#SportsReport: Islanders Beat Sabres; Panarin Takes Leave After Russian Report
Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored a tiebreaking power-play goal in the third period and Semyon Varlamov made 33 saves, leading the New York Islanders to a 3-2 win over the last-place Buffalo Sabres.
Pageau got his seventh goal at 15:08 when he banged in a rebound on the backhand after Oliver Wahlstrom's initial shot was stopped by Buffalo goaltender Linus Ullmark. The Islanders beat the Sabres for the third straight time this season after two victories in Buffalo last week. The Islanders also moved to 5-0-1 at Nassau Coliseum.
Checking the rest of Monday ice action:
Alex Tuch scored twice as part of Vegas' three-goal spree in the second period, Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 34 shots and the Golden Knights cruised to a 3-0 win over the Colorado Avalanche. Fleury earned his 64th career shutout in the finale of the four-game series, with the Knights and Avs each recording two wins. Jonathan Marchessault also scored for Vegas in the pivotal middle period. The setting for this one wasn't nearly as picturesque as what took place Saturday when they played on an outdoor rink located on the 18th fairway of a golf course on the shores of Lake Tahoe.
David Rittich made 34 saves for his first shutout of the season and fourth of his career as the Calgary Flames beat NHL-leading Toronto 3-0. Matthew Tkachuk and Sean Monahan each had a goal and an assist, and Sam Bennett added a goal for Calgary. Rasmus Andersson added two assists for the Flames. Michael Hutchinson stopped 30 shots in a surprise start for Toronto.
Dustin Brown scored two goals and Jonathan Quick earned his 54th career shutout as the Los Angeles Kings defeated the St. Louis Blues 3-0. It was the second shutout this season for the 35-year-old Quick, who helped the Kings win two Stanley Cup championships in his career. The Kings extended their winning streak to five games. It was the third time St. Louis has been shut out this season.
Ondrej Palat snapped a tie 8:04 into the third period, and the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Carolina Hurricanes 4-2. Palat, Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman each had a goal and an assist for the Lightning, who were shut out in each of their first two matchups with the Hurricanes this season.
Aaron Ekblad and Keith Yandle scored, Chris Driedger made 24 saves and the Florida Panthers beat the slumping, rusty Dallas Stars 3-1. Aleksander Barkov scored an empty-net goal to seal the Panthers' sixth win in eight games. Blake Comeau scored for Dallas, and Anton Khudobin stopped 49 of 51 shots. The Stars lost their sixth in a row and eighth of nine overall while playing their first game since Feb. 13 due to the weather conditions in Dallas. The Stars' season was twice interrupted — first by a coronavirus outbreak in training camp and then by last week's winter storm in Texas.
In NHL news, New York Rangers star Artemi Panarin is taking a leave of absence after a Russian tabloid printed allegations from a former coach that he attacked an 18-year-old woman in Latvia in 2011. Ex-NHL enforcer Andrei Nazarov is the source for the report after coaching Panarin in the Kontinental Hockey League. Nazarov says he was motivated to speak about it because he disagreed with Panarin’s criticism of the Russian government. Panarin denied the allegations in a statement released by the Rangers. The team said it backed its star player and called the allegations “an intimidation tactic.”
The Washington Wizards extended their longest winning streak in three years to five straight games with a 127-124 victory over the slumping Los Angeles Lakers. Bradley Beal scored six of his 33 points on three consecutive possessions late in overtime. Russell Westbrook scored six of his 32 points in overtime for the Wizards. They rallied from a 17-point deficit in the second half and then took advantage of a missed free throw by LeBron James late in regulation to claim their first win over the Lakers at Staples Center since March 2017. James had 31 points, 13 assists and nine rebounds for the Lakers, who have lost four of five.
In other NBA action:
Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 20 of his 29 points in the first half, and the Dallas Mavericks returned from a weather-induced break with a 102-92 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies. Dallas was playing for the first time in eight days after two postponements because of a wintry weather blast in Texas. Luka Doncic scored 21 points in his first game since being a voted an All-Star starter for the second straight year. Ja Morant scored 22 points for the Grizzlies, who fell behind big early again coming off a 31-point loss to Phoenix.
