The New York Islanders kept Alex Ovechkin off the scoresheet while pulling within seven points of the first-place Washington Capitals in the NHL's Metropolitan Division. The Isles earned a split of their four-game season series as Anthony Beauvillier scored the first two goals in their 5-3 victory at Washington.
Josh Bailey and Brock Nelson each had three assists for the Isles, who also got goals from Jordan Eberle, Leo Komarov and Jonathan Toews. The Islanders also left Ovechkin two goals shy of 700 for his career. The Capitals have dropped two straight and four of their last six.
The Flyers are 6-1-1 in their last eight games after James van Riemsdyk had a goal and assist to lead their 4-1 victory over the Panthers. Travis Sanheim, Ivan Provorov and Claude Giroux also tallied to support Carter Hart, who stopped 30 shots in his return from injury.
Nikita Kucherov scored his second goal of the night at 31 seconds of overtime to send the Lightning to their seventh consecutive victory, 2-1 at Columbus. Elvis Merzlikins stopped 31 shots to help Tampa Bay climb within three points of Boston for the Atlantic Division lead.
Elias Pettersson and J.T. Miller had a goal and an assist apiece to back Jacob Markstrom's 36-save effort in the Canucks' 6-2 win over the Predators. Quinn Hughes had three assists to take over the lead in the rookie scoring race with 44 points.
Milan Lucic and Tobias Rieder scored in a span of 34 seconds early in the first period before Matthew Tkachuk added a highlight-reel tally in the third as part of the Flames' 6-2 romp over the Sharks. Zac Rinaldo, Mark Jankowski and Mikael Backlund also scored as Calgary earned its second straight win following a three-game losing streak.
Jakob Chychrun scored a power-play goal with one minute left to complete the Coyotes comeback in a 3-2 victory at Montreal. Derek Stepan and Taylor Hall also scored for the Coyotes after the Canadiens took a 2-0 lead.
In NHL news, the Columbus Blue Jackets' playoff push has taken a hit. Jackets star defenseman Seth Jones has been sidelined indefinitely with an ankle injury. The team says Jones was injured in Saturday night's game loss to Colorado. The three-time All-Star has six goals and 24 assists this season while leading the club in ice time. Gabriel Carlsson was recalled from Cleveland of the AHL to take Jones' place.
The Penguins have acquired veteran forward Jason Zucker from the Wild for forward Alex Galchenyuk, defenseman prospect Calen Addison and a conditional 2020 first-round draft pick. The 28-year-old Zucker has 14 goals and 15 assists this season for Minnesota. Galchenyuk struggled to find a niche in Pittsburgh, managing just five goals and 12 assists in 45 games.
Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse has signed a two-year extension through the 2021-22 seasons. Nurse has been with the Edmonton organization since being taken seventh overall in the 2013 draft. He has four goals and 24 points with 44 penalty minutes in 55 games this season.
The league remains reluctant to reverse course and compete at the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing. This despite new assurances from Olympic officials to lift various major stumbling blocks, which also have the backing of the league's players. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly significantly tamped down hopes of the world's best players returning to the Olympics for the first time since 2014. Daly described the talks as being "very preliminary" and says the NHL continues to believe the negatives outweigh the positives.
Spencer Dinwiddie capped his 21-point performance by nailing a 21-foot jumper with 5 seconds left to give the Nets a 106-105 victory over the Pacers. The lead changed hands three times in the final 27 seconds and wasn't decided until Malcolm Brogdon's 3-pointer at the buzzer came up short, sealing Indiana's sixth consecutive loss.
The Toronto Raptors have run their franchise-record winning streak to 15 games by outscoring the Minnesota Timberwolves. OG Anunoby scored a career-high 25 points and matched his career high with 12 rebounds as the Raptors topped the Wolves, 137-126. Kyle Lowry provided 27 points and 11 assists after missing Saturday's win over Brooklyn because of whiplash. Pascal Siakam scored 14 of his 34 points in the fourth quarter to help Toronto close out the victory. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson had a season-high 21 and Fred VanVleet added 16 as the Raptors won their 16th straight home meeting with Minnesota. D'Angelo Russell scored 22 points in his Minnesota debut, and Karl-Anthony Towns had 23 points to go with 10 rebounds.
