What a difference three and a half weeks makes

#1 von jinshuiqian0713 , 23.07.2018 05:29

TORONTO – What a difference three and a half weeks makes. Custom Oklahoma City Thunder Jerseys . At about this point last month the Maple Leafs were embarrassed, disillusioned, and broken after the second serious drubbing in a matter of days. “It can’t get worse than that can it?” Phil Kessel wondered a day after his team was pumped for nine goals at the ACC. Completely unforeseeable then, the Leafs have emerged almost unscathed from that point, now pushing Tampa, Detroit and Montreal for a share of the Atlantic Division lead. They won for the ninth time in 11 games Sunday night (9-1-1) – fifth straight – edging past the defending champs in a shootout on the second end of a back-to-back. “I think we’ve definitely come a long way,” Cody Franson said after the 4-3 win over L.A., the 13th for Toronto in 20 home games. “We’ve paid attention to the details that make us successful and we’re becoming more consistent with it.” They’ve won in all kinds of ways since that low-point, but the Leafs have mostly relied on the league’s hottest offence, solid special teams and, of late, very fine goaltending. It’s not always been pretty or consistent in the manner conducive to long-term success, but this group has managed to stack chips in an unforeseen way since they were booed off the ice in mid-November. On this night Toronto built up a two-goal lead, fell back in a middle frame owned by the Kings, lost control of the lead and then rebounded to win on the strength of a power-play goal and perfect shootout effort by James Reimer. They did this just one night after outplaying the equally hot Red Wings in a game that showcased the kind of structure they’ve strived to play with more consistently. “I think it shows we’re growing as a team,” said Stephane Robidas, credited with 12 hits against the Kings. “We always talk about playing the right way and we want to do it for 60 minutes. And obviously playing two games in two nights you’d need to play the right way, you just can’t show up.” L.A.’s size presented a whole whack of challenges for the Leafs and they dominated the possession battle as such. But the home side stuck with it even after Marian Gaborik pushed the Kings ahead early in the third frame, tying the score on a James van Riemsdyk power-play goal. What’s maybe most impressive about this stretch for the Leafs is how little they’ve really gotten from van Riemsdyk and some of their top players. Power-play theatrics aside, the Leafs top line of Kessel, van Riemsdyk and Tyler Bozak has done little in the past month. Not only is the trio not producing offence at even-strength, but they continue to spend shift after shift in the defensive zone. The line held less than 30 per cent possession on Sunday and has been under 40 per cent for the past three-plus weeks. Instead it’s those like Mike Santorelli, Daniel Winnik and Nazem Kadri who continue to make contributions in their place. That trio not only produced two of the three goals on this night, but held L.A.’s top line of Anze Kopitar, Jeff Carter and Dustin Brown off the board entirely. “I think this is probably the best our team’s been playing,” said Kadri. “These aren’t easy games to come out and play, especially off back-to-backs.” The Leafs have beaten a slew of quality teams during this hot streak, topping the Lightning, Canucks, Wings (three times) and now the Kings. They’ve outscored the opposition 44-25 in that span, the goaltending picking up steam along the way. Reimer, who made 33 saves Sunday, and Jonathan Bernier have combined to post a .957 save percentage in the past five games. “We’d like to keep this ball rolling in our direction and not allow it to go in any other direction,” Carlyle said. Five Points 1. Top Line in Name Only Continuing one of the better all-around stretches of his NHL career, Kadri led Toronto forwards in ice-time Sunday, also out-pacing Bozak in that department for the seventh time in nine games while adding his 10th point in the past 10 games. He and linemates, Winnik and Santorelli, were the Leafs most productive at playing in the offensive zone, thereby forcing the Kings top trio, whom they were matched up with, to defend. “They’re able to play their game and they’re able to create chances and positive possession time and positive zone time,” Carlyle said. “So I think those are the three things that you look at. If you’re playing in the other team’s zone it’s pretty hard for them to score on you.” On the opposite end of that spectrum were Kessel, van Riemsdyk and Bozak. They were the Leafs worst at possessing the puck and have been for the past month. 