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#SportsReport: Penguins Take Three-Games-To-Two Lead Over Predators

Pittsburgh Penguins
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The Pittsburgh Penguins have taken a three-games-to-two lead in the Stanley Cup finals as they try to become the NHL's first repeat champions since the 1998 Red Wings. Matt Murray turned back 24 shots and the Penguins scored three times in each of the first two periods for a 6-0 rout of the visiting Nashville Predators. The offensive uprising came after the Pens were held to just two goals while dropping the previous two games in Nashville.

Pittsburgh struck early in each of the first two periods. Nick Schultz opened the scoring with a power-play goal just 91 seconds after the opening faceoff. Conor Sheary tallied 1:19 into the second period. Phil Kessel had goal and two assists, while Sidney Crosby had three assists. Bryan Rust, Evgeni Malkin and Ron Hainsey furnished the Pens' other goals.

It didn't matter who was in the nets for the Predators. Pekka Rinne was pulled after surrendering three goals on nine shots in the first period. Rinne has a 5.41 goals-against average and .766 save percentage in parts of three road games this series. Juuse Saros wasn't much better in the second period, giving up three goals on 10 shots. Game 6 is Sunday in Nashville.


Game 4 of the NBA finals is tonight at 9 p.m. The Warriors will take on the Cavaliers in Cleveland. Golden State leads the series 3-0.

Game 3 of the NBA Finals drew 20.5 million viewers on ABC, an increase of 22 percent from last season. The Nielsen company says Golden State's 118-113 victory over Cleveland was the closest game of the series and the most-watched Game 3 ever on ABC. The overall ratings for the series are the highest since 1998, when Michael Jordan won his last championship with the Bulls against the Jazz. It is averaging 20 million viewers, up 11 percent from 2016.


Gary Sanchez homered twice to drive in five runs and the New York Yankees pounded David Price again in a 9-1 victory, one night after the Boston Red Sox ace had an angry exchange with a reporter. Michael Pineda rebounded from a rough outing with seven brilliant innings, and New York took two of three from its longtime rival in their first series at Yankee Stadium this season.

New York Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes resumed his minor league injury rehabilitation assignment after a break of nearly two weeks, going 0 for 4 while playing left field in St. Lucie's 1-0 loss at Lakeland in the Florida State League. Cespedes went on the disabled list April 28 with a strained left hamstring and went 0 for 2 with a walk for St. Lucie on May 26, then reported tightness in his right quadriceps that caused another layoff.

One of baseball's top Cy Young candidates is back on the disabled list. Astros ace Dallas Keuchel is sidelined again because of neck discomfort. The lefty was on the DL from May 15-May 26 with a pinched nerve in his neck and was scratched from Wednesday's start in Kansas City with what the Astros initially said was an illness. Keuchel is 9-0 with a 1.67 ERA in 11 starts this season, holding batters to a .183 average. He won the AL Cy Young Award in 2015 after going 20-8 with a 2.48 earned run average.

Also in the majors:

— The Cubs have placed right-hander Kyle Hendricks on the 10-day disabled list because of tendinitis in his pitching hand. Hendricks is 4-3 with a 4.09 ERA in 11 starts after winning 16 games and leading the majors in ERA a year ago.

— MLB is looking into a domestic violence accusation against Cubs shortstop Addison Russell after his wife posted a photo Wednesday on Instagram with a caption suggesting he was unfaithful to her. In another post, a user named carlierreed and described by Russell's wife as a close friend accused him of "mentally and physically abusing her." The posts have been deleted, and Chicago police say they haven't started an investigation. Russell calls the allegations of abuse "false and hurtful."


Authorities say former NFL wide receiver James Hardy has been found dead in a river in northeast Indiana. The Allen County Coroner's Office says the 31-year-old's body was identified yesterday, but that the cause and manner of death are still being investigated. The coroner says the former Buffalo Bills and Baltimore Ravens player was reported missing a few weeks ago by relatives. His body was discovered Wednesday in the Maumee River in Fort Wayne.

