Category Archives: Sports

Toronto Maple Leafs at Minnesota Wild

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Minnesota Wild wi ll look to avoid a fourth straight home loss when they face the struggling Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night.

The Maple Leafs look to get back in the win column on Thursday after a hideous loss in Winnipeg last night in which they conceded six goals and were blown out of the MTS Center but things don’t get any easier as they travel to Minnesota to take on the Wild. The Leafs were riding high after a 3-0 shutout win over the Oilers on Monday in which rookie goaltender Garret Spark earned the victory but he was shelled in his second apperance and will likely be relegated to the bench in this one. The Buds will likely go back with James Reimer as Jonathan Bernier has been sent down to the minors and while Reimer has been solid this season he is in a tough spot on the road againsta very good Minnesota side.

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The Wild head into Thursday night’s action sitting in fifth place in the Central division but are just five points back of the second place Blues and can easily make up ground over the course of the weekend. Minnesota has been lights out at home over the years and that has continued into this year as they are 8-3-1 at the Xcel Energy Center and with the Leafs coming in as one of the worst road teams in the NHL things look like they’ll continue tonight. Devan Dubnyk will get the call and he should cruise to another easy win as the Leafs get trounced for the second night in a row.

THE BIG MATCHUP

Ryan Suter vs. Leafs defence

The Wild captain and workhorse once again leads the league in ice time, averaging 28 minutes and five seconds a night. With 15 points in his past 15 games, the veteran all-star defenceman leads the Wild in scoring and is the de facto quarterback of his team’s offence.

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Boston Bruins at Edmonton Oilers

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The Oilers look to rebound after an ugly loss on the road against the Maple Leafs as they return home to battle the Boston Bruins.

With the Boston Bruins opening up a three game road trip on Wednesday night in Edmonton, they stare down the opportunity to add to their longest winning streak of the season.  The surging Bruins shot up the division standings in the second half of November by adding to their levels of energy and emotion, two aspects had a lot to do with their wins in Toronto and Detroit just before Thanksgiving.

Those were two games where the talent on the roster alone wasn’t getting the job done.  Boston was vastly outplayed in Detroit, and ended up winning via solid goaltending and timely goal scoring from young players.  The emotion mustered in the third period and overtime of that game spilled over into the Black Friday matinee against the Rangers, where the B’s came full circle with everything they had been working towards during the first quarter of the season.

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The Oilers’ early season futility took a turn for the worse on Monday as they dropped a 3-0 decision to a rookie goaltender who was playing behind the second to worst team in the league which firmly has the Oil at the bottom of the league standings. Edmonton hasn’t looked great over the last few weeks and with injuries to key guys and a seemingly unwavering losing culture they aren’t in a good spot to turn things around any time soon. Edmonton is 4-5-1 at home this season while the Bruins ate 8-2 on the road. Cam Talbot will likely get the call as he will go up against Tuukka Rask who continues to be the work horse in the Boston crease

The Bruins meanwhile are red hot and have won their last five games overall and their winning streak has propelled them into fourth place in the Atlantic but are just two points back of the Ottawa Senators for second. The B’s were expected to take a bit of a hit this season but they have responded accordingly and in this the first match up between these two teams featuring former Bruins general manager Pete Chiarelli playing his old team I think both sides will be out for victory. Edmonton is a mess once again and the Bruins are among the league’s hottest teams right now and have been spectacular on the road winning eight of 10 games.
oilers

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Boston Celtics at Sacramento Kings

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The Boston Celtics will continue their five-game road swing Thursday night with a date in Mexico City against the Sacramento Kings, where they will look to post their first straight-up road win over the Kings in their last five attempts.

The Boston Celtics and Sacramento Kings square off Thursday night at the Sleep Train Arena.

