Today is Tuesday, October 13, 2015.
|Tuesday, October 13, 2015|
|National Basketball Assoc.|
|Monday, October 12, 2015|
|National Basketball Assoc.|
LeBron thrills fans at Ohio State in Cavs' loss to Memphis
By CRAIG MERZ - Associated Press
Monday, October 12 at 11:50 PM (EDT)
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) LeBron James scored 14 points, thrilling fans with a breakaway dunk, but Cleveland lost to Memphis 91-81 in a preseason game at Ohio State on Monday night.
James, who only played 25 minutes, is a huge fan of the Buckeyes and has a locker in the men's basketball facility.
''I think we did some good things,'' James said. ''It's really hard to say with us having so many guys out right now.''
The Cavaliers were a shell of what the team figures to be at some point of the season. Guard Kyrie Irving could be out until January with a fractured knee cap and guard Iman Shumpert is out 12 to 14 weeks following wrist surgery.
Forward Kevin Love, out since having his shoulder dislocated by Boston Celtics center Kelly Olynyk in the opening round of the NBA Playoffs and undergoing surgery, practiced for the first time Saturday but did not play.
''He's very close to playing in games,'' Cleveland coach David Blatt said. ''He's in very good shape.''
Also, guard Mo Williams was rested and forward J.R. Smith, who was pulled from the game Thursday vs. Philadelphia because of hamstring soreness, did not dress.
''We shut him down the last game,'' Blatt said of Smith. ''It's not a serious injury but it's a tricky thing that you have to be cautious about. If he's not 100 percent, he's not going to play.''
Also, forward Tristan Thompson is a holdout.
Blatt is hoping to have some semblance of a healthy team to open the season Oct. 27 at Chicago. The Cavaliers then play at Memphis the next night in the Grizzlies first game.
''They're going to be a different team when we play them come October 28 so we know we've got to be ready,'' said former Buckeyes guard Mike Conley, who had four points.
Zach Randolph had 14 points to lead the Grizzlies.
GRIZZLIES: Conley was 0-for-4 from the floor, made all four free throws and had six assists.
CAVALIERS: James' first basket was a 3-pointer with 10:33 left in the first quarter.
SIDELINED: For the Cavaliers, F Kevin Love (dislocated shoulder), G J.R. Smith (hamstring), G Mo Williams (maintenance), G Kyrie Irving (fractured knee cap) and Iman Shumpert (wrist). For Memphis, F Jarrell Martin (foot fracture).
UP NEXT: The Grizzlies hosts Oklahoma City on Friday. Milwaukee plays Tuesday at Cleveland.
Davis leads Pelicans to 123-115 win over Bulls
Monday, October 12 at 11:25 PM (EDT)
CHICAGO (AP) Anthony Davis, playing in his hometown, scored 26 points on 10-for-16 shooting to lead the New Orleans Pelicans to a 123-115 preseason win over the Chicago Bulls on Monday night.
BULLS: Rookie Bobby Portis led the Bulls with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Doug McDermott had 17 and Tony Snell added 15 points for Chicago.
PELICANS: Sean Kilpatrick had 23 points and Tyreke Evans and Ryan Anderson each had 18 for New Orleans. Anderson led the Pelicans with 10 rebounds.
STAR WATCH: : Derrick Rose (left orbital fracture) remains out, but Chicago coach Fred Hoiberg said Rose could be cleared to begin activity within a week, and be practicing shortly thereafter.
SIDELINED: New Orleans' Eric Gordon, who had been starting for the Pelicans, sat out with back spasms.
UP NEXT: Chicago hosts the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday. ... New Orleans travels to Lexington, Ky. to play the Sacramento Kings at Rupp Arena on Saturday.
|Trail Blazers||88||vs.||81||Jazz||Final Recap|
Trail Blazers beat Jazz 88-81 in preseason action
Monday, October 12 at 11:49 PM (EDT)
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) Meyers Leonard scored 19 points to help the Portland Trail Blazers beat the Utah Jazz 88-81 in preseason action Monday night.
The Blazers improved to 2-2 despite Damian Lillard sitting with a left ankle injury.
Both teams struggled offensively as the Trail Blazers shot 39 percent from the field. The Jazz (2-2) made only 31 percent of their shots.
Al-Farouz Aminu finished with 15 points for the Blazers. CJ McCollum scored 16, but was 6 for 21 from the field and was ejected for a flagrant 2 foul.
Alec Burks scored 19 and Rodney Hood added 13 for the Jazz.
Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert combined to score just 22 points on 6 for 28 shooting for Utah.
Knicks beat 76ers 94-88 in exhibition game
By MICHAEL SCOTTO - Associated Press
Monday, October 12 at 11:03 PM (EDT)
NEW YORK (AP) Derrick Williams scored 21 points and Carmelo Anthony added 18 to help the New York Knicks remain unbeaten in the preseason with a 94-88 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday night.
Isaiah Canaan had 18 points and Christian Wood had 13 points and 10 rebounds for the 76ers. Wood is an undrafted rookie out of UNLV.
76ERS: Robert Covington finished with 11 points and five rebounds.
KNICKS: Langston Galloway finished with 11 points and six rebounds.
SIEDLINED: Joel Embiid, Pierre Jackson, Carl Landry, Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor, Nik Stauskas and Tony Wroten all did not dress for Philadelphia. Arron Afflalo (sore left hamstring), Kristaps Porzingis (strained left quad) and Kevin Seraphin (sore right knee) all did not dress for New York.
KRISTAPS PORZINGIS ON THE MEND: New York hopes to have Porzingis back in the lineup on Friday.
''He strained his left quad similar to the quad injury he had in the summer in predraft, but just not as severe,'' Fisher said. ''We're not nearly as concerned as we were at that time.''
OKAFOR DRAWS STOUDEMIRE COMPARISON: Philadelphia head coach Brett Brown sees flashed of Amar'e Stoudemire in Jahlil Okafor's game.
''At times he reminds me of Amar'e who was a big spin guy and Jahlil likes that move,'' Brown said.
CHRISTIAN WOOD IMPRESSING 76ERS COACHING STAFF: Despite going undrafted this year, Wood has a chance to make Philadelphia's final roster.
''If you look at where he was projected to go prior to the season, he fell out toward the end of the year for whatever reason,'' Brown said. ''They had projected him to be quite a high draft pick. I look at him and I see a bouncy, young athlete that can shoot. I think you have to look at something like that.''
UP NEXT: The 76ers host the Wizards on Friday. The Knicks host the Celtics on Friday.
Heat win first preseason game, beat Spurs 97-94
Monday, October 12 at 11:09 PM (EDT)
MIAMI (AP) Gerald Green scored 17 points to help the Miami Heat get their first win of the exhibition season with a 97-94 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Monday night.
San Antonio led 84-71 after three quarters. But with both teams resting their starters in favor of younger players, the Heat outscored the Spurs 26-10 in the fourth.
HEAT: Miami center Hassan Whiteside (strained right calf) missed his third straight exhibition game. Meanwhile, the Heat rested four healthy veterans: guard Mario Chalmers and forwards Josh McRoberts and Amar'e Stoudemire.
SPURS: San Antonio rested forward Boris Diaw.
STAR WATCH: Forward LaMarcus Aldridge, the Spurs' big offseason addition, had 17 points and eight rebounds in 24 minutes.
MIDSEASON FORM: Spurs forward Tim Duncan went 7-for-7 from the floor, scoring 14 points in just 19 minutes. He added six rebounds and two assists.
UP NEXT: The exhibition schedule continues. Miami plays at Orlando on Tuesday. San Antonio plays at Atlanta on Wednesday.
Lowry scores 40 points to lift Raptors to 112-105 win
Monday, October 12 at 11:38 PM (EDT)
TORONTO (AP) Kyle Lowry scored 40 points to help the Toronto Raptors beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 112-105 on Monday night.
Lowry, who broke the franchise record for points in a preseason game set by Vince Carter (38), hit six 3-pointers and was 13 for 18 from the field.
''I've felt pretty comfortable every game. For me it's about maintaining, start off well, finish well,'' Lowry said. ''It's only pre-season.''
Cory Joseph added 14 points, Jonas Valanciunas had 13 points and Luis Scola 12.
Andrew Wiggins, the reigning NBA rookie of the year led the Wolves (0-3) with 21 points in 18 minutes. His older brother Nick, who was signed by Minnesota last month, scored four points in the final five minutes. He almost had six, but his final shot at the buzzer was waived off after originally being declared good.
The game was a homecoming, not just for Wiggins, who purchased 16 courtside seats for the game, but for Joseph and Anthony Bennett - both were playing their first games in Toronto for their hometown team.
''I was excited to play in front of my family, fans, friends,'' Joseph said. ''Thanksgiving, so happy Thanksgiving to all the Canadians out there. We had our Thanksgiving the other night, they came out here to support me. A lot of love floating around here.''
Bennett, whose defense has been impressive thus far, had five rebounds to go with three points in 19 minutes.
The Raptors and Wolves meet again in Ottawa on Wednesday as part of the NBA's Canada Series, which featured sold out games in Winnipeg and Vancouver, and then Ottawa and Montreal. The Raptors play the Washington Wizards in Montreal to cap the series on Oct. 23.
|Tuesday, October 13, 2015|
|Major League Baseball|
Tuesday, October 13 at 12:56 AM (EDT)
St. Louis Cardinals starter John Lackey has mowed down the Chicago Cubs in four starts this year, including Game 1 of this NL division series.
He has had only three days in between starts in the postseason twice in his career, and the first time was an occasion that thrilled Chicago manager Joe Maddon.
Lackey will try to help the visiting Cardinals force a decisive fifth game by stifling a red-hot Chicago lineup Tuesday at Wrigley Field.
The right-hander pitched 7 1-3 innings of two-hit ball Friday to earn a 4-0 victory in the opener, improving to 3-0 with a 0.93 ERA in four overall starts against the Cubs in 2015.
The Cardinals haven't won since, falling to the brink of elimination after Monday's 8-6 defeat in Game 3. St. Louis has advanced from this round each of the four previous years, rallying from 2-1 series deficits against Philadelphia in 2011 and Pittsburgh in 2013.
Lackey is 2-0 with a 2.42 ERA in four postseason starts on three days' rest, with two of those outings following a start. The first was Game 7 of the 2002 World Series, as he gave up one run in five innings to earn a 4-1 win for Anaheim over San Francisco.
The Angels' bench coach at the time was Maddon.
''I want to win championships. I want to be on good teams,'' said Lackey, who has won four straight division series outings. ''Got a chance here, still, and try to keep it moving.''
