David Pastrnak (file)
CALGARY – Brad Marchand scored the game-winning goal 3:36 into overtime, and Tuukka Rask finished with 28 saves to lead the Boston Bruins past the Calgary Flames 2-1 on Monday at Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta.
Marchand’s winner, his 22nd goal of the season, came on a breakaway. Riley Nash set up the Bruins’ lone All-Star representative for the five-hole goal against Flames goaltender David Rittich.
David Pastrnak also scored his 22nd goal of season and Rask improved to 24-10-4 on the campaign for Boston. The Bruins bounced back from Saturday’s season-worst 6-1 loss at Vancouver and improved to 7-2-0 in February.
Matthew Tkachuk (22nd goal) had the lone score and Rittich (6-3-3) recorded 30 saves for Calgary, which dropped its second in a row after being outscored 6-3 by Florida on Saturday. The Flames fell to 5-5-0 this month.
The Bruins beat the Flames 5-2 last Tuesday in Boston in the first of the two regular-season meetings between the teams this season, with Nash and Patrice Bergeron each netting a pair of goals.
Pastrnak’s first goal since Feb. 3 against Toronto put the Bruins ahead 1-0 with 14:01 to play in the opening period. The deft Czech capitalized on a Flames giveaway and tapped in the puck stick-side past Rittich.
Tkachuk tied it on a power-play goal with 14:32 left in the second, sliding in a rebound of Sean Monahan’s shot from the circle through Zdeno Chara’s legs in the crease.
Calgary native Morgan Klimchuk made his NHL debut for the Flames, but the 22-year-old left wing did not find his way onto the scoresheet.
Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller missed his eighth straight game with an upper-body injury despite being a game-time decision. Coach Bruce Cassidy said before the game that he expected Miller to return in the next two games.
Boston continues its five-game road trip Tuesday in Edmonton. Calgary opens a two-game trip Wednesday at Vegas.
–Field Level Media
NEW YORK – (Staff Report from Official News Release) – The National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) and National Basketball Referees Association (NBRA) took advantage of the NBA All-Star break to get together for a private meeting in Los Angeles on Saturday and agree on four ways to improve relations between the two sides.
The two unions released a joint statement announcing the results of the meeting, which included three players, three referees and officials from both unions, according to a report from ESPN.
The actions agreed to are the following: Enhanced education and clarification around the “Respect for the Game” rules, the opening of an additional channel of communication for future conflicts, plans for future meetings and discussions and a broad review of existing rules and regulations and developing joint recommendations to enhance them.
“In this meeting, we took some important steps in identifying existing frustrations for both sides,” said NBPA executive director Michele Roberts in a statement. “Now with that information, we plan to move forward and continue to work together to find solutions that will enhance the on-court experience for both parties.”
“Our two unions met out of the necessity to examine issues that have previously been left unaddressed,” said NBRA spokesperson Mark Denesuk in the same release. “We look forward to continued collaboration between our two organizations to explore common interests.”
Growing tensions between players and referees has been an oft-discussed topic in the NBA this season. The NBPA and NBRA intend to continue to meet through the spring and into the summer in order to make further progress toward improving relations, according to the joint release.
Earlier this season, the NBA introduced a new a five-tiered strategy designed to address and improved the on-court working relationship between NBA players and the league’s referees. The announcement was made by Byron Spruell, NBA President, League Operations.
“As a league, we take great pride in standing for the best things about sports: competition, teamwork, respect, sportsmanship, diversity and inclusion,” Spruell said. “Recently, we have seen instances in which we have not lived up to our own collective standards with regard to sportsmanship. It is important for us to place a renewed emphasis on proper communication and respect to make sure we are meeting the standards expected from all members of the NBA family.”
Recently appointed NBA Senior Vice President, Head of Referee Operations Michelle Johnson and former game official Monty McCutchen, who was named NBA Vice President, Head of Referee Development and Training in December, will oversee the program.
The five initiatives:
Following the current season, the league will reassess the expected professional standards of coaches, players and referees and the penalties associated with falling short of those expectations.
Longtime NBA photographer Andrew D. Berstein and reporter/tv commentator Doris Burke were named as honorees for the annual Curt Gowdy media awards. Former basketball coach Harley Redin and sports business executive Jim Host were named as honorees for the John Bunn award, the highest honor for the basketball community, aside from induction.
