Monthly Archives: October 2019

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DENVER — Down two goals late, Jonathan Huberdeau and the Cheap Florida Panthers Jerseys didn’t play desperate. They just played determined.

Huberdeau scored 29 seconds into overtime after he tied the game late in regulation, and the Panthers beat the injury-riddled Cheap Colorado Avalanche Jerseys 4-3 on Wednesday night.

“We don’t need to panic, even if we’re down two goals,” Huberdeau said. “We’re good. We know we can come back every game.”

Huberdeau sent a backhanded shot between the pads of Avalanche goaltender Philipp Grubauer for the win. He tied the game with 1:30 remaining on a wrist shot through traffic.

Florida trailed 3-1 with around eight minutes remaining. That’s when Aleksander Barkov picked a good spot for his first goal of the season, a power-play tally that started the Panthers on the comeback trail.

“Finally, I did something,” Barkov cracked. “I’m happy.”

Colton Sceviour scored a first-period goal for the Panthers, who went 2-1-1 on a four-game trip. Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 27 shots, including a glove save near the end of the third period.

Matt Nieto and Joonas Donskoi scored first-period goals, and Nathan MacKinnon added another in the third to make it a two-goal lead with 12:23 remaining. The Avs were without two big offensive pieces in Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog due to lower-body injuries.

Grubauer stopped 34 shots, but couldn’t hold the late lead. Huberdeau scored the equalizer with Bobrovsky pulled for an extra skater.

“I just thought they were hungrier and playing a puck-possession game in the offensive zone and we didn’t close out enough plays,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. “We have to be better at the defending aspect of that.”

Midway through the third period, Panthers center Jayce Hawryluk was reaching for the puck when he took a big hit from Colorado defenseman Nikita Zadorov that sent him crashing into the boards. Hawryluk got up slowly and retreated to the dressing room. Zadorov later got into a skirmish with Dryden Hunt. After being separated, Zadorov had words with the Florida bench before being sent off for roughing.

Panthers coach Joel Quenneville didn’t have an update on Hawryluk. He didn’t have an opinion on the hit, either.

“I haven’t seen it yet,” said Quenneville, who coached the Avalanche from 2005-08.

MacKinnon had a goal and an assist to give him at least a point in all 12 games this season. He matched Joe Sakic (1988-89) for the fourth-longest point streak to start a season in franchise history. The top mark is held by Mats Sundin, who had at least a point in 30 straight games to begin the 1992-93 season.

The Avalanche got gritty goals in the first period from Nieto and Donskoi. Nieto poked in a puck while falling to the ice, and Donskoi knocked in another one near the net to give Colorado a 2-1 lead.

Things turned a little testy at the end of the second period. Hunt stabbed at a puck after Grubauer grabbed it. Cale Makar didn’t like it and shoved Hunt. Then Grubauer pushed Hunt in the helmet. Meanwhile, away from the play, Nazem Kadri and MacKenzie Weegar began fighting. They both drew 5-minute penalties.

Given Colorado’s rash of injuries, Bednar juggled his lines — all except the third unit. Nieto, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Matt Calvert quickly found a connection that Bednar doesn’t want to disrupt. The trio combined on Nieto’s first goal of the game. They have a combined 21 points.

“That’s a game where we have to walk away with two points,” Nieto said.

Grubauer turned in a big save in the first period when a puck deflected off the skate of Avalanche defenseman Mark Barberio and was headed into the net. Grubauer swung his arm around to swat it away.

Makar celebrated his 21st birthday Wednesday but didn’t have a point. His nine assists in October were the most in a month for a rookie defenseman in Avalanche history.

Game notes
Panthers D Aaron Ekblad had two assists. … Bellemare wore the “A” as an alternate captain. … F Jayson Megna made his Avalanche debut after being recalled from the Colorado Eagles of the AHL. … Colorado F Colin Wilson was scratched with a lower-body injury.

DETROIT — Dylan Larkin scored and led a defensive effort to slow down Connor McDavid.

Larkin and Patrik Nemeth had goals in the first period, and the Cheap Detroit Red Wings Jerseys defeated the Cheap Edmonton Oilers Jerseys 3-1 Tuesday night to end an eight-game losing streak.

Larkin had the challenge of being on the ice when McDavid was skating for much of the night and responded well enough to hold the superstar to one assist and three shots.

“I thought Larkin’s line did a really good job on McDavid until the second half of the third period,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “Larks plays his best hockey when he matches up against other teams’ best.”

Jimmy Howard made 31 saves for the Red Wings, who won for the first time since Oct. 10 against Montreal.

“I guess it’s a relief for us,” Larkin said.

Larkin converted on a power play 7:41 into the game, lifting the puck from the front of the crease. Nemeth, who signed as a free agent last summer, scored his first goal with the Red Wings less than a minute later.

“We knew they were going to come out fast because of their losing streak, and then we let them get a couple goals early on,” Edmonton center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins said. “I thought we fought our way back into the game, but we have got to find a way to score.”

A long scoreless stretch for both teams ended with 7:12 left when Leon Draisaitl scored from the right circle to pull Edmonton within one.

Edmonton had a 4-on-3 power play shortly thereafter but could not take advantage despite McDavid and Draisaitl putting shots on net.

“All their lines and their defensemen can skate,” McDavid said. “And, they do a good job of clutching and grabbing to clog up the middle.”

The Oilers entered the game as the Cheap NHL Jerseys No. 1 team on the power play and ended it scoreless with the man advantage for the first time this season when earning three or more power plays.

“Our goalie was our best player,” Larkin said. “We needed that.”

Filip Hronek added an empty-net goal late to seal a much-needed victory for the rebuilding Red Wings.

Mikko Koskinen stopped 25 shots for the Oilers, who have dropped four of their last five after opening the season 7-1.

Koskinen, who entered 5-0, gave up two goals on the first seven shots he faced before keeping his team in the game.

Speedy forward Andreas Athanasiou had a pair of breakaways for Detroit and was denied each time by Koskinen.

“It’s a heck of a lot harder to chase a game than it is to play with the lead,” Oilers coach Dave Tippett said. “That’s just how this game is built right now. It’s frustrating, but this wasn’t a lack of effort. We’ve just got to find some scoring in our lineup somewhere.”

Game notes
Oilers general manager Ken Holland, who left Detroit when Steve Yzerman was hired to replace him earlier this year, was given an ovation during an early break in the game. … Detroit assigned RW Evgeny Svechnikov to the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins and recalled Joe Hicketts from the Griffins. … Detroit removed LW Adam Erne from injured reserve and put LW Justin Abdelkader on IR retroactive to Oct. 23. … McDavid played in his 300th NHL game.

UP NEXT

Oilers: Play on Wednesday at Columbus.

Red Wings: Play on Friday at Carolina.

UP NEXT

Panthers: Host Detroit on Saturday.

Avalanche: Finish a three-game homestand Friday against Dallas.

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PITTSBURGH — Cheap Pittsburgh Penguins Jerseys endured a brutal stretch in the opening days of the season in which high-profile players headed to injured reserve with alarming regularity.

Yet rather than panic, head coach Mike Sullivan used it as an opportunity to make sure the good habits he believes his team will need to win in one of the Cheap NHL Jerseys most competitive divisions become ingrained. Take fewer risks on defense. Make the simple pass on offense.

Do both well enough for long enough and Sullivan knows the scoring will take care of itself, kind of the way it did during a 7-1 demolition of the Cheap Philadelphia Flyers Jerseys on Tuesday night.

The Penguins poured in four goals during a 6:05 span of the first period — matching their first-period total on the season coming in — and Pittsburgh rarely let up in its biggest regular-season blowout over their cross-state rivals in 11 years.

“We’re playing the game the right way, the way we want to play it and when we all buy in the way the guys are buying in right now, I think we’re a very good hockey team,” Sullivan said. “Tonight we were able to finish on some of the chances we got early in the first period. I give our players credit. They had the right mindset from the drop of the puck.”

Sidney Crosby, wearing a facemask as extra protection after getting hit in the head by a shot over the weekend, had a goal and two assists to boost his career point total against the Flyers to 102. Dominik Simon and Dominik Kahun also had a goal and two assists apiece for Pittsburgh, which finished a busy October 8-5-0, not bad considering forwards Evgeni Malkin, Bryan Rust, Nick Bjugstad and Alex Galchenyuk were among the group that watched the majority of the action from the press box while sidelined with injuries.

Though Malkin remains out indefinitely with a lower-body injury, the others have made their way back, giving an already confident group a noticeable boost.

“I think you feel the energy,” Crosby said. “When guys come back in the lineup they’ve been sitting around for a while, they’re eager to get out there and I think that energy can help you. I think everyone for the first period there especially, everyone was involved and that really feeds the whole team when you can get everyone going like that.”