Maddon will pencil in a lineup that will have many of the players who combined for a postseason record six homers Monday. Jorge Soler went deep for the second straight game and Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber, Anthony Rizzo, Dexter Fowler and Starlin Castro also all connected.
''Pretty impressive,'' Maddon said. ''You know, I know the wind was blowing out - we'll concede that - but most of them were properly struck. We are definitely capable of that.''
Soler has set a major league record by reaching base in his first nine career postseason at-bats, going 4 for 4 with five walks. He is 4 for 8 with three doubles versus Lackey.
The Cubs are unsure whether shortstop Addison Russell will play after he left in the fourth inning with tightness in his left hamstring after legging out a triple, with Javier Baez replacing him. Russell is 3 for 9 off Lackey while Baez is 0 for 8.
''It feels fine now so we're just going to have to wait, see how it goes overnight,'' Russell said.
Lackey has not allowed a homer against Chicago in 29 innings in 2015. Fowler, Bryant, Castro and Rizzo combined to go 7 for 46 against him this year.
How the wind is blowing will be a factor for both starters, though Chicago's Jason Hammel insists he isn't concerned.
"I know that most of the time you come out here and check out the wind, see what the flags are doing what you get out there, but I could care less," Hammel said. "I'm not going to treat it any differently than another start, whether the wind is blowing in or not."
Hammel is 0-1 with a 4.80 ERA in three career postseason starts. His last playoff appearance was last year's AL wild-card game as he allowed the only batter he faced, Kansas City's Salvador Perez, to hit a game-winning single in the 12th inning of Oakland's 9-8 defeat.
The right-hander went 10-7 with a 3.74 ERA in 31 starts this year, including 1-1 with a 5.73 ERA in three versus St. Louis.
He'll get a break if he doesn't have to face Yadier Molina, who is 6 for 13 with three doubles against him. Molina exited early Monday due to aggravating the strained ligament in his left thumb that caused him to miss the last part of the regular season.
"Let's see what they can do, see if they can once again support that thumb in a way that he can continue to play and just see if maybe getting him out a little early can help us as we move forward," manager Mike Matheny said.
Jason Heyward, who homered Monday, is 9 for 18 off Hammel and Jhonny Peralta is 9 for 23 with two homers.
|Dodgers||vs.||Mets||8:07 (EDT) Preview|
By NICOLINO DIBENEDETTO - STATS Writer
Tuesday, October 13 at 2:03 AM (EDT)
Taking the mound on short rest isn't anything new for Clayton Kershaw. A postseason win, however, would be a welcome change - and a necessity with his team facing elimination.
With the Los Angeles Dodgers staring at another early playoff exit, Kershaw will try to end his five-start playoff losing streak Tuesday night against the New York Mets in Game 4 of this NL division series.
Kershaw has made two starts in the playoffs on three days' rest, compiling a 2.25 ERA with 15 strikeouts in 12 innings. He lost his only decision in those contests, falling 3-2 at St. Louis in Game 4 as Los Angeles was eliminated from last year's NLDS.
The left-hander takes the mound in the same predicament, this time in Queens.
"The adrenaline takes over. You don't really feel tired or anything like that," Kershaw said. "You know, it's the playoffs. So it doesn't really - obviously your routines change a little bit, different things like that, but as far as being prepared, being ready for it, I'll be fine."
Kershaw has been anything but fine in the postseason, going 1-6 with a 4.99 ERA in nine starts. He's lost five straight with a 6.44 ERA and 12.27 strikeouts per nine innings.
''I feel good with him. His stuff's always good,'' manager Don Mattingly said. ''I'm always pretty confident when he's pitching.''
The three-time Cy Young Award winner and reigning NL MVP gave up three runs with 11 strikeouts and four walks in 6 2-3 innings of a 3-1 loss to the Mets in Game 1.
A change of venue could benefit Kershaw, who is 3-0 while yielding three runs with 31 strikeouts over 26 2-3 innings in four starts at Citi Field. He pitched a three-hitter there with 11 strikeouts in a 3-0 victory July 23.
He'll need to be on top of his game again after New York set a franchise record for runs while collecting 13 hits in Monday's 13-7 win to take a 2-1 series lead.
While Los Angeles gives the ball to its veteran ace, the Mets are turning to rookie Steven Matz (4-0, 2.27). The 24-year-old left-hander, though, hasn't pitched in the majors since Sept. 24 due to back spasms brought on from sleeping on a couch.
He threw 80 pitches in a simulated game last week in Florida.
"It felt really good," Matz told the team's official website. "I took two weeks off, so a little rusty in the first couple innings, but felt really good, finished strong, arm feels great, back feels great, so I'm ready to go."
He pitched two-hit ball over six innings and struck out eight in an 8-0 win at Dodger Stadium on July 5.
While a playoff atmosphere at Citi Field will be much different, Matz got a small taste of that intensity in a 5-1 home win over the New York Yankees on Sept. 18. He allowed one run in six innings.
"I think that did help me a lot because now this won't be the first time I'll be pitching in front of a crowd like that," Matz said. "So now it's kind of like I've been there and I feel like I'm ready to do it."
It's unclear if he'll have to contend with Chase Utley, who was booed during the Game 3 introductions after his takeout slide Saturday broke the right leg of shortstop Ruben Tejada.
Utley was suspended two games but is awaiting a ruling on his appeal.
''The greatest retaliation is winning,'' Mets outfielder Michael Cuddyer said.
With the Mets' faithful seeking retaliation on the former Phillies nemesis, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly kept him on the bench in favor of using Howie Kendrick at second base.
Mattingly could opt for the same scenario since Utley hit .186 against left-handers this season, while Kendrick batted .291.
Kendrick is 5 for 13 in this series after hitting a three-run homer Monday, but he went 0 for 3 with a strikeout against Matz in July.
Curtis Granderson, Yoenis Cespedes and Travis d'Arnaud combined for eight hits and 11 RBIs for the Mets in Game 3. The trio, however, is 3 for 22 against Kershaw.
Granderson, though, has been outstanding in this series with three straight two-hit games. He doubled twice and tied New York's playoff record by driving in five runs, matching the mark held by Rusty Staub (1973), Edgardo Alfonzo (1999) and Carlos Delgado (2006).
|Monday, October 12, 2015|
|Major League Baseball|
Royals rally on Correa's error, beat Astros 9-6 to even ALDS
By KRISTIE RIEKEN - AP Sports Writer
Monday, October 12 at 6:51 PM (EDT)
HOUSTON (AP) Almost out of time and out of the playoffs, the Kansas City Royals realized they needed more than a big home run.
They needed a lot of hits - a maybe a little help, too.
The defending AL champions saved their season Monday. They took advantage when Astros shortstop Carlos Correa couldn't handle a deflected grounder that might have been a double-play ball, rallying for five runs in the eighth inning to beat Houston 9-6, forcing their playoff series to a decisive Game 5.
''We always feel that we're still in games, and we still have a chance,'' first baseman Eric Hosmer said. ''That's the mentality for this whole entire team. It's never quit, and the character we showed today. That's what a championship ballclub does.''
Correa homered twice, doubled, singled and drove in four runs in Game 4 of the AL Division Series. Houston took a 6-2 lead into the eighth, but a tough error charged to the 21-year-old rookie keyed the Royals' comeback to even the matchup at two games apiece.
''I missed it. That's what happened,'' Correa said. ''I wish I was perfect. I wish I could do everything perfect, but I'm not. I'm human.''
Game 5 will be back in Kansas City on Wednesday night. Johnny Cueto is set to start for the Royals against Collin McHugh.
''Everyone that watched that game, everybody that was a part of that game knows how difficult it is to feel like that game was closing in our favor and then have it not go our way,'' Astros manager A.J. Hinch said.
''But it's big boy sport. We'll adjust, and we will be ready to play,'' he said.
Late in the game, a tweet from the account of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott congratulated the Astros on advancing to the AL Championship Series. Abbott later tweeted for his personal account: ''No predictions. Just support.''
Kansas City opened the eighth with five straight singles off relievers Will Harris and Tony Sipp, with RBI hits by Lorenzo Cain and Hosmer making it 6-4 and leaving the bases loaded with no outs.
''Obviously, we're pretty late in the game right there and down by four, so not one guy can get us back in this game. So we got to do whatever we can to keep the line moving,'' Hosmer said.
Kendrys Morales followed with a hard, one-bouncer off Sipp's glove. The ball took two more hops and got past the top of Correa's mitt, rolling into center field as two runs scored to tie it at 6.
''Just a weird spin on the ball and tough play,'' Sipp said. ''I'm sure it was tougher than it looked. Game of inches, and I barely missed it.''
Alex Gordon's RBI groundout off Luke Gregerson later in the inning put Kansas City ahead.
Hosmer launched a long, two-run homer in the ninth for insurance.
It was the second time in franchise history that Kansas City had rallied from a four-run deficit after seven innings to win a postseason game. Last year, the Royals trailed Oakland 7-3 in the eighth of their AL wild-card game before eventually winning in the 12th.
''I felt real confident that we were going to make a game out of it,'' manager Ned Yost said. ''I just felt that the bats were going to come alive, and they really did in the eighth inning. I mean really did.''
Ryan Madson (1-0) gave up two home runs in the seventh and still got the win. Wade Davis pitched two scoreless innings for his second save. It was the third time he's pitched two innings in the postseason after also doing it twice last season.
Sipp took the loss.
Colby Rasmus homered for Houston, his fourth in five playoff games this October. Carlos Gomez also connected for the Astros.
Correa went 4 for 4 and was hit by a pitch.
Plunked by Yordano Ventura his first time up, Correa answered with a solo homer to tie it in the third. He put Houston on top with an RBI double in the fifth and became the youngest player with a multihomer game in AL playoff history with a two-run shot off Ryan Madson in the seventh for a 6-2 lead.
At 21 years and 20 days old, Correa became the youngest player in franchise history to homer in the playoffs, the youngest shortstop to do it in the postseason in Major League history and sixth-youngest player overall.
Salvador Perez hit a two-run homer in the second to give the Royals an early lead. But Houston starter Lance McCullers retired 15 of the next 18 batters, leaving after hitting Perez with a pitch with one out in the seventh.
Rasmus, who homered in the AL wild-card win over the Yankees, hit his third home run of the ALDS when he followed Correa's second shot with a home run off the foul pole in right field in the seventh.
GLAD HE'S OK: Two pitches before his home run, Perez fouled a ball into the stands down the first base line and it struck a young boy. Perez looked concerned and took a second to get back in the box. Later, a team official said the boy was fine after being treated by first aid at the ballpark.
|Blue Jays||8||vs.||4||Rangers||Final Recap|
Blue Jays force Game 5 in ALDS with 8-4 win at Texas
By STEPHEN HAWKINS - AP Sports Writer
Monday, October 12 at 9:26 PM (EDT)
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) Sure, R.A. Dickey was disappointed when he saw Blue Jays manager John Gibbons walking toward the mound.