The Boston Celtics look for a strong road victory after splitting their last eight games. The Boston Celtics are averaging 102 points on 43.1 percent shooting and allowing 97.5 points on 43.5 percent shooting. Isaiah Thomas is averaging 20.8 points and 6.2 assists while Avery Bradley is averaging 16.1 points and 2.5 rebounds. Jared Sullinger is grabbing 9.3 rebounds and Evan Turner is dishing 3.6 assists. The Boston Celtics are shooting 31.7 percent from beyond the arc and 78.5 percent from the free throw line. The Celtics are getting 41.1 points from their bench, which is nearly eight points above league average. The Boston Celtics have won 10 of their last 14 regular season road games

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The Sacramento Kings need this victory for consistency after splitting their last 10 games. The Sacramento Kings are averaging 105.3 points on 45.4 percent shooting and allowing 108.5 points on 46.9 percent shooting. DeMarcus Cousins is averaging 28.2 points and 11 rebounds while Rudy Gay is averaging 18.5 points and 2.1 assists. Rajon Rondo is dishing 10.7 assists and Kosta Koufos is grabbing 6.8 rebounds. The Sacramento Kings are shooting 37.4 percent from beyond the arc and 72.3 percent from the free throw line. The Kings have topped 100 points in eight of their last 11 games and are 6-6 overall this season when that’s the case. The Sacramento Kings have won four of their last five home games. Caron Butler is questionable with an ankle injury.

The Celtics are 2-6-1 ATS in their last 9 Thursday games and 18-8-1 ATS in their last 27 vs. Western Conference. The Kings are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 Thursday games and 21-46-2 ATS in their last 69 games playing on 2 days rest. The Celtics are 1-5 ATS in the last 6 meetings in Sacramento and 4-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings overall.

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ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED BY: sportschatplace.com

Arizona Coyotes at Nashville Predators

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The Arizona Coyotes and Nashville Predators square off Tuesday night at the Bridgestone Arena.

A disappointing week of hockey is behind the Nashville Predators, but they have a brand new set of games to start a new winning streak.

Losses against Philadelphia and Buffalo were frustrating to say the least. The Coyotes,Panthers, and Red Wings are all teams that may not be the most intimidating, but all have a competitive streak going. It won’t be an easy few games.

Tonight’s opponent is one that has been surprising all season. Arizona should have been a lottery team. Conventional wisdom (and knowledge of underlying numbers) say they are performing well above where they should be. Their division is weak though, so how long they can stay in contention may rely more on what their competition does than what they can do.

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The Arizona Coyotes hope to keep the puck rolling after winning seven of their last 10 games. The Arizona Coyotes are averaging 2.8 goals per game and are scoring on 14.9 percent of their power plays. Mikkel Boedker leads Arizona with nine goals, Martin Hanzal has 14 assists and Anthony Duclair has 30 shots on goal. Defensively, the Arizona Coyotes are allowing 2.8 goals per game and are killing 81.1 percent of their power play chances. Anders Lindback has allowed 18 goals on 203 shots faced and Mike Smith has given up 45 goals on 494 shots. Smith has allowed five goals in his last three games. Zbynek Michalek and Shane Doan are questionable.

The Nashville Predators need a win here after losing five of their last six games. The Nashville Predators are averaging 2.5 goals per game and are scoring on 17.7 percent of their power plays. James Neal leads Nashville with nine goals, Roman Josi has 10 assists and Shea Weber has 57 shots on goal. Defensively, the Nashville Predators are allowing 2.6 goals per game and are killing 77.8 percent of their power play chances. Pekka Rinne has allowed 45 goals on 505 shots faced and Carter Hutton has given up nine goals on 101 shots. Rinne has allowed 10 goals in his last three games. Carter Hutton is questionable with a lower-body injury.

The Coyotes are 6-1 in their last 7 vs. Western Conference and 1-9 in their last 10 games playing on 2 days rest. The Predators are 4-0 in their last 4 Tuesday games and 41-18 in their last 59 home games. The Coyotes are 1-4 in the last 5 meetings in Nashville and 0-5 in the last 5 meetings overall.

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ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED BY: sportschatplace.com

Phoenix Suns at Brooklyn Nets

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The Phoenix Suns invade the Barclays Center to take on the Brooklyn Nets tonight.