2. Unsustainable Only Kessel has more points at even-strength among Leafs than Santorelli, who celebrated his 29th birthday with his sixth goal of the year and an assist. Santorelli has an unlikely 18 even-strength points and is on pace for 60 points overall, a mark that would smash the career-high 41 points he managed as a Florida Panther in 2010-11. It’s unlikely though that he continues to produce offence at such a potent rate. The B.C. native entered the game against the Kings with an on-ice shooting percentage (which measures team shooting percentage when a player is on the ice) approaching 13 per cent, an inflated level that’s higher than the career mark of Sidney Crosby. Kadri thrived with such luck during the lockout campaign. He posted 44 points in 48 games on the strength of a league-best on-ice shooting percentage of nearly 15 per cent. That number tumbled to a more reasonable level of nine per cent last year and a dip in production followed; Kadri posted a respectable 50 points, not close though to the near point-per-game mark of that fortunate season. Likely offensive cool-down aside, Santorelli has nonetheless been a valuable find at $1.5 million for the Leafs. He was recently added to both the penalty kill and power-play units. 3. More Santorelli Daniel Winnik offered this assessment on Santorelli. “I think probably the most unique part of his game is his cutbacks,” Winnik said. “I don’t think I’ve played with a guy with quicker turn-backs than him.” That’s an area of the game – quickly changing directions along the boards – Santorelli targets daily after practice and during the offseason. 4. 48 Hours Sunday’s affair against the Kings completed the Leafs seventh back-to-back set of 18 this season. They improved to 5-1-1 in the second game of those sets, an impressive mark. Robidas, on the road to 1,000 NHL games, says two games in 48 hours should be no big deal. “You’ve just got to go out there and play,” he said. “We’ve done it in the past. You play in the minors [and] you play three games in three nights. For me it’s not an excuse.” The early 5 p.m. start time required some adjustments to routines, though, including the always important pre-game nap. “You address your schedule accordingly,” said Winnik beforehand. “Just push everything back two hours pretty much.” 5. Mumps Sidney Crosby’s positive mumps diagnosis dragged the issue into the NHL’s forefront, even pushing Carlyle to get his shot Sunday. “They dragged me in,” he said with a chuckle. “I was the last one. I thought that I had it 58 years ago so I didn’t think I’d need another one, but I guess there’s a new strain out...” Players have been offered the shot and advised to take precaution where possible. Crosby was the 13th NHL player diagnosed with the mumps this season, Rangers centre, Derrick Brassard joining that list later in the day. Stats-Pack 20 – Points combined in the past 10 games for Nazem Kadri and Mike Santorelli. 12 – Hits credited to Stephane Robidas on Sunday. 7 – Number of times in the past nine games that Kadri has gained more ice-time than Tyler Bozak. 5-1-1 – Leafs record on the second game of back-to-back sets. 6-2-1 – Leafs record vs. the Western Conference. 13-0-0 – Leafs record when scoring first. Special Teams Capsule PP: 1-3 Season: 20.7% PK: 2-2 Season: 83.6% Quote of the Night “Looking back at that that was definitely a time of a little bit of soul-searching. We knew that’s not going to be acceptable, especially on home ice. The way we lost that game was very disheartening, but we took it the right way and were able to learn from it and it turned out to be a good thing I guess.” - James van Riemsdyk, on the Leafs response to a 9-2 home loss last month. Up Next The Leafs host the Ducks on Tuesday night. Paul George Jersey . Now, the hottest team on the ATP are pointing their sights on qualifying for the eight-team season finals in London next November. Pospisil has now established the year-end World Tour Finals as the benchmark for a breakthrough season, with Pospisil and Sock provisionally standing ninth. Jerami Grant Jersey . According to TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun, Brodeurs agent Pat Brisson has spoken to six teams so far regarding the veteran goaltender. . New