By TERRY LYONS, Editor in Chief
The 2018 Winter Olympic Games will celebrate the Opening Ceremonies on February 9th and there’s a first for these Games. No, I’m not making reference to the fact this will be the first Olympics with the Olympic Channel on your cable tv box and I’m not noting that it’ll be the first Winter Games since the 1998 Games in Nagano without the NHL shield playing a role in the men’s ice hockey tournament. This is the first Olympic Games – Winter or Summer – with Digital Sports Desk’s popular “Diggies” being awarded. (Click here for the entire LIST).
The challenges will be many, as PyeongChang, South Korea is 14 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time in the USA and NBC Sports will be juggling some 2,400 hours of multi-platform coverage. Long gone are tape-delayed coverage of the 1980 Miracle on Ice (from Lake Placid, none-the-less) or the “Somewhat Ahead-of-its-Time” Triple-Cast from Barcelona. These Winter Games will be a streaming, social media fest, similar to the 2016 Rio Games, but on South Korean time.
With the Opening Ceremonies scheduled this Friday. February 9 and the competition running through February 25, we give you the “Diggies 2018 Winter Olympics” listing of the “Must-Follows” on twitter for the cap “G” – Games!
For simplicity, we’re listing our Diggies 2018 Winter Olympics honorees in three categories – Organizations – Media – and a select few standout Athletes.
Athletes (We could list hundreds of deserving Olympians, but have a select few) current and former stars:
Ryan Spooner and David Backes (42)
CALGARY – The Boston Bruins look to recover from a rare off-night when they continue their five-game road trip Monday afternoon against the Calgary Flames. The Bruins, who sit three points behind first-place Tampa Bay in the Atlantic Division with three games in hand, had won six of their first seven contests this month before beginning the trek by giving up five goals in the first 22 minutes, 44 seconds of Saturday’s 6-1 setback at Vancouver.
“I don’t know if we were looking at the standings and thinking we had an easy night,” Boston forward David Backes told reporters. “It was moments of brilliance and moments of ‘Who is this team out there, what are we doing?’ type of plays.” The Bruins had gone 11-0-2 in its previous 13 road games before falling at Vancouver and face an angry Flames team that is coming off a 6-3 loss to Florida on Saturday. Calgary had won five of seven games before the defeat dropped it into fourth place in the Pacific Division and one point out of the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference. “We just weren’t executing,” Flames captain Mark Giordano told reporters. “It felt like we were a little bit off right from the start of the game. I thought we had moments where we were OK, but then we gave them opportunities and they capitalized.”
TV: 4 p.m. ET, NHL Network, NESN (Boston), Sportsnet West (Calgary)
ABOUT THE BRUINS (35-13-8): Leading scorer Brad Marchand (54 points) saw his eight-game point streak, during which he registered three goals and 10 assists, come to an end Saturday. While Patrice Bergeron has recorded five goals – two in a 5-2 win over Calgary on Feb. 13 – and two assists in his last five contests, David Pastrnak is in the midst of a four-game point drought and hasn’t tallied in six games. Defenseman Kevan Miller (upper body) has been skating with the team and could return to the lineup as soon as Monday after missing the last seven contests.
ABOUT THE FLAMES (30-21-8): Dougie Hamilton provided the only highlights on Saturday by registering the first hat trick by a Calgary defenseman since Al MacInnis in March 1992 and has notched five points in his last two games. “Obviously, a cool thing to do, but tough in a game like that,” Hamilton told reporters. “I’ve had two goals before and you always say to yourself, ‘Well maybe there’s a chance you can score a hat trick,’ but (I) never did it.” Johnny Gaudreau, who has registered a team-leading 68 points, totaled four goals and seven assists during an eight-game point streak before being kept off the scoresheet on Saturday.
1. Calgary D Travis Hamonic, who has recorded eight points this season, is expected to play in his 500th NHL game on Monday.
2. Boston C Tim Schaller has scored four of his career-high 10 goals in the last seven contests.
3. Flames C Mikael Backlund, who signed a six-year, 32.1 million contract extension on Friday, has gone seven games without a point.
