Sharks stifled in shootout loss to Rangers

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Sharks stifled in shootout loss to Rangers

March 12, 2011

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SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) The New York Rangers are finally starting to take advantage of opportunities to move up in the Eastern Conference.Brandon Dubinsky scored the winning goal in the sixth round of a shootout, lifting the Rangers to a 3-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night after others teams jostling for playoff positioning lost."I figured there'd be a chance for me and my name would come out of the hat at sometime," Dubinsky said. "It wasn't a pretty game and they had some chances. We have to be sure to win our games that are left and let the rest league figure it out."Wojtek Wolski scored the only other goal in the shootout for the Rangers, who rode 31 saves by Henrik Lundqvist through overtime for a thrilling road win. They are alone in seventh in the Eastern Conference, moving two points ahead of Buffalo and four over ninth-place Carolina after both lost Saturday.
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Wolski extended the shootout to extra rounds when he kept the Rangers alive by scoring in the third, flicking a wrist shot past Antti Niemi's stick and setting the stage for Lundqvist to close it out."I really played my game," Lundqvist said. "We were pretty calm in the third. Their top two lines are really strong, but we had two days to really think about what went wrong the other night in Anaheim. We haven't had a lot of games where were that flat, but tonight we came out really hard and strong. This game was so important for us. We needed the points."The Sharks suddenly can't seem to score in a shootout.Ryane Clowe and Ben Eager each had a goal, and Dan Boyle was the lone San Jose player to beat Lundqvist in the tiebreaker. The Sharks finished a six-game homestand with two consecutive shootout losses after falling to NHL-leading Vancouver on Thursday."We're at the point of the season now where a point isn't good enough," Boyle said. "We had our chances, for sure. You never know if that point could cost us in the end. Hopefully it doesn't."New York closed this one in dramatic fashion, too.Lundqvist had a series of saves in the final minute of the third period and overtime, and he didn't disappoint in the shootout. He allowed only Boyle's backhanded wrister to get by him. He lost his goalie stick and flung his arms in the air in frustration afterward.He was flawless from there, giving Dubinsky the chance to zip a wrister past Niemi's stick as he tried to cover the net, touching off a celebrating at center ice. The Rangers played physical throughout, much like a team trying to make a playoff push, and far different from a lackluster 5-2 loss at Anaheim on Wednesday.New York needed every bit of effort to pull out this win.Clowe gave the Sharks a 1-0 lead in the first period on a slap shot from the right side, a drive that deflected off Rangers defenseman Marc Staal and got past Lundqvist's glove for a power-play goal. Clowe tied his career high with his 22nd goal, matching his total of the 2008-09 season.Seconds later, Logan Couture was called for goaltender interference on Lundqvist, setting off a 10-man scrum with a series of pushes and punches that went unpenalized. San Jose killed off the power play, but Erik Christensen took a pass from Vinny Prospal behind the net a few minutes later and beat Niemi stick side to tie it.The end-to-end action never relented.After Clowe shattered his stick in a scramble for the puck, Michael Sauer sent a slap shot past Clowe's defenseless body and into the back of the net to put New York ahead 2-1. The Rangers almost took a two-goal advantage when Derek Stepan slipped the puck through Niemi's legs, but Justin Braun swooped in to swipe the puck away just before it crossed the goal line.That save swung the momentum back to the Sharks, who pushed up ice and peppered shots at Lundqvist. They sneaked one through to make it 2-2 moments later, when Eager redirected Torrey Mitchell's shot for a goal.Niemi got a boost from his defense that held the Rangers to only five shots in the third period and overtime. He finished with 20 saves before the shootout, and still wasn't the better goalie on this night."It's a little bit of frustration after we played so well in the third period," Sharks coach Scott McLellan said. "The will and the desire is there. We just couldn't put it past Lundqvist late."Notes: Noted agitator Sean Avery was scratched from New York's lineup for the first time this season. ... In an odd bit of scheduling, the Rangers played only two games on their West Coast trip. They will return home to face the New York Islanders on Tuesday. ... A moment of silence was held before the game for victims of the tsunami and earthquakes in Japan.

Reigning AL MVP Trout to undergo thumb surgery, out 6-8 weeks

Reigning AL MVP Trout to undergo thumb surgery, out 6-8 weeks

ANAHEIM -- Los Angeles Angels star Mike Trout has a torn ligament in his left thumb and will have surgery Wednesday that is expected to sideline him between six to eight weeks.

The Angels put the reigning AL MVP on the disabled list Monday for the first time in his career. The outfielder hurt himself a day earlier making a headfirst slide to steal second base in Miami.

At 25, Trout already is a two-time AL MVP. He is hitting .337 and has 16 home runs, second most in the majors.

Angels general manager Billy Eppler said an MRI revealed the tear. Team doctor Steve Shin arrived in Anaheim later Monday night, met with Trout and it was determined surgery was his best option.

"It was news no player wants to hear," Eppler said. "He's been put in a tough spot and it's something he's still digesting."

The Angels lost shortstop Andrelton Simmons to a similar thumb injury last season. He had surgery and was out slightly over five weeks.

Los Angeles was 26-28 going Monday night's game at home against Atlanta, and the lineup recently missed ailing slugger Albert Pujols.

Trout made his major league debut by playing 40 games for the Angels in 2011. Since then, he's been a five-time All-Star and has finished in the top two in the AL MVP all five seasons.

A year after hitting .315 with a .441 on-base percentage, 29 home runs, 100 RBIs and 30 steals, Trout was off to a dynamic start. He was leading the league in on-base percentage (.461) and slugging percentage (.742) when he was hurt.

"It's really hard to quantify (his loss)," Eppler said. "We're going to feel that impact and it's going to require multiple people stepping up in his absence. The team will fight as it always does. But he's in the heart of the order and a leader in the dugout. Those are tough to absorb."

Dodgers infielder weighs in on Harper's errant helmet throw

Dodgers infielder weighs in on Harper's errant helmet throw

Before the right hooks and haymakers, there was the helmet toss.

A very bad helmet toss.

As he made his way to the mound after getting hit by a pitch on Monday afternoon, Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper attempted to throw his helmet at Giants reliever Hunter Strickland. He missed by a wide margin.

Observers took notice, including Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner.

"What was worse, Harper's helmet throw or 50 Cents first pitch? Heads up in the #McCoveyCove," Turner tweeted shortly after the brawl between the Giants and Nationals.

Turner is referring to a ceremonial first pitch thrown by rapper 50 Cent prior to a Mets game in 2014.

Harper mentioned the helmet when addressing the situation after the game.

"I was trying to go after him, with the helmet or with myself, just doing what I needed to do keep it going, I guess," Harper told reporters.