Jared McCann, Justin Schultz, Zach Aston-Reese and Jake Guentzel also scored for Pittsburgh. Matt Murray stopped 29 shots to win for the sixth time in his last seven starts.

Oskar Lindblom got his sixth goal for the Flyers, but Philadelphia was simply overwhelmed by the Penguins during a first-period onslaught in which Pittsburgh beat Brian Elliott four times in just more than six minutes. Elliott, given the start two days after Carter Hart was pulled in a 5-2 loss to the Cheap New York Islanders Jerseys, stuck around to finish with 30 saves but the Flyers were never in it over the final two periods.

“For sure, there’s some anger in here,” Elliott said. “We have to be controlled about it, too. You have to take what you can from this game and move on. We know we didn’t have what we needed to win out here. You could see that in pretty much every aspect of the game.”

Schultz’s first goal of the season came on an innocent flick from above the right circle 5:57 into the game on a shot that fluttered over Elliott’s right shoulder. While Rust and Kahun occupied three Philadelphia defenders at the side of the net just more than two minutes later, McCann skated into the slot and flipped the puck past Elliott to double Pittsburgh’s lead. The din from McCann’s goal had barely died down when Crosby’s drop pass to Simon gave him plenty of room to beat Elliott and give the Penguins their third goal in a span of 2:49.

Crosby’s assist gave him 100 points in 68 career games against the Flyers. By the end of the period, he pushed the total to 101 thanks to a pretty cross-ice pass from Simon that Crosby turned into his fifth goal of the season and 42nd all-time against Philadelphia. The score also capped Pittsburgh’s first four-goal first period since Dec. 17, 2011, against Buffalo.

Murray, given little to do while his teammates pounded Elliott early, made sure the cushion stood up. Only Lindblom’s goal 1:57 into the third prevented Murray from posting a second straight shutout.

“It was horrible,” Philadelphia center Sean Couturier said. “Embarrassing. We didn’t come out strong. They were ready. They gave it to us.”

Game notes
Philadelphia went 0 for 4 on the power play. The Penguins were 0 for 3. … The Flyers scratched D Samuel Morin. … Pittsburgh scratched D Chad Ruhwedel and Juuso Riikola and C Sam Lafferty. … Pittsburgh has allowed five even-strength goals in its last five games.

NEWARK, N.J. — This time, the Cheap Tampa Bay Lightning Jerseys eked out a victory.

Barely.

Tyler Johnson scored 1:16 into overtime and the Lightning rallied to beat the Cheap New Jersey Devils Jerseys 7-6 on Wednesday night, avoiding their first three-game losing streak since late March 2018.

“Did the game play out like we wanted in the end? Sure it did,” said Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper, who complained about his team taking too many penalties and losing momentum and rhythm time and again. “I was proud of the way the guys rallied to bail this out.”

Ondrej Palat scored twice for the banged-up Lightning, who surrendered a tying goal to Kyle Palmieri in the waning seconds. Alex Killorn, Brayden Point, Anthony Cirelli and Mathieu Joseph also scored, and Curtis McElhinney made 36 saves.

“Huge points but there’s still room for improvement,” said Palat, who had the primary assist on the game-winner. “We need to be better in our own zone, stop on pucks and win battles. There were too many chances we gave up, and we need to be better.”

Palmieri scored three goals and Jesper Bratt had two for the Devils. Sami Vatanen scored early in the third period for a 5-3 lead, and Cory Schneider had 16 saves.

“Look I mean I am probably not going to say a whole lot,” Schneider said. “My teammates played well enough to win. We deserved to win that game and scored six goals and should win going away. The difference tonight was in net so the game speaks for itself.”

Johnson’s fourth of the season came from the inside of the right circle after Ryan McDonagh had a chance in close.

“Mac and Palat made tremendous plays there,” Johnson said. “I kind of got lost in the slot and everyone was just kind of down and out and Ondrej made a great play to me and I was just able to put it in.”

It looked as if Tampa Bay was headed for a win in regulation when Palat broke a 5-all tie on a turnaround shot from the right circle with 3:57 left.

But Palmieri forced overtime by scoring on a rebound with 7.4 seconds to play. It was his first hat trick with New Jersey and the second of his career.

Palmieri, Bratt and Vatanen scored three straight goals to turn a 3-2 deficit into a 5-3 lead in the opening minute of the third period.

Playing their second game in as many nights, the Lightning found a way to tie the game at 5. Cirelli deflected a shot by defenseman Jan Rutta past Schneider at 2:45. Joseph tied it at 7:45 when his centering pass deflected into the net off the skate and stick of Devils forward Taylor Hall.

Hall was annoyed after the game with the Devils’ fans, saying he feels the team is battling its fans after a 2-5-3 start.

“We’re 1 for 3 on the power play and getting booed,” he said. “It’s a tied game and we are getting booed. That’s a tough environment to play in, especially when you are home. I know when we are playing somewhere and their fans start booing it’s a fun environment for the away team to play in. I understand the fans’ frustration. After the game if they are booing us losing that’s fine.”

Game notes
The Lightning played without F Pat Maroon, who got hurt during Tuesday night’s 4-1 loss to the Cheap New York Rangers Jerseys … Tampa Bay called up Fs Cory Conacher and Alexander Volkov and D Luke Schenn from the minors earlier in the day. Only Conacher was not in the lineup. Volkov, a 2017 draft choice, made his NHL debut. … Bratt was a healthy scratch in the Devils’ last game, Friday night against Arizona. … Palmieri’s other hat trick was with Anaheim.

UP NEXT

Lightning: Finish three-game New York-metropolitan area swing at Islanders on Friday.

Devils: Host Flyers on Friday, ending six-game homestand.
UP NEXT

Flyers: Visit New Jersey on Friday. Philadelphia drummed the Devils 4-0 on Oct. 9.

Penguins: Get three days off at home before hosting Connor McDavid and the Cheap Edmonton Oilers Jerseys on Saturday.

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With their top two running backs injured, the Cheap Arizona Cardinals Jerseys have acquired Cheap Miami Dolphins Jerseys running back Kenyan Drake for a conditional 2020 draft pick.‬

Miami will receive a 2020 sixth-round pick that can become a fifth-round pick if conditions are met, sources told ESPN.

Arizona will need Drake’s contributions in a hurry since David Johnson (ankle) and Chase Edmonds (hamstring) are dealing with injuries that will likely hold them out for at least Thursday night’s game against San Francisco.

To fill the open roster spot, the Dolphins activated defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche from the physically unable to perform list. Nkemdiche, who has recovered from his ACL injury, is eligible to play starting Monday night against the Cheap Pittsburgh Steelers Jerseys.

Drake, the Dolphins’ leading rusher, did not travel with the team for it’s Monday night contest against the Steelers in anticipation of a trade. Multiple teams had called the Dolphins about Drake ahead of Tuesday’s Cheap NFL Jerseys trade deadline, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

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The speedy 25-year-old running back adds playmaking and dual-threat ability for a Cardinals team that’s 3-4-1 and hoping to stay in the playoff picture.

For the Dolphins (0-6), the move is about continuing to stockpile 2020 draft picks for what is expected to be an aggressive offseason for general manager Chris Grier.

Miami now has 13 picks in the 2020 draft, including three first-round picks, two second-round picks and two expected compensatory selections. Their own selection, which could be used to select a franchise quarterback, is projected to be first overall.

Dolphins fans will remember Drake most for his playmaking ability, most notably his touchdown in the “Miami Miracle” last December in which he outran a stumbling Rob Gronkowski for the game-winner against the Patriots as time expired. That remains the Dolphins’ most recent victory.

Drake, a 2016 third-round pick, is in his contract year, and there has been no progress on extension talks with the team this year. He was also recently supplanted by Mark Walton as the team’s lead back. It seemed clear that Drake didn’t have a long-term future in Miami, and both sides were prepared to move on.

Walton now should have the keys to the Dolphins’ backfield. The 2018 fourth-round pick is putting together a solid sophomore year after a rough rookie year combined with an offseason of legal issues.

The Dolphins are likely to give 2018 fourth-round pick Kalen Ballage, undrafted rookie back Patrick Laird and rookie seventh-round pick Myles Gaskin bigger reserve roles with Drake gone from the rotation.

Drake has 348 total yards this season (174 rushing, 174 receiving) and also could provide kick-return capabilities for the Cardinals if they want to use him in that way. But his most important immediate role will be manning the backfield while Johnson and Edmonds deal with injuries.

HOUSTON — For the third time in four years, the Cheap Houston Texans Jerseys will have to finish the season without pass rusher J.J. Watt.

Watt is a three-time Defensive Player of the Year and leads the NFL in sacks, pass breakups and forced fumbles since he was drafted in 2011. He’s a future Hall of Famer — likely the first in Texans history — and one of the most popular players in Houston’s locker room.

