Saturday, March 31, 2018

{allcanada} Hamilton starts Flames' 3-goal first in 3-2 win over Oilers


CALGARY, Alberta (AP) Dougie Hamilton starts Calgary's three-goal first period and the Flames beat the Edmonton Oilers 3-2 Saturday night.

Mikael Backlund had a goal and an assist and Garnet Hathaway also scored to help Calgary snap a seven-game skid. Michael Frolik added two assists and Mike Smith stopped 34 shots.

Hamilton's goal was his 17th of the season, the most by a defenseman in the NHL. He has 13 since Jan. 1, tying him with Sean Monahan for second on the team behind Matthew Tkachuk in that stretch.

Anton Slepyshev and Mike Cammalleri scored for Edmonton. Cam Talbot gave up three goals on seven shots before he was pulled 15 1/2 minutes in with the Oilers trailing 3-1. Al Montoya came on and stopped all 13 shots he faced.

Edmonton took the lead 2:41 in on Slepyshev's sixth of the season before the Flames scored three times in less than nine minutes.

Hamilton got things started with a wicked shot that got beat Talbot at 6:43 on the Oilers' first shot on goal.

Hathaway put the Flames in front at 11:54, beating Talbot on a wrister inside the post from nearly 60 feet out. The short-handed goal was Hathaway's first goal in 42 games.

Backlund neatly pulled the puck around Talbot and fired in his 14th goal of the season with 4:32 remaining in the first. Oilers coach Todd McLellan pulled Tablot after that.

The Oilers were the much better team in the second period, outshooting Calgary 12-5 and narrowing the deficit to 3-2 on Cammalleri's deflection with 7:19 left.

In one sequence, Edmonton had three odd-man rushes within the same penalty kill, but they only got one shot out of it. On consecutive 2-on-1s, Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl failed each time to get a shot on goal.

Early in the third, the same duo combined again, but Draisaitl rang a shot off the post.

Smith was peppered with 15 shots in the final 20 minutes, but didn't let the tying goal beat him.

NOTES: McDavid, the NHL's leading scorer, failed to pick up a point, snapping his six-game scoring streak (seven goals, seven assists). ... Edmonton was 0 for 5 on the power play. Calgary was 0 for 3 and fell to 1 for 47 over the last 16 games. ... Calgary F Johnny Gaudreau returned to the lineup after missing two games (family matter). His line centered by Nick Shore also had Edmonton-born Spencer Foo, who made his NHL debut. ... With the Travis Hamonic (upper body) out, Matt Bartkowski returned to the lineup after being scratched 45 of the previous 46 games.


Oilers: At Minnesota on Monday night before closing the season with two home games.

Flames: Host Arizona on Tuesday night.

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{allcanada} Whitecaps rally for victory over Crew


COLUMBUS, Ohio — Kei Kamara scored the go-ahead goal on a diving header in the 78th minute and the Vancouver Whitecaps beat the Columbus Crew 2-1 on Saturday.

Brek Shea smashed home a deflection off Crew goalkeeper Zack Steffen in the 51st minute to tie it for Vancouver (3-1-1).

Gyasi Zardes pounced on a rebound in the 29th minute to open the scoring for the Crew (3-1-1), who had their four-game unbeaten streak snapped.

Artur had a header hit the crossbar in the 86th minute that would have tied it for Columbus.

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{allcanada} Vargas' goal pushes Impact past short-handed Sounders


SEATTLE — Jeisson Vargas scored on a point-blank shot in the 60th minute, and the Montreal Impact beat the short-handed Seattle Sounders 1-0 Saturday night.

Montreal (2-2-0) won its second straight after an 0-2-0 start. The Sounders are 0-3-0 for the second time in club history. They also dropped three in a row to start the 2016 season that ultimately ended with them winning MLS Cup.

Ignacio Piatti setup Vargas' goal. Piatti had the ball on the top right side of the 6-yard box. He tried to take it closer to the net, but couldn't get past Seattle defender Roman Torres. Piatti passed it back toward the top of the 6, and Vargas sent a wide-open shot into the back left corner, his second goal of the year.

Seattle, which has yet to score this season, had a player sent off with a red card for the third straight game. This time, it was defender Kelvin Leerdam in the 40th minute after he undercut Daniel Lovitz when the Impact defender leaped for a ball on the left side near midfield. As the two got up and scuffled after the foul, Leerdam slapped Lovitz on the left side of his head.

