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WAMC Sports Report 5/17/24: Rangers into Eastern Conference finals with win over Hurricanes

New York Rangers' Chris Kreider, second from right, celebrates his goal against the Carolina Hurricanes with teammates during the third period in Game 6 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup second-round playoff series in Raleigh, N.C., Thursday, May 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker)
Karl B DeBlaker/AP
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New York Rangers' Chris Kreider, second from right, celebrates his goal against the Carolina Hurricanes with teammates during the third period in Game 6 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup second-round playoff series in Raleigh, N.C., Thursday, May 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker)


Chris Kreider had a third-period hat trick to help the New York Rangers erase a two-goal deficit and beat the Carolina Hurricanes 5-3 to close out the second-round playoff series in six games and advance to the Eastern Conference finals. Kreider single-handedly erased the Hurricanes' 3-1 lead entering the final period. He had the winner when he tipped in Ryan Lindgren’s pass to make it 4-3 at the 15:41 mark. Barclay Goodrow added an empty-netter. Martin Necas, Seth Jarvis and Sebastian Aho scored for Carolina, which had won two straight after falling into a 3-0 hole.

J.T. Miller scored with 33 seconds remaining to lead the Vancouver Canucks to a 3-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers that put them a win away from the Western Conference Final. Carson Soucy and Phillip Di Giuseppe both scored in their returns to the lineup for Vancouver, which will try to wrap up the series in Game 6 on Saturday in Edmonton. Rookie Arturs Silovs made 21 saves for the Canucks. Evander Kane and Mattias Janmark scored for the Oilers, who got 32 saves from Calvin Pickard.

Elsewhere, Game 6 of the Florida Panthers’ series against the Bruins is set for 7 tonight in Boston. Florida leads the series 3 games to 2.


The New York Knicks take a 3-2 series lead into game 6 tonight at 8:30 against the Pacers in Indiana.

Anthony Edwards scored 27 points to pull the Minnesota Timberwolves out of their mid-series slump and deliver a flawless 115-70 victory over the Denver Nuggets to force a Game 7 in this roller-coaster playoff matchup. Jaden McDaniels pitched in 21 points and lockdown defense, and Mike Conley had 13 points in his return from injury. Big men Rudy Gobert, Karl-Anthony Towns and Naz Reid combined for 38 rebounds and a relentless effort to keep NBA MVP Nikola Jokic to a relatively quiet 22 points. The decisive game for a spot in the Western Conference finals is in Denver on Sunday.


Clarke Schmidt cruised to a career-long eight shutout innings after Anthony Volpe led off the game with a home run in a three-run first inning, and the New York Yankees finished a three-game sweep with a 5-0 victory over the Minnesota Twins. Schmidt scattered a double and two singles without a walk while striking out eight batters and winning his third consecutive start. Schmidt has allowed three runs or fewer in each of his nine starts this season. He lowered his ERA from 2.95 to 2.49 while throwing a career-high 103 pitches.

Erasmo Ramírez retired Romy González on a game-ending groundout with two on after the Rays were forced to remove Jason Adam because they lost track of mound visits, and Tampa Bay beat the Boston Red Sox 7-5. Isaac Paredes had a tiebreaking single in the ninth off Kenley Jansen that hit off the Green Monster, and Richie Palacios added a sacrifice fly. Adam allowed a two-out walk to Rob Refsnyder and a single to Rafael Devers. Rays pitching coach Kyle Snyder started to the mound and had crossed the foul line when he was stopped by plate umpire Alex Tosi.

Pete Alonso homered, J.D. Martinez hit a go-ahead single in the 11th inning and the New York Mets overcame another blown save by Edwin Díaz, avoiding a four-game sweep in a home-and-home set with a 6-5 win over the Philadelphia Phillies. Starling Marte had two hits for the Mets, who followed a closed-door meeting held by rookie manager Carlos Mendoza on Wednesday night by winning their second game in the last seven. Kyle Schwarber and Alec Bohm hit RBI doubles for the Phillies, who lost for only the fourth time in 20 games. NL East-leading Philadelphia is 10 games in front of the Mets.

Rookie Joey Loperfido hit his first major league home run and Cristian Javier pitched six scoreless innings Thursday night to help the Houston Astros beat the Oakland Athletics 8-1 and complete a four-game sweep. The victory extends Houston’s winning streak to a season-long five games and the Astros have won seven of their last eight games. Yainer Diaz hit a three RBI double and Loperfido added his two-run shot off Joey Estes in a six-run third inning that gave the Astros a big lead early.

Edward Olivares and Nick Gonzales homered, and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Chicago Cubs 5-4. Olivares hit a two-run homer in the first inning. He also doubled and scored in the sixth against Cubs starter Justin Steele. Gonzales hit a solo drive in the fourth, and Jared Jones threw six solid innings. Colin Holderman gave up a sacrifice fly to Christopher Morel in the eighth, but the Pirates opened the four-game series on a winning note after losing six of eight. They dropped two of three to the Cubs in Pittsburgh over the weekend.