How Texans defensive end J.J. Watt ranks among defensive linemen since his NFL debut in 2011:

CATEGORY NO. RANK
Sacks 96 1st
Pass breakups 52 1st
Disrupted dropbacks 149 1st
Forced fumbles 23 1st
ESPN Stats & Information
After returning from a broken leg, Watt played at a high level in 2018, finishing second in the NFL with 16 sacks. He was making a big impact in 2019 as well. While Watt’s four sacks this season don’t even lead the team — outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus has 5.5 — Watt had a major impact. According to ESPN’s pass-rush win rate powered by NFL Next Gen Stats, Watt created the first pressure on 62 pass rushes. No other player had more than 49. And he did it while being double-teamed on 29.8% of his pass rushes as an edge rusher, which is the second-highest rate in the NFL this season.

It’s a safe bet Watt will come back in great shape from his pectoral injury — as he has from every season-ending injury — but it will be hard for the Texans to count on him staying healthy for a full 16-game season going forward. Watt has played more than eight games once since 2015. Can the Texans keep paying him more than $15 million a year, knowing that even if he comes back healthy, it is hard to depend on him as a building block of this defense?

While nobody is suggesting the Texans would cut Watt, after 2019 he does not have any guaranteed money remaining on the six-year deal he signed in 2014. His cap hits — $15.5 million in 2020 and $17.5 million in 2021 — are the highest on the team, and although the Texans have a lot of salary-cap space, Houston will likely need to spend a lot of money this offseason. The Texans didn’t re-sign Jadeveon Clowney, but quarterback Deshaun Watson and left tackle Laremy Tunsil are in line for huge deals, perhaps as soon as this offseason.

The Texans and Watt could work together to restructure Watt’s contract, extending him a season or two and adding guaranteed money to the deal while also lowering his salary and his cap hit.

While Watt has admitted in the past that he has contemplated retirement after suffering major injuries, he’s given no indication that was the case this time around. Watt is 30 years old, and if he wants to continue to play after his current contract expires in 2021, there will be plenty of suitors — either the Texans or another team.

While Watt will continue to be a leader and an important part of the Texans even when he can’t be on the field, Houston must again figure out how to replace the production of its highest-paid player.

The Dolphins have traded left tackle Laremy Tunsil, receiver Kenny Stills, defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick, linebacker Kiko Alonso and Drake over the past two months as part of the team’s extensive rebuild.

On Sunday, the Cardinals were also without running back D.J. Foster, who has missed the past two games with a hamstring injury. He was placed on injured reserve Monday.

Arizona signed running backs Zach Zenner and Alfred Morris on Wednesday to provide backup for Edmonds during practice. Zenner played just one offensive snap before Edmonds’ injury Sunday, according to NFL Next Gen Stats. He finished with 19 offensive snaps. Morris, however, was a healthy scratch.

ESPN’s Josh Weinfuss contributed to this report.

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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The Cheap New England Patriots Jerseys released kicker Mike Nugent on Tuesday, and a source told ESPN that they have agreed to terms with veteran Nick Folk to replace him.

The NFL Network first reported that Folk, who last kicked in the Cheap NFL Jerseys with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2017, would be the choice.

Nugent’s release comes after a rain-soaked 27-13 win over the Cheap Cleveland Browns Jerseys on Sunday in which he missed a 34-yard field goal, and a 29-yarder was blocked. It was the first blocked field goal against the Patriots since 2006.

Nugent, 37, had been signed on Oct. 3 after the Patriots placed longtime kicker Stephen Gostkowski on season-ending injured reserve with a hip injury. Nugent appeared in four games, and was 5-of-8 on field goals and 15-of-16 on point-after attempts.

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — Cheap Los Angeles Rams Jerseys coach Sean McVay said Tuesday that receiver Brandin Cooks was en route to see a specialist in Pittsburgh after suffering his second concussion this month.

McVay said Cooks is “feeling good,” but that there is concern about the frequency in which the concussions are occurring, followed by how quickly Cooks feels asymptomatic. “What’s most important is Brandin Cooks the human being right now,” McVay said, “not necessarily the Cheap Football Jerseys player.”

Cooks was placed into concussion protocol following a Week 5 Thursday night loss to the Cheap Seattle Seahawks Jerseys, but was cleared to play in Week 6. He also was put into concussion protocol last Sunday, Week 8, against the Cheap Cincinnati Bengals Jerseyswhen he appeared to be involved in a helmet-to-helmet collision in the first quarter.

When asked how this could affect the rest of Cooks’ season, McVay said: “We just want to take it a day at a time… Any time that you have something like this occur, you want to consider the human being first and foremost and that’s what we’re going to do and we’ll take our time.”

A sixth-year pro, Cooks has suffered three known concussions prior to this season.

Last season, he was placed into protocol in Week 5 against the Seahawks, before he was cleared for Week 6. He also suffered a concussion in the 2018 Super Bowl as a member of the New England Patriots and in 2015 with the Cheap New Orleans Saints Jerseys.

After last season, Cooks, 26, signed a five-year, $81 million extension, with $50.5 million in guarantees, that runs through the 2023 season.

This season, Cooks has caught 27 passes for 402 yards and a touchdown.

The Rams have an open date this week before playing the Cheap Pittsburgh Steelers Jerseys at Heinz Field in Week 10.

The Patriots are 8-0, but with the competition level of their schedule rising and the potential for closer games ahead, the instability at kicker is a potential concern for coach Bill Belichick, who has had the luxury of having Adam Vinatieri and Gostkowski as his two kickers over most of his 20-year tenure.

Folk, who also kicked for the Cheap Dallas Cowboys Jerseys (2007-2009) and Cheap New York Jets Jerseys (2010-2016), is 245-of-305 on field-goal attempts in his career. Earlier in 2019, he was the kicker for the Arizona Hotshots of the Alliance of American Football.

Since Gostkowski went on IR, the Patriots have brought in kickers to keep their emergency list updated. The group included veterans Folk, Blair Walsh, Giorgio Tavecchio and Kai Forbath, and younger options Greg Joseph, Austin MacGinnis, Austin Rehkow, Nick Rose, Matthew Wright, Josh Gable and Elliott Fry.

They had kicker Younghoe Koo on the practice squad for a couple of weeks, but later released him, and Koo signed with the Cheap Atlanta Falcons Jerseys on Tuesday after the club released veteran Matt Bryant.

The Patriots also released tight end Eric Tomlinson, who started two games and had one reception for one yard since being signed on Oct. 15.

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LOS ANGELES — Kawhi Leonard is only four games into his tenure back home in Los Angeles, and Paul George is still several games away from his Cheap Los Angeles Clippers Jerseys debut. Everybody is still getting to know each other on this reconfigured roster.

The Clippers have enough talent to keep stacking victories during this introductory process — particularly against teams like the Cheap Charlotte Hornets Jerseys, who have even more work to do.

Leonard had 30 points, seven rebounds and six assists, and Lou Williams scored 23 points one day after his 33rd birthday in Los Angeles’ 111-96 victory over Charlotte on Monday night.

Montrezl Harrell scored eight of his 19 points in the fourth quarter, and Landry Shamet added 16 in the Clippers’ third win in four games to start a season with championship aspirations.

After following up their impressive season-opening victories over the Lakers and the Warriors with a shocking 130-122 loss to the Cheap Phoenix Suns Jerseys two days ago, the Clippers managed to play enough defense in the second half to secure a comfortable win over the young Hornets. Their last two performances have been nowhere near complete, but the Clippers are working through it.

“There’s so many things that we can get better in,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “And you just see them, like screening, timing, knowing where each other is at. There’s so many new parts on the floor, and I just feel like we’re nowhere near what we’re going to be. Not even close, and that’s a good thing. But during that time, you’ve still got to win games. You’re in the West. You’ve just still got to tick off wins.”

The Clippers pulled away with a 16-5 run spanning the final two quarters, stretching their lead to 96-79 with 7 1/2 minutes to play. Charlotte made an 11-2 surge, cutting the lead to single digits on Miles Bridges’ 3-pointer with 4:16 left, but Harrell and Williams made big shots down the stretch.

“We’ve got to come in every game with a defensive hat on first, and we did that tonight,” Leonard said. “It’s still early. We’ve got a long road ahead of us. We’re still building chemistry, getting to know each other on the floor. I wouldn’t say we’re there yet. We’ve got to keep going.”

Terry Rozier had 17 points to lead six Hornets scoring in double figures in the second game of a four-game trip. Devonte Graham had 14 points and 12 assists, while Cody Zeller added 14 points and 13 rebounds for Charlotte, which has lost three straight after a season-opening win over Chicago.

