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#SportsReport: Islanders Top Rangers; Albany County Allows High-Risk Sports

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Casey Cizikas and Matt Martin scored 2:05 apart in the third period to help Semyon Varlamov and the New York Islanders beat the New York Rangers 2-0 at Madison Square Garden. Varlamov made 30 saves for his third shutout this season — second against the Rangers — as the Islanders won their second consecutive game. Islanders coach Barry Trotz earned his 850th victory, passing Ken Hitchcock for third place on the NHL's career list. Igor Shesterkin stopped 28 shots, but the Rangers' four-game point streak ended.

In other NHL action: 

Auston Matthews and Alexander Kerfoot scored in an 11-second span in the third period and the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Vancouver Canucks 3-1. Morgan Rielly also scored for Toronto. Frederik Andersen made 31 saves as the Maple Leafs completed a three-game sweep of struggling Vancouver. Elias Pettersson scored for Vancouver (6-10-0),

Jack Roslovic scored the tiebreaking goal late in the third period, Joonas Korpisalo had 22 saves and the Columbus Blue Jackets beat the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2. Columbus earned a split of the teams' back-to-back series. Scott Harrington and Cam Atkinson also scored for the Blue Jackets, who weren't sharp for much of the night but still got their second win in three games. With the score tied 2-2, Roslovic split two defenders and beat Alex Nedeljkovic with a backhand with 4:36 left. Nino Niederreiter and Brock McGinn scored for the Hurricanes, who lost for the third time in 10 games.

Clayton Keller scored the tying goal with seven-tenths of a second remaining in regulation and Christian Dvorak's shootout goal was the winner as the Arizona Coyotes beat the St. Louis Blues 4-3. Conor Garland and Dvorak scored in regulation, and Darcy Kuemper made 39 saves as Arizona has won its third consecutive game over the Blues in St. Louis. Ryan O'Reilly scored twice and David Perron added a goal for St. Louis. Jordan Binnington made 23 saves for the Blues, who have lost three straight games for the first time this season.

Tyler Ennis scored the go-ahead goal early in the third period and goaltender Mike Smith made 27 saves in his season debut as the Edmonton Oilers beat the Ottawa Senators 3-1. Josh Archibald scored into the empty net with 1:10 remaining after Connor McDavid won the puck in his own end. Leon Draisaitl also scored for Edmonton. Evgenii Dadonov scored for Ottawa.

Anthony Cirelli scored two goals for Tampa Bay, and the Lightning beat the Nashville Predators 3-1 for their fifth straight victory. The defending Stanley Cup champs extended the NHL's longest winning streak even with goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy getting his first night off this season. Curtis McElhinney started in net and made 22 saves for the win. Blake Coleman and Steven Stamkos each scored an empty-net goal in the final 98 seconds. Nashville's Dante Fabbro scored his first goal of the season on the man advantage at 11:08 of the third.

In NHL news, the Toronto Maple Leafs will be without Wayne Simmonds until mid-March. The team announced that the bruising winger is set to miss six weeks after suffering a broken wrist in Saturday's 5-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. The Toronto native scored five times in his last six outings.


Bradley Beal scored 35 points and the Washington Wizards held on for a rare win, beating the Chicago Bulls 105-101. Beal, the NBA's leading scorer, hit three free throws in the final 9.8 seconds. Rui Hachimura added 19 points and a season-high 10 rebounds on his 23rd birthday. The Wizards won for just the sixth time in 21 games this season even though they rested Russell Westbrook. Zach LaVine led Chicago with 35 points.

In other Monday NBA action: 

Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam each scored 32 points and the Toronto Raptors put together a second-half rally to beat the Memphis Grizzlies 128-113. Norman Powell added 29 for the Raptors, who began their rally after the ejection of coach Nick Nurse in the third quarter. VanVleet also had nine assists. Jonas Valanciunas led Memphis with 27 points and a season-high 20 rebounds.

Devin Booker scored a season-high 36 points, Mikal Bridges added 22 and the Phoenix Suns rallied in the fourth quarter to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 119-113. The Suns have won six of their past seven games while the Cavaliers have dropped four straight. Booker propelled the Suns to victory this time by making 14 of 27 shots, including 5 3-pointers. The teams went back and forth down the stretch until Bridges hit two free throws to give the Suns a 117-113 lead with 17.2 seconds left. Collin Sexton led the Cavs with 23 points while Darius Garland had 17.

LeBron James had 28 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists for his third triple-double of the season, and the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 119-112 in overtime to win their fifth in a row. The Lakers dominated overtime after trailing much of the game. They outscored the Thunder 9-2 in the extra session. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander narrowly missed matching James' triple-double. He finished with 29 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds.

Khris Middleton had 29 points and a career-high 12 assists, Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 30 points and the Milwaukee Bucks won their fifth straight game by beating the Denver Nuggets 125-112. Middleton's 12th assist was on a pinpoint pass to Antetokounmpo for a dunk with 1:39 remaining to give the Bucks a 120-110 lead. Bryn Forbes had 15 points for the Bucks as they earned a rare win in the Mile High City. Milwaukee improved to 10-40 all-time at Denver. Nikola Jokic finished with 35 points and 12 rebounds in a showdown with Antetokounmpo.