A video review was called, and referee Ismail Elfath came back from it to send Leerdam off the field. Lovitz was issued a yellow for the scuffle.

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{allcanada} QMJHL: Clavelle helps Islanders top Remparts


CHARLOTTETOWN — Brendon Clavelle put away the winner at the 14:23 mark of the third period as the Charlottetown Islanders toppled the Quebec Remparts 3-1 on Saturday in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League playoff action.

Charlottetown now leads the first-round series 3-2.

Nikita Alexandrov and Keith Getson also scored for the Islanders, while Matthew Welsh made 41 saves.

Jesse Sutton scored for the Remparts and Antoine Samuel turned aside 30 shots.

Charlottetown went 1 for 3 on the power play and Quebec could not score on its four man advantages.

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{allcanada} April 1: Bossy becomes first rookie to score 50 goals


1978: Mike Bossy of the New York Islanders becomes the first NHL rookie to score 50 goals in a season. Bossy scores No. 50 at 11:52 of the third period, then gets No. 51 with five seconds to play, giving the Islanders a 3-2 victory against the Washington Capitals at Nassau Coliseum.

Bossy goes on to score 60 or more goals five times during his career, and his nine consecutive 50-goal seasons are still an NHL record. The Montreal native wins four Stanley Cup championships with the Islanders during his 10-season career, finishing with 573 regular-season goals and 85 more in the playoffs. He retires at age 30 because of back problems.

"A lot of times, players look up at the clock and say to themselves, 'Well, it's too late to score,'" Islanders general manager Bill Torrey says years later. "It was never, ever too late for Mike Bossy to score."



1919: The fifth and deciding game of the Stanley Cup Final between the Montreal Canadiens and Seattle Metropolitans is canceled because of an influenza epidemic. It's still the only time that the Cup is not awarded once the Final has begun.


1926: Clint Benedict becomes the first NHL goalie to earn three straight playoff shutouts when the Montreal Maroons defeat the visiting Victoria Cougars of the Western Hockey League 3-0 in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final. The Maroons lose Game 3, but Benedict helps Montreal to a 2-0 victory in Game 4 for a 3-1 victory in the best-of-5 series. It is the last Final involving a non-NHL team; after the 1925-26 season, the NHL is the only major pro league still in existence and takes sole control of competition for the Cup.


1954: Gordie Howe sets a Stanley Cup Playoff record for the fastest goal from the start of a game by scoring nine seconds after the opening faceoff in the Detroit Red Wings' 4-3 overtime win against the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 5 of the Semifinals. Howe has two goals and an assist before Ted Lindsay scores the winner 1:01 into the second overtime.


1980: Mike Liut becomes the first goaltender in St. Louis Blues history to win 30 games in one season, Mike Zuke has three assists and the Blues become the second post-1967 expansion team to win 250 home games. The milestone victory is a 5-2 win against the visiting Chicago Blackhawks.


1989: The New York Rangers fire coach Michel Bergeron with two games remaining in the regular season. General manager Phil Esposito takes over, but the Rangers lose those two games before being swept by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Patrick Division Semifinals. Esposito is fired not long afterward.


1993: Pavel Bure becomes the first player in the history of the Vancouver to score 100 points in a season. Bure reaches the milestone by scoring one goal and setting up another in a 5-3 road win against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Bure also sets a Canucks record with his seventh shorthanded goal of the season.


2004: The Boston Bruins become the first team in NHL history to play 30 overtime games in one regular season. OT game No. 30 is a 3-3 tie against the Capitals at TD Garden.


2008: The Buffalo Sabres become the second post-1967 expansion team to win 1,400 games when they defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3 in a shootout at Air Canada Centre. Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller makes his 75th appearance of the season and Maxim Afinogenov scores the winner in the sixth round of the tiebreaker.


2015: Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins scores his 300th NHL goal in 4-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers. He's the 18th active player to reach the mark and the 186th in League history. The goal comes against goaltender Steve Mason at 3:29 in the first period.

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{allcanada} Morrissey, Byfuglien lead Jets past Maple Leafs, 3-1


TORONTO (AP) Josh Morrissey and Dustin Byfuglien scored 1:10 apart in the second period as the Winnipeg Jets beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-1 on Saturday night.