The 40-year-old knuckleballer had a six-run lead and was one out shy of qualifying for a win in his first postseason start.
Dickey also knew he was handing the ball off to a fellow Cy Young winner, and Toronto went on to beat the Texas Rangers 8-4 on Monday to force a deciding Game 5 at home in the AL Division Series.
''When you look over your shoulder and you've got a guy like this coming in behind you, it makes it a whole lot easier to give the ball to Gibby,'' Dickey said, with David Price seated to his right after the game. ''It's amazing what you can accomplish when you don't care who gets the credit. ... We're going back to Toronto with a chance.''
Toronto led 3-0 even before Dickey threw his first pitch, with Josh Donaldson and Chris Colabello homering in the first inning.
''That's great. If you could script it, obviously, that's what you'd want,'' said Donaldson, who has reached safely in five of his last nine appearances, including two homers in the series.
The Blue Jays made it three homers in the first eight batters against Derek Holland when Kevin Pillar connected in the second for a 4-0 lead. Pillar's drive was caught by Price, who was playing catch in the bullpen with Marcus Stroman.
Game 5 is Wednesday. Cole Hamels starts for the Rangers against Stroman in a rematch from Game 2, which Texas won in 14 innings.
After losing the first two games in the series at home, the Blue Jays won both games in Texas in a span of 24 hours.
''Our mindset the whole time has been you've got to win three games, however you do it, when you do it,'' said Pillar, who also had a pair of RBI singles. ''But it's definitely nice knowing flying home we've got another game.''
Dickey, the 2012 NL Cy Young winner when he won 20 games for the New York Mets, allowed one run over 4 2-3 innings and was pulled with a 7-1 lead, with a runner on base. Shin-Soo Choo, already with two hits, was coming to the plate.
''It was hard for me to do, but I thought that was the best way to win the game, keep them from coming back,'' Gibbons said. ''Probably not a relationship-building move, but a team win, that's what I was looking for.''
Price needed only one pitch to retire Choo to end the fifth, and went three innings to get the win after losing in the series opener.
Only two teams in MLB history have lost a best-of-five series after winning the first two games on the road - Oakland against the New York Yankees in 2001, and Cincinnati to San Francisco in 2012.
On the way to their first World Series in 2010, the Rangers won the first two games of the ALDS at Tampa Bay, then lost Games 3 and 4 at home before winning the deciding fifth game against the Rays on the road.
''We did it in 2010, so why not 2015? We want to win. We really want to win really hard,'' shortstop Elvis Andrus said. ''We're going to do what we're supposed to do. And that's the key for us, score early and let Cole do the rest.''
The Blue Jays, in the playoffs for the first time since their 1993 World Series championship, have won nine of their last 10 postseason road games. Texas dropped to 1-9 in division series games at home.
Dickey gave up five hits with three strikeouts and no walks. The Rangers got three runs off Price, who was gone after a two-out RBI single by Andrus in the eighth that made it 8-4.
Price won his Cy Young with Tampa Bay, was traded to Detroit midway through the 2014 season and acquired by the Blue Jays on July 30. The lefty allowed five runs and five hits over seven innings in Game 1 on Thursday, when he dropped to 0-6 in six playoff starts. His only other postseason victory was also in relief.
Adrian Beltre, who hadn't played since exiting early from the series opener because of lower back stiffness, was a late addition to the Rangers' starting lineup.
Beltre had two singles and a deep flyout, but the 36-year-old third baseman clearly was still having issues with his back he hurt sliding into second base Thursday. He moved gingerly going to first base after both hits, and did the same when advancing to second base on a wild pitch that allowed Choo to score in the third inning.
''When I got up this morning, I wasn't sure if I was going to play or not,'' said Beltre, who was then asked if he was still day to day. ''I'll let you know when I wake up tomorrow.''
Hamels and Stroman will pitch on regular rest. The Rangers have won the last 11 games started by Hamels, who they added in July in a trade from Philadelphia. Stroman was tossing in the bullpen with Price early in Game 4.
I GOT IT
Before the game, Price told Pillar to hit a ball into the bullpen. Pillar delivered with his first postseason homer in the second. ''It was hit right to me, so that was pretty cool,'' Price said. ''I got it authenticated.''
Cubs hit 6 home runs, top Cardinals 8-6 for 2-1 lead in NLDS
By JAY COHEN - AP Sports Writer
Monday, October 12 at 11:26 PM (EDT)
CHICAGO (AP) The young sluggers of the Chicago Cubs are making themselves at home in the playoffs.
On a rare off night for Jake Arrieta, the Windy City kids bashed their way to the brink of the NL Championship Series - and a spot in the record book.
Jorge Soler, Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber connected as the Cubs set a postseason mark with six home runs and beat the St. Louis Cardinals 8-6 on Monday for a 2-1 lead in the NL Division Series. Arrieta struck out nine before departing in the sixth inning, and the bullpen finished the job in the first playoff game at Wrigley Field in seven years.
''To see the ball fly out of the yard as many times as it did was incredible,'' Arrieta said.
Starlin Castro, Anthony Rizzo and Dexter Fowler also went deep for Chicago, which held a share of the previous postseason record with five homers in Game 1 of the 1984 NLCS against San Diego.
''Pretty impressive,'' manager Joe Maddon said. ''You know, I know the wind was blowing out - we'll concede that - but most of them were properly struck. We are definitely capable of that.''
A third straight win for the Cubs on Tuesday afternoon, and the once woebegone franchise will advance to the NLCS for the first time in 12 years. The Cardinals, who led the majors with 100 wins this season, have won at least one playoff series in each of the last four years.
Jason Hammel starts at home in Game 4. John Lackey, who won the opener, pitches for the Cardinals.
''I want to win championships. I want to be on good teams,'' Lackey said. ''Got a chance here, still, and try to keep it moving.''
Jason Heyward and Stephen Piscotty homered for St. Louis, which got to Arrieta for four runs in his worst start in four months. But the Cardinals were unable to keep the Cubs in the ballpark.
St. Louis trailed 8-4 before Piscotty hit a two-run shot with two out in the ninth, a scary moment for a towel-waving crowd of 42,411 used to playoff heartache. But Hector Rondon retired Matt Holliday on a harmless bouncer to second, and the party was on.
''We were grinding against Arrieta all night and we did have opportunities,'' Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. ''They just kept adding on.''
Arrieta improved to 18-1 with a 1.00 ERA in his last 22 starts dating to June 21, but he was far from his usual dominant self. He hadn't allowed more than three runs in a game since a June 16 loss to Cleveland.
And it didn't matter, not one bit.
''Today we got his back - just like he always got our backs,'' Castro said.
Schwarber, Castro and Bryant homered against Michael Wacha in his first playoff appearance since he threw the final pitch of the 2014 postseason for the Cardinals, a game-ending, three-run shot for Travis Ishikawa in the NLCS against the Giants.
Bryant's two-run drive made it 4-2 with one out in the fifth and chased Wacha in favor of Kevin Siegrist. But Rizzo followed another long ball, a drive to right for his first hit of the playoffs.
Even Adam Wainwright got into the act, serving up Soler's two-run shot in the sixth. Soler, who struggled with injuries for much of the year, is 4 for 4 with two homers, four RBIs and five walks in the series. He is the first player in major league history to reach safely in his first nine postseason plate appearances.
The final homer for Chicago went to Fowler, practically an elder statesman in Maddon's youthful lineup. Fowler doesn't turns 30 until March, but Soler, Bryant, Rizzo, Schwarber and Castro are all 26 or younger.
Cubs shortstop Addison Russell left in the fourth with tightness in his left hamstring. He said he is day to day.
''It feels fine now so we're just going to have to wait, see how it goes overnight,'' he said.
St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina winced on a swing-and-miss in the fourth inning, and then was checked on by a trainer and Matheny. Molina missed the last part of the regular season due to a strained ligament in his left thumb. Piscotty and second baseman Kolten Wong were shaken up after a collision in foul territory in the fifth.
Facing elimination, Matheny decided to go to Lackey on short rest. He pitched 7 1-3 innings of two-hit ball in the Cardinals' 4-0 victory on Friday. Hammel pitched five shutout innings in his final start of the regular season on Oct. 1 at Cincinnati. The right-hander is 0-1 with a 4.80 ERA in four career playoff games.
Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap
Granderson, Mets beat Dodgers 13-7 to take 2-1 lead in NLDS
By MIKE FITZPATRICK - AP Baseball Writer
Tuesday, October 13 at 7:44 AM (EDT)
NEW YORK (AP) With big hits rather than beanballs, Curtis Granderson and the New York Mets wiped out the Los Angeles Dodgers to take control of their testy Division Series.
Granderson drove in five runs with two doubles off the wall, Travis d'Arnaud and Yoenis Cespedes homered, and New York's dangerous bats busted loose for a 13-7 victory Monday night that gave the Mets a 2-1 advantage in the best-of-five NL playoff.
Before a bloodthirsty crowd of 44,276 in the first postseason game at Citi Field, the Mets broke their postseason scoring record as public enemy No. 1 Chase Utley watched from the Los Angeles bench. New York quickly erased an early three-run deficit and made a winner of a mediocre Matt Harvey in his playoff debut.
''The greatest retaliation is winning,'' Mets outfielder Michael Cuddyer said.
Back in the postseason for the first time in nine years, New York can reach the NL Championship Series with another win at home Tuesday night behind rookie pitcher Steven Matz.
Trying to save the Dodgers' season, ace Clayton Kershaw will start on three days' rest in Game 4.
''I'm always pretty confident when he's pitching,'' manager Don Mattingly said.
Utley is the subject of scorn in New York after his late takeout slide Saturday night broke the right leg of Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada at Dodger Stadium. Utley appealed his two-game suspension, keeping him eligible to play.
Amid much speculation the Mets would seek revenge, manager Terry Collins said before the game Harvey was told not to.
''I think the boos at the introductions were kind of a big statement,'' Harvey said. ''For us it was stay focused, go out and let our play do all the talking and, you know, all that stuff will be resolved later.''
Collins said both teams met with Commissioner Rob Manfred and he instructed them to play ''correctly.'' Umpires did not issue any warnings prior to the first pitch.
''I thought our guys responded very, very well,'' Collins said.
In the end, Utley never got in the game and the Mets saved all their hard hits for when they were at the plate.
Harvey labored through five innings in his first outing since missing a mandatory postseason workout and apologizing after he arrived.