Dejounte Murray had 27 points, 10 rebounds and eight steals, DeMar DeRozan had 21 points and 10 assists, and the San Antonio Spurs beat the Golden State Warriors 105-100. Stephen Curry had 32 points and Kelly Oubre Jr. added 24 points for Golden State, which was without injured centers James Wiseman and Kevon Looney. Murray hit a step-back, 23-foot 3-pointer with 12.6 seconds remaining that gave the Spurs a 101-97 lead. Curry responded after a timeout with his own fall-away 3-pointer. DeRozan closed out the game by making four straight free throws. The teams will meet again tonight in San Antonio.

Kristaps Porzingis had 27 points, 13 rebounds and six blocks, Luka Doncic scored 26 points and the Dallas Mavericks held off the Minnesota Timberwolves 127-122. Tim Hardaway added 24 points off the bench as the Mavericks won their second straight at home after a six-game skid at the American Airlines Center. They led by 25 in the second quarter before the Timberwolves pulled within 123-120 with 50 seconds left. Malik Beasley tied a season high with 30 points, 27 in the second half, and rookie Anthony Edwards added 22 for the Timberwolves, who finished a five-game road trip 1-4.

LaMelo Ball made a career-high seven 3-pointers and finished with 24 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds, and the Charlotte Hornets beat the short-handed Houston Rockets 119-94 for their second straight win. Miles Bridges had another strong outing with 19 points and 10 rebounds, and Gordon Hayward added 19 points for the Hornets, who opened the fourth quarter on a 19-1 run to blow open a tight game. Victor Oladipo had 21 points for the Rockets, who lost for only the third time in 10 games. The Rockets played without John Wall, Eric Gordon and Christian Wood.

In NBA news:

The Brooklyn Nets have made another addition to their frontcourt by signing Noah Vonleh. The 6-foot-10 forward has played for six previous teams after being the No. 9 pick in the 2014 draft by Charlotte. He has averaged 5.0 points and 5.2 rebounds in 335 games.

The Chicago Bulls expect forward Lauri Markkanen to miss two to four weeks because of a sprained right shoulder. The Bulls say an MRI confirmed he has a sprained acromioclavicular joint. Markkanen was hurt Friday at Orlando when he was fouled by Magic forward Gary Clark early in the third quarter. Markkanen is averaging a career-high 19.1 points and 6.1 rebounds coming off a disappointing season.

Indiana Pacers assistant coach Bill Bayno has resigned. The 58-year-old Bayno says he's stepping away because of personal and health reasons. The longtime NBA assistant joined Indiana's staff in 2016 and was a holdover from former coach Nate McMillan's staff. He went 94-60 in five seasons as the head coach at UNLV.


South Carolina is back where the Gamecocks started the season — at No. 1 in The Associated Press women’s college basketball poll. South Carolina regained the top spot, receiving 29 of 30 first-place votes Monday from a national media panel. They likely won’t stay there long as the Gamecocks fell 63-59 in overtime Monday night to No. 2 UConn in the 60th matchup ever between the top two teams in the poll. It was only the second overtime game in those meetings. The same teams met five years ago to the day in another 1-2 contest. UConn won that game as the top-ranked team.

In top-25 men's basketball:

Kyle Young and Duane Washington Jr. each scored 18 points, and No. 4 Ohio State used a relentless defensive effort to wear down Maryland in a 73-65 victory. The Buckeyes limited Maryland to 40% shooting and a 5-for-19 performance from beyond the arc. That, along with 10 3-pointers on the offensive end, was enough to get Ohio State its fifth straight victory. Aaron Wiggins scored 17 points and Eric Ayala had 13 for the Terrapins.

David McCormack scored all but two of his 23 points after halftime, Marcus Garrett had 17 and Kansas rolled past No. 23 Oklahoma State 78-66 in the Jayhawks' first game since their Top 25 run ended at 231 consecutive weeks. Christian Braun added 15 points, Jalen Wilson had 11 and Ochai Agbaji 10 for the Jayhawks.

The No. 2 Baylor men's basketball team has postponed three more games because of COVID-19 issues and won't play again until at least Feb. 20. Postponed are next Saturday's home game against No. 7 Texas Tech, then two games next week at No. 14 West Virginia.

The Atlantic Coast Conference postponed Miami's men's basketball game basketball game on Monday night at North Carolina. The postponement follows a meeting of officials from both schools who concluded the game could not be played. The Daily Tar Heel student newspaper reported Monday that video had surfaced on social media of UNC players Armando Bacot and Day'Ron Sharpe mingling with multiple other people celebrating Saturday's win against rival Duke and no one wearing a mask.


American 16-year-old Coco Gauff is into the second round at the Australian Open. Gauff advanced by beating Jil Teichmann of Switzerland 6-3, 6-2. The youngest player in the tournament, Gauff served out the first set with three aces in the final game and gained momentum from there. Ranked 48th, Gauff faces a tough second-round opponent in No. 5-seeded Elina Svitolina, who also won her opening match.