Andrew Copp had the other goal for Winnipeg, while Connor Hellebuyck stopped 28 shots in a matchup of the only two Canadian teams headed to the playoffs.

Patrick Marleau scored for Toronto, and Curtis McElhinney had 26 saves.

The Maple Leafs, who won 7-2 in Winnipeg to open the season on Oct. 4, are all but assured of finishing third in the Atlantic Division. The Jets, meanwhile, look just as certain to wind up second in the Central.

Toronto's only blemish at home in more than two months coming into this game was Monday's 3-2 loss to last-place Buffalo that snapped a 13-game winning streak at Air Canada Centre.

The Leafs rebounded with a 4-2 victory at home against Florida on Wednesday before Friday's 5-4 win at the New York Islanders. Winnipeg saw a six-game win streak snapped in Thursday's 6-2 loss at Chicago

Scoreless after a first period lacking much in the way of emotion, Toronto grabbed a 1-0 lead just 2:02 into the second when the league's third-ranked power play went to work. Auston Matthews looked primed to shoot on Hellebuyck from the left faceoff circle, but passed to Marleau, who redirected his 26th of the season home from the top of the crease.

After a pad stop on Blake Wheeler's deflection later in the period, McElhinney could do nothing at 8:30 when Morrissey's blast from the point past a screen caught him moving the wrong way for the defenseman's sixth.

McElhinney was then run into by Winnipeg's Mark Scheifele after he stopped Wheeler's breakaway seconds later, but no penalty was called on the play.

Playing without rookie defenseman Travis Dermott because of a lower-body injury suffered in the first, the Leafs went to the penalty kill when play resumed after Jake Gardiner cross-checked Scheifele hard into the boards, much to the chagrin of home crowd.

The Jets' power play - which was fourth overall coming in - went to work, and Byfuglien snapped his seventh off the post and in past a screened McElhinney at 9:40.

Winnipeg pulled ahead 3-1 seemingly out of nothing on a broken play with 2:26 left in the period when Copp fired his sixth shortside off a pass from Adam Lowry.

Playing the second of a back-to-back, McElhinney saw his first action in place of Frederik Andersen since making 33 saves in a 4-0 win over Montreal on March 17.

Toronto went back to the man advantage midway through the final period after Winnipeg was whistled for too many men, but neither unit could connect despite extended zone time.

The Leafs pressed further with McElhinney out for an extra attacker, but couldn't find a way past Hellebuyck before Ron Hainsey took a holding penalty on Copp with 67 seconds left in regulation to kill any hope of a comeback.

Hellebuyck had to be sharp to snag Nazem Kadri's deflection of a shot by Marleau midway through the first before also blocking Connor Brown's batted effort and rebound chance from in close with under two minutes left.

Brown had another opportunity with Hellebuyck swimming in his crease moments later, but couldn't quite find the handle on a loose puck.

NOTES: Toronto came in 8-2 over its last 10. ... Leafs forward Mitch Marner saw his 11-game point streak (five goals, 11 assists) come to an end. ... Leo Komarov replaced Andreas Johnsson on Toronto's fourth line after missing seven games with a lower-body injury. ... Winnipeg D Jacob Trouba (concussion) returned to the lineup following a five-game absence.


Jets: At Ottawa on Monday night.

Maple Leafs: Host Buffalo on Monday night.

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{allcanada} Penguins rip Canadiens 5-2 to clinch playoff berth


PITTSBURGH (AP) The Pittsburgh Penguins' quest for a three-peat is officially on.

Patric Hornqvist picked up his 200th career goal and the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions clinched their 12th straight playoff berth with a 5-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night.

Phil Kessel, Riley Sheahan, Conor Sheary and Carl Hagelin also scored for Pittsburgh, which dominated the largely listless Canadiens to improve to 17-1-1 in their last 19 games at PPG Paints Arena. Matt Murray finished with 24 saves for the Penguins, who swept their season series with Montreal for only the second time in franchise history.

Jeff Petry and Jonathan Droui scored for the Canadiens, who lost for the fifth time in seven games. Antti Niemi made 28 stops but Montreal couldn't handle the league's top-ranked power play.

The Penguins went 3 for 5 with the man advantage, including Kessel and Sheahan scoring less than two minutes apart in the third period to blow open a one-goal game. Pittsburgh pulled within three points of first-place Washington in the Metropolitan Division. The Capitals visit the Penguins on Sunday night.