''He worked harder tonight to give us five quality innings than I have seen him work at any time,'' Collins said.
Los Angeles lefty Brett Anderson, who went back and forth with Mets fans on Twitter over Utley's suspension Sunday night, took the loss. He was tagged for six runs and seven hits in three ineffective innings.
Granderson's five RBIs matched a Mets postseason record last accomplished by Carlos Delgado in Game 4 of the 2006 NLCS at St. Louis, when New York established its previous postseason high of 12 runs.
Adrian Gonzalez and Howie Kendrick homered late for the Dodgers, who peppered Harvey with four consecutive singles in the second inning to build a 3-0 lead with the aid of Granderson's throwing error from right field.
But the Mets responded right away with four runs in the bottom half, capped by Granderson's three-run double.
Anderson hung a changeup in the third that d'Arnaud pulled for a two-run homer.
''Mainly, two pitches cost us the game,'' Anderson said. ''Just embarrassing on my part.''
Cespedes took a long, admiring look at his three-run drive in the fourth off Alex Wood that soared into the second deck in left field and traveled an estimated 431 feet. The slugger tossed his bat high in the air before beginning his trot around the bases, then came out of the dugout for a curtain call.
By then, the Mets had a 10-3 lead and fans turned their focus to chanting ''We want Utley!'' and ''Where is Utley?''
''This place was rocking,'' Mets captain David Wright said. ''It reminded me a lot of Shea Stadium when it got loud and crazy. It seemed like these fans were just losing their minds, which is what you want.''
Cespedes and d'Arnaud each finished with three runs, three RBIs and three of New York's 13 hits. Juan Lagares also scored three times in his first start of the series.
As loud boos rang out during pregame introductions, Utley stared stone-faced straight into the lens while a camera lingered on his face for a few extra seconds.
The 7 Line Army and other fans waving orange towels brought cutouts with Utley's face in the bull's-eye of a target. One sign near the first base dugout read: ''Chase Ugly Is Still Philthy,'' a nod to his 12-plus years playing Mets nemesis for rival Philadelphia. And even New York Mayor Bill de Blasio weighed in, calling Utley ''guilty as sin.''
Meanwhile, Tejada raised his fist to a rousing ovation when he was introduced in full uniform alongside teammates. With a walking boot and Mets cane, he hobbled out to the baseline as fans - some carrying ''WinForRuben'' signs with his face on them - chanted the shortstop's name.
''It got us on fire,'' fan-favorite substitute Wilmer Flores said. ''We've got Ruben's back.''
Perhaps fittingly, Kendrick, the first batter of the game, hit a grounder to shortstop - where Flores fielded it flawlessly.
Dodgers: Kershaw has dropped five consecutive postseason decisions, the longest skid in Dodgers history. He was outpitched by Jacob deGrom in a 3-1 defeat at Los Angeles in the series opener. The reigning NL MVP and three-time Cy Young Award winner is 0-1 with a 2.25 ERA in two playoff starts on short rest the past two seasons.
Mets: Matz is a hometown favorite after growing up on Long Island about 50 miles from Citi Field. He went 4-0 with a 2.27 ERA in six major league starts this season but hasn't pitched since Sept. 24 because of a balky back. To sharpen up, he threw approximately 90 pitches during a simulated game Thursday in Florida and worked off the main mound at Citi Field on Sunday. ''Really trying to take the emotions out of it,'' he said Monday. ''I have a job to do.''
|National Football League|
Bell's 1-yard TD run at buzzer lifts Steelers over Chargers
By BERNIE WILSON - AP Sports Writer
Tuesday, October 13 at 1:26 AM (EDT)
SAN DIEGO (AP) Five seconds left, down by three points and the ball inside the 1.
The Pittsburgh Steelers needed a gutsy play against the San Diego Chargers.
They got it for a stunning victory.
Le'Veon Bell scored on a wildcat run as time expired to give Mike Vick and the Steelers a 24-20 victory Monday night that had tens of thousands of Pittsburgh fans roaring and waving their Terrible Towels at Qualcomm Stadium.
Bell took the direct snap, ran left and was slowed in traffic before diving for the end zone and getting the ball across the line as Donald Butler dragged him down.
''It was time to go to the mattresses, if you will,'' coach Mike Tomlin said. ''We had to do what was required to win. Le'Veon gave us an opportunity to win, and we were trying to do everything we could to move the football.''
Bell said it was the most meaningful touchdown of his three-year career. ''The game-winner on the last play of the game, that's what you dream about,'' he said.
''`I got to get it in,'' Bell said. ''We still had a timeout left. I was thinking we still have a timeout left, so I'm thinking, `OK, maybe if I get stopped, maybe run like 4 seconds off and get a timeout and we could kick a field goal. I wanted to end the game right there.''
There was no way Tomlin was going to kick a field goal to force overtime.
''We have to run the football. We have Le'Veon Bell. We had an opportunity to win the game,'' Tomlin said. ''We're on the road in a hostile environment, we've got to play to win and that's what we did.''
It wasn't all that hostile, not with all the black-and-gold-clad fans in Qualcomm Stadium, which could be hosting its final year of the NFL because Chargers owner Dean Spanos wants to move to the Los Angeles area.
''First I'd like to thank Steeler Nation,'' Tomlin said. ''How about the support that we had in the building tonight? We get that type of support just about all of the time we're on the road, but it doesn't get old. We appreciate it.''
Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers didn't.
''It was a tough environment tonight. It was like being on the road,'' he said.
''Odd is one word we could use,'' Rivers said. ''We were in silent count and we had no chance. We were checking in and out of plays and it was about as tough as it gets. I'm usually hoarse after road games and I'm going to be today as well.''
Vick, having an awful game until the fourth quarter, kept the drive alive with a 24-yard scramble up the middle on third-and-6 from the 41 and then a 16-yard pass to Heath Miller to 1 a play before Bell's big run. An unnecessary roughness call against San Diego's Jahleel Addae moved the ball a half-yard closer to the end zone and stopped the clock.
''It's not how you start. It's how you finish,'' Vick said.
San Diego called a timeout before Pittsburgh ran the gutsy play.
Bell ran 21 times for 111 yards.
San Diego rookie Josh Lambo kicked a go-ahead, 54-yard field goal with 2: 56 left.
Vick, making his second straight start in place of injured Ben Roethlisberger, couldn't get much going until he and Markus Wheaton hooked up on a 72-yard touchdown on a stop-and-go route to tie it at 17 with 7:42 left.
The Chargers then moved down the field for Lambo's kick. Eight days earlier, the rookie kicked a 34-yarder as time expired for a 30-27 win over Cleveland. Lambo also was short and left on a 60-yard attempt just before halftime against the Steelers.
Antonio Gates returned from a four-game PED suspension and caught a 12-yard scoring pass from Philip Rivers in the first quarter and then had an 11-yard grab with 8:02 left to give the Chargers a 17-10 lead. Gates has 101 career TDs, joining Tony Gonzalez (111) as the only tight ends to reach that milestone.
Rivers has thrown 74 touchdown passes to Gates, the most from a QB to a tight end in NFL history.
Gates was suspended without pay for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug in the offseason.
Antwon Blake intercepted Rivers' pass and returned it 70 yards for a touchdown to give the Steelers a 10-7 lead late in the third quarter. Receiver Malcom Floyd broke off a crossing route that led to the pickoff.
It was Rivers' third pick-six of the season. He has turnovers in 10 of his last 11 games.
San Diego came right back and tied it on Lambo's 40-yard field goal.
Notes: Rivers was 35 of 48 for 365 yards. ... Floyd had his 300th career catch. ... Chargers OL Chris Watt was being evaluated with a head injury.
Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL
|Tuesday, October 13, 2015|
|Arkansas State||vs.||South Alabama||7:00 (EDT)|
|National Hockey League|
|Blues||vs.||Flames||7:00 (EDT) Preview|
By KEVIN MASSOTH - STATS Writer
Monday, October 12 at 6:23 PM (EDT)
Off to a hot start for the Calgary Flames, the next step for Johnny Gaudreau is trying to turn the tide on the franchise's struggles against the St. Louis Blues.
Gaudreau looks to continue his strong early season play Tuesday night and help the Flames beat the visiting Blues for only the fourth time in the last 14 meetings.
Calgary (1-1-0) was blown out at home by the Canucks 5-1 in Wednesday's season opener before regrouping for a 3-2 overtime win at Vancouver on Saturday - a tight win fueled by the 22-year-old Gaudreau. The second-year left winger had two assists and scored the overtime winner, giving him a point on each of the Flames' goals this season.
"You can't teach to be great in big moments. This guy's got it," coach Bob Hartley said. "Every time I see that he has the puck on his stick I feel that we have a chance to win. That's who he is and that's how he plays."
Gaudreau teams with 21-year-old Sean Monahan and veteran Jiri Hudler on Calgary's top line, which has combined for nine of the team's 11 points.
Calgary may need plenty from that group to end its struggles against St. Louis (1-1-0), which has outscored the Flames 45-19 during a 10-3-0 stretch in the series. All three Flames wins came in Calgary, but the Blues have a 9-0 scoring edge in the last two visits.
Last season was especially brutal for Calgary, which lost three against St. Louis by a combined 12-2 score. Gaudreau and Monahan have totaled a goal and an assist in their brief careers against the Blues, while Hudler has five goals and 16 assists in 43 meetings.
Calgary goaltender Jonas Hiller started each game against St. Louis last season and allowed 10 of the 12 goals with the other two coming on empty nets.
Hiller sat out the opener in favor of Karri Ramo, but jumped back in net to earn Saturday's win with 28 saves. Joni Ortio is Calgary's third option in net, but Hartley has said he will stay with the hot goalie, meaning the job is likely Hiller's for now.
Tuesday's game marks the second of a six-game trip for St. Louis after it opened with a 3-1 home win over Edmonton on Thursday. The Blues began the road swing with a 3-2 loss at Minnesota on Saturday and finish against Edmonton, Vancouver, Winnipeg and Montreal.
The Blues might be without young center Robby Fabbri for much of the trip after he left Saturday's loss in the first period when he took an elbow to the head.
"It affected us quite a bit," coach Ken Hitchcock said of the injury to Fabbri, who netted his first NHL goal against the Oilers.
David Backes led the Blues' offensive outburst against Calgary last season with two goals and three assists, while Jori Lehtera and Alexander Steen each scored twice with one helper. Paul Stastny contributed a goal and four assists.