“I like the way we competed against two of the better teams in the league,” Charlotte coach James Borrego said. “We played even better tonight. Probably our best performance of the year defensively.”

Indeed, Charlotte appeared to have more favorable defensive matchups against these Staples Center co-tenants than they did against the Lakers. But one night after the Hornets managed only 39 points in the second half of a loss to the Lakers, they scored only 42 in the second half against the Clippers.

“I feel like we’re growing,” Graham said. “Even (against the Lakers), I feel like we took a step. We came out tonight to fight and be aggressive, but they did a good job on us in the second half.”

RECENT EDGE

The Clippers have won 10 straight over the Hornets at Staples Center since February 2009. Los Angeles has won 10 of its last 11 overall against Charlotte.

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Leonard has added improved playmaking skills to his already formidable offensive arsenal since arriving in LA. Two days after setting a career high with 10 assists in Phoenix — which surpassed his previous career high of nine, set two days before that against Golden State — he had five in the first half against Charlotte, including a sublime bounce pass through traffic to Ivica Zubac shortly before halftime.

TIP-INS

Hornets: Zeller sported a bandage on the cut above his left eye from his mutual elbowing with Davis in their loss to the Lakers on Sunday night. … Malik Monk scored 15 points.

Clippers: Zubac had a career-high five blocked shots. … Shamet surpassed his season high with four 3-pointers in the first six minutes of the game. … George is out for at least six more games while he recovers from a shoulder injury, but Rivers said they consult frequently about potential offensive sets that will benefit George.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Rookie Ja Morant had the best game of his young career and veteran Jae Crowder hit a game-winner to make the Cheap Memphis Grizzlies Jerseys first victory of the season memorable.

Crowder’s 3-pointer from the top of the key as time expired in overtime lifted the Grizzlies to a 134-133 win over the Cheap Brooklyn Nets Jerseys on Sunday night.

“We’ve been playing well these first two games,” Crowder said of losses to Miami and Chicago. “We put five quarters together and came out with a win.”

The winning shot was possible after Spencer Dinwiddie split a pair of free throws with 7.4 seconds left, Grizzlies reserve Solomon Hill grabbing the rebound when the second shot was missed.

After a Nets foul in the backcourt, Memphis inbounded the ball with 3.7 seconds left. Morant, who led the Grizzlies with 30 points, dribbled behind his back as he crossed half court, then handed out his ninth assist, shuffling a pass to the trailing Crowder for the 28-foot game-winner.

“I believe in Jae the whole way, and he delivered for us,” Morant, the second pick in last summer’s Cheap NBA Jerseys Draft, said of the winning basket.

“Anytime you lose at the buzzer, it’s always a tough loss,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said.

Dillon Brooks scored 21 points and Jonas Valanciunas had 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Grizzlies. Morant also blocked Kyrie Irving’s 17-footer at the end of regulation to keep the score tied at 120-all.

Crowder’s winning 3-pointer was his second basket of the game, as he finished with six points. His previous 3-pointer came with 1:09 left as Memphis took its first lead of overtime at 131-128.

Irving finished with 37 points, seven rebounds and seven assists for the Nets. Caris LeVert added 27 points, Dinwiddie had 16 points on 3-for-13 shooting from the field.

“What a game, huh?” Grizzlies first-year coach Taylor Jenkins said. “. Obviously, to get our first win of the season it took a complete team effort.”

Morant led that “team effort,” helping Memphis reach overtime by scoring 17 points in the fourth quarter. Morant’s layup — his final points of the period — tied the score at 120 with 7 seconds left. He blocked Irving on the ensuing possession as time ran out in regulation.

“I head-faked,” Irving said. “I tried to shoot a fade. He’s got long arms. He got a good contest on it and blocked the shot.”

TIP-INS

Nets: DeAndre Jordan started for the first time this season, replacing Jarrett Allen, who opened the first two games at center. Allen entered midway through the first quarter. … LeVert started the game missing his first six shots, but finished 11 of 22. … Irving has scored at least 20 points in 11 of the 12 games he has played against the Grizzlies. … Brooklyn has lost eight straight road openers. The franchise’s last win in a road opener was in 2011 against Washington.

Grizzlies: Valanciunas knocked down a 3-pointer in the first quarter, the first of the season for the 7-footer. Then he hit another a minute later, matching his career-high for 3-pointers made in a game. … Rookie F Brandon Clarke, listed as questionable with back soreness, played. … Memphis has led at halftime in all three games this season. … Morant was 13 of 22 from the field for the game and 21 of his points came after halftime.

GAME BALL

After Crowder’s game-winning basket, the ball ended up on the opposite end of the court from the Grizzlies’ bench. Assistant coach Brad Jones sprinted down the court to grab it. In the Grizzlies locker room, the ball was presented to Jenkins in recognition of his first win as an NBA coach.

ENDORSING JENKINS

Atkinson and Jenkins were on the Cheap Atlanta Hawks Jerseys staff together under Mike Budenholzer. Atkinson said the Grizzlies made the correct choice in hiring the Memphis coach. “I know they are really well-coached, I can tell you that,” Atkinson said of the Grizzlies before the game. “I think he’s going to be great. … He’s going to establish a great program. He has a lot of talent to work with. They are going to be a team on the rise, I’m almost sure of it.”

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Nets: Host Cheap Indiana Pacers Jerseys on Wednesday

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Hornets: Visit the Cheap Sacramento Kings Jerseys on Wednesday night.

Clippers: Visit the Cheap Utah Jazz Jerseys on Wednesday night.

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PHOENIX — Donovan Mitchell would have loved to end the game with some sort of highlight-reel dunk or step-back 3-pointer that would be replayed over and over again on television for the next 24 hours.

But it wasn’t that kind of night for the Cheap Utah Jazz Jerseys.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Jamal Murray took the blame for another slow start by Denver’s offense and quickly pointed out how well the Nuggets have been playing defensively.

“Our defense has been our anchor,” Murray said. “It’s been what’s won us (games). Guys have to know we’re a defensive team first. We can all score. We can all shoot. But defense is clearly how to win games.”

Murray scored 14 points of his 18 points in the second half, including four in the final 31 seconds, Gary Harris added a pair of late free throws and the Nuggets held on after nearly blowing a big lead in the fourth quarter, beating the winless Cheap Sacramento Kings Jerseys 101-94 on Monday night.

The Nuggets (3-0) shook off a sluggish first half when they shot 17 of 52, took control in the third quarter with a stifling defense that repeatedly forced Sacramento into contested shots from the perimeter, then held off a late rally by the Kings to remain unbeaten.

“I challenged our guys to be a lot more physical and make them feel us,” Denver coach Mike Malone said. “We didn’t change our game plan. We just changed how hard and how physical we were playing. This was another night our offense struggled, but some guys stepped up and made big plays down the stretch.”

Harris scored 17 points as Denver won its fifth straight against Sacramento. Nikola Jokic had nine points on 4-for-15 shooting with 13 rebounds and Will Barton added 13 points and nine rebounds.

Denver led comfortably midway through the fourth quarter before Holmes scored five points as part of a 10-0 run that cut the Nuggets’ lead to 90-88.

Holmes later scored on a soaring one-handed dunk that made it 95-92, before Murray’s deep shot just inside the 3-point line. After Barnes scored on a putback, Harris and Murray each hit two free throws.

“I came out more aggressive,” said Murray, who missed five of his first six shots. “That’s something I have to change with myself from the jump. I can’t just kind of be a part of the offense. I have to be aggressive and create for guys. That’s what I did in the second half.”

Richaun Holmes had 24 points and 12 rebounds for the Kings (0-4). De’Aaron Fox added 20 points and nine assists, and Harrison Barnes and Nemanja Bjelica each scored 12.

First-year Sacramento coach Luke Walton felt his team made progress despite the loss, particularly defensively.

“That’s what we have to be,” Walton said. “That’s why we stress, and there was a point made, becoming a team that comes on defense so that when we have off shooting nights we still have a chance to win. We really played a competitive game and we stuck together.”

TIP-INS

Nuggets: Denver outscored Sacramento 30-17 in the third quarter. … Murray and Barton were a combined 2 of 12 in the first half when Denver shot 32.7% from the floor.

Kings: The last time Sacramento started 0-4 was in 2008-09, when Reggie Theus was the coach. … Trevor Ariza made three 3s in the first quarter. He went into the night 1 of 7 from beyond the arc. … Holmes was called for a technical for taunting after dunking against Denver’s Mason Plumlee. … Marvin Bagley III missed his second consecutive game with a broken thumb. Harry Giles (left knee soreness) was also held out.

THIRD-QUARTER BLUES

The Kings have been outscored by 10 or more in the third quarter of every game so far this season. “I think it’s still a focus thing,” Holmes said. “We have to come in and just lock in, lock in to what we’re doing and lock in fast.”