Donovan Mitchell had 23 points and eight assists as the Utah Jazz enjoyed a record-breaking performance from long range in a 132-110 victory over the Charlotte Hornets. Utah set a franchise mark for 3-pointers with 28, including 19 off the bench — the most by any team's backups in NBA history, according to STATS. Joe Ingles and Georges Niang led the way, making a career-high seven 3s apiece. Charlotte gave up 54 total 3-pointers in two games against Utah this season. Gordon Hayward and LaMelo Ball scored 21 points apiece to lead the Hornets.
Coby White scored 24 points, and the Chicago Bulls used a big third quarter to pull away for a 120-100 win over the short-handed Houston Rockets. Zach LaVine scored 14 of Chicago's 46 third-quarter points, finishing with 21, as the Bulls outscored the Rockets by 20 points in the quarter to break open a tight game. Houston has lost eight straight. The Rockets had their previous two games postponed because of a winter storm and subsequent utility outages in the Houston area.
Duncan Robinson scored 22 points and made six 3-pointers, leading the Miami Heat to a 108-94 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder in the finale of their seven-game road trip. Kendrick Nunn added 20 points and nine assists, Bam Adebayo had 19 points and 13 rebounds. Miami won the final three games of the trip to finish 4-3. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 27 points for the Thunder.
Devin Booker scored 34 points, Deandre Ayton added 19 and the Phoenix Suns kept rolling with a 132-100 win over the Portland Trail Blazers. Phoenix has won nine of 10 and put this one away late in the third quarter. Booker made a 3-pointer with two seconds remaining and Cam Johnson followed with another 3 at the buzzer to give the Suns a 100-71 lead. Damian Lillard led the Trail Blazers with 16 points in the first half and finished with 24. Nassir Little added 18 off the bench.
In NBA news:
The Minnesota Timberwolves have finalized the hiring of Toronto assistant Chris Finch as their new head coach. The move came hours after the firing of Ryan Saunders. The Timberwolves have the NBA's worst record. President of basketball operations Gersson Rosas worked with the 51-year-old Finch in Houston and for the G League affiliate Rio Grande Valley. Finch was an assistant for six seasons there while Rosas was in the front office. Finch has 24 years of coaching experience, roughly half of that in Europe. He also has been an assistant with Denver and New Orleans.
The New Orleans Pelicans are increasing maximum attendance to 2,700 fans beginning Wednesday night when they host the Detroit Pistons. The Pelicans have been selling nearly 1,500 tickets per game since last month after allowing fewer than 1,000 fans per game to start the season. A considerable recent drop in new area COVID-19 cases has allowed for the increase in attendance.
Coby White scored 24 points, and the Chicago Bulls used a big third quarter to pull away for a 120-100 win over the short-handed Houston Rockets. Zach LaVine scored 14 of Chicago's 46 third-quarter points, finishing with 21, as the Bulls outscored the Rockets by 20 points in the quarter to break open a tight game. David Houston has lost eight straight. The Rockets had their previous two games postponed because of a winter storm and subsequent utility outages in the Houston area.
In women's college basketball, Stony Brook bested UAlbany 58-46. On the men's side, Duke downed Syracuse 85-71.
In top-25 men's basketball, Tahj Eaddy scored 24 points and No. 19 Southern California led by 16 after a blistering start on its way to a 72-58 victory over Oregon. The Trojans improved to 19-4 overall and 13-3 in the Pac-12 to take over sole possession of first place. LJ Figueroa and Eric Williams Jr. had 14 points each for the Ducks, who fell to 14-5 overall and 9-4 in the Pac-12. The Ducks had their five-game winning streak snapped. They missed their first 12 shots while USC raced to a 17-1 lead.