Vladimir Tarasenko had a goal and an assist against the Flames last year, and he leads St. Louis with two goals and an assist this season. In his last five against Calgary, Tarasenko has three goals and three assists.
|Canadiens||vs.||Penguins||7:00 (EDT) Preview|
By KEVIN CHROUST - STATS Writer
Monday, October 12 at 3:00 PM (EDT)
No matter the goaltender or the forward stepping up with a multi-goal game, the Montreal Canadiens are finding ways to put together an impressive season-opening road trip.
They can complete it with a perfect record Tuesday night against Pittsburgh, with the Penguins seeking their first win in their home opener after struggling through two games out west.
The Canadiens (3-0-0) beat Toronto and Boston before Sunday's 3-1 win over Ottawa as Mike Condon gave Carey Price a break and made 20 saves in his NHL debut. They also won three straight to start last season but haven't taken their first four since 1977-78 on their way to a third of four straight Stanley Cups.
Tomas Plekanec scored twice in the first period against the Senators after Max Pacioretty did the same against the Maple Leafs and Lars Eller had two versus the Bruins.
"It's good," Plekanec said of the spotlight changing from game to game. "We know we have a good team. ... We played well first and third period. The second wasn't our best. When we play well, we're a good team."
If there's anywhere to improve, it's probably on the power play after an 0-for-7 effort dropped Montreal to 1 for 14 for the season. It finished 23rd a season ago at 16.5 percent, but it sounds like there's little concern the club will come around with the man advantage.
"It's one thing we've got to work on, but it's the beginning of the season," said Plekanec, who has three goals in the last two games. "We'll have more practice time to go over that and focus on it a little bit more, and I'm sure we'll be fine."
Price figures to return after starting the first two games and posting a 1.50 goals-against average and .948 save percentage. He's struggled against Pittsburgh, though, with a 3.42 GAA and .888 mark over a 2-4-2 span.
The series has followed suit with the Penguins (0-2-0) going 9-2-2 with 3.54 goals per game since the start of 2011-12.
Pacioretty has eight goals and five assists in his last 12 games against Pittsburgh, while Sidney Crosby has scored in six of his last eight in the series.
He and the Penguins, however, have been nearly silent this season. Phil Kessel scored in Saturday's 2-1 loss at Arizona, but the Pittsburgh newcomer's goal stands as the team's only tally.
"Right now it's loose-puck battles and work ethic," coach Mike Johnston said. "When you're playing a game like this, you know that's a pure staple of the game."
There wasn't an assist on Kessel's goal, so the team has one point. Dating to last postseason, the Penguins have gone five straight games without scoring more than a goal.
"We need to get our working boots on for the next few games," said forward Patric Hornqvist, who hasn't scored in six career games against the Canadiens. "We can't go for swings (on shots); we have to stop the puck and get ready. We were the better team in the last period (Saturday), but we couldn't find the net, and that can't happen."
The Penguins haven't gone winless in three to start a season since they were 0-4-4 in 2005-06, and they haven't gone without a point through three games since beginning 2001-02 with four losses.
Marc-Andre Fleury, who was around for the more recent of those two, made 37 saves against the Coyotes. The veteran is 8-2-2 with a 2.34 GAA against Montreal since the start of 2011-12.
|Jets||vs.||Rangers||7:00 (EDT) Preview|
By NICOLINO DIBENEDETTO - STATS Writer
Monday, October 12 at 10:51 PM (EDT)
It's not a surprise that Alain Vigneault thinks Henrik Lundqvist is the best player for the unbeaten New York Rangers.
It's absolutely stunning that Oscar Lindberg is tied for the most goals in the NHL.
With Lundqvist in net again, Lindberg will try to continue the best start to a season by a rookie in team history Tuesday night when the Rangers face the Winnipeg Jets at Madison Square Garden.
The 2012 Vezina Trophy winner and a three-time All-Star, Lundqvist has allowed two goals in each of the first three games for New York (3-0-0), posting a .943 save percentage. He made 37 stops while the Rangers scored the first five goals in Saturday's 5-2 win over Columbus to sweep the home-and-home set on consecutive days.
New York is off to its best start since winning the first five games of 2008-09.
"He's certainly been our best player since the start of the season," Vigneault said. "He played a very strong game again and he's doing what a goaltender is supposed to do: Give his team a chance to win."
Vigneault should feel the same way about Lindberg, who scored two goals Saturday to become the first Rangers rookie to score a goal in the first three games of a season. He's also the first Rangers rookie to score in his first three games since Steven King found the net in four straight games after making his debut in December 1992.
Lindberg's four goals tie him with Detroit's Justin Abdelkader and Zach Parise of Minnesota.
He had 28 goals and 28 assists in 75 games for Hartford of the AHL last season.
"Just trying to keep playing good and hopefully get some more goals," Lindberg told the team's official website.
Derek Stepan is also off to a strong start to 2015-16, scoring two goals and assisting on another. The center has nine points in his last nine meetings with Winnipeg.
Lundqvist is 3-0-1 with a 1.47 goals-against average and one shutout over his last four starts against the Jets.
Dylan McIlrath, a native of Winnipeg and the 10th pick in the 2010 draft, will be in the lineup while Dan Boyle gets the day off. The rookie defenseman has been a healthy scratch in each game after playing in just three contests over the past two seasons.
"I think that Boyler can play a little bit better than he has played so far, but at the end of the day (this switch) has a little bit more to do with the fact that I want to see Dylan, so we decided to make a change," Vigneault said.
The Jets (2-1-0) are concluding their season-opening four-game road trip against Eastern Conference foes after surrendering the first three goals in a 4-2 defeat to the New York Islanders on Monday afternoon.
"We came out flat and they came out hungry and ready to play," center Bryan Little said. "It was bit undisciplined and bit us chasing the puck."
Mark Scheifele is trying to set a franchise record by scoring a goal in four straight games to start the season. The center, however, hasn't managed to get a point in three matchups with the Rangers, having all three shots on goal stopped by Lundqvist in the last meeting - a 3-2 home loss March 31.
Mathieu Perreault had an assist in that game, and he has two in each of the last two games.
|Panthers||vs.||Hurricanes||7:00 (EDT) Preview|
By SCOTT GARBARINI - STATS Writer
Tuesday, October 13 at 12:02 AM (EDT)
While the season's first two games have yielded vastly different results for the Florida Panthers, the Carolina Hurricanes find themselves in an all-too-familiar situation.
The hard-luck Hurricanes resume their quest for their first points of 2015-16 when they host the Panthers on Tuesday night.
Carolina (0-2-0) started 0-6-2 en route to a last-place finish in the Metropolitan Division in 2014-15 and is off to another slow beginning, having been dealt one-goal losses to Nashville and Detroit. Like last season, injuries have played a role in the poor start, with defenseman James Wisniewski tearing his ACL in the season opener and center Riley Nash to miss 10 to 14 days after hurting his shoulder during Saturday's 4-3 loss to the Red Wings.
The Hurricanes did display some positives in the last contest, outshooting Detroit 47-19 and owning a 2-1 lead before the Red Wings scored three straight third-period goals.
Cam Ward finished with just 15 saves and Carolina converted only 1 of 6 power-play opportunities.
"We controlled the whole first period and most of the second as well. A couple key mistakes cost us," captain Eric Staal said.
Ward will give way to Eddie Lack Tuesday as the latter makes his first start since being acquired from Vancouver for two picks during June's draft. Lack went 18-13-4 with a 2.45 goals-against average in his second NHL season in 2014-15.
Florida (1-1-0) improved from 66 points to 91 during coach Gerard Gallant's debut season and began this one with a flourish, setting a modern era record with four goals during the first 6:41 of Saturday's 7-1 rout of Philadelphia. It was a far different outcome in Monday's finale of the home-and-home series, as Michal Neuvirth recorded 31 saves and helped thwart six Panthers' power-play chances in a 1-0 Flyers' win.
''We knew it wasn't going to be like the first game at home but we still had some chances,'' forward Jonathan Huberdeau said.
Roberto Luongo followed up a 39-save effort in the opener with 32 on Monday, but is expected to be rested in favor of Al Montoya Tuesday.
Montoya is 0-2-1 with a 2.97 GAA in three career starts against Carolina but made 22 saves after replacing an injured Luongo in the second period of a 1-0 home win on Nov. 26.
The Panthers outscored Carolina 9-1 in three 2014-15 meetings and can record their first streak of four consecutive regulation wins in the series.
Brandon Pirri had two goals and an assist in last season's matchups and Vincent Trocheck, who had a career-high four points in Friday's opener, notched two goals and an assist in a 6-1 victory in the most recent on April 2.
Jaromir Jagr, who scored his 723rd and 724th career goals on Friday, had two with two assists in five games against Carolina last season.
Tuesday's game will be the first between 2015 Calder Trophy winner Aaron Ekblad and Hurricanes rookie Noah Hanifin, the first defensemen selected in the past two drafts. The 18-year-old Hanifin, taken fifth overall, earned his first NHL point with an assist against Detroit.
|Predators||vs.||Devils||7:00 (EDT) Preview|
By KEVIN MASSOTH - STATS Writer
Monday, October 12 at 2:59 PM (EDT)
While Pekka Rinne's strong start has helped back the Nashville Predators' high expectations, Cory Schneider can't save the New Jersey Devils from a rebuilding campaign.
Rinne and the visiting Predators look for their third straight victory to open the season Tuesday night against a Devils team trying to end a winless start.
Nashville (2-0-0) hasn't opened with three straight victories since 2010-11, arguably the best season in net for Rinne. It was also the first of back-to-back appearances in the Western Conference semifinals - a place the club hasn't returned to since.
The veteran goaltender has the Predators again eying big things with a lights-out start in which he's allowed only one goal in victories over Carolina on Thursday and against Edmonton on Saturday. He has stopped 56 of 57 combined shots in those games, albeit against two of the league's poorest offensive teams last season.
Still, Rinne has impressed. He'll add a franchise record to his resume Tuesday with his 384th game played and already holds team marks in wins (206) and shutouts (37).
"I don't think he can impress us anymore because he does it every night," said defenseman Roman Josi after the 2-0 win over the Oilers.
Rinne shifted the focus to his team's defense, which has killed off each of the eight power plays it's faced. Nashville ranked 18th in the NHL last season with an 80.8 percent penalty kill. New Jersey has scored on two of its seven power-play opportunities so far.
"I think from last year that's the one area we can improve and we've really done a good job in these two games," said Rinne, who is 2-2-1 against New Jersey in five career starts with a 2.14 GAA and .928 save percentage.
The Devils (0-2-0) have started this season much like the previous one ended, dropping their first two to make it six straight without a win dating to April. New Jersey hasn't won in regulation since March 20, going 1-9-3 since with one shootout victory.