QUOTABLE

“This was a mature win. They were hungry, they played with a lot of energy. And we matched that energy and we finished the deal.” — Denver’s Mason Plumlee.
A physical drive, a drawn foul and a clutch free throw would have to do.

Mitchell scored 25 points, including the game-winning foul shot with 0.4 seconds left, and the Jazz rallied to beat the Cheap Phoenix Suns Jerseys 96-95 on Monday.

“It’s me just attacking, coming downhill,” Mitchell said. “(Jevon) Carter was a great defender all game, but I just made a move and tried to get to the free throw line. I didn’t do that much in the second half, but I did on the final play.”

Mitchell took the ball in the backcourt in the final seconds and then drove through the lane past Carter, getting fouled by Devin Booker as he tried to make a layup. Mitchell sank the first free throw before missing the second, and Frank Kaminsky III’s last-second heave was well short.

Bojan Bogdanovic led the Jazz with 29 points on 8-of-13 shooting, including 4 for 8 from 3-point range. Rudy Gobert had 15 points and 18 rebounds and made 11 of 12 free throws.

Utah won despite shooting just 38 percent from the field and committing 23 turnovers. The Jazz made up for it with good defense, especially in the final minutes.

“We didn’t put our heads down after those mistakes. Got back and really worked to get stops,” coach Quin Snyder said. “When you do that, you have a chance. We had some really big plays down the stretch.”

The teams were tied at 70 heading into the fourth quarter before the Suns pushed ahead with five straight points. The game was tied again when Bogdanovic scored on a fast-break layup and was fouled with 1:45 left. He made the free throw to give the Jazz a 95-92 lead.

Phoenix (2-2) was led by Booker’s 21 points. Kelly Oubre Jr. added 18 and Carter had 15, including a 3-pointer that tied it at 95 with less than a minute left.

Aron Baynes scored 12 for the Suns, including a career-high three 3-pointers. He made just 25 shots from beyond the arc in his first seven seasons, including 21 last year.

Ricky Rubio faced Utah (3-1) for the first time since signing a free-agent deal with the Suns in the offseason. He finished with 10 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.

“I like how in the tough moments we get together and play with passion,” Rubio said. “The only difference not making the playoffs or making it is winning these kinds of games. I know we are young, we are learning, but we have to close out.”

Both teams struggled to make shots in the first half as the Jazz built a 46-39 lead. Bogdanovic led Utah with 14 points.

MORE THAN 0.4 SECONDS?

Phoenix coach Monty Williams thought Mitchell got fouled with 1.8 seconds left instead of 0.4, which made it nearly impossible to get a last-second shot toward the rim. The call was not reviewed.

Williams said that was frustrating, but it wasn’t his team’s biggest problem.

“That is a tough one to swallow but that wasn’t the reason we lost,” he said. “Our ball movement was stagnant tonight.”

TIP-INS

Jazz: Dante Exum was out with a right knee injury. … Utah outrebounded Phoenix 35-22 in the first half. … Mitchell was called for a flagrant 1 foul in the third quarter after trying to fight around a screen by Baynes.

Suns: Rubio returned after missing one game with a bruised left knee. … Ty Jerome is out with a sprained right ankle. … Phoenix had a moment of silence before the game for Al Bianchi, who was an assistant coach and scout for the Suns for 23 seasons, including during the team’s run to the Cheap NBA Jerseys Finals in 1976. The team said he died at age 87. … Booker got a flagrant 1 foul in the third quarter for hitting Gobert in the groin while fighting around a screen.

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Jazz: Host the Cheap Los Angeles Clippers Jerseys on Wednesday.

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Closers Aroldis Chapman of the Cheap New York Yankees Jerseys and Josh Hader of the Cheap Milwaukee Brewers Jerseys were named relievers of the year on Saturday.

Hader won the National League award, which is named for Trevor Hoffman, for the second straight season, and Chapman earned the American League award, named for Mariano Rivera. Both Hall of Famers were on the panel that voted for the awards, along with former relievers Dennis Eckersley, Rollie Fingers, Lee Smith, John Franco and Billy Wagner.

Both Chapman and Hader finished with 37 saves in the regular season, tied for third in the majors behind the 41 of San Diego’s Kirby Yates and the 38 of Houston’s Roberto Osuna.

The Cheap Boston Red Sox Jerseys have agreed to hire Cheap Tampa Bay Rays Jerseys executive Chaim Bloom as their new head of Cheap Baseball Jerseys operations, a source confirmed to ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

Terms were not available. The New York Post was first to report the Red Sox would hire the Rays’ senior vice president of baseball operations.

Bloom, 36, will succeed Dave Dombrowski, whom the Red Sox fired as president of baseball operations in September, less than a year after winning the 2018 World Series. Boston failed to make the playoffs this season, finishing 84-78, 19 games behind the American League East champion New York Yankees.

The Red Sox on Saturday announced they have scheduled a news conference for Monday afternoon.

Bloom had spent 15 years with the Rays in capacities including minor league operations, player development, contract negotiations, salary arbitration and international scouting.

He has operated in a front office unlike Boston’s in that the Rays have a low budget and remain competitive. This season, they had the lowest payroll on Opening Day at $49.08 million, and the Red Sox had the highest at $187.23 million.

Late in September, Red Sox owners John Henry and Tom Werner said at a news conference that they intended to make major cuts to the payroll to get under the luxury tax threshold next season. They said they fired Dombrowski because of differing opinions on how to build for the future.

It’s a crucial offseason for the Red Sox, who need to decide what to do about 2018 AL MVP Mookie Betts, who will be a free agent after next season; slugger J.D. Martinez, who can opt out of his $23.75 million deal five days after the World Series; and other players on expiring contracts.

Bloom is a Philadelphia native and attended Yale University, graduating in 2004 with a bachelor’s degree in classics.

Hader helped the Brewers go 51-10 in games in which he pitched, finishing with 138 strikeouts — the most of any reliever — and a 2.62 ERA. He joins Craig Kimbrel and Kenley Jansen as the only two-time winners since the awards debuted in 2014.

Chapman posted a 2.21 ERA while earning more than 25 saves for the seventh consecutive season.

Yates and Giants closer Will Smith were the runners-up in the NL; Oakland’s Liam Hendriks and Osuna came in after Chapman in the AL.

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WASHINGTON — Nationals manager Dave Martinez announced that starter Max Scherzer was scratched from his Game 5 start against the Astros because of spasms in his neck and upper right trapezius.

“Yesterday, he had a little bit of spasms in his right trap and neck,” Martinez said. “They treated it. He woke up today a lot worse.”

According to Scherzer, the symptoms were bad enough that he couldn’t do anything “menial” when he woke this morning.

“Moment I wake, I couldn’t get out of bed,” Scherzer said. “I basically just fell out of bed. Picked myself up with my left arm, and I was moving around, just couldn’t even move my [right] arm. I just knew at that point I was in a really bad spot.”

Cheap Houston Astros Jerseys owner Jim Crane wrote a letter to a Sports Illustrated reporter to apologize for a statement from the team last week that questioned her reporting.

Stephanie Apstein on Sunday tweeted the letter from Crane, saying she received it on Saturday.

On Monday, Apstein reported that during the celebration in the Astros’ clubhouse after clinching the American League Championship Series on Oct. 19, assistant general manager Brandon Taubman turned to a group of female reporters — including one wearing a purple domestic violence awareness bracelet — and repeatedly yelled, “Thank God we got [Roberto] Osuna! I’m so f—ing glad we got Osuna!”

Last season, Osuna served a 75-game suspension for violating Major League Cheap Baseball Jerseys domestic violence policy, stemming from an incident that happened while he was a member of the Cheap Toronto Blue Jays Jerseys.

The Astros initially denied Apstein’s report, calling the story “misleading and completely irresponsible” in a statement Monday.

In the letter, Crane wrote that he is apologizing to Apstein on behalf of the Astros and retracting that statement.

“We were wrong and I am sorry that we initially questioned your professionalism,” Crane wrote. “We retract that statement, and I assure you that the Houston Astros will learn from this experience.”

Taubman was fired by the Astros on Thursday. The team said in a statement that Taubman’s “inappropriate comments” were directed at the women. The team said it was “wrong” in its initial conclusions and apologized to “Apstein, Sports Illustrated and to all individuals who witnessed this incident or were offended by the inappropriate conduct.”

“The Astros in no way intended to minimize the issues related to domestic violence,” the team said in its statement.

Righty Joe Ross will take Scherzer’s place and will face Astros ace Gerrit Cole. The Cheap Washington Nationals Jerseys and Astros enter Sunday night’s game tied at two apiece.

“He’s really upset about this,” Martinez said, adding that the normally animated Scherzer was “very quiet” before the game.