Fernando Tatis Jr.'s $340 million, 14-year contract has been finalized by the San Diego Padres, the longest deal in baseball history. Tatis had been eligible for salary arbitration after this season and for free agency after the 2024 season. The length of his contract exceeds the $325 million, 13-year agreement between Miami and Giancarlo Stanton and the $330 million, 13-year contract between Bruce Harper and Philadelphia. A son of former big league infielder Fernando Tatis, he has played in only 143 games during two seasons, including the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, yet has quickly become one of the faces of baseball.
In other baseball news:
Yankees ace Gerrit Cole is the likely starter starter for manager Aaron Boone in the season opener against the Toronto Blue Jays on April 1. Cole went 7-3 with a 2.84 ERA over 12 starts in last year’s abbreviated season, his first in pinstripes after signing a $324 million, nine-year contract as a free agent. Boone said Cole’s appearance in the opener is “safe to say.” Cole threw 26 pitches during a five-batter outing. Right-hander Luis Severino, coming back from Tommy John surgery last February, expects to advance to throwing other pitches in addition to fastballs next week.
Taijuan Walker is guaranteed $23 million over three seasons in his contract with the New York Mets and would get $25.5 million if he pitches at least 175 innings in 2022. Walker gets a $2 million signing bonus and salaries of $8 million this season and $7 million in 2022. His agreement includes a $6 million player option for 2023 with a $3 million buyout, and the option price can increase to as much as $8.5 million based on innings in 2022.
Albert Pujols' wife apparently disclosed that the Los Angeles Angels slugger will retire after the upcoming season, although she later amended her social media post to be less definitive. The 41-year-old Pujols reported to spring training with the Angels on Monday. Pujols' 10-year, $240 million contract with the Angels ends after this season, his 21st.
Seattle Mariners CEO Kevin Mather has resigned after video surfaced of him expressing his views about some players and club operations. Mariners Chairman John Stanton says Mather's comments were inappropriate and do not represent the views of the franchise. Mather's resignation is effective immediately. Stanton will take on the roles of CEO and team president on an interim basis. Mather issued an apology for his comments, which were made Feb. 5 to the Bellevue, Washington, Breakfast Rotary Club and were posted online over the weekend.
The Arizona Diamondbacks have agreed to a $2.25 million, one-year contract with reliever Tyler Clippard. That's what a person with knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press. Clippard also has a mutual option with the team for 2022 that's worth $3.5 million with a buyout of $500,000. The 36-year-old right-hander is a two-time All-Star and has 777 appearances over 14 seasons with a career 3.13 ERA. He had a 2.77 ERA in 26 appearances with the Minnesota Twins last season.
Right-hander Trevor Rosenthal finalized an $11 million, one-year contract with the Oakland Athletics, providing manager Bob Melvin with a new reliable ninth-inning option after former closer Liam Hendriks' departure in free agency. The 30-year-old Rosenthal went 1-0 with a 1.90 ERA with 11 saves over 23 2/3 innings for the Kansas City Royals and San Diego Padres last season.
The Atlanta Braves have claimed outfielder Phillip Ervin off waivers from the Chicago Cubs. Ervin was added to the 40-man roster and will compete for a backup position. He was designated for assignment by the Cubs on Saturday. Braves position players will have their first workout in North Port, Florida on Tuesday.
The Cleveland Indians could have as many as 10,000 fans at home games this season. Gov. Mike DeWine says it's likely professional sports teams could accommodate up to 30% capacity at their venues this spring. The Cincinnati Reds and Columbus Crew would also be affected. The Indians were not allowed to have fans last season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the loss of revenue for ticket sales, parking and concessions dealt the club an economic blow.
Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin is dealing with COVID-19. Tomlin said Monday that he's experienced "minimal symptoms" and remains in "good health." The 48-year-old Tomlin did not disclose when he tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The team sent employees and staff home last Wednesday as a precaution after someone in the facility tested positive. Tomlin said he expects to be back in the office "soon" and will continue to work virtually.
Also, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and his fiancee, Brittany Matthews, are parents to a baby girl. Matthews announced the Sunday birth of Sterling Skye Mahomes in a tweet. The birth came two weeks after Mahomes and Kansas City lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Super Bowl. The Kansas City Star reported that Mahomes and Matthews had announced their engagement in September.
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