Schneider is 0-7-2 during that span with a 3.11 GAA and .898 save percentage. The veteran let three Winnipeg shots by to take a 3-1 loss in Friday's season opener before sitting out Saturday's 5-3 loss at Washington.
Schneider is 52-27-12 with a 1.91 GAA and .930 save percentage at home for his career, but he has lost each of his last five in regulation at Prudential Center. His GAA rises to 2.68 and his save percentage drops to .917 in those games.
He is 1-1-1 with a 3.00 GAA in four career starts against Nashville.
Despite eight goals allowed through two games, first-year coach John Hynes took some positives from New Jersey's loss to the Capitals. The Devils rallied from a 2-0 first-period deficit with goals from Adam Henrique and Eric Gelinas and killed off a 5-on-3 power play in the second. Washington then scored three unanswered goals in the third.
"A lot of things we talked about wanting to accomplish coming into tonight's game we were able to do," Hynes said. "Unfortunately, when the game was on the line, we didn't respond the right way after that goal."
Rinne is 2-2-0 with a 3.05 GAA and .890 save percentage in his last four road starts. Craig Smith has a goal in each of Nashville's first two games.
|Sharks||vs.||Capitals||7:00 (EDT) Preview|
By JEFF BARTL - STATS Senior Writer
Tuesday, October 13 at 12:47 PM (EDT)
Missing the playoffs for the first time in 11 seasons prompted the San Jose Sharks to make changes behind the bench and in net while keeping together an aging core group that sparked the postseason streak.
The pieces seem to fit so far, but strong starts haven't always led to long-term success.
San Jose looks to open with three consecutive wins for the fourth straight year as it begins a four-game trip against the Washington Capitals, who might not have Alex Ovechkin in the lineup, on Tuesday night.
The Sharks finished fifth in the Pacific Division in 2014-15, snapping a 10-season playoff run that cost coach Todd McLellan his job and led to goaltender Antti Niemi being shipped to Dallas in the offseason.
New coach Peter DeBoer believes a 5-1 win at Los Angeles on Wednesday and Saturday's 2-0 victory over Anaheim are signs of a rejuvenated club. Martin Jones, acquired in a trade with the Kings at the end of June, stopped 46 shots while starting both games.
The Sharks began the previous three seasons by winning at least their first three, but they failed to get past the second round of the playoffs the two times they qualified.
"I think a statement was made that the Sharks are back and we're for real this year," DeBoer said. "We're only two games in, but we played two tough teams. I think our game is getting better every day. I think the guys are feeling good about what we're doing. We just have to keep moving forward with that."
San Jose didn't make the sweeping roster changes some expected, but the veterans have stepped up. Joe Thornton and Brent Burns have a goal and an assist apiece, new captain Joe Pavelski has three points and 35-year-old Patrick Marleau scored twice against the Ducks.
"This guy is one of the best players in the last 10 or 15 years," DeBoer said of Marleau, whose 19 goals last season were his fewest in a non-lockout year since scoring that many in 2007-08. "I think last year was a bit of an aberration. He's come out with a lot of other guys to prove that."
Ovechkin also has heard from critics because his individual success hasn't led to any deep playoff runs. His 53 goals last season were his most since 2008-09, but Washington squandered a 3-1 series lead and lost to the New York Rangers in the second round.
The Capitals haven't advanced to the conference finals since losing to Detroit in the 1998 Stanley Cup Final seven years before Ovechkin's debut. They got 2015-16 off to a good start as Ovechkin scored a highlight-reel, go-ahead goal in the third period of Washington's 5-3 win over New Jersey on Saturday.
Ovechkin then assisted on Marcus Johansson's power-play goal later in the period after a lackluster first 40 minutes.
"We're very fortunate to have a guy like Ovi, who really didn't do anything I thought early in the game. He was a non-factor," coach Barry Trotz said. "And then when the game was on the line, in a 2-2 game, he became a big factor and he was a big factor in the next two goals."
Ovechkin, however, missed Washington's morning skate Tuesday for personal reasons and Trotz said he will be a game-time decision.
Braden Holtby made 21 saves and is expected to be in net again. He stopped 26 shots and Jay Beagle scored twice before assisting on new Sharks forward Joel Ward's overtime goal that gave the Capitals a 5-4 win over San Jose in the last meeting Feb. 11.
|Canucks||vs.||Kings||7:30 (EDT) Preview|
By SCOTT GARBARINI - STATS Writer
Tuesday, October 13 at 2:22 AM (EDT)
A surprise non-playoff participant last season, the Los Angeles Kings haven't remotely resembled a postseason contender through the early stages of this one.
They'll attempt to regroup and avoid opening with a third straight loss when the Vancouver Canucks visit Staples Center on Tuesday night.
Los Angeles (0-2-0) has been outscored 9-2 in defeats to San Jose and Arizona to begin this five-game homestand. After surrendering five unanswered goals to the Sharks in Wednesday's opener, the Kings allowed the first four in Saturday's 4-1 loss to the Coyotes.
Jonathan Quick has particularly struggled, resulting in the usually steady goaltender being showered with boos during an 18-save effort on Saturday. Poor special teams have been a contributing factor as well, with the Kings 0 for 10 on the power play and permitting two power-play goals against San Jose.
On the positive side, Los Angeles finished with a 41-22 shot advantage against Arizona, and both the Coyotes and Sharks won their subsequent games.
''If you feel better about losing, we played better (Saturday) than the last game,'' coach Darryl Sutter said. ''We probably deserved a little better fate.''
The Kings may have another challenge on their hands with Vancouver off to a 2-0-1 start following Monday's 2-1 victory at Anaheim in which Alexandre Burrows and Radim Vrbata both scored in the shootout.
"We've played two teams already that weren't playoff teams last year, so now we're playing one (Tuesday) that was. Our game has to be ramped up a little bit," Sutter told the Kings' official website.
Ryan Miller, back from a knee injury that hampered him throughout the second half of last season, made 28 saves and owns a 1.60 goals-against average through Vancouver's first three games.
''I'm just trying to go out there and battle and compete. That was my mindset coming off an injury," he said. "That's what it really comes down to, getting back the focus early on.''
Miller had a 4.24 GAA while allowing seven goals in two losses to Los Angeles last season, however, and could sit in favor of Richard Bachman in the second of a back-to-back.
Bachman, serving as Miller's backup with Jacob Markstrom sidelined by a hamstring injury, started just four times for Edmonton last season. One came against Los Angeles on April 7, when he recorded 25 saves in a 4-2 win that helped deny the defending Stanley Cup champion Kings a playoff berth.
Los Angeles did go 3-1-1 against the Canucks last season and won four straight at home in the series prior to a 4-1 defeat on March 21. Quick posted a 1.18 GAA and one shutout while starting all five 2014-15 meetings.
Tyler Toffoli, who scored a short-handed goal Saturday, and Anze Kopitar each had two goals and three assists in last season's series and Marian Gaborik scored three times.
The Kings will remain without Dwight King for an extended period, however, as Sutter announced that the third-line forward had surgery to repair a broken foot and will miss 8 to 10 weeks. King sustained the injury blocking a shot in a preseason game against Colorado on Nov. 3.
|Lightning||vs.||Red Wings||7:30 (EDT) Preview|
Lightning-Red Wings Preview
By JEFF BARTL - STATS Senior Writer
Monday, October 12 at 5:30 PM (EDT)
Justin Abdelkader didn't play in Detroit's first two playoff games last year and wasn't quite himself offensively when he returned, recording as many penalty minutes as shots on goal as the Red Wings lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning in seven.
The defending Eastern Conference champions could see a much different player Tuesday night.
Riding Abdelkader's hot start, Detroit looks to open with three straight victories for the first time in four years when it hosts the Lightning, who haven't started 4-0 since winning their only Stanley Cup.
Abdelkader missed the last four regular-season games of 2014-15 with a hand injury before sitting out Games 1 and 2 in the first round against Tampa. The winger finished the series with two assists as the Red Wings blew a 3-2 series lead.
He set career highs in goals (23) and assists (21), though, before being hampered by the injury, and he's given Detroit a spark to begin this season. Abdelkader recorded the second hat trick of his career in Friday's 4-0 win over Toronto before finishing with a goal and an assist in Saturday's 4-3 victory at Carolina.
"He's been taking steps here the last three years as soon as he got the opportunity to play more," said Henrik Zetterberg, who has a goal and four assists.
"He's taking advantage of it. Even this year he's playing on the (penalty kill) and does a really good job. Those kind of players, you don't see them all that often in the league - strong, big guys that really can do everything and score goals, too."
Abdelkader's contributions led to him being named the NHL's first star of the week and have helped bring the Red Wings to the verge of winning their first three games for the first time since opening the 2011-12 campaign with five straight victories.
Their hot start has come despite Pavel Datsyuk (ankle), Darren Helm (concussion, separated shoulder) and defenseman Danny DeKeyser (foot) sitting on injured reserve.
If the Lightning can snap Detroit's run, they'll have their best start since 2003-04, when they won their first six before winning the Stanley Cup. Brian Boyle scored twice and Steven Stamkos recorded his 500th career point with the go-ahead goal in the second period of Monday's 6-3 win at Boston.
Jonathan Drouin and former Red Wings center Valtteri Filppula scored insurance goals in the third for Tampa, which trailed 2-0 before Boyle and Ondrej Palat scored late in the first.
The Lightning have netted 13 goals to help overcome a rough start on the penalty kill. Opponents are 4 for 9 with the man advantage after Boston scored all of its goals on the power play.
"With our team, we can score goals," goaltender Ben Bishop said. "When we're down one or two, I'm not really worried."
It's unclear if Bishop will be in net for this contest after starting the first three. Kevin Poulin could make his team debut with regular backup Andrei Vasilevskiy expected to be out until later this month after having vascular surgery.
Jimmy Howard blanked the Maple Leafs with 22 saves in Detroit's opener before Petr Mrazek started Saturday. Mrazek played all but one period of last season's playoff series against the Lightning, but Howard will be back in goal for this meeting.
Howard has gone 0-2-2 with a 2.67 goals-against average in his last four starts against Tampa.
|Oilers||vs.||Stars||7:30 (EDT) Preview|
By KEVIN CHROUST - STATS Writer
Monday, October 12 at 6:12 PM (EDT)
The Dallas Stars have shown different faces in their first two games, and while it figures to take some time to determine their true identity, consistency has remained for more than five years against their next opponent.
The Edmonton Oilers head to Dallas on Tuesday night seeking an offensive uptick to get their first win, and the Stars remain in search of defensive consistency.
Dallas opened with Thursday's 3-0 home win over Pittsburgh before regressing with a 6-3 loss in Colorado on Saturday. The Stars led 3-1 just under nine minutes into the second, then allowed five unanswered goals.