Scherzer said he received a cortisone shot in the irritated region of his neck and back. Doctors said it should take about 48 hours for the shot to take effect, which means it’s still possible that he could pitch in a possible Game 7 on Wednesday in Houston.

“That’s what the doctors believe with this nerve irritation, with a cortisone shot in there, that the neck can take 48 hours [and] it really will help subside the pain that’s being alleviated,” Scherzer said. “I’m just hoping that doctors are right and that something can be possible for Game 7.”

Game 5 was set up to be a highly anticipated rematch between Scherzer and Cole, who both started Game 1, a 5-4 Nationals win. However, Martinez said Scherzer will continue to undergo treatment, and the club will keep him on the roster rather than petition for an injury replacement.

“We’re going to keep him on the roster,” Martinez said. “If this gets better in the next 24 to 48 hours, being that we have a day off tomorrow, hopefully he’ll be available to pitch one of those two games.”

Scherzer, 35, went 11-7 with a 2.92 ERA during the season but was limited to 27 starts because of back problems. He said the new injury appears to be unrelated to that issue, which was more a problem with the lower region of the back.

Scherzer, a three-time Cy Young winner, said his condition shouldn’t result in any long-term problems and that avoiding that outcome was one reason he wouldn’t have pitched on Sunday. But it turned out that fighting through the injury wasn’t an option.

“That was one of the dangers of pitching tonight, was that something serious could go wrong,” Scherzer said. “But actually I can’t even pick up my arm right now.”

Ross, 26, was 4-4 with a 5.48 ERA this season in 27 appearances, including nine starts. He wasn’t on Washington’s roster during the early rounds of the postseason but was added for the World Series. He has made one appearance, throwing two scoreless innings in Game 3.

Scherzer said that once he realized he would not be able to pitch, he alerted Ross via a text message so he could begin preparations.

“[I will] just keep the belief that we can win,” Scherzer said. “Whoever is at the plate and whoever is on the mound has the ability to do that job and continue. That’s been our motto all season, that it’s just not one guy.”

This will be Ross’ second career postseason start. He allowed four runs over 2 2/3 innings against the Dodgers in the 2016 NLDS.

“He’s starting the game,” Martinez said. “We’re going to let him go as much as he can go.”

Astros manager AJ Hinch found out about Scherzer’s injury at roughly the same time that Martinez announced the news to the media. But one of his players found out a split second earlier.

“I found out from Alex Bregman, which is part of the story,” Hinch said. “He was just closest to his phone whenever it started hitting the social media part. He came in and asked if it was true. I did a little investigating, and turned out it was.”

Still, Hinch says his club takes no delight in avoiding the challenge of facing one of the game’s toughest pitchers.

“We’re not going to high-five,” Hinch said. “We’re not going to have that moment where we feel like we have some sort of advantage. We need to go find a way to beat Joe Ross now.”

During the early rounds of the playoffs, Martinez helped navigate the Nationals to the World Series by deploying his key arms — Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin — as both starters and relievers. When asked if that might have contributed to his problems, Scherzer dismissed the possibility.

“Absolutely not,” Scherzer said. “This [is] just another thing that was a little thing that turned into a big thing that turned into a giant thing.”

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CHICAGO — Kevin Hayes and the Cheap Philadelphia Flyers Jerseys were so good they didn’t even need those two goals that were waived off.

Hayes scored after he lost a goal because of an offsides challenge, and the Flyers beat the Cheap Chicago Blackhawks Jerseys 4-1 on Thursday night.

Claude Giroux, James van Riemsdyk and Oskar Lindblom also scored for Philadelphia, which beat Chicago 4-3 in Prague in the season opener on Oct. 4. Brian Elliott made 23 saves in the Flyers’ first win in their fourth road game.

“It’s nice it all came together on the road,” Hayes said. “We’ve been playing good Cheap Hockey Jerseys. Even in some of the games we lost, we outplayed the other team.”

It looked as if Hayes scored the first goal 6:09 into the first, but the Blackhawks challenged the play and the call was overturned because Hayes was offsides. Joel Farabee’s first career goal was thrown out in the third because of another offsides challenge.

“There’s not a lot of kids in the NHL who are lucky enough to get their first NHL goal twice, so I think he’s pretty lucky on that side,” Giroux cracked.

But there was no disputing Hayes’ breakaway 5:03 into the final period. He skated away from Chicago defenseman Brent Seabrook and beat Robin Lehner for his third of the season and a 3-1 lead.

The Blackhawks closed out a disappointing 2-3-2 homestand with their third consecutive loss. They had just one shot on goal in the second, and the crowd of 21,315 booed during the final seconds of the period.

“Teams that have success, they work and they manage the puck,” Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton said, “and those are two things that we didn’t do consistently enough tonight.”

Brandon Saad scored for Chicago early in the third, and Lehner finished with 19 stops in his second straight start.

“You don’t get rewarded if you don’t do the right things, so I think it was an honest, well-deserved result today,” Lehner said.

The Flyers grabbed a 2-0 lead when they scored on their last shot of the first period and their first shot of the second.

First, Lindblom finished a 2-on-1 with Travis Konecny 13:05 into the first. It was Lindblom’s team-high fifth goal.

Giroux got his first of the season 59 seconds into the second. With fellow captain Jonathan Toews on his back, Giroux redirected Travis Sanheim’s pass into the net.

“You want to try to help the team win. Sometimes when it’s not going in you’ve got to do the little things right,” Giroux said. “Tonight I thought we played a really good game, especially in the second period.”

Van Riemsdyk helped put it away when he got his first of the season 16:44 into the third.

“For everyone on our group, it was just a matter of time,” coach Alain Vigneault said. “If you stick with the process, do the right thing, sooner or later you’re going to get rewarded.”

Game notes
Flyers F Michael Raffl was helped off in the final minute after taking a shot off his right leg. There was no update on his injury after the victory. … Blackhawks F Kirby Dach got his first career assist in his third NHL game. Dach was selected by Chicago with the No. 3 overall pick in this year’s draft. … Konecny has four points in two games against Chicago this season.

NEW YORK — The Cheap New York Rangers Jerseys were especially eager to earn a home victory against the high-flying Cheap Buffalo Sabres Jerseys to stem a series of subpar results. Three first-period goals and a thorough effort sparked the home team and a solid win ensued.

Ryan Strome scored his first two goals this season and Henrik Lundqvist made 31 saves as New York snapped a five-game losing streak with a 6-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night.

“That was obviously a good game,” said Strome, who had 18 goals for the Rangers last season after joining them in a trade from Edmonton. “Regardless of who produced, we needed that one as a team. It feels good right now. We worked hard for that one.”

The Rangers have been struggling since opening the season with two wins, followed by five defeats — the most recent in overtime to the Cheap Arizona Coyotes Jerseys on Tuesday. Against the resurgent Sabres, who had eight wins in their first 10 games, the Rangers came out with pace and received goals from Artemi Panarin, Brett Howden and Strome in the opening period.

Panarin, who signed a seven-year $81.5 million free agent contract last July, started the scoring with an unassisted goal at 11:41. Panarin corralled a loose puck along the right boards before swooping in and beating Sabres goaltender Carter Hutton for his fifth goal of the season. Panarin has points in last three games and five of the team’s eight contests this season.

Howden made it 2-0 when he tapped the puck past Hutton at 14:32 for his second goal this season. Assists went to Brady Skjei and Jesper Fast.

Strome added to the lead with a tip-in at 19:22 with assists to Skjei and Tony DeAngelo. Strome’s goal represented the 200th point of his Cheap NHL Jerseys career.

“There was a lot of communication out there,” Howden said. “We were really helping each other.”

The Rangers held a 10-7 shots advantage after the first period but the Sabres had the better of play in the second, outshooting the home team 15-4.

Defenseman Marco Scandella put Buffalo on the board with an unassisted goal at 4:17 of the second before DeAngelo restored the three-goal lead with his third goal in two games at 13:20. Skjei and Pavel Buchnevich assisted on DeAngelo’s fourth goal of the season.

Buffalo’s Vladimir Sobotka narrowed the deficit to 4-2 when he scored at 19:11 of the second, beating Lundqvist for his first goal this season. Kyle Okposo and Marcus Johansson registered assists.

The teams traded chances in the third until Strome extended the lead to 5-2 with this second goal of the night, completing a two-on-one with Howden at 7:57 as the teams skated four-on-four.

“Most important is that guys know their identity and it worked out tonight,” added the 26-year-old Strome, who has points in five of the last six games. “It was a good statement game that we had it in us to beat a team that’s 8-1-1.”

Chris Kreider completed the scoring with his first of the season at 18:44 of the third. Rookie defenseman Adam Fox had an assist — his first NHL point — and Fast added his second assist of the contest.