In other Tuesday action:

Sofia Kenin struggled in her first match as a defending champion at a Grand Slam tournament. The 22-year-old from Florida dealt with jitters at the Australian Open even though she was facing an opponent who's never won a tour-level match. Eventually Kenin managed to beat 133rd-ranked Australian wild-card entry Maddison Inglis 7-5, 6-4 on Day 2 at Melbourne Park.

Rising star Andrey Rublev of Russia has won his opening match at the Australian Open, beating Yannick Hanfmann of Germany 6-3, 6-3, 6-4. Rising star Andrey Rublev of Russia has won his opening match at the Australian Open, beating Yannick Hanfmann of Germany 6-3, 6-3, 6-4.

Seventeen-year-old Carlos Alcaraz of Spain was impressive in his highly anticipated Grand Slam debut match, defeating Dutch qualifier Botic Van de Zandschulp in the first round of the Australian Open 6-1, 6-4, 6-4. The 141st-ranked Alcaraz has been compared to Rafael Nadal and is coached by former No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero.


Albany County is the latest in New York to allow high-risk sports to resume amid the coronavirus pandemic. County Health Commissioner Dr. Elizabeth Whalen says schools must have safety plans signed off by school medical directors and their governing boards. She is encouraging schools to test athletes, as the county’s COVID-19 positivity has dropped.

"The rate is below 4 percent, but it's really close to 4 percent, so we also have to consider what happens if the rate starts to go up again. We will continue to follow this," notes Whalen. 

The state health department is leaving it up to county governments and school districts to determine whether high risks sports — including hockey, wrestling and basketball — can resume.


Fresh off their Super Bowl win, the Buccaneers are already looking at next season. Tom Brady's coming back. So is Bruce Arians. But the challenge of attempting a repeat begins with trying to keep some key components together for next season. Brady threw three touchdowns passes on the way to claiming a record seventh NFL title with a 31-9 rout of the Kansas City Chiefs — two to Rob Gronkowski and one Antonio Brown. Both played on one-year contracts after being lured to Tampa Bay by Brady. Leonard Fournette ran for the team's other TD. He also joined the Bucs on a one-year deal.

In other NFL news:

The Pittsburgh Steelers have hired longtime NFL assistant Mike Sullivan as their new quarterbacks coach. The move is one of three made by the team to fill coaching vacancies. Sullivan replaces Matt Canada, who was promoted to offensive coordinator last month. Sullivan is a 16-year NFL coaching veteran, winning two Super Bowl rings with the New York Giants.

The Chicago Bears promoted John DeFilippo to pass game coordinator while keeping him in his role as quarterbacks coach. DeFilippo joined coach Matt Nagy's staff last season. He was the offensive coordinator for Minnesota during the 2018 season and Jacksonville in 2019 before he was fired, and he previously worked for seven other NFL teams.


Shohei Ohtani agreed to a two-year, $8.5 million contract with the Los Angeles Angels, avoiding arbitration. The two-way player will make $3 million in 2021 and $5.5 million in 2022. Both years are guaranteed. The 2018 AL Rookie of the Year struggled at the plate last season and on the mound in his return from Tommy John surgery. Ohtani batted .190 with seven homers and 24 RBIs in 175 plate appearances.

The Los Angeles Angels have acquired right-hander Aaron Slegers from Tampa Bay for cash or a player to be named. The 6-foot-10 Slegers mostly pitched in long relief for the AL champion Rays last season. He went at least two innings in nine of his 11 appearances while compiling a 3.46 ERA. He allowed just five earned runs over 24 innings in his final 10 appearances, and kept up the strong work with a 1.80 ERA in three playoff outings covering five innings.

The St. Louis Cardinals are bringing back catcher Yadier Molina for an 18th season, agreeing to a $9 million, one-year deal with the nine-time Gold Glove winner. The team announced the move in a statement, saying it would provide more details on the deal Tuesday. The 38-year-old Molina hit .262 with four home runs in 42 games during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, his last under a $60 million, three-year deal.

Left-hander Sean Doolittle and the Cincinnati Reds have finalized a $1.5 million, one-year contract. Cincinnati also announced a minor league deal with infielder Dee Strange-Gordon, who will report to big league spring training. The 34-year-old Doolittle had been with Washington since July 2017 and helped the Nationals win their first World Series title in 2019. The two-time All-Star was 0-2 with a 5.87 ERA in 7 2/3 innings over 11 relief appearances during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. The 32-year-old Strange-Gordon spent the past three seasons with Seattle and hit .200 in 75 at-bats last year.

Seven-inning doubleheaders and runners on second base to start extra innings will return as experiments for a second straight season under an agreement for 2021 health protocols reached Monday between Major League Baseball and the players' association. The deal did not include last year's experimental rule to extend the designated hitter to the National League or expanded playoffs. After allowing 16 teams in the postseason last year instead of 10, MLB has proposed 14 for this year before withdrawing that plan last month. Last year's expanded playoffs agreement did not come together until hours before the season's first pitch.

© The Associated Press 2021. All Rights Reserved.