"It just stinks to lose that game," Jason Spezza said. "It's frustrating to lose this game after we had a 3-1 lead, but we just have to get back to work."
Cody Eakin scored twice, while Mattias Janmark continued to show early promise with his second goal in as many NHL games. The 22-year-old was part of the deal that sent Erik Cole to Detroit in March.
Antti Niemi has experienced a range of feelings in his first two games with his new team, posting a 37-save shutout in his debut before allowing all six to the Avalanche on 28 shots. He saw plenty of the Oilers while with San Jose and is 11-1-2 with a 2.45 goals-against average against them, though Kari Lehtonen could get his first start.
Lehtonen, Dallas' starter the past five seasons, is 8-2-1 with a 2.16 GAA in his last 12 starts against Edmonton.
The Stars have won 15 of the last 19 meetings, and it might not take much offense to add another to that dominant stretch.
Scoring is where the Oilers need to improve after going winless through two games for the third straight season. They're completing a three-game road trip and have scored once in the first two after falling 2-0 in Nashville on Saturday, which ensured they'll remain without a winning record on a multi-game trip since finishing a three-game trip with a win in Dallas on Dec. 1, 2013. Since, Edmonton is a 16-36-15 on the road with only Buffalo and Toronto gathering fewer points.
The power play went 0 for 5 against the Predators, and while a 1-for-8 sample size might leave some coaches calling for patience, Todd McLellan is already seeking answers. The Stars gave up a pair of power-play goals on four chances to Colorado.
"Our offense has to get better and a lot of that has to do with our power play," McLellan told the team's official website. "I thought our power play sucked the life out of us so that was disappointing. Yet, some of the things we were doing on the power play were the right things but we killed it ourselves with poor execution, poor passing."
While plenty of the spotlight has been focused on No. 1 overall pick Connor McDavid, there are plenty of others who have failed to produce thus far. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins' unassisted goal in Thursday's 3-1 loss in St. Louis stands as the team's only point.
Goaltender Cam Talbot has played the first two games, but McLellan said Anders Nilsson could make his season debut against the Stars.
Nilsson made 19 starts for the New York Islanders in 2013-14 before being traded to Chicago and spending last season in the KHL. The Blackhawks held his rights and traded him to the Oilers in July.
The 25-year-old was 20-9-8 with a 1.71 GAA and .936 save percentage in 38 regular-season games with KHL club Ak Bars Kazan. He was 13-7 with a 1.54 mark in the postseason.
|Monday, October 12, 2015|
|National Hockey League|
Tavares has goal, 2 assists in Isles' 4-2 win over Jets
By ALLAN KREDA - Associated Press
Monday, October 12 at 5:50 PM (EDT)
NEW YORK (AP) Though it was only their third game of the season, the New York Islanders felt a great sense of relief on Monday.
John Tavares had a power-play goal and added two assists and the Islanders beat the Winnipeg Jets 4-2 on Monday afternoon to earn their first victory in Brooklyn.
''I think we're most excited for ourselves,'' said forward Ryan Strome, who opened the scoring with a power-play goal at 19:48 of the first period.
''It's great for Brooklyn and great for the fans who have been loud and supportive.''
Thomas Greiss made 22 saves and the Islanders sent the Jets to their first loss in three games this season.
The home team came out with purpose after losing their opening two games of the season to the defending champion Blackhawks, one in overtime at home and the other in regulation in Chicago.
''We seemed to be more in sync and we were hungry on the puck,'' Tavares said. ''There was a lot more familiarity here and that made a big difference.''
The Islanders outshot the visitors 16-6 in the opening period and had a 20-9 shots advantage in the second. Jets goaltender Ondrej Pavelec made a number of key saves in the first as the Islanders had four power-play chances.
Strome banged in a rebound with a man advantage with 12 seconds left in the first, giving the Brooklyn matinee crowd a chance to launch their standard ''Yes! Yes! Yes!'' chant. Tavares and Kyle Okposo assisted on Strome's first of the season.
Brock Nelson made it 2-0 on a wrist shot from the right wing at 6:46 of the second after Tavares slid him the puck from the left side. Defenseman Johnny Boychuk also assisted on Nelson's first goal of the season.
Tavares increased the margin to 3-0 at 10:45 of the second after Pavelec stopped Marek Zidlicky's shot from the point and the rebound came to Tavares perched to the goaltender's left.
''From the drop of the puck, we dominated the game,'' Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. ''We just played Islanders hockey.''
Tavares also scored the Islanders' first goal at Barclays Center in their 3-2 overtime loss last Friday. He has four points in three games. He was denied by Pavelec on a penalty shot with 2:15 left in the third.
Josh Bailey added an empty-net goal with 19 seconds left.
''We came out flat and they came out hungry and ready to play,'' Jets center Bryan Little said. ''It was bit undisciplined and bit us chasing the puck.''
Greiss - starting in place of Jaroslav Halak for the second time in three games - wasn't especially tested. But he was steady when he had to be, only allowing a late second-period goal to Mark Scheifele and power-play goal by Dustin Byfuglien at 11:52 of the third.
''Our goaltender made big saves when he had to,'' Capuano said. ''And his communication with our defense alleviated pressure for us.''
The Jets - starting their season with a four-game Eastern road trip - opened with wins over the Boston Bruins and the New Jersey Devils. They were seeking the first 3-0 start in franchise history and will conclude the trip against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday.
Pavelec did make a number of key saves early in the first. His best was a toe stop on Tavares just over seven minutes in as the Islanders captain eluded the Jets defense and was alone in front. Pavelec also denied defenseman Travis Hamonic on a breakaway midway through the second and made 40 saves overall.
''They're a tough team to play, they have a lot of scorers,'' Pavelec said. ''It was too many penalties. For two periods, I don't think we played our hockey.''
Halak missed the game with an upper-body injury. Capuano said before the game that his starting goaltender was still ''day to day.''
The Islanders have two more home games this week against Nashville on Thursday and San Jose on Saturday. They are playing 10 of their first 15 games at Barclays Center.
''Certainly it's nice to get the first win here,'' Tavares said. ''We felt better on the ice today. We want to take advantage of being home. It's still an adjustment every day but it's coming around.''
NOTES: The Islanders are 8-3-1 in 12 games against the Jets since the franchise relocated from Atlanta. ... Last season, the Islanders were 40-8-4 when they scored at least three goals (including shootout winners) and 7-20-3 when they didn't.
Stamkos earns 500th point in Tampa Bay's 6-3 win over Bruins
By KEN POWTAK - Associated Press
Monday, October 12 at 4:50 PM (EDT)
BOSTON (AP) Loaded with postseason experience on a roster that's nearly identical to last season, the Tampa Bay Lightning are off to another strong start.
Steven Stamkos scored his 500th career point with a tiebreaking power-play goal that sent Tampa Bay to a 6-3 win over the Boston Bruins on Monday afternoon.
Brian Boyle scored two goals, and Ondrej Palat, Jonathan Drouin and Valtteri Filppula added goals for the Lightning. Ben Bishop stopped 27 shots.
It was the first win in Boston since March 25, 2010, for the defending Eastern Conference champion Lightning, snapping a 10-game losing streak in TD Garden.
''It could have easily been a `Here we go again moment' with the way we've struggled in this building,'' Stamkos said. ''This is a different team. A different team from last year with a lot of experience.''
Last season, the Lightning started 11-3-1 under coach Jon Cooper. In the season before it was 14-5-0.
On Monday, they dug out of an early 2-0 hole, taking advantage of Boston's struggling young defense with a high-powered offense.
''With our team, we can score goals. When we're down one or two I'm not really worried,'' Bishop said. ''We kind of know what it's all about. We've got pretty much the same team that we did last year. We've got one new guy.''
Loui Eriksson had two power-play goals, and David Krejci also had one for Boston, which opened a season with three straight losses for the first time since 1999.
The Bruins have been outscored 16-7 in their first three games - all at home.
''It doesn't matter what the situation is. We've got to be better defensively from the goaltender on out; defense and the forwards coming back, we've got to be better,'' Boston coach Claude Julien said. ''It used to be our strength. Now it's our weakness.''
Tuukka Rask made 17 saves for the Bruins.
Boston captain Zdeno Chara played his first game after missing most of the preseason with an undisclosed upper body injury.
''We need to get better,'' Chara said. ''I think overall we have to improve every aspect of our game.''
Stamkos fired a slap shot from the top of the right circle for the milestone point that broke a 3-3 tie at 15:17 of the second period. Drouin and Filppula scored in the third.
Boyle stole the puck from winger David Pastrnak near center ice at the end of a Bruins' power play, broke in alone on Rask and slipped a backhand between his pads, making it 3-2 just under five minutes into the second.
Boston tied it with its third power-play goal when Krejci's shot from the point caromed into the net off Eriksson.
Trailing 2-0, the Lightning scored twice in just over a minute late in the opening period.
Boyle beat Rask with a wrister over his left shoulder at 15:42.
With Patrice Bergeron off for goaltender interference, Palat redirected a shot between Rask's pads from the edge of the crease.
The Bruins had opened a 2-0 lead midway into the first.
Eighteen seconds after Matthew Carle was whistled for hooking, Krejci one-timed a shot past Bishop. Eriksson banged in Torey Krug's pass from the edge of the crease, making it 2-0 at 11:02.
NOTES: The Bruins signed former Boston University player Travis Roy to a one-day contract. Twenty-years ago, he suffered a spinal cord injury 11 seconds into his first shift, leaving him a paraplegic. He also dropped the ceremonial first puck, and the team made a $50,000 donation to his foundation. ... Bruins winger Brad Marchand is out with a concussion sustained in Saturday's loss to Montreal. ... Lightning C Cedric Paquette has yet to play this season because of an undisclosed lower body injury. ... Tampa Bay closes a three-game road swing at Detroit on Tuesday. Boston opens a two-game trip at Colorado on Wednesday.
|Blue Jackets||2||vs.||4||Sabres||Final Recap|
Eichel scores unassisted goal in Sabres' victory
By NICK MENDOLA - Associated Press
Monday, October 12 at 6:59 PM (EDT)
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) Rookie star Jack Eichel's hustling unassisted goal gave Dan Bylsma an eye-catching highlight from his first victory as coach of the Buffalo Sabres.
''That will be one that we will pull out and watch again,'' Bylsma said after Buffalo beat Columbus 4-2 on Monday.
Eichel, the former Boston University player selected No. 2 overall in the June draft, bodied off Boone Jenner in a loose-puck battle, kept the puck in the offensive zone, wheeled to his forehand and ripped a shot over goalie Sergei Bobrovsky to give Buffalo a 3-1 lead at 9:21 of the third period.
