#SportsReport: More NHL Playoff Action; NBA Playoffs To Begin

Apr 14, 2017

NHL:

The NHL's No. 1 seeds opened their respective playoff schedules on Thursday. Washington Capitals fans went home happier than Chicago Blackhawks supporters.

Tom Wilson scored his first NHL playoff goal 5:15 into overtime as the Caps downed the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs, 3-2. The Toronto native capped a rally in which the Capitals held onto home-ice advantage after falling behind 2-0.

The Nashville Predators began their Stanley Cup playoff slate with a 1-0 win over the top-seeded Blackhawks in Chicago. Pekka Rinne made 29 saves in earning his second career playoff shutout. Viktor Arvidsson scored the game's lone goal, beating Corey Crawford 7:52 into the first period.

The Anaheim Ducks took Game 1 of their first-round series with Calgary by scoring a pair of goals late in the second period of a 3-2 triumph over the Flames. Calgary led 2-1 until Rickard Rackell and Jakob Silfverberg scored less than four minutes apart. Silfverberg also assisted on Ryan Getzlaf's goal 52 seconds into the game.

In other NHL news:

— Ken Hitchcock is back as coach of the Dallas Stars, more than 15 years after being fired by the team he took to its only Stanley Cup championship in 1999. Former coach Lindy Ruff's four-year contract expired at the end of the season and wasn't extended.

—The Vegas Golden Knights have hired Gerard Gallant as the first coach of the NHL expansion team. Gallant helped revive the Florida Panthers, leading them to a first-place finish in the Atlantic Division last season and becoming a coach-of-the-year finalist.

NBA:

Tomorrow marks the start of the NBA playoffs. Indiana will take on Cleveland at 3 p.m. to kick off the series. On Sunday, Boston faces Chicago at 6:30 p.m.

The NBA has broken its attendance record by drawing nearly 22 million fans this season. The league says the total exceeded 21.9 million, topping last season's mark by more than 25,000. The average attendance of 17,884 was also a record. The 723 sellouts tied the mark set in 2015-16.

A New Jersey school district has fired two high school coaches and its athletic director amid questions over recruiting players from overseas. Paterson's school board on Wednesday terminated Eastside High School boys basketball coach Juan Griles, his assistant and the athletic director. NJ.com in February observed as many as six players leaving Griles' condominium over several mornings. Three are from Puerto Rico and three are from Nigeria. According to student profiles in a district database obtained by NJ DOT com, four of the boys listed Griles as their legal guardian and claimed his condo as their primary address. The district retained a former state Supreme Court justice to investigate. The results of the investigation are due to be released Thursday. Eastside High was portrayed in the 1989 movie "Lean On Me."

Around the league:

— Memphis Grizzlies guard Tony Allen is out indefinitely with a strained calf muscle in his right leg as his team gets ready for its Western Conference playoff series with the San Antonio Spurs. Allen was injured Wednesday as the Grizzlies closed the regular season with a 100-93 loss to the Dallas Mavericks. The 35-year-old Allen averaged 9.1 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 71 games this season.

—The Orlando Magic have fired general manager Rob Hennigan after missing the postseason for five straight seasons. The Magic finished this season 29-53.

MLB:

In Major League Baseball, Aaron Hicks homered twice, including a go-ahead, two-run drive in the seventh inning, and the New York Yankees beat the Tampa Bay Rays 3-2 Thursday night to move above .500 for the first time this season. The Yankees completed a three-game sweep and won their fourth in a row following a 1-4 start.

The New York Mets have won the longest game in the five-year history of Marlins Park, beating Miami 9-8 on Travis d'Arnaud's leadoff homer in the 16th inning. Marlins relievers had retired 13 straight batters before d'Arnaud went deep off Adam Conley, who was scheduled to start Friday's game. D'Arnaud also hit a bases-loaded triple and Yoenis Cespedes homered twice to help the Mets overcome Marcell Ozuna's grand slam in the first inning.

The Red Sox won the makeup game from last week's rainout by scoring three times in the eighth to beat the Pirates, 4-3. Hanley Ramirez tied it with a two-run double before scoring on Xander Bogaerts single. Mitch Moreland set a Red Sox record by hitting a double for the seventh straight game.

Also in the majors:

— Mets outfielder Juan Lagares has been activated from the disabled list, and reliever Paul Sewald has been optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas. Lagares missed the start of the season because of a strained left oblique.

— Top Yankees pitching prospect James Kaprielian will have Tommy John surgery next week and be sidelined until 2018. The 23-year-old right-hander was taken with the 16th overall pick in the 2015 amateur draft.

— The Orioles have selected right-hander Stefan Crichton from Triple-A Norfolk and designated right-hander Oliver Drake for assignment. Also, Orioles manager Buck Showalter confirms that right-hander Alec Asher will be promoted from Triple-A Norfolk to start against the Blue Jays on Saturday.

