Kovalchuk kills Sharks' streak in New Jersey


Kovalchuk kills Sharks' streak in New Jersey

Kevin KurzCSNCalifornia.com

NEWARK The New Jersey Devils have been doing it for what seems like forever.Hang back. Dont take too many chances. Play sound positional hockey. And most of all, capitalize on the other team's mistakes.Thats just what they did to San Jose on Friday night at the Prudential Center, scoring a pair of goals in the third period to end the Sharks five-game winning streak, 2-1.REWIND: Sharks rally to keep roadie rolling, beat Columbus
I talked to the team and told them that the little things would add up at the end of the night, said Todd McLellan.He proved to be prophetic, since the little things to which hes referring are a pair of ill-timed penalties and a lost defensive zone faceoff.After two-plus action impaired periods, Patrick Marleau scored the first goal of the game on a rebound at 6:08 of the third. The Devils Henrik Tallinder was whistled for a hook shortly after, and the Sharks were in prime position to take control.But consecutive penalties to Joe Thornton and Logan Couture instead gave New Jersey the man advantage, and Brian Rolstons one-timer at 9:12 past the glove of Antti Niemi knotted the score.NHL Standings NHL Stats
I just thought I got his stick, to be honest with you, said Thornton of the penalty. I dont know about that call. Thats the way they see it sometimes.Were up by one with seven or eight minutes to go and going on the power play and get penalized, so thats not a very good thing, said McLellan.Later, Couture lost a faceoff to Travis Zajac, and the puck ended up on the stick of Ilya Kovalchuk. The Russian sniper quickly wheeled around in the faceoff circle and fired one past Niemi with 3:59 left in regulation.It proved to be the difference, as the resurgent Devils improved to 12-1-3 in their last 16 games.Its disappointing, said Couture, who along with linemates Ryane Clowe and Kyle Wellwood generated the best scoring chances of the night for San Jose. Im disappointed to take that penalty, and on that second goal, I lost the faceoff. Thats the way this game goes. The players on that team can strike quickly and they showed it to us tonight. That was a tough game to lose.It looked early on like San Jose would be able to take advantage of the Devils having tired legs, as New Jersey played an overtime game the night before. While the Devils were battling for a 2-1 win over Toronto, the Sharks were enjoying a complete day off the ice in the midst of their season-long seven-game road trip.San Jose registered nine of the first 10 shots of the game and held a distinct territorial advantage in the first period, but was unable to beat Johan Hedberg.They didnt have their legs right away. We would have liked to get one or two in the first and get on top of them, said Couture. Im sure they were happy after the first to still be tied.The second period it was more of the same, but Hedberg kept San Jose at bay.In his best save of the night, Hedberg robbed Clowe on a three-on-two rush on a feed from Wellwood. The normal backup to Martin Brodeur, Hedberg threw his left pad in front of Clowes redirection attempt, and kept it there as Clowe tried to whack in the rebound about five minutes into the second.Brodeur missed his third straight game with a sprained knee.Kovalchuk, who was Exhibit 1A in the Devils horrifying start to the regular season, finally appears to be earning his gigantic, 100 million contract. It was the second consecutive night in which he scored a game-winning goal on a perfectly placed wrist shot.No one was blaming Niemi for getting seemingly handcuffed by the quick turn-around laser from one of the pure goal-scorers in the NHL.He can score from those situations, said McLellan.The frantic finish to the game helped to salvage some excitement after a monotonous first two frames. There wasnt even a penalty called until Rolston was sent off for interference at 18:43 of the second.The Sharks were unable to score on that power play, though, and didnt generate enough offense against one of the more defensively responsible teams in the NHL.All they need to win games right now is two goals, said Thornton.At least this game, anyway.

Lowrie, Melvin ejected, Holliday's late homer dooms A's in loss to Yankees

Lowrie, Melvin ejected, Holliday's late homer dooms A's in loss to Yankees


NEW YORK -- Just back from the minors, Jharel Cotton totally knew what he was doing.

He was taking a no-hitter into the sixth inning at Yankee Stadium.

"I thought about it too much," the Oakland rookie admitted.

Matt Holliday broke up Cotton's bid with a two-run homer with two outs in the sixth, and that sent resurgent CC Sabathia and New York to a 3-2 victory Saturday.

"Pitching at Yankee Stadium, it's a great feeling. A lot of guys don't get to pitch at Yankee Stadium," Cotton said. "I wanted it to be a spectacular one."

He certainly made it interesting until Holliday connected.

"That was a big hit. It was the first the kid gave up, but he's got some interesting stuff," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

The Yankees wound up winning with only two hits - the first time they've done that with so few at home since 1988.