Niemi actually began the season as the Penguins' top backup after Marc-Andre Fleury was traded to Las Vegas and Murray became fully entrenched at the top spot. The plan lasted all of a month. Niemi found himself on waivers in late October after going 0-3 with a 7.50 goals against average, all of the losses coming on the road.

While Niemi has rediscovered his game in Montreal, perhaps it's fitting the Penguins reached the postseason with their former teammate - however briefly it lasted - in the opposing net. Niemi's awful numbers in Pittsburgh weren't entirely his fault. Niemi's struggles came in part to some lethargic play in front of him. Though coach Mike Sullivan claimed it wasn't a hangover from two long postseason runs, the Penguins treaded for the first three months of the season before getting it going in January.

The team Niemi faced on Saturday still has some issues in its own end, but the Penguins also have the kind of firepower few can match.

The proof came during a 5-minute stretch in which they scored three goals. Sheary rifled a wrist shot from the slot into the net 9:41 into the first, just 59 seconds after Petry gave the Canadiens the lead. Hornqvist put Pittsburgh in front 37 seconds later with his 17th of the season and came in typical fashion for the bruising forward. He planted himself in front of the Montreal net and flipped home a backup past Price.

Hagelin finished the barrage by banking the puck off Niemi's back from behind the net. Though Drouin's 13th of the season with 10 seconds left in the first brought Montreal within one, the Canadiens never really came close to tying it.

Their best chance came in the third period but Artturi Lehkonen flubbed a shorthanded breakaway. The Penguins went back the other way and Kessel's shot deflected off a Montreal player and into the net for his 31st.

NOTES: Penguins F Derick Brassard missed his second straight game with a lower-body injury. ... Pittsburgh has won five straight overall against Montreal. ... The Penguins are now 9-7-2 on the first night of back-to-backs this season. ... Pittsburgh C Sidney Crosby's five-game goal streak ended, though he did have one assist. ... The Penguins' 12-year playoff run is a franchise record. The team reached the postseason 11 straight times from 1990-2001.


Canadiens: Host New Jersey on Sunday. The teams have split their first two games, each winning on home ice.

Penguins: will try to take the season series from Washington on Sunday night. Pittsburgh won two of the first three meetings.

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{allcanada} Solarte homers, Pillar steals home as Jays top Yankees for first win


TORONTO — Kevin Pillar had been thinking about stealing home since he saw video of a Pittsburgh Pirates prospect do it in a spring training game last week.

So when the speedy Toronto centre-fielder was met with the opportunity against the Yankees on Saturday, he took full advantage.

The thrilling move paid off as the Blue Jays topped New York 5-3 for their first win of the season.

"There was a guy who did it during a spring training game and me and (Curtis) Granderson were talking about how it's not done enough," Pillar said. "And obviously it's a huge gamble but sometimes when runs are tough to come by, especially early on in the year, you gotta go out there and make some stuff happen."

Newcomer Yangervis Solarte hit a the go-ahead solo homer to lead off the eighth inning — smashing a 97 mile-per-hour fastball from reliever Dellin Betances (0-1) into the centre-field seats — and Pillar followed with three steals to pad the lead before Roberto Osuna closed it out for his first save of the season.

Pillar's daring play was Toronto's first straight steal of home since Aaron Hill did it against the Yankees in 2007 and it sent the crowd of 37,692 at Rogers Centre into a frenzy.

It also surprised the Blue Jays manager.

"It caught me off guard," John Gibbons said. "You could see him coming off third base and it didn't look normal. I'm glad he did it. I'd love to take credit for it but I can't."

Justin Smoak, on the day of his bobblehead giveaway, hit a double and two singles and drove in a pair of runs for Toronto (1-2). Luke Maile had the other RBI.

Ryan Tepera (1-0) pitched the top of the eighth for the win. Marco Estrada started for the Blue Jays, allowing three runs on four hits and three walks while striking out two over seven innings.

Estrada, who was already in the clubhouse getting his post-game shoulder treatment when Pillar stole home, watched the play unfold on TV.

"You could hear it. It was that loud, even in here you could still hear the fans," the right-hander said. "It was awesome to watch. You could see him at third base jumping around and you're thinking: 'man, he might actually take this,' and he did."