Khris Middleton and Eric Bledsoe scored 28 points apiece to lead the Bucks past the Kings, 123-111. Milwaukee won its fifth in a row and improved to a league-best 46-7 despite playing without Giannis Antetokounmpo, who was home following the birth of his son.
Rajon Rondo provided 15 of his season-high 23 points in the second quarter of the Lakers' 125-100 thumping of the Suns. Anthony Davis added 25 points and 10 rebounds as Los Angeles cruised to its fourth victory in five games.
Jamal Murray scored 14 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter to help the Nuggets rally from 23 down in a 127-120 verdict over the Spurs. Paul Millsap had 22 off the bench to help spark the comeback on his 35th birthday.
Jimmy Butler had 21 points and 10 rebounds for the Heat in a 113-101 victory at Golden State. Butler was crisp after sitting out the previous two games with a right shoulder strain, delivering 13 points in the first half and shooting 9 of 15 overall as Miami stopped a three-game skid.
Jordan Clarkson scored 25 points before fouling out in Utah's 123-119 victory against the Mavericks. Rudy Gobert finished with 17 points and 16 boards, shooting 7-for-7 after making all eight attempts in Utah's home victory over Dallas last month.
Miles Bridges contributed 18 points and the Hornets ended a five-game losing streak with an 87-76 victory over the Pistons. Malik Monk added 16 points for the Hornets, while Devonte' Graham had 14 points and 11 assists to help Charlotte overcome 37% shooting.
The Magic knocked off the Hawks, 137-126 behind Nikola Vucevic, who had 24 points, nine rebounds and nine assists. Aaron Gordon finished with 26 points, Evan Fournier added 22 and Terrence Ross had 21 while Orlando was shooting 52.6% from the field, including a season-high 18 3-pointers.
In NBA news, a law enforcement officer in California is suing the president of the Toronto Raptors over a scuffle following the team's NBA Finals victory over the Golden State Warriors last June. Alameda County sheriff's deputy Alan Strickland claims in a federal lawsuit filed Friday that he stopped Masai Ujiri because he didn't provide the proper credential, leading to a shoving match that was partially captured on video. Strickland alleged Ujiri hit him "in the face and chest with both fists," tried to go around the deputy and repeatedly ignored orders to stop.
The Suns have waived veteran guard Tyler Johnson, who is averaging a career-high 5.7 points in 31 games this season. The 27-year-old Johnson averaged 11.1 points per game last season after coming to the Suns from Miami. He was in the final season of a four-year deal that pays about $19 million this year.
In women's college basketball, South Carolina ripped UConn 70-52.
In men's top-25 basketball, Duke is 21-3 overall and 11-2 in the ACC after winning a top-10 matchup. Tre Jones scored 13 points and the seventh-ranked Blue Devils overcame 21 turnovers to beat No. 8 Florida State, 70-65. Duke shot 45% from the field and was 7 of 17 from 3-point range in pulling within one game of Louisville for the conference lead. Freshman Matthew Hurt also had a couple of big moments in the final seconds, going 4 for 4 at the line in the final 11.7 seconds to help the Blue Devils clinch the victory. Trent Forrest finished with 18 points, nine rebounds and eight steals to lead the Seminoles, who shot just 38% in falling to 20-4.
Meanwhile, Baylor ran its winning streak to 21 games. MaCio Teague scored 11 points and Devonte Bandoo added 10 as the top-ranked Bears defeated Texas, 52-45. Baylor improved to 22-1 overall and 11-0 in the Big 12, wresting control with a 13-0 push that put the Bears ahead 42-27 with 9:28 remaining. The Bears' winning streak is one short of the conference record set by Kansas in 1997.
Baylor remains atop The Associated Press men's college basketball poll in a largely static week among in the top 10. The Bears received 48 of 64 first-place votes from a media panel to stay at No. 1 for the fourth straight week. No. 2 Gonzaga had 15 first-place votes and No. 3 Kansas one. San Diego State and Louisville round out the top five and are followed by Dayton, Duke, Florida State, Maryland and Seton Hall. The Pirates are the lone newcomer in the top-10 after holding the No. 12 spot last week. Preseason No. 1 Michigan State dropped out of the rankings from No. 16 following a three-game losing streak.