The Suns were really struggling with five losses from six games, but they were able to arrest a four-game slide with a nice 107-102 win at Toronto on Tuesday. Eric Bledsoe and Mirza Teletovic led the scoring with 20 points each, Brandon Knight and Jon Leuer added 16 points each while TJ Warren had 15 as the Suns snuck past the Raptors who were riding a four-game win streak. With the much-needed win, Phoenix moves one step closer back to .500 with a record of 8-9 overall and 3-4 on the road

The Suns snapped a four-game losing streak Sunday, beating the Toronto Raptors 107-102. Phoenix averages the third-most points in the league (106.5) and has scored at least 100 points in four of its last five games.

Eric Bledsoe drives the bus for the Suns’ offense, leading the team with 22.6 points and 6.2 assists per game, but also gets it done defensively, leading the team in steals (1.8) and blocks (0.7) per game. Bledsoe is coming in hot off a 20-point, 11-rebound and three-block performance against the Raptors on Sunday.

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The Brooklyn Nets have won three straight games at Barclays Center, beating the Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics and most recently the Detroit Pistons, 87-83 on Sunday night. The Nets will play 20 home games in December and January – 10 in each month – the most of any NBA team over that span. The Nets are 3-3 in Brooklyn this season and the six home games to date are the second-fewest in the Association.

The Nets have won three of their last four home games against the Phoenix Suns.

The Nets had lost four of five before their 87-83 win over the Pistons on Tuesday. Thaddeus Young led the scoring with 19 points, 10 rebounds and three assists, Brook Lopez added 15 points, nine rebounds and six blocks while Joe Johnson had 13 points as the Nets won despite scoring just 35 points in the first half. Defensively, the Nets couldn’t do much to stop Andre Drummond who dominated the paint with 20 points and 18 rebounds, but they did a great job of holding the rest of the Pistons to 30.5 percent shooting and in particular, Reggie Jackson who shot just 4 of 20 for his eight points. With the win, Brooklyn improves to 4-13 on the season and 3-3 at home.

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Colorado Avalanche At New York Islanders

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The Islanders look for their second straight win as they host the Colorado Avalanche at the Barclay’s Center on Monday night.

The Colorado Avalanche are coming off a nice victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday night but take to the road looking for a second straight win this time at the expense of the New York Islanders. The Avs have been a bit of a disappointment this season as they were expected to be in the mix in the Central division but they currently sit in last place and are almost 20 points back of the division leading Stars. The Avs haven’t fared too well on the road this season sitting with a 6-7 record outside of Colorado while the Islanders are 7-4-1 at their new home which gives them a pretty heavy line here in this one. Semyon Varlamov is expected to get the call as he will go up against Jaroslav Halak

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The Islanders head into action tonight looking to gain some ground in the Metro division as they currently hold down the fourth seed but are tied with the Penguins with 28 points and trail the Rangers by just six points. New York hasn’t had the start many expected from them as they are four games above the .500 mark but that is more than serviceable at this point in the season and if they can go on a run they could very well lock up home ice advantage in the first round and hold the edge over two of the other division powers.

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ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED BY: sportschatplace.com

Houston Rockets at Detroit Pistons

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The Detroit Pistons play host to the Houston Rockets tonight at The Palace.

The Pistons have lost four of their last five and are coming off a painful 87-83 loss at Brooklyn. Andre Drummond has been the best player for the Pistons all season and he showed up again with 20 points and 18 rebounds but that’s everyone else struggled like Kentavious Caldwell-Pope who led the scoring with 21 points but shot just six of 17 and Reggie Jackson who shot a horrible four of 20 for his eight points. As a team, the Pistons shot a miserable 33.7 percent from the field but they were actually leading 83-81 with 0:59 left in the game until the Nets closed with a 6-0 run to steal the game. With the loss, Detroit falls to 8-9 on the season and 4-7 on the road.

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the Rockets will be going for a third straight win tonight after beating the Knicks by 116-111 in overtime last night. James Harden led the scoring with 26 points and nine assists, Clint Capela and Marcus Thornton added 18 points each while Trevor Ariza had 16 as the Rockets rallied from a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter to force overtime where they would complete the comeback. Despite the win, Houston is still under .500 with a record of 7-10 on the season and 3-3 on the road.