Tyler Austin hit two homers and drove in all three runs for the Yankees (2-1). Starter CC Sabathia allowed two runs over five innings with five hits, two walks and four strikeouts.

Smoak gave the Blue Jays their first lead of the season, cashing in Josh Donaldson from second on a base hit to left field in the first inning. Donaldson had reached on a double to left for his first hit, snapping an 0 for 7 start to the year.

Yankees rookie Billy McKinney slammed hard into the outfield scoreboard trying to make the catch and left the game with a shoulder sprain.

Reliever Adam Warren became the second Yankee to leave the field with an injury after taking an Aledmys Diaz comebacker on the inside of his ankle in the sixth inning. Maile hit an RBI single off Warren's replacement, Jonathan Holder, to put the Jays ahead 3-2. The run was charged to Warren.

Austin had tied the game an inning earlier, sending a first-pitch offering from Estrada into the second deck in centre field. The two-run shot was just the second hit allowed by Estrada and first since a first-inning double from Giancarlo Stanton.

Austin tied the game again in the seventh with his second homer, a solo shot to left.

"The first home run he hit a pretty good pitch so tip your hat and move on," Estrada said. "The second one I completely missed my spot. I was trying to go down and away, took a little off just to get back in the count and completely missed.

"Other than that and the walks those were the only frustrating moments for me but I felt pretty good out there."

NOTES: Pillar is the first Blue Jays player to steal three bases in one inning. Maile also stole a base in the eighth and Granderson was caught stealing in the seventh. ... Donaldson, who's dealing with what the team described as "dead arm," was the designated hitter for a second straight day. He fielded ground balls before the game and said he feels close to returning to his usual position at third base.

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{allcanada} Edler scores in OT to lift Canucks past Blue Jackets, 5-4


VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) Alex Edler scored 1:21 into overtime to give the Vancouver Canucks a wild 5-4 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday.

Edler picked up a loose puck in the Blue Jackets' end, waited patiently, then beat Columbus goalie Joonas Korpisalo with a shot to the far side.

Jussi Jokinen had a goal and two assists against his former team, and Darren Archibald, Bo Horvat and Nikolay Goldobin also scored for the Canucks, who tied a season-high with their fourth straight win and fifth in six games after a seven-game skid. Thatcher Demko stopped 26 shots in his first NHL start.

Seth Jones had a goal and three assists, and Pierre-Luc Dubois, Zach Werenski and Cam Atkinson also scored for Columbus. Artemi Panari had four assists and Korpisalo finished with 24 saves for the Blue Jackets, who are 12-1-1 in their last 14 games as they try to pass Pittsburgh for second place in the Metropolitan Division.

The Blue Jackets erased a 4-1 deficit by scoring three goals in 2:37 to tie the game.

Dubois started the comeback with a power-play goal with just under four minites remaining, Werenski pulled Columbus within one with 1:37 left and Atkinson tied it 16 seconds later.

Jokinen gave Vancouver a 3-1 lead at 5:14 of the third period. He took Jake Virtanen's pass from behind the net and sent a shot over Korpisalo's blocker. It was Jokinen's third goal since coming to Vancouver along with center Tyler Motte at the trade deadline in a deal that sent Thomas Vanek to Columbus.

Jokinen also assisted on Horvat's goal later in the period, giving him five assists and eight points in 11 games with the Canucks.

Demko, picked 36th overall in the 2014 draft, was called up from Utica of the AHL because backup goalie Anders Nilsson has the flu. He looked tight early in the game. Just 19 seconds into the first period Atkinson blasted a shot that hit the crossbar behind him. By the second period, Demko seemed more relaxed and looked sharp getting a pad on Atkinson's shot during a 3-on-one Columbus breakaway.

The Canucks scored goals 1:44 apart in the second period to take a 2-1 lead.

Archibald tied it at 11:53. His shot from the faceoff circle looked to be tipped by a Columbus defenseman. Korpisalo still managed to get a piece of the puck but it went off his glove and into the net. Ashton Saunter, another callup from Utica, earned an assist for his first NHL point.

Goldobin put Vancouver ahead on a pretty give-and-go with Jokinen, scoring his sixth of the season on a sharp-angle shot.