Promoted from Triple-A Nashville before the game, Cotton (3-5) hadn't come close to giving up anything when he retired the first two batters in the sixth. Yet he had thrown a lot of pitches.

After Gary Sanchez walked, Holliday teed off to left-center field. He homered on Cotton's 105th delivery for a 3-1 lead, sending a drive to nearly the exact spot where Frankie Montas was warming up in the Oakland bullpen.

"I think he made pitches in big spots. I'd never faced him and I don't think any guys had faced him. So sometimes that can be a challenge," Holliday said.

Starlin Castro followed with a sharp single that finished Cotton, who struck out five and walked three in his 13th big league start.

Even if Cotton had closed out the sixth, "that probably would've been it," A's manager Bob Melvin said.

Cotton made his debut last September. The 25-year-old righty began this season in the Athletics' rotation but was sent down to the minors May 11 to refine his game.

The last pitcher to throw a no-hitter against the Yankees all by himself was Hoyt Wilhelm in 1958 for Baltimore. In 2003, six Houston pitchers combined to no-hit the Yankees.

Sabathia (5-2) has won three straight starts for the first time since April 2013. The 36-year-old lefty pitched into the seventh and struck out nine.

Dellin Betances escaped a second-and-third, one-out jam in the eighth, an inning that included the ejections of A's hitter Jed Lowrie and Melvin for arguing strike three calls. Betances closed for his fifth save.

Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge was in the right spot for a pair of key catches to boost the AL East leaders.

Ryon Healy hit an RBI double with two outs in the sixth that made it 1-all and took third on the throw home. Trevor Plouffe then lofted a fly to shallow right that Castro chased back from his second base spot - the ball popped out of his glove, right into Judge's.

"What are you going to do," Melvin said.

The 6-foot-7 Judge collided with beefy first baseman Chris Carter while swooping in to grab Chad Pinder's foul fly leading off the seventh. Judge's sunglasses went flying and Carter went down, but everyone was OK.

The Yankees scored in the first on a walk, a hit batter and Castro's sacrifice fly.

Josh Phegley homered off Sabathia in the seventh, pulling the A's to 3-2.


Sanchez lost control of his bat and it helicoptered a long way, far beyond the Athletics' third base dugout. No fans were hurt. On Wednesday, a boy was hit by Carter's broken bat at the ballpark.


The previous eight games between the A's and Yankees had been won by the road team. Starting last year, each club had won four times at other's park.


Lowrie was ejected by plate umpire Will Little in the eighth after being called out on strikes for the third time. The A's second baseman had been on a 16-for-29 streak before going 0 for 4. Melvin was tossed after arguing after Plouffe fanned.

"A lot of frustration," Melvin said.


Athletics: 1B Yonder Alonso missed his third straight start because of a sore right wrist. Melvin said he hoped Alonso could play Sunday.

Yankees: Closer Aroldis Chapman (shoulder) made 25 throws from 60 feet, his first baseball activity in two weeks. He said he felt fine after the workout and that he will throw again Sunday.


Athletics: RHP Andrew Triggs (5-3, 2.77) is 1-2 with a 3.97 ERA in four May starts after going 4-1 with a 1.84 ERA in five April starts.

Yankees: RHP Michael Pineda (5-2, 3.35) has given up no more than three earned runs in his last eight starts.

Harbaugh goes Biblical, responds to Jacobs' criticisms of his coaching

Harbaugh goes Biblical, responds to Jacobs' criticisms of his coaching

Former NFL running back Brandon Jacobs spent one season with the San Francisco 49ers in 2012 under head coach Jim Harbaugh.

Jacobs only played in two games and gained seven yards on five carries. The results were nothing like his 5,087 yards and 60 touchdowns over eight years with the Giants. 

Apparently being pushed to the bench as a 31-year-old veteran running back didn't sit well with Jacobs. 

“Going somewhere where they don’t have route conversions into certain coverages was just absurd,” Jacobs said Thursday on the Tiki and Tierney Show. “They’re just running routes in the defense, getting people killed. Size and strength is what they had, and that’s why they won.

"Let’s be real. They had great assistant coaches, but Jim didn’t know what he was doing. Jim had no idea. Jim is throwing slants into Cover-2 safeties, getting people hurt. That guy knew nothing, man."

On Saturday morning, Harbaugh responded to Jacobs with a tweet to him. 

Harbaugh went 44-19-1 in four seasons as the 49ers' head coach. He also added five playoff wins and a trip to the Super Bowl in the 2012-13 season, the one that Jacobs played for him.