Shootout goals by Kaapo Kakko and Artemi Panarin gave the Rangers a 3-2 victory over the Flyers. Colin Blackwell and Brendan Smith scored in regulation for New York, and Alexandar Georgiev stopped 20 shots as the Blueshirts ended a four-game losing streak.
Elsewhere on NHL ice:
The Islanders' eight-game point streak is over after Sidney Crosby scored the opening goal in his 999th NHL game to jumpstart the Penguins' 4-1 victory. Bryan Rust and Jason Zucker each had a goal and an assist for the Pens, who blanked New York until Brock Nelson scored with 4:21 remaining.
Nicklas Backstrom netted a power-play goal and Tom Wilson had a short-handed tally in the Capitals' 3-1 win against the Sabres. Conor Sheary scored and Vitek Vanecek made 22 saves as Washington earned its second straight win since a four-game losing streak.
Kyle Palmieri scored twice, including a short-handed tally to back Mackenzie Blackwood's 25-save performance in the Devils' 3-2 win over the Bruins. Pavel Zacha scored for the second consecutive game and New Jersey moved to 2-0 since having seven games postponed due to COVID-19.
The NHL elected to go with an all-Canadian division this season due to travel restrictions on U.S. travel. No one is happier with the decision than the Toronto Maple Leafs, who lead the league with 28 points following a 7-3 rout of Ottawa. Auston Matthews leads the league with 16 goals after scoring twice and collecting two assists. Mitch Marner also had four points with a goal and three assists for the Leafs, who have points in 13 straight games since a 3-2-0 start.
The Blues picked up a 3-2 comeback win over the Sharks as Brayden Schenn tied it late in the third period and David Perron scored on a power play in overtime. Mike Hoffman also scored, and Jordan Binnington made 29 saves in the Blues' first game since playing a league-record seven straight versus the Coyotes.
Elvis Merzlikins made 32 saves in his first start since coming off injured reserve, backstopping the Blue Jackets' 3-0 win over the Predators. Cam Atkinson scored his team-leading seventh goal in support of Merzilins' first shutout of the season and sixth of his career.
The Kings wasted a 2-0 lead before Gabriel Vilardi scored in the fourth round of a shootout to send them past the Coyotes, 3-2. Dustin Brown and Jeff Carter supplied regulation goals for Los Angeles, and Jonathan Quick finished with 20 saves.
The NHL game between Tampa Bay and Dallas scheduled for Saturday has been postponed, marking four straight home games for the Stars to be called off because of frigid conditions and power outages in Texas. The postponement announced Thursday also means the first four meetings between the teams from last season's Stanley Cup Final have been been postponed. The defending champion Lightning and Stars were supposed to play twice in the first week of the season before COVID-19 issues with the Stars forced them to postpone their first four games.
The Milwaukee Bucks have continued their freefall since Jrue Holiday was sidelined by COVID-19 protocols. Norman Powell poured in 29 points and Pascal Siakam had 27 as the Raptors handed the Bucks their fifth straight loss, 110-96 Toronto began a 21-4 run in the first quarter and began the second half with a 13-4 spurt to take control. Giannis Antetokounmpo had 23 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists for the Bucks, who hadn't dropped five straight since the 2016-17 season. Milwaukee is 1-5 without Holiday.
In NBA news, Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James and Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant are the leading fan vote-getters in the Western and Eastern Conferences for the All-Star Game. Joining James in the West starting lineup are Denver center Nikola Jokic, Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard, Golden State guard Stephen Curry and Dallas guard Luka Doncic. Milwaukee forward Giannis Antetokounmpo and Philadelphia center Joel Embiid join Durant in the East starting frontcourt, with Washington's Bradley Beal and Brooklyn's Kyrie Irving are the teams' starting guards.
In men's college basketball, Vermont bested UMBC 80-71.
In top-25 men's basketball:
The Wichita State Shockers aren't getting a lot of love from voters in the AP men's basketball poll, but they just earned a lot of respect from sixth-ranked Houston. Alterique Gilbert and Tyson Etienne each scored 16 points in Wichita State's 68-63 win over the Cougars. Gilbert was 3-for-4 from beyond the arc for the Shockers, who were 10 of 22 from beyond the arc. It was Wichita State's first home win over a top-six team since knocking off No. 2 Louisville in February 1967.
Corey Kispert provided 20 points and Joel Ayayi added 16 for top-ranked Gonzaga in its 25th straight win, an 87-65 thumping of Saint Mary's. Drew Timme chipped in 12 points to help the 21-0 Bulldogs stretch their home winning streak to 48 games.
No. 3 Michigan was a 71-64 winner against Rutgers as Franz Wagner furnished 20 points and Mike Smith added 12. Michigan led 37-28 at halftime, then scored eight of the first 10 points after the break to lead by 15.
Fourth-ranked Ohio State owns a seven-game winning streak after EJ Liddell dropped in 23 points and Duane Washington Jr. added 21 in the Buckeyes' 92-82 victory at Penn State. The 18-4 Buckeyes shot 58% from the field, including 11 of 20 from 3-point range.
Luka Garza raised his nation-leading scoring average to 24.7 points by delivering 30 in 11th-ranked Iowa's 77-62 win at No. 21 Wisconsin. Joe Wieskamp added 17 points for the Hawkeyes, who led just 49-46 before hitting seven straight shots to go up 68-54.
Matt Mitchell registered 19 points as No. 25 San Diego State won its seventh straight game, 67-53 versus Frenso State. Trey Pulliam had 18 points in the victory.
