Sharks steal extra point from Avs in shootout

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Sharks steal extra point from Avs in shootout

March 1, 2011

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SAN JOSE (AP) Even when they come out flat, the San Jose Sharks are somehow finding ways to win these days. The Colorado Avalanche can't seem to end up on the winning side even on nights they play well.Antti Niemi was perfect in the shootout just hours after getting a contract extension, and Ryane Clowe scored the only goal of the tiebreaker to give the surging San Jose Sharks a 2-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night."It wasn't pretty, it was a greasy win," Clowe said. ""It was nice to get the win, but it wasn't our best game by any means."
The Sharks were blanked for more than 57 minutes by a team that had won just once since Jan. 24 before Joe Thornton tied it with 2:58 remaining in regulation. Clowe then won it in the shootout, giving San Jose its seventh straight win and 16th in 19 games.Niemi made 18 saves to cap a day that began with him signing a 15.2 million, four-year extension.
RELATED: Sharks, Niemi agree to four-year extensionErik Johnson scored a power-play goal and Brian Elliott made 34 saves in his third game for Colorado since being acquired in a trade from Ottawa late last month for Craig Anderson. But the Avalanche were unable to close it out and lost for the 14th time in 15 games."The hockey gods just aren't with us right now," center Matt Duchene said. "It's frustrating. It's almost laughable at this point. We work that hard, we play that well, with a team with that much offense, with so many guys having great seasons, we hold them to no goals with 4 minutes left and they find some way to score. It's pretty frustrating."Clowe opened the shootout by firing a forehand past Elliott. This marked the second consecutive game in which Clowe scored the deciding goal in a shootout and the second straight time he did it with his forehand instead of his usual shootout move to the backhand."I was thinking of probably going backhand," Clowe said. "I looked up and saw he might have been leaning a little bit to the glove side so I decided to go low blocker. That's always a tough save for the goalie anyway."Niemi stopped Milan Hejduk after Clowe's goal and then Duchene hit the post and David Jones shot wide for the Avalanche, who had won their previous three shootouts this season.Colorado has scored two goals or fewer in 11 of its last 15 games and managed few good scoring chances against Niemi with just 19 shots."Of course it's frustrating," coach Joe Sacco said. "You're playing one of the better teams in the conference. You shut them down for the majority of the game. They still had some good chances, their goaltender made some good saves, but at the end of the day we didn't get the job done."The Avalanche broke up a scoreless game with a power-play goal early in the third. With Niclas Wallin in the penalty box for holding, Johnson stopped a clearing attempt by Jason Demers at the blue line. Johnson beat Niemi with a high wrist shot for his seventh goal just 78 seconds into the period.The Sharks were unable to tie it on a power play of their own minutes later - their fourth failed chance with the man advantage - and then Joe Pavelski was robbed by the crossbar on a hard shot from the slot midway through the third that got the fans excited but was immediately waved off by the referee.San Jose finally got the equalizer when Thornton made a nifty deflection at the side of the net of a point shot by Demers late in regulation."We challenged our big guys between periods that they have to step up a little bit and lead," coach Todd McLellan said. "Jumbo ended up getting the tying goal. It took that long. We told them the rule-maker allows us 60 minutes to find one at least. We used almost the full 60. It was nice to see them step up."
VIDEO: Todd McLellan postgame
The game got off to a sluggish start, with each team having only one shot on goal in the first 10-plus minutes of the opening period. Both teams killed off a penalty in the second half of the period, with Elliott making the toughest saves on a point shot by Pavelski followed by the rebound by Demers.There were only a few more chances in the second period but still no goals. Devin Setoguchi was robbed alone in close by Elliott early in the period. Niemi made a tough sliding stop against Kevin Porter, who was all alone at the side of the goal midway through the second.NOTES: Colorado had allowed a power-play goal in eight straight games before stopping San Jose on all four chances. The Sharks came into the game with the NHL's third-best power play. ... The Sharks were undermanned after placing F Scott Nichol and D Kent Huskins on IR before the game with upper-body injuries. Defenseman Dan Boyle and F Ben Eager also sat with upper-body injuries.

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's loss despite five home runs

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's loss despite five home runs

BOX SCORE

Hit five home runs, and a team has to like its chances of winning.

The A’s simply couldn’t keep up with the Houston Astros’ bats, however, in an 11-8 loss Wednesday night that snapped Oakland’s four-game winning streak. Khris Davis went deep twice, and Ryon Healy, Jed Lowrie and Matt Olson all went deep as the A’s set their season high for home runs.

But Houston racked up 17 hits against Jesse Hahn (3-6) and four relievers and evened this three-game series at a game apiece. It was the second time Hahn has gotten knocked around by Houston inside of a week.

The A’s took an early lead, 5-4, in the third on the second of Davis’ two homers, part of a four-run rally for Oakland. But the Astros answered right back with five runs in the bottom half, and the A’s never recovered from that momentum swing.

Hahn’s struggles continue: Hahn was trying to rebound after the Astros hung nine earned runs on him last Thursday at the Coliseum. Things didn’t improve Wednesday at Minute Maid Park, as the right-hander lasted just two-plus innings and allowed six runs on nine hits. Is this a case of one team simply having Hahn’s number or do the A’s make a move and try someone else in the rotation? It bears watching.

Krush Davis x 2: It was apparent early this would be a slugfest, with Khris Davis homering twice within the first three innings as the A’s tried to keep pace. He led off the second with a shot to left field, then came back with a three-run blast to left in the third that put Oakland up 5-4. The homers were his team-leading 20th and 21st.

Reddick-ulous night: Josh Reddick filled up the stat sheet against his old team in every way imaginable. He went 3-for-4 with three RBI and two runs, and twice caught the A’s by surprise by stealing third base. For good measure, he turned in an excellent running catch in right field to rob Yonder Alonso.

Strange offensive night: What to make of this night offensively for the A’s? They hit a season-high five homers but also struck out a whopping 17 times. No matter … you can’t hang this one on the offense, because …

The pitching staff just couldn’t hold things down: Josh Smith was called upon to hold down the fort after Hahn departed in the third, but Smith was tagged for three runs on four hits. Daniel Coulombe and John Axford also got touched for runs. Rookie Michael Brady did turn in 1 1/3 scoreless innings.

Cubs outfielder vows he didn't give Trump the middle finger at White House

Cubs outfielder vows he didn't give Trump the middle finger at White House

WASHINGTON – Albert Almora Jr. didn’t use Wednesday’s Oval Office photo op as a subtle form of political protest, but it did sort of look like the Cubs outfielder gave President Donald Trump the middle finger, at least from that angle in an image that went viral on Twitter.    

“There was two fingers! Look closely, there was two fingers!” a veteran player yelled across the room as reporters gathered around Almora’s locker inside the visiting clubhouse at Nationals Park. 

“Guys were giving me a hard time about it,” Almora said, “but I pointed out the second finger. We’re all good.”

In another White House visit that didn’t look nearly as unofficial or informal as the Cubs said it would be, one snapshot became Almora with part of his left hand in his pocket. Almora stood near Kris Bryant – who held a 45 Wrigley Field scoreboard panel – and Trump at his desk with the World Series trophy.

“Obviously, it’s unfortunate,” Almora said with a laugh. “I’m getting ready to take a picture and I’m posing there. But you guys know that I would never do that to the president of the United States. 

“I respect everybody. It is what it is. We laugh about it now, but there’s definitely two fingers out there.”

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