The Blue Jackets opened the scoring at 13:55 of the first period, just seven seconds after Daniel Sedin was called for tripping. Jones scored after taking a pass from Atkinson and ripping a shot from the blue line. Demko looked slow at moving across his crease on the play.

NOTES: Jones' two-point night gave him 54 points, setting a Columbus record for a defenseman. ... Blue Jacket D Markus Nutivaara left the game in the second period with an upper-body injury. ... Sedin's 54 penalty minutes is the most in his 17-year career with the Canucks. He had 50 minutes in 2007-08. ... The last time Vancouver won four consecutive games was Oct. 20-26.


Blue Jackets: Host Detroit on Tuesday night.

Canucks: Host Vegas on Tuesday night.

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{allcanada} Howard gets 1st shutout, Red Wings beat Senators 2-0


DETROIT (AP) Out of the playoffs and sinking fast with one win in 14 games a week ago, the Detroit Red Wings could have embraced tanking to bolster their chances in the NHL draft lottery.

Instead, they launched a winning streak.

Jimmy Howard stopped 31 shots for his first shutout of the season as the Red Wings beat the Ottawa Senators 2-0 on Saturday for their third straight win.

Dylan Larkin and Andreas Athanasiou scored to help Detroit gets its longest winning streak since a season-high four-game stretch Dec. 29 to Jan. 5.

''We have a job to do every night and every day, and we've got a lot of young guys in here,'' Larkin said. ''Every day is an audition and guys are trying to earn whatever it might be, whether it is more ice time next year,whatever.

''Your position on this team and in this league has to be earned every day.''

Howard's best save was a sliding left pad stop on a second-period breakaway by Ottawa forward Ryan Dzingel.

''It feels good,'' Howard said after his 24th career shutout. ''It took 59 games, unreal, but at the same time the guys in front of me did a really great job, allowing me to see the puck.''

Mike Condon finished with 25 saves for the Senators, who were blanked for the ninth time this season.

''I can't comment on the offense, because if that's the case then all the offensive guys could comment on the goaltending,'' Condon said. ''That's a slippery slope.

''Everyone's working their hardest. Everyone's trying to get a couple in there.''

After a scoreless opening period, Detroit got on the board at 4:10 of the second. Taking advantage of a bad pinch by Senators defenseman Christian Wolanin, Anthony Mantha fed a pass across to Larkin on a 2-on-1 break, and Larkin flipped the puck in as Condon lunged desperately across his goal crease. It was Larkin's fifth goal in the last seven games. He scored nine times in the first 72 games.

''That was a horrible play on my part,'' Wolanin said. ''It cost us the first goal and eventually the game winner.''

Athanasiou increased the margin to 2-0 at 4:29 of the third. Using Evgeni Svechnikov as a screen, Athanasiou fired a high shot past Condon.

NOTES: Ottawa captain Erik Karlsson remained one point away from reaching 60 for the sixth time in his career. ... The Senators, who play three of their final four games away from home, fell to 11-22-5 on the road - one win more than Montreal for the fewest in the NHL. Last season, the Senators won 22 games away from home, fifth-best in the league. ... The Red Wings improved to 17-6-2 in their last 25 games against Ottawa. That includes five straight wins by Detroit at home. Ottawa's last road victory in in the series was a 3-1 decision on Oct. 30, 2015. ... Henrik Zetterberg remained one point from breaking a tie with Sergei Fedorov (954) for fifth on the Red Wings' all-time scoring list.


Senators: Host Winnipeg on Monday night in their final home game of the season.

Red Wings: At Columbus on Tuesday night.

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{allcanada} Report: Nugent-Hopkins to play for Canada at World Championship


With the Edmonton Oilers mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, the club's stars are turning their sights to the 2018 IIHF World Championship tournament in May.

Count centreman Ryan Nugent-Hopkins among those planning on attending, as the pivot has reportedly accepted an invitation from Team Canada to suit up for his national team in Denmark, according to Edmonton radio host Bob Stauffer.

Team Canada could have more than a few marquee talents on the roster this summer. Nugent-Hopkins' teammate Connor McDavid is also rumoured to be heading to Denmark with the team, while New York Islanders stars Mathew Barzal and John Tavares may also be options given their NHL club's recent slide out of the playoff picture.

Nugent-Hopkins has 22 goals and 45 points to his name through 60 tilts this season. He's represented Canada three times before, at the 2010 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament, the 2012 World Championship and the 2013 World Junior Championship, amassing 28 points in 19 games during those three appearances.