Zealand brushed aside England 26-7 to win the event and reclaim top spot in the overall standings. The All Blacks, the defending World Series champions, won their third tournament this season in style, running four tries past England to claim their 11th Cup championship in Hong Kong and first since 2011.Tallahassee, FL ( - Style points continue to elude Florida State, but the Seminoles nevertheless keep winning. The No. 1 team in the country was put the test yet again Saturday but held off rival Florida, 24-19, to complete a second straight undefeated regular season. Florida State (12-0) won its 28th straight game in spite of reigning Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston, who threw four interceptions -- three in the first quarter alone -- and completed just 12-of-24 passes for 125 yards. Winston did toss a pair of touchdown passes to Nick OLeary, while Dalvin Cook gained 144 yards on 24 carries for the defending champion Seminoles, whose last three wins have come by a combined 12 points. A matchup against Georgia Tech in the ACC title game next week is the final hurdle in FSUs quest for a spot in the College Football Playoff. Florida (6-5) missed two potential go-ahead field goals in the second half and had the ball at midfield in the waning minutes. Treon Harris went 0-for-6 through the air on the final drive and finished 13-of-32 for 169 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions, one of which was returned 94 yards for a TD by Terrance Smith. Final Score: (2) Alabama 55, (15) Auburn 44 Tuscaloosa, AL ( - Blake Sims and Amari Cooper led Alabama to a win in the highest-scoring Iron Bowl ever, giving the Crimson Tide a fresh memory in their fierce rivalry with Auburn. The Kick Six was so last year. Cooper had 13 catches for an Iron Bowl-record 224 yards and scored on three of Sims four touchdown passes as second-ranked Alabama rallied for a 55-44 win over No. 15 Auburn on Saturday night. Sims overcame three interceptions to pass for 312 yards in the thrill-a-minute game, which came almost a year to the day after Chris Davis 109-yard touchdown return off a missed field goal gave Auburn an instant-classic win over then-No. 1 Alabama to ruin the Crimson Tides national title hopes. This year, Alabama (11-1, 7-1 SEC) clinched the Western Division title and a spot in the conference championship game before it even took the field after Mississippi State lost to Ole Miss earlier Saturday. The Crimson Tide, who are likely to retain their No. 1 spot in the College Football Playoff rankings, will face Eastern Division winner Missouri next Saturday in Atlanta. Sammie Coates had four catches for a career-high 153 yards in the first half and the Tigers (8-4, 4-4) scored 17 points off three Sims interceptions to hold a 33-21 lead four minutes into the second half. But Alabama outscored them 34-11 the rest of the way with Cooper catching touchdown passes of 39 and 75 yards in the third quarter and Sims scrambling for the go-ahead touchdown early in the fourth. Alabama snapped a six-game losing streak to ranked Auburn teams, winning such a matchup for the first time since 2001. Final Score: (3) Oregon 47, Oregon State 19 Corvallis, OR ( - The 118th installment of the Civil War wasnt even close as Marcus Mariota led No. 3 Oregon to a 47-19 rout of Oregon State on Saturday. Mariota polished off the regular season and his potential Heisman Trophy campaign with six total touchdowns in helping the Ducks (11-1, 8-1 Pac-12) down their in-state rival for the seventh consecutive time. He threw for 367 yards and four touchdowns, while also rushing for 39 yards and two scores. Oregon now sets its sights on a meeting with Arizona in the Pac-12 championship on Friday night. The Wildcats handed the Ducks their lone loss of the season, a 31-24 setback in Eugene on Oct. 2. Oregon has won seven consecutive games since. Royce Freeman rushed for 135 yards and caught a touchdown pass, Charles Nelson hauled in two touchdowns from Mariota, and Byron Marshall led the team with 131 yards receiving in the win. Sean Mannion threw for 162 yards with a touchdown and Storm Woods rushed for 128 yards with a touchdown for Oregon State (5-7, 2-7), which has lost two straight and six of its last seven overall. Final Score: (18) Ole Miss 31, (4) Mississippi State 17 Oxford, MS ( - Mississippi States hopes for a berth in the inaugural College Football Playoff have likely been cracked like an egg. Jaylen Walton rushed for