“We didn’t show the Rangers enough respect and they punished us for it,” Sabres coach Ralph Krueger said. “There were so many moments where we felt like we were getting back into it. We just couldn’t recover from the hole we dug ourselves into.”

Rangers coach David Quinn continued reshuffling lines in search of new combinations as the season evolves. Against the Sabres, Quinn had Panarin alongside Strome and Buchnevich while heralded rookie right wing Kaapo Kakko was on a line with center Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider.

“It was a good step in the right direction. I give our leaders a ton of credit,” Quinn said. “It wasn’t just the lines. A lot of guys came here with purpose tonight.”

The loss was the first for Hutton after six wins and starts this season as the Sabres fell to 1-5-2 in their last eight meetings with the Rangers.

With his 451st career win, Lundqvist moved to within three victories of Curtis Joseph for fifth place on the all-time list. The 37-year-old Swedish netminder also made his 862nd career appearance, passing Jean Ratelle for sixth-most appearances as a Ranger.

“We were patient. We played hard, waited for breakdowns and we took advantage,” Lundqvist said. “It was great to see. It’s important to understand how you win games in this league.”

Game notes
The Rangers are 16-4-0 against Buffalo since Apr. 19, 2013 . The teams will meet Feb. 7 in New York and March 22 in Buffalo . The Rangers scratched forward Micheal Haley . The Sabres scratched forward Evan Rodrigues and defenseman John Gilmour … The contest marked the 1,999th regular season game played by the Rangers at the current Madison Square Garden, which opened in 1968. … The game marked the return of forward Jimmy Vesey, who was traded to the Sabres last summer after three seasons with the Rangers.

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After the Cheap Tampa Bay Lightning Jerseys were humiliated by the Cheap Columbus Blue Jackets Jerseys in a four-game, first-round sweep back in April, there were three paths ahead of them.

One of them was the path of least resistance. The one where a team that amassed 128 regular-season points and 325 goals believed its kung fu was still the strongest style, and viewed the upset as a glitch rather than a systemic failure.

Steven Stamkos, the team’s captain, said that path was closed. “I think the biggest mistake a player could make is saying, ‘Let’s just get back to the playoffs and do it different this time.’”

There was also the path of overreaction. It’s the path that another offensive juggernaut took back in 2010, after the Cheap Washington Capitals Jerseys were shocked in a No. 1 vs. No. 8 series by the Cheap Montreal Canadiens Jerseys. Until the Lightning were broomed by Columbus, that Capitals loss to the Habs was the most psychologically damaging one to a franchise that I had ever witnessed.

During the series, then-Washington coach Bruce Boudreau said, “I don’t think we have to blow everything up and change the world to be successful.” By December, during an eight-game losing streak, Boudreau would announce to the Capitals’ locker room that they’d start playing the neutral zone trap.

It was a crisis of confidence I witnessed play out over multiple years, as Boudreau was fired for a true trap-happy coach in Dale Hunter, who was replaced by an offensive coach in Adam Oates, who led the Capitals to their only non-playoff season in the past 11, and was fired along with GM George McPhee.

The Lightning haven’t gone down this path. At least not yet.

“In the regular season, we were pretty successful. What happened for us in the playoffs, this doesn’t have to be a big huge system change,” said coach Jon Cooper. “But are there tweaks? Do you have to adapt? There’s no question.”

The final path is the one the Lightning are currently strolling down, filled with tweaks and adjustments and calibrations and fine-tuning. The one where they identify some parts that need repairing, without scrapping the engine.

“Our group is known as a high-flying, high-octane offensive team,” said Stamkos. “It’s great. It’s entertaining hockey. But come playoff time, it’s a different animal. We realize that.”

The thing about this path? It’s a bumpy one. Wednesday night’s win over the Cheap Pittsburgh Penguins Jerseys was their third in four games after a middling start, and following a 6-2 dismantling at the hands of the Cheap Colorado Avalanche Jerseys at home. They’re now 5-3-1. They’re seventh in offense (3.44 goals per game) and 17th in defense (3.22 goals against per game). They’re under 50% in shot attempts at 5-on-5, and they’re 12th in expected goals percentage at 5-on-5 (51.28).

This is not the team that jumped out to a 7-1-1 record last season. It could be. But that’s not what the Lightning are trying to be right now.

“We have a plan. That’s what we have. And we are slowly improving and executing our plan. It’s been really nice to watch what we’ve done,” said Cooper after the Penguins game. “We’ve won three of four. We’ve played some playoff teams in that run. When you get rewarded with the results, it stamps a little validity to it. But there’s so much time left.”

So what’s the plan? The Penguins game offered a glimpse:

1. Take fewer penalties

The Lightning took more minor penalties (640) than any other team in the NHL since 2017. They had more penalty minutes in three of the four losses against Columbus. And in their Game 7 conference final losses to the Capitals in 2018 and the Penguins in 2016. Against Pittsburgh on Wednesday, they had four to the Penguins’ 10 penalty minutes. That’s the plan.

2. Make smarter, simpler plays

Pardon the pun, but the Lightning were a force of nature when they were on last season. They won 30 games by a margin of three or more goals. It’s easy to let the fundamentals slip when you’re driving a steamroller. So the plan says that getting back to basics in the defensive end is essential. “We weren’t really inclined to make those easy plays at the end of last year,” Stamkos said.

3. Taste adversity

Cooper infamously said after last season that the Lightning didn’t play enough “meaningful games” during their breeze to the Presidents’ Trophy. It’s a notion that has been parroted by other Lightning players leading into this season: That it came too easily for them, compared to the mad sprint the Blue Jackets made to the playoffs.

So a little adversity could go a long way. Like having to rally with two third-period goals to defeat the Penguins. The Lightning trailed going into the third period just 21 times last season. It’s happened four times in nine games this season.

Cooper’s message in the locker room before the third against the Penguins? “There’s still a lot of time left in this game. We’re doing a lot of good things here. It does suck to be down 2-1, but we felt we shouldn’t be,” he said.

The best thing for the Lightning, honestly? To be a little worse. To put the work in to play the style of hockey they believe is necessary for playoff success. To toughen up so a punch to the mouth in the playoffs doesn’t stagger them. It’s not ideal to slip down into the 2-vs.-3 matchup in the first round. But it might bring out something in the Lightning that a series many felt was a de facto bye didn’t.

What’s wrong with the Lightning is that they’re trying to get it right.

“Do you ever really put [the upset] away? It’s going to be in some record book somewhere. It’s going to be details, forever,” said Cooper. “For sure it’s going to come up. But we’ve accepted it. It happened. We have to own what happened.”

This is a challenging one. Doug Glatt is the titular goon from the movie “Goon” and “Goon: Last of the Enforcers.” He never played for the Rangers, at least in canon. But as someone who respects the fan-fiction community … like, maybe in this person’s mind he did play for them? It’s an entirely new category — the FanFic Foul — but we’ll actually allow it, for the sake of art.

The enemy of my enemy is John Tortorella

John Tortorella is not a fan of the shootout. Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images
I don’t have much in common with Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella. We’re both American. We have a mutual affection for the canine species. We’ve both yelled at Larry Brooks. That’s about it.

But it turns out, we have additional common ground. Torts hates the shootout.

As you know, the shootout is a plague that has infected hockey for the past 14 years. It’s illogical. A competitive team game should not end with the artificial removal of teammates from its definitive moment. There’s not a pass attempted nor a defenseman on the ice playing in position. And it’s worth the same number of points as a victory earned during 60 minutes of 5-on-5 hockey! That’s nuts!

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The shootout’s biggest sin? That a gimmick created to generate highlights and send the fans home satisfied has grown tedious. This is especially true after the NHL was administered a syringe of adrenaline to its heart in the form of the 3-on-3 overtime. Predictability has no home there. Compare that with the shootout, where you might not know who will score the game-winning goal, but you sure do know how it’ll be scored. (Hint: on an undefended breakaway.)

The irascible Tortorella says it’s time for the shootout to go. “That overtime’s dynamite. They should just … I don’t know what we’re waiting for to get rid of this shootout stuff. I know they’re worried about the time limit. [But] it’s not going to last long. If it goes past five minutes, it’s not going to be many more minutes after five. I think it’s just dynamite.”

Did we … just … become … BEST FRIENDS?

Seriously, the 3-on-3 is appointment viewing. No matter the game, if it’s going to OT, I’m firing up Center Ice and watching it. And then flipping back to the “Shark Tank” reruns if/when the shootout hits.

I understand the issues with regular-season fatigue and the concerns for injury. All the more reason to win quickly. I understand goalies hate 3-on-3. But who cares about them, for they’re paid to deprive joy.

Dump the shootout. Extend the 3-on-3. John Tortorella thinks it’s dynamite. And you don’t want to make him angry, do you?