In ATS trends, the Rockets are 1-9 ATS in their last 10 games overall and 0-4 ATS in their last four games against a team with a losing record, while the Pistons are 1-4 ATS in their last five games overall and 1-4 ATS in their last five games playing on zero days rest.

Head to head, the Rockets are 7-2 ATS in the last nine meetings and the over is 6-0 in the last six meetings in Detroit.

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Montreal Canadiens at New Jersey Devils

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The Canadiens head into New Jersey on Friday night looking to get a victory without Carey Price who is sidelined again with a lower body injury.

The Montreal Canadiens were dealt another blow this week just two games after Carey Price made his return to action after being out for two weeks as he suffered a similar injury and will be out for another week. Mike Condon has played well in relief but losing the best goalie in the league and the reigning Hart Trophy winner is a frustrating and detrimental loss and going up against a surprising Devils team might make for a tough outing. Condon will go up against Cory Schneider who continues to be a work horse for the Devils.

The Devils head into Friday night’s match up with Montreal sitting in fifth place in the Metro division but they are only three points back of the Penguins for the third automatic entry into the playoffs and have plenty of hockey left to be played. New Jersey has a decent roster in the offensive zone led by a handful of role playing veterans but the key to their success has been the play of Schneider who in my opinion is one of the best five goaltenders in the NHL. New Jersey is in a good place here as they are at home against a short handed Habs team and goaltending makes the difference here.

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LINEUPS

Cammalleri – Henrique – Stempniak
Kalinin – Zajac – Palmieri
Elias – Josefson – Tootoo
Farnham – Gionta – Kennedy/Matteau

Greene – Larsson
Moore – Severson
Gelinas – Merrill

Schneider

Pacioretty – Plekanec – Smith-Pelly
Eller – Galchenyuk – Andrighetto
Fleischmann – Desharnais – Weise
Byron – Flynn – Holloway

Markov – Subban
Emelin – Petry
Gilbert – Beaulieu

Condon

WHAT TO WATCH
1) After a ridiculously hot start to the season Mike Condon has really cooled off of late having allowed three goals or more in four consecutive starts. He’s not on his game right now so the Devils need to put as much rubber on net as they can.

2) Montreal’s power play is generally very good and that’s the case once again this season as they’re clicking at a 24.4% rate. The Devils can’t afford to parade to the box like they have been of late or they’ll pay for it.

3) The Cammalleri – Henrique – Stempniak line has been New Jersey’s best all season long. It’ll be fun to see how they stack up against the Markov – Subban pairing as they’ll presumably see a lot of them.

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Missouri Tigers at Arkansas Razorbacks

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The Arkansas Razorbacks and the Missouri Tigers face off on Friday in SEC college football action. The Hogs are a favorite in the game, but between the weather and the Tiger’s bowl eligibility hanging in the balance, I am worried about this game. The Razorbacks have had a much better offense, but Mizzou’s defense is statistically one of the best in the SEC.

Missouri would not be in prime position to get a bowl invitation. The Tigers are 5-6, needing another win to lock up bowl eligibility, and are 14-point underdogs against Arkansas. Because essentially every SEC team with a .500 or better record is guaranteed to play in the postseason, a win Friday would normally be a win-and-in game for Missouri, but a must-win to get a bowl berth.