LOS ANGELES – A defensive stop won the game in the 2018 NBA All-Star Game. Repeat?
LeBron James (23) and Kevin Durant (35) set-up game winning stop on James Harden
LeBron James scored 10 of his game-high 29 points in the fourth quarter as Team LeBron rallied to defeat Team Stephen 148-145 in the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday night at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
James added 10 rebounds and eight assists and led a feverish defensive stop on the final possession to preserve the victory and earn MVP honors. He is the league’s All-Star Game MVP for a third time, joining Bob Petit (four), Kobe Bryant (four), Oscar Robertson (three), Michael Jordan (three) and Shaquille O’Neal (three) with three or more.
Kevin Durant added 19 points, Paul George scored 16, Andre Drummond and Bradley Beal had 14 each, Kyrie Irving 13, Anthony Davis 12 and Kemba Walker 11 for Team LeBron.
Russell Westbrook contributed 11 points, eight rebounds and eight assists for Team LeBron.
DeMar Rozan and Damian Lillard led Team Stephen with 21 points each, while Joel Embiid scored 19, Karl-Anthony Towns had 17 points and 10 rebounds, Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 16, Klay Thompson had 15, James Harden 12 and Curry 11.
After DeRozan made 1 of 2 free throws to give Team Stephen a one-point lead with 40 seconds left, James scored on a drive to put his team ahead. After a turnover by Team Stephen, James fed Russell Westbrook for a layup and a 148-145 lead with 10 seconds left.
A trapping defense by James and Durant prevented Curry and his team from getting off a shot on the final possession.
“We got stops when we needed to, got some buckets, made some big plays down the stretch. It was good,” Westbrook said on TNT after the game. “We wanted to win. We take pride, and we came out to win.
It was fun and exciting to get to go against other guys from the same conference. It was fun.”
Durant’s 3-pointer gave Team LeBron a one-point lead at the outset of the third quarter, but DeRozan and Embiid scored five points each as Team Stephen took a 90-83 lead.
Team LeBron twice got within two points and once got within one point three times before Beal’s 3-pointer gave James’ club a 105-103 lead.
The score was tied twice before Curry’s 3-pointer gave his team a 112-109 lead after three quarters.
Lillard scored seven points as Team Stephen built the lead to 133-120 midway through the fourth quarter.
George’s 3-pointer ended the run, he made another and James converted a three-point play as Team LeBron got within 136-133.
Irving’s basket got Team LeBron within a point and Westbrook twice made baskets that James’ squad within one.
Embiid scored on a layup before James hit a 3-pointer to even the score at 144 with 1:30 remaining.
–Field Level Media
LOS ANGELES — Long considered a playground clash of wills anyway, the NBA All-Star Game will fully embrace its inner schoolyard Sunday at Staples Center with its hand-picked teams captained by two alpha males of the league.
Whether the competitive nature of the showcase game changes, especially on defense, remains to be seen as the NBA’s best now dedicate themselves to either Team LeBron or Team Stephen — instead of conference.
The mystique that is LeBron James’ magic touch has already taken a hit as four members of his team have gone down with injuries. Two of those — DeMarcus Cousins (Achilles) and Kristaps Porzingis (knee) — have been lost for the season.
But this team was built with inside-out abilities and James, Kevin Durant and Anthony Davis figure to be the nucleus it revolves around.
“It’s going to be good,” James told TNT shortly after the squads were selected. “Listen, I have a 7-foot guy playing a two-guard in Kevin Durant so we got a chance. We got a real good chance.”
Added to the intrigue of Team LeBron is the presence of Kyrie Irving, the Boston Celtics’ point guard who requested a trade out of Cleveland to get out from James’ shadow.
“I feel like it was a great choice,” Irving said with a smile on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” this week.
It should come as no surprise that Steph Curry’s team can shoot and score at will. The counter to Team LeBron’s inside-out game is the shoot-off-the-dribble talents of Curry and James Harden, with Klay Thompson coming off the bench.
Combine that with the all-around game of Giannis Antetokounmpo, while the inside will be occupied by Joel Embiid, Karl-Anthony Towns and Al Horford. DeMar DeRozan will run the team from the point.