''We've been harping a lot on back pressure in the middle, and Coach has been on me about working hard for the puck,'' Eichel said. ''When I came off, he gave me a bump. That's what he likes to see, working back for the puck and getting rewarded.''
Eichel has two goals this season.
Rasmus Ristolainen, Ryan O'Reilly and Matt Moulson had power-play goals for Buffalo. Moulson added two assists, and Chad Johnson made 21 saves to help Buffalo rebound after losing its first two games of the season.
''I thought we earned the win,'' Bylsma said. ''They had to battle for every inch, we were hard to play against, I think we gave them a lot to handle.''
It was Johnson's first win for Buffalo, and first since Feb. 24 with the New York Islanders.
''We were 0-2 and we wanted to get that first win, that good feeling that winning gives you,'' Johnson said. ''It's big for the whole team and obviously as individuals. It's one of hopefully many here.''
Scott Hartnell and Brandon Saad scored for Columbus, and Bobrovsky stopped 29 shots. The Blue Jackets are 0-3.
''Right now, I'm just disappointed,'' Columbus coach Todd Richards said. ''The other games, I thought we did some things that you can build off your game. There wasn't a lot accomplished in tonight's game.''
Ristolainen opened the scoring on a power play at 2:33 of the second period after the line of Eichel, Evander Kane and Marcus Foligno pressured Columbus and drew a hooking penalty on Nick Foligno. Kane slid a cross-ice entry pass to Marcus Foligno, who won it back to Ristolainen for a slap shot from the right point.
Eichel and Kane worked a 2-on-1 later, but Kane couldn't direct Eichel's slip pass onto goal. Bobrovsky denied Cody Franson's slap shot and Jamie McGinn's rebound jab midway through the second.
Buffalo couldn't put the Blue Jackets away despite a dominant second period that featured a 16-8 advantage in shots on goal.
Then O'Reilly struck with the man advantage. Moulson found him 1-on-1 with Bobrovsky, and O'Reilly beat the Columbus goalie with a high snap shot at 5:10 of the third.
Saad put Columbus back in the game on a power play at 7:20 when he buried a loose puck off a scrum in the crease, but Eichel restored Buffalo's advantage with his nifty goal.
''Couple other times I've tried to let them ride from that side and I've snapped my stick,'' Eichel said. ''Pretty happy that I got a new stick between periods and it did me well.''
Bylsma couldn't help but marvel at the rookie's goal.
''You're looking at one of the best goalies in the league in Bobrovsky right there,'' he said. ''We'll see that goal again, we'll see it replayed again, just all of it. It's a pretty remarkable goal.''
Poor positioning allowed Hartnell to cut the deficit to 1. After Johnson denied Nick Foligno in tight, Ryan Johansen was able to spot an open Hartnell in the slot for the power-play goal with 6:47 left.
But Moulson maintained his spot in front of the Columbus net to put O'Reilly's pass home on another power play with 4:14 remaining.
And for a young team full of fresh faces, the first win comes just in time for a first road trip.
''It's huge to get it here,'' Eichel said. ''We're going to Florida with some confidence.''
NOTES: Buffalo defenseman Jake McCabe was recalled from Rochester of the American Hockey League before the game. ... Sabres right winger Brian Gionta sat out because of a lower-body injury, and defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo was a healthy scratch. ... Right winger David Clarkson was scratched for Columbus.
Canucks spoil Ducks' home opener with 2-1 shootout win
By GREG BEACHAM - AP Hockey Writer
Tuesday, October 13 at 1:36 AM (EDT)
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) Ryan Miller and the Vancouver Canucks have already found a groove just three games into the regular season. The Anaheim Ducks are still looking for a way to get their offense going.
Radim Vrbata and Alex Burrows scored in the shootout, and the Canucks spoiled Anaheim's home opener with a 2-1 victory Monday night.
Miller made 28 saves and Adam Cracknell scored in regulation for Vancouver, which beat the Ducks for just the third time in their last 12 meetings.
Vancouver improved to 2-0 on the road in the young season, with Miller yielding just one goal in each game. That's encouraging to the veteran, who played in only four games after Feb. 22 last season while dealing with a knee injury.
''I'm just trying to go out there and battle and compete,'' said Miller, who stopped a third-period redirection by Carl Hagelin with his mask. ''That was my mindset coming off an injury. That's what it really comes down to, getting back the focus early on. I didn't play hockey for a while. The technical stuff I worked on this summer and I pay attention to in practice.''
Even with twins Daniel and Henrik Sedin combining for just one shot, the Canucks won the new season's first meeting between the Pacific Division's top two teams last year. Anaheim won its third straight division title, while Vancouver finished a surprising second before losing in the opening round of the playoffs.
Sami Vatanen scored and Frederik Andersen stopped 24 shots for the Ducks, who have scored just one goal while going winless in the first two games of a season that begins with Stanley Cup aspirations.
Anaheim was shut out in San Jose on Saturday in its opener before returning to Honda Center for its first real game on home ice since Game 7 of the Western Conference finals, when Chicago advanced to win the Stanley Cup.
Kevin Bieksa played nearly 24 1/2 minutes in his second game with the Ducks. Anaheim acquired the veteran defenseman from Vancouver last summer after he played 10 years with the Canucks, who drafted him in 2001. Bieksa was reunited with Ryan Kesler, the longtime Vancouver forward who moved to Anaheim before last season.
''We fought back a lot better than we did in San Jose,'' Bieksa said. ''So we need to keep building on this in the rest of this homestand here. If we do that, we're going to be all right.''
After the Ducks failed to score on a power play during their first official taste of 3-on-3 overtime hockey, Vrbata and Burrows got stuttering, halting shots past Andersen, who stopped Burrows' shot before watching it trickle under him.
''I've done that move a few times against a few goalies, but I don't think I've ever done it against Freddie,'' Burrows said. ''So I tried it, and I'm lucky it went in tonight. It hit his stick and trickled in.''
Jakob Silfverberg scored in the shootout for the Ducks, who lost their home opener for just the second time in six seasons. Anaheim's talented offensive players aren't clicking so far, but nobody is panicking yet.
''I think we're doing things the right way now,'' Vatanen said. ''We battled hard. We got some good chances. The season is long, so we're going the right way.''
Both teams opened at a furious pace, with end-to-end chances throughout. After a scoreless first period, Vatanen got the Ducks' first goal of the season when his long, low shot went through Mike Santorelli's screen.
Cracknell evened it later in the period with a sharp-angled shot that somehow deflected off Andersen's shoulder or stick and landed behind the goalie. The journeyman got his first regular-season NHL goal since April 4, 2013, and just the seventh of his 85-game NHL career.
''Pretty fortunate goal on their part,'' Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau said.
NOTES: A small group of vocal protesters gathered outside Honda Center to call for the suspension of Ducks D Clayton Stoner, who faces charges in Canada related to a 2013 grizzly bear hunt. ... Cracknell hadn't scored a goal in his last 49 regular-season games, although he got a postseason goal in 2014 for St. Louis.
Neuvirth stops 31 shots, leads Flyers past Panthers 1-0
By DAN GELSTON - AP Sports Writer
Monday, October 12 at 10:59 PM (EDT)
PHILADELPHIA (AP) Michal Neuvirth's move from mop-up reliever to ace starter helped the Flyers make a dent in the win column.
Neuvirth stopped 31 shots for his first shutout in more than 3 1/2 years, leading Philadelphia to a 1-0 victory over the Florida Panthers on Monday night.
Brayden Schenn scored to help the Flyers win for the first time in three games this season under new coach Dave Hakstol.
Neuvirth replaced Steve Mason after Florida scored four goals in a 7-1 victory Saturday night. Mason left the team Monday because of unspecified personal reasons, giving Neuvirth the chance to shut down the Panthers from the opening faceoff. He had his first shutout since March 11, 2012, against Toronto.
''I really enjoyed tonight, playing in front of the Philly crowd,'' Neuvirth said. ''The more I play, the better I play.''
Hakstol won for the first time in the NHL game after spending 11 seasons coaching North Dakota. The college-to-pros move in the NHL is a rare one. Hakstol was the first to make the jump since Bob Johnson went from Wisconsin to the Calgary Flames in 1982.
''Winning's what we're here for,'' Hakstol said. ''It's one win and it pushed us in the right direction.''
With the Flyers again struggling in the first week of the season, Hakstol had to wait longer than he wanted for his first victory. The Flyers were 0-2 and held a players-only meeting following the blowout loss Saturday night.
The Flyers had been doomed by slow starts the last few seasons, and hadn't won a home opener since 2011. They started 0-2-2 last season under former coach Craig Berube, were 1-7 in 2013-14, and 2-6 in 2013. The 0-3 start in 2013-14 cost coach Peter Laviolette his job and he was replaced by Berube.
Laviolette landed as the head coach in Nashville, and Berube was back Monday in Philadelphia watching from the press box as a scout for Hockey Canada.
The Flyers were a wreck Saturday. The Panthers scored four goals on eight shots against Mason in the first 6:46 of the game, a modern NHL record for the fastest four goals to start a season, according to Elias Sports Bureau.
Neuvirth replaced Mason after the fourth goal and made 19 saves.
''The last game helped me a lot,'' he said. ''I came into this one more relaxed.''
Neuvirth stopped 10 shots in the first period and a whopping 14 in the third to hold off a late Panthers' charge.
Florida was 0 for 6 on the power play.
''We went into a hot goaltender,'' Panthers defenseman Erik Gudbranson said. ''I think at the end of it, we made it easy on them.''
Schenn gave Neuvirth all the offense he needed when he knocked in a rebound 5:57 into the game for his second goal of the season.
''I'll take those goals all the time,'' he said.
Roberto Luongo had 32 saves.
''We knew it wasn't going to be like the first game at home but we still had some chances,'' Florida forward Jonathan Huberdeau said. ''Luongo kept us in the game all the way through.''
Looking for backup help after letting Ray Emery go, the Flyers signed Neuvirth to a $3.25 million, two-year contract in the offseason after he shared time last season with Buffalo and the New York Islanders. He could be in the lineup again Wednesday against Chicago. There was no immediate timetable on Mason's return and general manager Ron Hextall asked for privacy on a ''sensitive issue.''
''It's sad news but you've got business to do,'' Neuvirth said.
Notes: Flyers C Sam Gagner made his season debut after he was a healthy scratch in the first two games. ... Flyers chairman Ed Snider missed the game because the team said he was ''resting and recharging after recent medical therapy.'' The Flyers said Snider's involvement in team and company operations is unaffected. ... Florida hasn't won its first two games since the 2005-06 season.