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{allcanada} Steve Nash officially inducted into Basketball Hall of Fame


SPRINGFIELD, United States — Canadian Steve Nash, Jason Kidd and Grant Hill are among the 13-member class that will be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in September.

The Hall of Fame made the announcement Saturday on Twitter before the NCAA Final Four semifinals.

The inductees also include Ray Allen, Maurice Cheeks, Tina Thompson, coach Lefty Driesell, Charlie Scott, longtime executive Rick Welts, NBA executive Rod Thorn, Katie Smith, the late Ora Mae Washington and Croatian star Dino Radja.

Nash, from Victoria, and Kidd were two of the greatest point guards of their generation. Nash is a two-time NBA most valuable player and eight-time all-star while Kidd earned 10 all-star selections.

Hill won two NCAA titles at Duke and was a seven-time all-star. Allen is the most prolific three-point shooter in NBA history and a two-time league champion.

Nash was the face of Canadian basketball for the better part of two decades, and when he retired in 2015, his 10,335 assists ranked him third all-time behind John Stockton and Kidd.

Nash made the All-NBA first team on three occasions during his career with Phoenix ('96-98, '04-12), Dallas ('98-04) and the Los Angeles Lakers ('12-15). He represented Canada internationally for over 10 years and led the national team to the quarterfinals of the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

"Steve Nash's impact on Canadian basketball may never be fully articulated," Canada Basketball president Michele O'Keefe said in a statement. "His level of competitiveness drove Team Canada to win some great games and yet his biggest contribution may be how he has inspired the following generations to pick up a basketball.

"From a kid growing up in Victoria to 'Captain Canada,' on behalf of all Canadian basketball fans, congratulations Steve on this remarkable accomplishment."

Nash, a 15th overall draft pick by the Suns in 1996, averaged 14.3 points, 8.5 assists and 3.0 rebounds over 1,217 career regular-season games. He also appeared in 120 playoff games, averaging 17.3 points and 8.8 assists.

Nash earned FIBA Americas MVP honours in 1999 and 2003. In 2012, he was named general manager of the senior men's national team.

"Steve has been a trailblazer for the game of basketball in Canada and worldwide," said Canada Basketball executive vice-president Rowan Barrett. "He was a consummate professional and a tremendous example of what can be achieved with hard work, discipline and true belief in yourself. As a friend that grew with him from our teenage years, and on behalf of our men's high performance team at Canada Basketball, we wish Steve a heartfelt congratulations on his induction to the Hall of Fame."

Nash attended Santa Clara University and was twice named West Coast Conference Player of the Year ('95, '96).

A three-time winner of the Lionel Conacher Award as The Canadian Press male athlete of the year, Nash joins fellow Canadians Dr. James Naismith (inventor, 1959), Ernest C. Quigley (official, 1961), Peter F. (Pete) Newell (coach, 1979) and Robert J. (Bobby) Houbregs (player, 1987) as Hall inductees.

"I couldn't be happier for Steve to be recognized like this," said Suns coach and Canadian men's team coach Jay Triano. "Being inducted into the Hall of Fame is a tremendous honour for not only Steve, but for Canadian Basketball and for all Canadians who have followed his career. (He's) a two-time NBA MVP, a member of the Phoenix Suns Ring of Honour and a Canadian Olympian, but there is no greater tribute than being selected to the Hall of Fame.

"It is an incredible achievement for Steve and for all Canadians. He was a great player, but also (a) great leader and teammate."

Thompson was the first draft choice in WNBA history and a four-time league champion, while Smith is the top scorer in women's professional basketball history.

Driesell is the only NCAA coach to win 100 games at four different schools. Scott is a five-time NBA all-star who also excelled in the ABA. Cheeks is a four-time NBA all-star and one of the greatest defensive point guards in hoops history.

Welts has worked in several aspects of the professional game, including the launch of the WNBA. Thorn has a lengthy career as a player, coach and executive.

Radja was one of the greatest European players of his generation, and he played four seasons for the Boston Celtics. Born in 1898, Washington was a spectacular athlete who excelled at tennis but also played on 11 consecutive Women's Colored Basketball World's Championship teams.

The induction ceremony is set for Sept. 7 at the Springfield Symphony Hall.

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