. His shot from the left point deflected off a Boston player in front and caromed past Thomas.

NOTES: Chara left the bench late in the second period and didn't return until early in the third. … Boston LW Shawn Thornton(notes) missed the game after suffering a 40-stitch gash on his forehead Tuesday night in a victory over Chicago. … Lucic assisted on the second goal, making him just the 10th player in the NHL since 2004-05 with 30 goals, 30 assists and 100 penalty minutes in a season. He added to those numbers with a crowd-pleasing fight with Jay Rosehill(notes) later in the period.

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NAKISKA, Alta. -- Julien Cousineau won his first career national title in Thursday's two-run slalom at the GMC Canadian Championships.

Cousineau, of Lachute, Que., crossed the finish line with a time of one minute 33.75 seconds.

"My first run was really good," said the 29-year-old who was more than 0.50 seconds ahead of everyone after the first run. "The second run was a little harder and the ruts were really big. My strategy in the second run was to keep my advance from the first run and win. It's my first Canadian title so I'm really happy about that."

Cousineau comes from a family of skiers. His dad, Alain Cousineau, was part of the National Team in the seventies and won the slalom Canadian Championship title in 1974.

"My dad won a title when he was a racer and he always teased about having one and me not having one," said Cousineau.

Marie-Michele Gagnon won her third title this week in Thursday's race finishing first in the slalom event, almost two seconds ahead of everyone.

Gagnon, who already won Wednesday's giant slalom and Sunday's super combined title earlier this week, finished with a two-run combined time of 1:33.57

"It went really well today," said the Lac-Etchemin, Que., native. "I am happy because I'm racing on new boots right now and I tried on new settings that I wouldn't have tried if I was racing World Cup races.

"What was good is that I wasn't nervous at the beginning of the race to not finish the race, I was nervous because I wanted to do well."

This is Gagnon's sixth career national title. Her first one was in 2000 as she won the super combined in Le Massif, Que.

"It was a really good week for me," added Gagnon. "My goal this week was to try and score downhill points but I wasn't able too, so I'm a little disappointed by that.

"What is good is that I managed to win every event that I am in the top-30 in World Cup. That shows how consistent my skiing has been."

Erin Mielzynski, of Guelph, Ont., was the runner-up, finishing second with a time of 1:35.60.

Third place went to Brittany Phelan, of Mont-Tremblant, Que., who crossed the finish line with a two-run combined time of 1:35.94.

On the men's side, Paul Stutz, of Banff, Alta., finished in second place with a time of 1:34.01.

"That was a lot of work, with a lot of turns," said Stutz.

Third place went to Calgary's Brad Spence who crossed the finish line with a time of 1:34.70.

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{allcanada} Oilers ink CIS star Tremblay 

The Edmonton Oilers have agreed to terms with free agent left-winger Hunter Tremblay on a one-year, two-way contract, the team announced on Thursday.

Tremblay, 25, finished his fourth year with the University of New Brunswick, appearing in 27 games collecting a team best 44 points (22G, 22A).

Tremblay was named the 2010 CIS Player of the Year when he collected 25 goals and 32 assists in 27 games. He was the only player in the country to average over two points per game (2.11). He also led the CIS with eight game-winning goals, five short-handed goals on the way to leading his team to a 27-1-0 record.

The 5'11", 200-pound Timmins, Ontario native spent five seasons with the Barrie Colts in the Ontario Hockey League recording 115 goals and 159 assists for 284 points in 317 games before electing to attend UNB.

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{allcanada} Ryan Reynolds: Sexiest Man Alive to play a snail

When the reigning Sexiest Man Alive signs up for more voice work in animated films, there is always a downside: Less screen time for those fab abs. But simply hearing Ryan Reynolds speak can be a sweet experience, too.

The in-demand actor already has a DreamWorks cartoon feature coming out in March 2013, the caveman-era comedy The Croods. But USA TODAY's Susan Wloszczyna has learned exclusively that Reynolds will next speak for a garden snail who dreams of winning the Indy 500 in the studio's June 2013 release, Turbo.

Hmm, cars in an animated feature. Sounds kind of familiar. However, having such a pokey slug who magically turns into a speed demon does offer fresh possibilities.

As director David Soren (Merry Madagascar), who dreamt up the premise, explains, "Dropping one of the world's slowest creatures into the high-speed world of motor sport was the launching point for a heartfelt underdog story and a racing movie with a brand new point of view."

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