a career-high 148 yards and a highlight-reel touchdown, and 18th-ranked Ole Miss kept the No. 4 Bulldogs high-powered offense mostly in check to hand their bitter rivals a damaging 31-17 loss in the latest edition of the Egg Bowl. Waltons spectacular 91-yard touchdown run and Evan Engrams career-best 176 yards on five catches each played huge roles in the Rebels denying Mississippi State a possible appearance in the SEC title game -- and probably a spot in the four-team playoff as well. The Bulldogs (10-2, 6-2 SEC), who stood fourth in the most recent College Football Playoff rankings, were eliminated in the SEC West race with the costly defeat, which vaulted Alabama into the conference championship game opposite Missouri. Bo Wallace hit on just 13-of-30 throws for Ole Miss (9-3, 5-3), but still put up 296 yards through the air while adding a rushing score. Final Score: (5) Baylor 48, Texas Tech 46 Arlington, TX ( - Shock Linwood totaled 158 yards and scored twice on 24 carries as No. 5 Baylor escaped with a 48-46 victory over Texas Tech in a shootout in North Texas on Saturday. Bryce Petty threw for 210 yards and two touchdowns on 18-of-25 efficiency before being taken out in the third quarter for the Bears (10-1, 7-1 Big 12), who have won four in a row and complete their regular season by hosting Kansas State next week. Seth Russell finished the contest 8-of-17 for 82 yards and a TD to Levi Norwood. Norwood ended up with 63 yards on five catches, Corey Coleman added 57 yards on six grabs, while Antwan Goodley also notched a score through the air. Patrick Mahomes exploded for 593 yards and six touchdowns on 30-of-56 passing for the Red Raiders (4-8, 2-7), who nearly rallied from a 42-17 deficit but have dropped four of their last five. Three of those scores went to Bradley Marquez, who ended up totaling 130 yards on six receptions. Jakeem Grant topped the list with 150 yards and a TD on five catches, with DeAndre Washington and Devin Lauderdale posting a receiving touchdown each. Final Score: (7) Ohio State 42, Michigan 28 Columbus, OH ( - The season is over for the Michigan Wolverines and, unfortunately, for Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett. Barrett left the field on a cart after breaking his right ankle early in fourth quarter in a 42-28 victory for the seeventh-ranked Buckeyes over their rivals. Gary Payton Jersey. Ohio State (11-1, 8-0 Big Ten) scored two touchdowns in a minute late in the fourth to put the game away and become the first Big Ten team to win all its regular-season conference games in three consecutive seasons. Barrett completed 13-of-21 passes for 176 yards with one touchdown and rushed for 89 yards and two scores before exiting. Ezekiel Elliott had 121 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries for the Buckeyes, who will play Wisconsin in next weeks Big Ten title game. Devin Gardner was 22-of-32 for 233 yards with two touchdown passes for Michigan (5-7, 3-5), but he also committed two turnovers - one of which was returned for a score. Final Score: (16) Georgia Tech 30, (8) Georgia 24 (OT) Athens, GA ( - Yet another Georgia Tech-Georgia clash came down to the wire, and this time the Yellow Jackets survived in a Peach State thriller. Zach Laskeys third touchdown run of the day accounted for the only score in overtime, and the 16th-ranked Yellow Jackets escaped Sanford Stadium with a memorable 30-24 victory over the No. 8 Bulldogs. The roller- coaster finish saw Georgia Tech give up a go-ahead touchdown with 18 seconds left in regulation, only to have Harrison Butker force OT with a clutch 53- yard field goal. Butkers extra point in overtime was blocked, but D.J. White picked off Hutson Mason on the ensuing possession to give Georgia Tech (10-2) its first win over its in-state rival since 2008. Mason finished with 194 passing yards for Georgia (9-3), which committed three turnovers after totaling 11 in its first eight games. Final Score: (10) Michigan State 34, Penn State 10 University Park, PA ( - Jeremy Langford totaled 118 yards and two touchdowns on 30 carries as No. 10 Michigan State wrapped up its regular season with a 34-10 rout of Penn State. Connor Cook went 13-for-25 for 180 yards with one touchdown and one interception for the Spartans (10-2, 7-1 Big Ten), who won their final three games after a loss to Ohio State kept them from battling for the Big Ten championship. Akeel Lynch had a rushing touchdown while Christian Hackenberg was 