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The Arkansas Razorbacks appeared to be headed for their seventh win of the season last Saturday against Mississippi State but then some of the worst coaching strategy anyone will ever see took a win and made it a loss. Arkansas head Coach Brett Bielema decided it was more important to have MSU burn timeouts than score a touchdown with a first down from the 12-yard line and it eventually led to a blocked field goal that sealed the Hogs fate. The Arkansas offense is averaging 35.8 points and 470.2 yards per game and they have turned the ball over nine times. Razorbacks QB Brandon Allen has completed 65.1 percent of his passes with 29 touchdowns and six interceptions. Alex Collins is Arkansas’ leading rusher with 1,262 yards and 14 touchdowns and Drew Morgan leads in receptions with 52 10 touchdowns and Hunter Henry has 44 catches. The Arkansas defense is allowing 30 points and 425.3 yards per game with nine interceptions, seven fumble recoveries, and 15 sacks. Brooks Ellis leads Arkansas with 95 tackles, Dre Greenlaw has 88 tackles, and Deatrich Wise has 6.0 sacks. Arkansas is already bowl eligible but this has been a disappointing season delivered by one of the highest paid Head Coaches in the nation.
The Missouri Tigers are 5-6 this season and need a win here to extend Gary Pinkel’s career into bowl season. Missouri is averaging 14.5 points and 290.9 yards per game with 16 turnovers. Mizzou QB Drew Lock has completed 50.8 percent of his passes with four touchdowns and seven interceptions. Ish Witter leads the Tigers in rushing with 517 yards and Nate Brown and J’Mon Moore each have 27 receptions. The Missouri defense is allowing 15.1 points and 301.3 yards per game with eight interceptions, seven fumble recoveries, and 27 sacks. Kentrell Brother leads Missouri in tackles with 140, Michael Scherer has 85 tackles, and Charles Harris has 7.0 sacks. Missouri’s offense has let down their defense this season.

Arkansas is 5-1 against the spread in their last six SEC games, 8-3 against the spread following a loss, and 5-2 against the spread in their last seven games. Missouri is 7-0 against the spread following a double-digit home loss, 15-5 against the spread in their last 20 road games, and 2-5 against the spread against a team with a winning record.

 

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Australian Open 2016

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Defending champion Jordan Spieth was blown off course as he struggled in the opening round of the Australian Open.

The world number one laboured in Sydney to a level-par 71, and was five shots off the pace set by 26-year-old Australian Lincoln Tighe.

Spieth found conditions challenging, and said: “We played a lot of those holes in side winds. It was just a guessing game really

“And when you bring hazards into play it makes things even harder. It’s been a while since I’ve played in wind like this.

“The toughest part is deciding what shot to hit. It’s hard to pick the shot. You can use the same club and end up with a 30-yards difference based on if you hold the ball up or ride the wind.”

Since lifting the Australian Open title in 2014, American 22-year-old Spieth has gone on to triumph at the Masters and US Open, his first major victories.

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Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott struggled to even-par 71s in the hot, windy opening round of the Australian Open on Thursday, leaving the top two-ranked players in the tournament five strokes behind little-known leader Lincoln Tighe.

Spieth and Scott, tied for 19th with 11 others, were in good company. Australia’s Tighe, with seven birdies and two bogeys, had a one-stroke lead after his 66, one of only 18 in the 156-player field who broke par at The Australian Golf Club.

Australia’s Matt Jones, who is a member at The Australian, birdied the par-5 18th for a 67 and was in second place.

Geoff Ogilvy, the 2010 champion who was playing in the same group as Spieth, was two strokes behind after a 68, tied for third with fellow Australian Todd Sinnott and 17-year-old Taiwanese amateur Yu Chun-an.

The top-ranked Spieth birdied his opening hole and bogeyed his last to go along with birdies on a pair of par-5s and bogeys on two par-3s.

Scott, who hasn’t had a season without a victory since 2001 and is thus far winless this year, had two double-bogeys in three holes but came back with a birdie on the last to match Spieth. It could have been worse for Scott — he chipped in from off the green on the ninth for his second double-bogey.

Lee Westwood, the 1997 Australian Open champion, shot 70, as did U.S. Amateur and 2015 NCAA champion Bryson DeChambeau.

The northwest winds of about 40 kilometers per hour (25 mph) shifted to the south late in the day, causing more havoc for the afternoon groups. The high temperature reached 39 degrees Celsius (102 Fahrenheit).

Spieth, who shot a course-record, final-round 63 in similarly tough conditions here last year, was also plagued by poor tee shots Thursday.

The long-hitting Tighe has advanced to the Dec. 10-13 final stage of the Web.com Tour qualifying tournament in Florida, meaning he won’t defend his New South Wales PGA championship that is being held on the same weekend.

Ogilvy, who has missed five cuts in a row since the U.S. Open, said he putted well thanks to the state of the greens.

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