In college sports news:
The ACC says it won't make public tickets available for fans to attend its men's and women's basketball tournaments. Instead, attendance at the two tournaments in Greensboro, North Carolina, would be limited to family and guests of team personnel.
The Ivy League has decided not to hold a spring sports conference season for the second straight year because of COVID-19. The move announced Thursday by the conference presidents came nearly a year after the conference was the first to cancel its postseason basketball tournament.
Daniil Medvedev has reached his second Grand Slam final by beating Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets at the Australian Open, 6-4, 6-2, 7-5. Medvedev will face eight-time champion Novak Djokovic at Melbourne Park on Sunday. The fourth-seeded Medvedev played nearly perfect defensive tennis at the baseline and helped himself with 17 aces and 46 total winners in the semifinal. The fifth-seeded Tsitsipas looked drained after his epic five-set, four-hour comeback victory over Rafael Nadal in the previous round. Djokovic will be appearing in his 28th major final and seeking an 18th Grand Slam title. Medvedev was the runner-up at the 2019 U.S. Open.
The Toronto Blue Jays expect to split the home portion of this year's regular-schedule among their spring training complex in Dunedin, Florida, their Triple-A ballpark in Buffalo, New York, and the Rogers Center in Toronto. Toronto announced Thursday that it will play the first two homestands of the season in Dunedin because of Canadian government restrictions during the pandemic. Team president Mark Shapiro says a return to Buffalo is a likely option in June because of the heat and humidity in Florida. He hopes for games in Toronto at some point during the summer.
In other MLB news:
Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole and other baseball players will be pushing for changes that make more teams competitive as they think about looming labor negotiations that could lead to a work stoppage next year. Many veteran non-stars have taken substantial paycuts in recent years, while others have turned down cuts and retired. The players' association is upset that some teams have lowered major league payroll in favor of rebuilding with youth, a process it calls tanking.
Red Sox left-hander Chris Sale is closer to getting back on the mound following Tommy John surgery in March. Sale says he has no restrictions with his elbow and is concentrating on checking off each benchmark of his throwing program as he inches closer to a return.
Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo says Stephen Strasburg is in "preparation mode, not in rehabilitation mode" after throwing just five innings last season. The 2019 World Series MVP was shut down in 2020 by a wrist problem that required surgery. Nats ace Max Scherzer is dealing with an ankle sprain and has been told to slow down his conditioning regimen.
Phillies' two-time All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto has a small fracture in his right thumb and will be evaluated again in two weeks. Realmuto was injured while blocking a pitch six days before the fracture was discovered. He practiced on the first day of spring training Wednesday.
Indians ace Shane Bieber recently tested positive with COVID-19, delaying the AL Cy Young winner's arrival at training camp by a few days. President of baseball operations Chris Antonetti said Bieber has only dealt with "very mild symptoms" from the virus. The 25-year-old Bieber was dominant last season, leading the league in wins, ERA and strikeouts.
The Giants beat infielder Donovan Solano in salary arbitration, leaving owners 5-3 in the process this winter. Solano will be paid the team's $3.25 million offer rather than his $3.9 million request. The 33-year-old hit a career-high .326 with three homers and 29 RBIs in 190 at-bats last year.
Former All-Star reliever Brad Boxberger has signed a minor league contract with the Brewers that includes an invitation to major league camp. The 32-year-old Boxberger went 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in 23 appearances for the Marlins last season.
The Indians are bringing back 39-year-old reliever Oliver Pérez on a minor league deal and an invitation to big league camp. Pérez has spent the past three seasons with the Indians, appearing in 139 games. Pérez went 1-1 with a 2.00 ERA in 21 games last season while helping the Indians gain a wild-card spot.
Former Minnesota second baseman Brian Dozier has retired after nine major league seasons and 167 home runs. Dozier played his first seven seasons for the Twins and hit 42 homers for them in 2016.
Jared Goff and Carson Wentz went 1-2 in the 2016 NFL Draft. Less than five years later, the quarterbacks have gone 1-2 in the NFL trade market. A person familiar with the deal tells The Associated Press that the Philadelphia Eagles have agreed to trade Wentz to the Indianapolis Colts for a third-round pick in this year's draft and a conditional second-round selection next year. The 2022 draft pick can turn into a first-round pick if Wentz plays 75% of the snaps this year or 70% and the Colts make the playoffs. Wentz is coming off the worst season of his five-year career and was benched for rookie Jalen Hurts after 12 games. He was 11-2 with the 2017 Eagles before a knee injury ended his season and Philadelphia went on to win its only Super Bowl title. Wentz is an ideal fit to succeed Philip Rivers, who retired after leading the Colts to the playoffs in his only season in Indianapolis. The trade comes three weeks after the Los Angeles Rams shipped Goff to the Detroit Lions for fellow quarterback Matthew Stafford.
In other NFL news:
The Falcons have cleared almost $11 million in cap space by releasing safety Ricardo Allen and defensive end Allen Bailey. There may be more cost-cutting moves ahead for the Falcons, who rank near the bottom of the NFL in salary cap space, according to Spotrac.
The league has increased the salary cap to a minimum of $180 million for the 2021 season. The league and the NFL Players Association had previously set a minimum of $175 million because of revenue losses incurred during the coronavirus pandemic. The final cap number will be determined following further review of revenue figures for 2020 and other accounting. The cap was $198 million last season.
The NFL says the first position-specific helmet created for its players represents a major step in helmet technology, though it must still undergo testing by the league and the players' union before being authorized for use. The helmet provides additional support in the front, where most head impacts take place for offensive and defensive linemen.
© The Associated Press 2021. All Rights Reserved.