21-for-45 for 195 yards along with an interception and a lost fumble for the Nittany Lions (6-6, 2-6), who lost their last two games of the regular season. Final Score: (11) Kansas State 51, Kansas 13 Manhattan, KS ( - Jake Waters threw for 294 yards with four touchdowns and also ran for a score to lead No. 11 Kansas State to a 51-13 win over Kansas in the Sunflower Showdown. Tyler Lockett had 119 yards on nine receptions with two touchdowns, while Curry Sexton also caught nine passes for 141 yards and a score for the Wildcats (9-2, 7-1 Big 12). Lockett entered the game four receptions (217) and two touchdowns (26) shy of tying his father, Kevin, for the school record in each category. Charles Jones caught a touchdown pass from Waters and ran for another in the win. Michael Cummings went 16-for-27 for 139 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions for the Jayhawks (3-9, 1-8), who have lost six straight meetings to their in-state rival. Final Score: (14) Wisconsin 34, (22) Minnesota 24 Madison, WI ( - The Battle for Paul Bunyans Axe had a lot more riding on it this season. The result, however, remained the same. Melvin Gordon carried the ball 29 times for 151 yards with two total touchdowns as No. 14 Wisconsin defeated 20th-ranked Minnesota 34-24 on Saturday afternoon to clinch the Big Ten West. The Badgers (10-2, 7-1 Big Ten), who erased a 14- point second quarter deficit by ripping off 24 straight points to win their 11th straight meeting against the Golden Gophers, will face Ohio State in the Big Ten title game next Saturday night. The Buckeyes will be without their standout quarterback J.T. Barrett, who left Saturdays game against Michigan on a cart after suffering a broken ankle on the first play of the fourth quarter. Wisconsin received a scare late in the fourth when Gordon grabbed his right ankle and limped off the field following a 6-yard run with about three minutes left. Gordon posted a receiving score and his other on the ground for Wisconsin, which has won seven consecutive games. Alex Erickson caught five passes for 160 yards, while Joel Stave completed 11- of-18 passes for 215 yards with two touchdowns in the triumph. Corey Clement, who came in with just 44 yards in his last three games, put up 89 yards and a touchdown on seven carries. David Cobb tallied 118 yards and a score on 25 totes for Minnesota (8-4, 5-3), which dropped three of its last five games to close the regular season. Final Score: (23) Clemson 35, South Carolina 17 Clemson, SC ( - Clemson is back on top in the Palmetto State as the 23rd-ranked Tigers ended South Carolinas winning streak in the longtime series with a 35-17 victory at Memorial Stadium on Saturday. The Gamecocks had won five straight meetings against their in-state rivals but were limited to 339 yards and scored 18 points below their season average. Deshaun Watson played through a knee injury and completed 14-of-19 passes for 269 yards and added two scores on the ground for the Tigers (9-3), whose senior class has totaled a school-record 41 wins over the last four years. Watson was credited with a pair of scores through the air, but Artavis Scott did most of the work on two shovel passes that went for TDs and totaled 123 yards. Scott finished with 185 yards on seven catches, while Wayne Gallman gained 191 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries. Dylan Thompson passed for 249 yards and a touchdown for South Carolina (6-6), which finished its disappointing regular season at .500 after coming into the year ranked No. 9 in the AP poll. Final Score: (24) Louisville 44, Kentucky 40 Louisville, KY ( - Brandon Radcliff ran for a 4-yard touchdown with 2:47 remaining in the fourth quarter to lift 24th-ranked Louisville to a 44-40 win over Kentucky on Saturday. Kyle Bolin threw three touchdown passes to DeVante Parker in relief of injured Cardinals quarterback Reggie Bonnafon. Bolin finished with 381 yards and one interception on 21- of-31 passing for Louisville (9-3), which posted its fourth straight win over Kentucky. Stanley Williams rushed for 126 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries for the Wildcats (5-7), who ended the season on a six-game skid. Patrick Towles completed 14-of-29 passes for 176 yards and threw two interceptions, the second pick sealing Kentuckys fate. 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What a difference three and a half weeks makes
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