Listen to ESPN On Ice
Fantastic podcast this week, as Emily Kaplan and I spoke with Cheap Boston Bruins Jerseys head coach Bruce Cassidy about the Perfection Line, what he learned last postseason and his most prized hockey card. Plus, good teams playing poorly, a debate about Cheap Hockey Jerseys gear and the usual whimsy! Listen to it here, and be sure to rate and review it.

Dreger: I am not Paul Marner
Back in June, we brought you news of an Cheap NHL Jerseys meme born out of the Mitch Marner free-agent contract drama with the Cheap Toronto Maple Leafs Jerseys. Darren Dreger, the venerable hockey insider with TSN, was a leading newsmaker on that beat. Many fans, in and out of Toronto, speculated that Dreger was a mouthpiece for the Marner camp, and in particular, the player’s father Paul Marner. This speculation eventually mutated into a bit where Dreger would tweet news and then legions of fans would reply, “Thanks, Paul.” It was all quite savage.

Dreger recently appeared on The Scrum Podcast, which covers Canadian sports media, and discussed his reaction to the accusation.

“I can say to you, with 100 percent sincerity and honesty, that until very recently I had never had a single conversation or communication with Paul Marner. Not a single one. I only spoke to him after the fact, and that was very recently and very brief,” said Dreger. “All it takes is some nimrod on social media to make this loose connection, someone finds it funny and then it takes on a plague-like sort of development. I didn’t get bogged down by it. I know I covered this story with integrity.”

BOSTON — After losing a goal to an offside call midway through the first period, David Pastrnak got it right back with a pass to himself between his own legs.

This one counted for Pastrnak, who scored his league-leading 10th of the season and added an assist for the Bruins in a 4-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday night.

“I tried it a couple times in practice but it didn’t work. It worked today, so I was kind of lucky,” said Pastrnak, who reached 300 career points with the goal.

Brett Ritchie and Par Lindholm also scored for Boston, which was playing for the first time since a 4-3 loss in overtime at Toronto on Saturday night. Tuukka Rask made 28 saves in his 500th career game.

Pastrnak appeared to score on a rebound at 10:48 in the first, but the goal was waved off after Toronto challenged and replay showed the play was offside.

Pastrnak scored one that counted with 2:45 left in the first with some nifty stickhandling in front of the Toronto net. After taking a pass from Marchand, Pastrnak slipped the puck between his own legs, then redirected it past Michael Hutchinson to give the a 1-0 lead.

“There’s times through the year when pucks bounce against you and there’s times when they bounce for you. Right now pucks are bouncing his way,” Marchand said of Pastrnak. “He has that ability to make those high-end plays. He puts himself in really good positions to capitalize on opportunities.”

Pastrnak said the Bruins didn’t let up despite the disappointment from having their first goal waved off.

“I knew we were going to get another one. We were feeling good,” he said.

Kasperi Kapanen and Alexander Kerfoot had a goal and assist apiece for the Maple Leafs, who were coming off an overtime loss to Columbus at home on Monday night.

Coach Mike Babcock said the Leafs improved from the night before, when they led 3-2 after the second but couldn’t hold off the Blue Jackets in the third, then the OT.

“It was one of those games. It was a grind the whole thing. There wasn’t much room for either team,” Babcock said. “In the end, the game was right there in the third period. . We were unable to get it done.”

Michael Hutchinson stopped 35 shots.

The Maple Leafs tied after falling behind 1-0 and 2-1, but couldn’t get anything past Rask in the third period.

“I just don’t think we spent enough times in the offense zone and weren’t heavy enough on pucks. They kept on breaking out and applying pressure on our D,” Kapanen said. “We spent a lot of time in our own zone and eventually they’re going to score when the flow of the game goes like that.”

Ritchie’s unassisted goal 6:35 into the third put Boston back up 3-2 and Lindholm got his first of the season when he poked in a rebound with 2:03 left in the game.

Kapanen tied it on a one-timer off a crossing pass from Kerfoot with just under 4 1/2 minutes into the middle period. Marchand’s goal put Boston up 2-1 at 6:09, as Pastrnak got another point with an assist.

Kerfoot tied it 2-2 on a power-play goal with 7:06 to go in the period.

The Bruins beat the Maple Leafs for the 300th time, the most victories for Boston over any opponent. … Rask, the first Boston goalie to play in 500 games with the club, clapped and waved to the crowd when he was recognized for the milestone during a time out in the first period. … Bruce Cassidy coached his 200th game with the Bruins. … Marchand has points in eight straight games. … Toronto fell to 0-2-1 in the second of back-to-back games.

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Did Dreger see the “thank you, Paul” stuff that was directed toward him?

“Social media is what it is, right?” he said. “Everyone can create burner accounts and everyone can take their cheap shots and whatever. I don’t pay a lot of attention to the replies or mentions. I really, truly don’t. The only time I even acknowledged it is publicly is on the radio here in Toronto, when it started getting directed to the family.”

In the end, Marner signed his six-year contract extension before the start of the season, and everyone walked away from the bargaining table somewhat happy, even if it was a contentious process.

“What I didn’t understand,” said Dreger, “was how some of the so-called fan base of the Toronto Maple Leafs turned on a player who has been nothing but fantastic, on and off the ice.”

Thanks, Paul.

(Just kidding. Dregs put this issue to bed succinctly on this pod, which was also a good listen regarding his work as an insider.)

Winners and losers of the week
Winner: Colorado Avalanche

This might seem like an odd flex given that Mikko Rantanen is going to miss “weeks” with a lower-body injury. But anyone who watched his foot turn in a way that feet don’t turn has to be relieved that it isn’t “months.”

Losers: Timo Meier and Kevin Labanc

Wow, Couture dealing the truth: “It’s an inexcusable change. Two guys stayed out for long, looking for offense…It’s a selfish play.” pic.twitter.com/oilpnNYH41

— Sheng Peng (@Sheng_Peng) October 23, 2019
After the Sharks’ overtime loss in Buffalo, captain Logan Couture went rip city on two teammates who stayed out on the ice too long, which contributed to the game winner. “It’s an inexcusable change. Two guys stayed out too long, looking for offense. … It’s a selfish play,” he said. The players in question? Meier and Labanc, whose poor change led to Jack Eichel’s goal. Couture doubled down on the comments behind closed doors as well.

Winner: John Carlson

John Carlson (@JohnCarlson74) for the Norris Trophy?

Alex Ovechkin (@ovi8) says let the campaigning begin. pic.twitter.com/78NGB35GqH

— NHL (@NHL) October 23, 2019
As of Thursday, the Capitals defenseman led the entire NHL in scoring with 20 points, three more than Connor McDavid. I’ve said for the past two years that Carlson’s been criminally overlooked in the Norris Trophy voting: Dude won a Stanley Cup, followed it with a 70-point season and still couldn’t crack the top three last June. What he needed was a hype man to get his name out there. Alex Ovechkin is that hype man.

Loser: Luca Sbisa

The Cheap Anaheim Ducks Jerseys signed the free-agent defenseman on Tuesday. He was all set to report to the AHL team in San Diego with, again, the chance to move up and live life in Anaheim. Except that when he hit waivers, the Cheap Winnipeg Jets Jerseys — a team whose qualifications to join their blue line at this point are apparently skates and a pulse — claimed him. So, in summary: Not San Diego. Not Anaheim. Instead, Manitoba, as winter nears.

Winner: Ralph Krueger

I wrote about the Sabres coach this week, but that’s not why he’s a winner. He’s a winner because a team from Buffalo has the best record in the NHL (8-1-1) and it’s entirely possible that it won’t be an aberration this time.

Loser: Alexander Gulyavtsev

The head coach of the KHL’s Amur Khabarovsk was fined 300,000 rubles (or $4,700) for threatening to set referee Viktor Gashilov’s car on fire. He later said he was joking, adding, “I just said car, it’s not as if I said apartment.” You know, call me a pacifist, but I prefer the NHL’s coach’s challenge system.

Puck Headlines
Ryan Lambert explains the Nico Hischier contract: “If nothing else, having a locked-in Hischier behind a potentially locked-in Hughes a few years from now is going to make the Devils formidable down the middle, which is where all great teams start.”

Don’t sleep on the Coyotes.

Kanye West vs. a Swedish hockey team?

Jayna Hefford on the “Dream Gap Tour” and other topics: “That was the first step: To get people to understand where the game was at. The need for something bigger and more sustainable. I think we’re down that road. We don’t expect this to be easy or short. But we do expect that we’re going to keep moving forward and we’re pretty happy with the progress that’s been made to date.”

How an AHL fight is shedding light on the other side of hockey brawls.

Hockey tl;dr (too long; didn’t read)

A conversation between Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau. ($)

In case you missed this from your friends at ESPN

NHL temperature check: Which teams will continue their hot starts?