Marleau strikes again -- Sharks top Preds in O.T.

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Marleau strikes again -- Sharks top Preds in O.T.

March 8, 2011

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SAN JOSE (AP) San Jose finally got its sputtering power play going, but it took an overtime goal from one of its fastest and most reliable players to get the Sharks back on track.Patrick Marleau is used to this type of stuff.Marleau scored on a 2-on-1 breakaway goal with 1:36 left in the extra period, lifting San Jose past the struggling Nashville Predators 3-2 on Tuesday night."That's what Patty does," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "He's leading us in goals now and he's scored some big ones down the stretch. That was an extra gear. I don't know, if there wasn't any endboards, he still may be going. He was going that fast."VIDEO: Todd McLellan postgame
Marleau hadn't taken a shot the entire night before notching his 27th goal of the season when he and Ian White raced into Nashville's end of the ice with only Ryan Suter standing between the duo and Predators goalie Pekka Rinne. Marleau never thought about passing to White and instead flipped the puck past Rinne.It's the second straight overtime winner Marleau has scored against the Predators. He also scored in overtime when San Jose beat Nashville 2-1 on Feb. 15."They had an odd-man rush against (us) and the puck was in our slot," said Marleau, who has seven points in his last six games. "I went to pick it up and it was like a semi 2-on-1. I just was able to get in ... get a quick shot and got it into the net."Ryan Clowe and Justin Braun also scored, and Antti Niemi made 23 saves as the Sharks won for the ninth time in 10 games.
VIDEO: Justin Braun postgame
Joel Ward and Shea Weber had goals for Nashville, which has lost six of 11."We had a couple of good scoring chances and we needed just one good shot to change the game," Rinne said. "(Marleau) is just so fast. A really fast player. He placed the puck perfectly under the bar. It's all about execution. He made a good shot."San Jose started slow, missed several scoring opportunities late in regulation and appeared headed for a shootout before Marleau's game-winner.That gave the Sharks their second straight win over the Predators and came three days after their season-high eight-game winning streak ended.It also was the 143rd victory of McLellan's career, leaving him nine shy of the all-time record for an NHL coach in his third season."Very reminiscent of the game in Nashville," McLellan said. "I didn't think we started very well. We weren't sharp and we had to play our way into it."San Jose led 1-0 and 2-1, but couldn't put the pesky but slumping Predators away until overtime.Clowe scored on a power play in the first period without having to use his stick. Jason Demers fired a pass from the endboard that Dany Heatley deflected into Clowe's left skate. The puck ricocheted up and over Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne and into the net. Referees reviewed the goal and it was upheld.
VIDEO: Ryane Clowe postgame
The score came just seconds after Heatley missed from in front of the crease, only San Jose's second shot of the opening period.Rinne finished with 30 saves.Ward tied it later in the first on a power play when he tapped in his own deflected shot at the 14:22 mark. It's Ward's eighth goal of the season and the fourth of his career in 11 games against San Jose. Martin Erat and Weber had assists.The Sharks, third in the NHL in power play success, went in having converted one of their previous 12 chances with an advantage.That drought coincided with the loss of defenseman Dan Boyle, who suffered an upper-body injury against Pittsburgh on Feb. 23. Boyle sat out his fifth straight game Tuesday and it's uncertain when he'll return.In the meantime, McLellan jumbled his power-play units against Nashville. Demers, who had been filling in for Boyle, was replaced by White on the top line. Forward Devin Setoguchi also moved up from the second unit, exchanging spots with Heatley.The moves paid off initially.Braun's score, coming from just inside the blue line near the Sharks bench, gave San Jose a 2-1 lead 4:17 into the second and came after Shane O'Brien was called for hooking.Nashville tied it again less than two minutes later with another power-play goal. David Legwand took a pass and skated in front of the net then shuffled the puck to Weber, who raced in from the left side and flipped it past Niemi."We have points in every game against these guys this year," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "That's not easy to do. Marleau's shot changed direction and it went right under the bar. All their goals went off people's skates and shin pads."Notes: The game was the 800th of San Jose RW Jamal Mayers' career. Mayers leads the Sharks in penalty minutes. ... The Predators took just four shots on goal in the third.

Spurs destroy Cavs by 29, back within two of Warriors

Spurs destroy Cavs by 29, back within two of Warriors

BOX SCORE

SAN ANTONIO -- Kawhi Leonard scored 25 points and the San Antonio Spurs dismantled the ailing Cleveland Cavaliers 103-74 on Monday night in a showdown that turned into a major letdown for the defending NBA champions.

LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol added 14 points apiece for the Spurs, who won their fifth straight.

Cleveland (47-26) dropped its second in a row, set a season low for points and fell a half-game behind Boston (48-26) for the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Cavaliers star LeBron James was injured late in the third quarter after taking an elbow to the base of his neck. He remained on the bench for a while receiving medical attention, then headed toward the locker room and didn't return to the game.

His status was not immediately known.

Cleveland has been out of sync recently, losing three of five, and those struggles only got worse against San Antonio. The Spurs led by as many as 33 points to the delight of the sold-out crowd.

San Antonio (57-16) is two games behind Golden State (59-14) for the league's best record entering a home showdown with the Warriors on Wednesday.

Cleveland opted to play its stars rather than sit them for rest, but the trio of James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love sat out the fourth quarter of its second rout in the past two weeks.

James exited with 25 seconds remaining in the third after taking an elbow to his neck from David Lee on a rebound. James continually rubbed the area before collapsing after he crossed midcourt and remained on the floor for about a minute before walking unassisted to the bench. He left for the locker room early in the fourth quarter during a timeout.

James finished with 17 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in 29 minutes.

The Spurs held the Cavaliers scoreless for three minutes after San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich was issued a technical foul during a timeout with 6:38 remaining in the first half.

Leonard hit a right-handed runner as the second quarter closed to give the Spurs a 64-40 lead.

TIP-INS:
Cavaliers: Cleveland completed its schedule against the West, finishing 16-14. In addition to losing to the Spurs by 29 points, the Cavaliers lost by 35 to Golden State and 30 to the Los Angeles Clippers. . Cleveland F Kyle Korver missed his third straight game with a sore left foot, and the team plans to sit him for several games to see if rest and treatment helps. Korver will sit out Thursday in Chicago and Friday at home against Philadelphia before being re-evaluated, a team spokesman said. The shooting specialist missed seven games earlier this month with an inflamed tendon in his foot. . G Iman Shumpert missed his second consecutive game with a sore right knee. . James needs 24 points to pass Shaquille O'Neal for seventh overall in career scoring. O'Neal has 28,596 career points. . The Cavaliers averaged 116.3 points in their previous four games.

Spurs: San Antonio is holding its opponents to an average of less than 100 points for the 22nd straight season. . Danny Green tied his season high with four blocked shots. . Leonard has scored in double figures in 100 straight games.

UP NEXT:
Cavaliers: At the Chicago Bulls on Thursday night.

Spurs: Host the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night.

Dolphins owner explains why he voted against Raiders' move to Vegas

Dolphins owner explains why he voted against Raiders' move to Vegas

PHOENIX – An overwhelming majority approved the Raiders’ relocation application Monday morning. They were given permission to move from Oakland to Las Vegas by a 31-1 vote at the league owners meetings, a massive show of support for the Silver and Black.

While the stadium and finance committees recommended Raiders relocation and the final meeting went smooth leading up to a vote, there was one voice of dissent.

Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross didn’t let his vote do the talking. He explained his rationale to reporters on Monday afternoon.

“I just don’t think everything was done to try and stay in Oakland,” Ross told reporters, via a video posted on San Diego-based 1090-AM’s website. “I was more or less interested in the thought that Oakland deserved…that a deal could’ve been done there.”

Ross said Raiders owner Mark Davis should’ve engaged with Oakland more in trying to find a long-term stadium solution in the East Bay.

“You can only make a deal when the owner wants to make a deal,” Ross said. “Who are you going to negotiate with? How’s it going to happen? The owner has to be a driving force.”

After some difficult negotiations with Oakland, Davis focused his efforts on Las Vegas, where he received $750 million in public funds for stadium construction, with an additional chunk earmarked for infrastructure improvements around a stadium site just off the Las Vegas Strip.

While Ross spent roughly $500 million in private funds to renovate Hard Rock Stadium, his dissent was rooted in part on ideological grounds. He believes stadiums should be largely financed privately.

“I think so,” Ross said. “You get a look around, and there’s very little public money available for teams today. I think owners have to have, when you own a team, you should have the deep pockets to deliver. Now, you need some public money for infrastructure and things like that but, with the cost of stadiums today, our country can’t afford to put all that money in that kind of place.”

Ross said he didn’t vote no to grandstand.

“That doesn’t do me any good. I didn’t do it for that,” Ross said. “I voted how I voted and I voted what I believed. You talk about the fans, and that’s what the National Football League is all about.”