Philip Rivers has played his final down for the Los Angeles Chargers. The team says Rivers will enter free agency and not return for the upcoming season, ending his 16-year run with the franchise. The fourth player taken in the 2004 NFL draft owns 30 franchise records and has thrown for over 4,000 yards in 11 of his last 12 seasons. Rivers has completed 64.7% of his passes for 59,271 yards, 397 touchdowns and 198 interceptions. His 224 consecutive regular-season starts are second-most among quarterbacks in NFL history and his 123 wins are ninth.
Ravens safety Chuck Clark has agreed to a three-year contract extension after starting a career-high 12 games and finishing with a team-best 68 tackles. Clark was taken in the sixth round of the 2017 draft and spent his first two NFL seasons playing on special teams, serving as backup on defense before enjoying a breakthrough year.
A person familiar with the meeting says suspended Browns defensive end Myles Garrett has spoken with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell about being reinstated. Garrett was banned indefinitely in November for pulling Pittsburgh quarterback Mason Rudolph's helmet off and striking him over the head with it during a game.
Mookie Betts and David Price officially are members of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Red Sox and Dodgers have finalized the on-again, off-again deal that will send the AL MVP and AL Cy Young winner to the West Coast. The Red Sox will receive outfielder Alex Verdugo and two prospects: infielder Jeter Downs and catcher Connor Wong. According to a person with knowledge of the deal, Boston will send cash to the Dodgers, reportedly half of the $96 million owed to Price for the next three seasons. The swap allows the Red Sox to drop more than $70 million in salary to get under baseball's collective bargaining tax threshold for 2020.
Meanwhile, the Angels say their proposed trade with the Dodgers is off. Angels general manager Billy Eppler confirmed he won't be making a widely reported trade, although he didn't specify the deal or the players involved. Multiple media outlets reported the Angels nearly acquired Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson and right-hander Ross Stripling last week in a deal that would have sent infielder Luis Rengifo to the Dodgers. The deal apparently fell apart as a side effect of the Dodgers' lengthy attempts to get outfielder Mookie Betts from the Boston Red Sox in a blockbuster trade.
MLB is considering expanding the playoffs to nearly half the 30 teams and allowing higher-seeded wild-card teams to choose opponents. The playoffs would grow from 10 clubs to 14 under the plan, first reported Monday by the New York Post. There would be four wild cards in each league, up from two.
The Diamondbacks have avoided salary arbitration with Nick Ahmed by working out a four-year, $32.5 million contract with the two-time Gold Glove shortstop. Ahmed hit a career-high .254 last season with 19 homers and 82 RBIs in 158 games. He won his Gold Gloves in each of the past two seasons.
Athletics right-hander Daniel Mengden has undergone surgery on his pitching elbow. The A's say Mengden had arthroscopic surgery to shave a small spur off his elbow. Mengden was 5-2 with a save and a 4.83 ERA in 13 games over three stints with Oakland last year.
Former major league pitcher Mike Bolsinger is suing the Astros for unspecified damages. He contends that the Astros' sign-stealing scheme contributed to a poor relief appearance in August 2017 that essentially ended his big-league career. He's also asking the Astros forfeit their nearly $31 million in postseason shares from their 2017 World Series title and donate the money to children's charities in Los Angeles and a fund for needy retired players.
As Congress considers whether to allow college athletes to receive endorsement money, the NCAA and its allies spent nearly $1 million last year lobbying lawmakers to shape any reforms to the organization's liking. The NCAA last fall said it would allow athletes to "benefit from the use of their name, image and likeness" and is crafting rules to put in place for its 1,100 member schools in coming months. But the organization has turned to Congress to step in as more and more states follow the lead of California, where a law set to take effect in 2023 clears the way for athletes to earn endorsement money. The NCAA's pressure campaign comes as the Senate prepares for a committee hearing Tuesday on player compensation. The head of the National College Players Association says the NCAA is fighting to maintain the status quo.
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