The New York Giants have signed veteran defensive tackle Corbin Bryant and waived center Khaled Holmes. Bryant played in 56 regular-season games with 18 starts with the Buffalo Bills over the past four seasons. He played in eight games with six starts last season before being sidelined by a shoulder injury.

The NFL has suspended Buffalo Bills backup receiver Walt Powell for the first four games of the season for violating the league's policy on performance enhancing substances. Without revealing the substance, Powell issued a statement through the team saying he mistakenly used a product that led to the positive test. He apologized for what happened and says he accepts the league's decision.

New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton says defensive tackle Nick Fairley is seeing multiple heart specialists after one physician advised Fairley to stop playing football. Payton says he hopes Fairley can return to the Saints, but not unless the 29-year-old defensive lineman has "full confidence" that continuing to play won't worsen a heart condition he's had throughout his six-year NFL career. Fairley recently signed a four-year extension worth up to $28 million.

In other NFL news:

— The Arizona Cardinals have signed first-round draft pick Haason Reddick to a four-year contract. The signing of the linebacker out of Temple leaves all of the Cardinals draft picks under contract.

— Authorities say former NFL wide receiver James Hardy has been found dead in a river in northeast Indiana. The Allen County Coroner's Office says the 31-year-old's body was identified Thursday, but that the cause and manner of death are still being investigated. The coroner says the former Buffalo Bills and Baltimore Ravens player was reported missing a few weeks ago by relatives.

U.S. Soccer:

The U.S. men's soccer team finds itself in third place at the midway point in the final round of World Cup qualifying. Christian Pulisic scored twice in the second half as the Americans downed Trinadad and Tobago, 2-0 in Colorado. The 18-year-old phenom opened the scoring in the 52nd minute and added another goal 10 minutes later. Pulisic has seven goals and five assists in 15 international appearances, including four goals and three assists in his last four contests.


When the WNBA's collective bargaining agreement runs out in a few years, an injury list or roster expansion will be one of the issues that the union discusses with the league. As it stands now, teams are hamstrung with what they can do with players who are hurt during the season.

Horse Racing:

The mystery surrounding the Japanese horse that is the early 4-1 second choice to win the Belmont Stakes has gotten deeper. Epicharis was treated with an anti-inflammatory for lameness in his right front foot. The 3-year-old dark brown colt walked around his barn two days after he had his last serious workout. His trainer is hopeful Epicharis will return to the track on Friday. The Belmont is Saturday.

Celebrity chef Bobby Flay hopes he's latched onto another winner in the Belmont Stakes. Flay purchased 25 percent interest in J Boys Echo before the draw that assigned post positions for Saturday's $1.5 million race. Last year, Flay bought an interest in Creator just before the colt won the Belmont by a nose.


Rhode Island's governor says she'll appeal to the state Supreme Court to release secret grand jury records from the investigation into the state's failed $75 million deal with former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling's videogame company. Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo made the announcement Thursday and reiterated support for legislation moving through the General Assembly to release the records. The 38 Studios company moved from Massachusetts to Rhode Island and later went bankrupt.


The Travelers Championship has added two-time major champion Jordan Spieth to the field for this year's tournament, which will played a week after the U.S. Open. It will be the 23-year-old's first appearance at the Connecticut PGA event. He becomes the third top-10 golfer to commit to the Travelers, joining No. 2 Rory McIlroy and No. 3 Jason Day.

There's a four-way tie for the lead through the first round of the PGA's St. Jude Classic. Matt Every, Scott Brown, Stuart Cink and Sebastian Munoz each shot 6-under 64s to move one shot ahead of Charl Schwartzel and Matt Jones. Every has made just two cuts this year and hasn't finished bette than a tie for 62nd. Two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen and Chez Reavie each shot a 66 on the par-70 TPC Southwind course.


Suzann Pettersen and Mi Hyang Lee share the lead after the opening round of the LPGA Classic in Cambridge, Ontario. The co-leaders opened with 8-under 64s for a one-stroke advantage over Shanshan Feng, Lura Gonzalez Escallon and Hyo Joo Kim.

©2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.