The St. Louis Cardinals say Hall of Fame outfielder Lou Brock was recently diagnosed with bone cancer. The 77-year-old Brock was supposed to appear at a Busch Stadium event on April 25, but that has been canceled while he is undergoing treatment for multiple myeloma. The former all-time leader in stolen bases had his left leg amputated below the knee in late 2015 because of an infection caused by complications with diabetes. He has since worn a prosthesis to throw out the occasional ceremonial first pitch at Cardinals games. Brock was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1985, his first year of eligibility.

PGA:

Bud Cauley is the leader through one round of the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head. Cauley birdied four of his last five holes for an 8-under 63 and a two-stroke lead over Luke Donald, Graham DeLaet and Sam Saunders. The 63 was one shy of Cauley's career low and two off the tournament record.

Dustin Johnson's injured back must be feeling better. The world's No. 1 player said he'll return to the PGA Tour at the Wells Fargo Championships at Eagle Point Golf Club from May 4-7. Johnson was among the favorites to win the Masters last week after winning three straight tournaments. But a fall at his rental home hurt his back the day before the year's first major was to start.

NFL:

Longtime Pittsburgh Steelers chairman and former U.S. ambassador to Ireland Dan Rooney has died at age 84. The Pro Football Hall of Famer took over operation of the Steelers from his father in the 1960s and turned it into a team that had four Super Bowl-winning seasons in the 1970s. He also conceived the NFL's "Rooney Rule" that gave minorities a better opportunity to be hired for coaching and front office positions.

New York Jets center Wesley Johnson has signed his restricted free agent tender. The team announced the move Thursday. The tender for Johnson is worth $2.746 million. Johnson is the likely replacement for Nick Mangold, who was released in February.

The Colts have agreed to contract terms with free-agent defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins. The 6-foot-2, 320-pound Hankins spent the last four seasons with the Giants and becomes the biggest name the Colts have signed this offseason.

NCAA:

Another college basketball player is leaving school early to enter the NBA draft. North Carolina swingman Justin Jackson will skip his senior season after helping the Tar Heels claim the national championship. The school says the first-team All-American would hire an agent to end his college career in Chapel Hill. The ACC player of the year is projected as a first-round pick.

Also in college basketball:

— Miles Bridges has decided to stay at Michigan State for his sophomore season. The 6-foot-7 forward led the Spartans with 16.7 points per game, the best by a Michigan State freshman since Magic Johnson averaged 17 during the 1977-78 season.

— Arizona guard Allonzo Trier is returning for his junior season. Trier ended up being the team's leading scorer at 17.2 points per game and was the MVP of the Pac-12 Tournament.

— Georgia forward Yante Maten says he is submitting his name for the NBA draft but won't hire an agent, thus protecting his option to return for his senior season. Maten has until May 24 to make a final decision on whether to remain in the draft or return to Georgia.

— North Carolina State sophomore guard Maverick Rowan is leaving the program after averaging 12 points a game this past season. It's unclear whether Rowan plans to transfer or pursue possible professional playing opportunities.

Obit:

Former Navy head football coach Wayne Hardin has died at age 91, two days after suffering a massive stroke. Hardin went 38-22-2 with the Midshipmen and led them to the 1961 Orange Bowl and 1964 Cotton Bowl. He guided Navy to a pair of top-5 finishes in the AP poll and coached Heisman Trophy winners Joe Bellino in 1960 and Roger Staubach in 1963. Hardin left Annapolis to take over Temple's program and remains the winningest coach in Owls history, going 80-52-3 in 13 seasons. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2013.

Boxing:

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's efforts to halt drug addiction now include a chapter with former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson. Christie has accepted a champion's belt from Tyson for his efforts on prisoner re-entry. The presentation came Thursday at an annual conference in Jersey City where they were featured speakers. The Republican governor has dedicated his final year in office to drug addiction, but also prisoner re-entry issues. Earlier this week Christie marked the reopening of a state prison as an institution to treat drug-addicted inmates. Christie also is heading a panel for President Donald Trump on opioid addiction. Christie says too often those addicted to drugs end up behind bars. Tyson was convicted in 1992 on rape charges and sentenced to six years in prison.

Minor League Baseball:

Hartford and its minor league baseball team are celebrating opening day at the city's new 6,000-seat stadium, a year late and millions of dollars over budget. The Yard Goats, the Double-A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies, are in their second year after moving 15 miles north from New Britain, where the team played through the 2015 season as the Rock Cats.

Boston Marathon:

The Boston Marathon will retire Bib Number 261 in honor of Kathrine Switzer. The Boston Athletic Association said Thursday it will no longer assign the number that Switzer wore in 1967 when she became the first woman to officially enter the race. Switzer is running again this year on the 50th anniversary of her landmark performance.

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