Elly De La Cruz went 4 for 4 with a career-best four stolen bases and scored three times in the Cincinnati Reds’ 7-2 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers. Nick Martinez won in relief, permitting one hit over five shutout innings and striking out four as the Reds used seven pitchers in a bullpen game. Cincinnati snapped the Dodgers’ franchise record of 22 straight games allowing four runs or fewer. Los Angeles lost back-to-back games for the first time since April 19-20 and has dropped four of seven overall.

Rays reliever Jason Adam was forced out of Thursday night’s game at Fenway Park in the ninth inning when pitching coach Kyle Snyder headed to the mound with Tampa Bay out of visits. After a long delay, Erasmo Ramírez entered with two runners on and retired Romy González on a game-ending groundout to save a 7-5 victory over the Boston Red Sox. Rays manager Kevin Cash took full responsibility for the mistake and said he was glad it didn't cost his team the game.


Breanna Stewart ruined Caitlin Clark's regular season home debut by scoring 31 points and leading the New York Liberty to a 102-66 victory at Indiana. The Fever rookie struggled with foul trouble for the second straight game, drawing three in the first half and a fourth early in the third quarter. She finished with nine points, seven rebounds, six assists and three turnovers — none after the first quarter. But the Liberty pulled away with a 12-0 second-quarter run and never let the Fever get within single-digits in front of a sellout crowd of 17,274.

Caitlin Clark had yet to even be drafted by the Indiana Fever before fans were openly calling for her to be given an honorary role at the Indianapolis 500. She’s been a resident of Indiana for just about a month and is already one of the biggest stars in the city. Her WNBA home debut with the Fever comes Thursday night, deep into preparations for the 108th running of the Indianapolis 500. Anticipation to see the No. 1 overall draft was so high that drivers were checking their daily schedules to see if there was room to see Clark play the New York Liberty at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.


Xander Schauffele has set the PGA Championship record with a 62. He also ties a major championship record that he shared last year in the U.S. Open. Schauffele took advantage of rain-softened conditions at Valhalla. And he's been playing some good golf. Schauffele was runner-up last week in the Wells Fargo Championship. Schauffele played the back nine in 31. He ran off three birdies in a four-hole stretch on the front nine to get in range of the record. The previous mark at the PGA was a 63. One of those was Jose Maria Olazabal at Valhalla 10 years ago.

Tiger Woods fired a 1-over par 72 during the opening round of the PGA Championship. The 15-time major champion faltered late. He was 1-under heading into his final two holes before a pair of three-putts led to bogeys that pushed him into plus territory. Woods arrived at Valhalla having not played since his last-place finish at the Masters last month. The 48-year-old Woods says it took him a few holes to get the competitive juices flowing. When he arrives at the course for the second round he will try to avoid missing the cut for the fourth time in his last seven visits to the PGA.


The NFL is distancing itself from Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker, saying “his views are not those of the NFL as an organization.” Butker served as the commencement speaker at Benedictine College, a private Catholic liberal arts school, last week and said most of the women receiving degrees were probably more excited about getting married and having children. The NFL says “Harrison Butker gave a speech in his personal capacity. His views are not those of the NFL as an organization. The NFL is steadfast in our commitment to inclusion, which only makes our league stronger.”


Gymnastics star Simone Biles says she is better equipped to handle the challenges that await as she prepares for a third Olympics. The 27-year-old became a touchstone for the discussion around mental health at the Tokyo Games in 2021 when she pulled herself out of several competitions because of mental trauma that made it difficult for her to compete. Biles says she now works with a therapist regularly, even during meets, to help her deal with whatever may come. The seven-time Olympic medalist begins preparations for Paris at the U.S. Classic in Hartford, Connecticut.

INDY 500

Marcus Ericsson returned to the Indianapolis 500 with zero regrets but ended Thursday with a violent collision late in the first full day of practice. Ericsson hit a curb with just over two hours remaining in the session, causing his car to spin and hit the wall three different times. Before the crash, Ericsson had moved past the controversial ending to last year’s race that cost the Swede a second consecutive win in the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” He will try to win his second Indy 500 in three years on May 26 after last year's controversial runner-up finish.

© 2024 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

A 2022 Siena College graduate, Alexander began his journalism career as a sports writer for Siena College's student paper The Promethean, and as a host for Siena's school radio station, WVCR-FM "The Saint." A Cubs fan, Alexander hosts the morning Sports Report in addition to producing Morning Edition. You can hear the sports reports over-the-air at 6:19 and 7:19 AM, and online on WAMC.org. He also speaks Spanish as a second language. To reach him, email ababbie@wamc.org, or call (518)-465-5233 x 190. You can also find him on Twitter/X: @ABabbieWAMC.