“I have a good (rapport) with DeMar and (Harden), playing on Team USA world championship teams with them,” Curry told TNT. “Joel will obviously be a future All-Star for plenty more years.”
Excuse Embiid if his energy level is low by the time the All-Star Game rolls around Sunday evening. His breakout weekend has been a busy one, even with a recent ankle injury, as he also had scheduled appearances in the Rising Stars game and the Skills Challenge.
“The last two days (the ankle) has been feeling better,” Embiid said at his All-Star weekend press conference on Friday. “But there was never really a thought about missing out on any of these events. It’s my first time, so I’m going to have fun.”
When the teams were selected, Team LeBron was considered the heavy favorite, and while the squad’s injuries have tempered that perceived advantage some, the expectation is that Team Stephen remains at a slight disadvantage.
The game does have more intrigue than just James vs. Curry, James reunited with Irving and the bigs of Team LeBron vs. the shooters of Team Stephen. There is also Russell Westbrook reunited with Durant on Team LeBron and Durant playing against his Golden State Warriors teammates of Curry, Thompson and Draymond Green.
“It would’ve been cool to get everyone on the same team again, but we got four All-Stars,” Curry said, according to the San Jose Mercury News. “I’m looking forward to playing against (Durant) and see what Team LeBron is all about. It’ll be a cool experience.”
–Starters: DeMarcus Cousins, C, Pelicans (INJURED); Anthony Davis, F/C, Pelicans; Kevin Durant, F, Warriors; Kyrie Irving, G, Celtics; LeBron James, G/F, Cavaliers.
–Reserves: LaMarcus Aldridge, F, Spurs; Bradley Beal, G, Wizards; Goran Dragic, G, Heat; Andre Drummond, C, Pistons; Paul George, F, Thunder; Kevin Love, F/C, Cavaliers (INJURED); Victor Oladipo, G, Pacers; Kristaps Porzingis, F/C, Knicks (INJURED); Kemba Walker, G, Hornets; John Wall, G, Wizards; Russell Westbrook, G, Thunder.
–Starters: Giannis Antetokounmpo, F, Bucks; Stephen Curry, G, Warriors; DeMar DeRozan, G, Raptors; Joel Embiid, C, 76ers; James Harden, G, Rockets.
–Reserves: Jimmy Butler, G, Timberwolves; Draymond Green, F, Warriors; Al Horford, F/C, Celtics; Damian Lillard, G, Trail Blazers; Kyle Lowry, G, Raptors; Klay Thompson, G, Warriors; Karl-Anthony Towns, C, Timberwolves
VANCOUVER – Former Bruins forward Loui Eriksson scored two goals, including the first of four opening-period tallies for the Vancouver Canucks, in a 6-1 rout of the Boston Bruins on Saturday night at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Eriksson’s ninth and 10th lamp-lighters of the season were accompanied by goals from Daniel Sedin (15), Bo Horvat (15), Sven Baertschi (13) and Nic Dowd (2) for Vancouver. The Canucks had lost two straight and six of seven coming in.
Tim Schaller scored his 10th goal to account for Boston’s only tally. Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask gave up four goals on eight shots before being pulled in favor of backup Anton Khudobin, who finished with 13 saves.
Boston had won back-to-back games and six of seven (6-1-0) since its 18-game points streak ended.
Canucks goalie Anders Nilsson had 44 saves. Nillson was in net and gave up four goals in Vancouver’s 6-3 loss to Boston in their first meeting of the season on Oct. 19.
Both Eriksson and Sedin had multi-point games for the Canucks, who enjoyed points from eight different skaters.
Boston outshot Vancouver 45-23.
Eriksson tapped in a feed from Sedin right in front of the crease to open the scoring for the Canucks with an even 18 minutes left in the first period.
Vancouver kept up the pressure with goals from Sedin (at 10:54), Horvat (11:50) and Baertschi (18:39) to knock Rask out of the game.
Dowd’s strike just 2:44 into the second marked the only goal of the middle period.
Schaller gave the Bruins a little life with his tally 2:57 into the third, but Eriksson restored the five-goal advantage with his second goal at 11:53 of the period.
Boston continues its five-game road trip Monday at Calgary. Vancouver hosts Colorado on Tuesday before starting a three-game trip.
–Field Level Media