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Old 09-12-2018, 08:16 AM   #1
officialsbaseball

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Default so it’s a matter of coming to terms.
Even after a tremendous late-season surge capped by seven straight home victories Dalvin Tomlinson Jersey , the Anaheim Ducks‘ playoff position won’t be determined until the final day of the regular season.

The Ducks are grateful to be pushed, and they plan to keep shoving deep into the NHL postseason.

Jakob Silfverberg had a goal and two assists, and the Ducks maintained their late-season charge with their ninth win in 11 games overall, 5-3 over the Dallas Stars on Friday night.

Josh Manson and Andrew Cogliano each had a goal and an assist for the Ducks, who leapfrogged the Los Angeles Kings by one point for third place in the Pacific Division. The playoff-bound rivals have been trading the spot down the stretch, and the race will go down to the final game – with second place also in play for Anaheim.

”It’s been a long season, but we still want to take that next step,” Ducks defenseman Francois Beauchemin said.

Anaheim clinched its sixth consecutive playoff berth Wednesday, but it can’t let up heading into its finale at Arizona on Saturday night. The Ducks and the Coyotes will begin about 90 minutes before the Kings host the Stars.

What’s more, if the Ducks win and the San Jose Sharks lose in regulation to Minnesota later in the night, Anaheim will jump into second, earning home ice for at least one round.

Anaheim’s streak of five consecutive Pacific Division titles is ending, but bigger banners are still available to a team hitting its stride.

”The whole team is building that confidence, and we’re playing the right way,” Silfverberg said. ”We just need to make sure we have a strong finish tomorrow and see who we get.”

Rickard Rakell and Derek Grant also scored before Cogliano got a key breakaway goal with 5:25 to play for the Ducks Linval Joseph Jersey , who have lost in regulation at home just once in 17 games since Jan. 23.

Ryan Miller made 23 saves to win his second straight start in place of John Gibson. Miller also earned the 369th victory of his NHL career, tying Tom Barrasso for second among U.S.-born goaltenders.

Jamie Benn scored his 33rd goal and added an assist for the Stars, who aren’t going out quietly in their disappointing season. After beating playoff-bound Minnesota and San Jose in their previous two games, the Stars gave a scare to the Ducks before taking their 10th loss in 13 games.

”(The Ducks) looked like a team that’s getting ready for the playoffs,” Dallas coach Ken Hitchcock said. ”We looked like a team that still was trying, but they had details in our game that we didn’t have, and that part, I’m sure, is disappointing for everybody.”

Mike McKenna stopped 28 shots in his second appearance of the season for Dallas and the 34-year-old veteran’s 25th NHL appearance of his lengthy hockey career. McKenna, who got a win over San Jose in relief on Tuesday, has been the third goalie most of the season for the Stars, who are his fifth NHL team and 15th professional team.

”I allowed five goals, so I’m disappointed we didn’t win the game more than anything,” said McKenna, who will head back to the AHL next week for the Texas Stars’ playoff push. ”There’s room for improvement. Go back Jake Ryan Jersey , look at video and try to get better again. Doesn’t change anything for me that there’s not more time left here. There’s more time left in the season.”

Marc Methot got his first goal in 35 games this season, and Radek Faksa also scored for Dallas.

NOTES: During a first-period break, Honda Center aired a tribute video to Beauchemin, who has said he will retire after this season. Beauchemin, who has played three separate stints in Anaheim during his career, acknowledged his standing ovation with a wave. ”I knew it was coming … (but) I still had some problems keeping it together because of all the great memories.” … Ducks D Cam Fowler missed his second straight game with a shoulder injury that could sideline him deep into the playoffs. Gibson also missed his second straight game with an upper-body injury, but it isn’t thought to be serious. … Rakell’s 33rd goal of the season matched his career high and also ended Anaheim’s 0-for-10 power play drought.

UP NEXT

Stars: At Los Angeles Kings on Saturday.

Ducks: At Arizona Coyotes on Saturday.



The Arizona Coyotes were one of the NHL’s best teams the final two months of the 2017-18 season, playing the kind of hockey coach Rick Tocchet envisioned his first season in the desert.

If only they had started rolling a few months earlier.

Plagued by the worst start in franchise history, the Coyotes finished last in the Western Conference and missed the playoffs for the sixth straight season, yet they have a glimmer of hope for the future thanks to their flourish to the finish.

”There’s a lot of good positive things and we just have to keep pushing the pedal. We can’t stand pat,” Tocchet said. ”We can’t pat ourselves on the back, `Hey, we had a great second half.’ We’re still one of the bottom teams, which is reality, but saying that I thought we made a lot of strides.”

The Coyotes made dramatic changes in hopes of ending their postseason-less run. Arizona parted ways with coach Dave Tippett and replaced him with Tocchet. Longtime captain Shane Doan’s contract was not renewed George Fant Jersey , No. 1 goalie Mike Smith was traded to Calgary and the Coyotes brought in a new group of players they hoped would lead the franchise out of its rut.

Antti Raanta became the new top goalie, defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson was added to shore up the defense and Derek Stepan was expected to be the top-line center the team had sought for years.

Little went according to plan. Raanta missed the first seven games with a lower-body injury and the Coyotes had trouble holding on to leads – when they could get them – and opened the season 1-12-1. Arizona could not escape the deep early hole, laboring at the bottom of the NHL standings throughout the first half of the season.

The Coyotes started to click after the All-Star break. Raanta was healthy and stopping shots. The defense, a detriment early, tightened up. The offense, led by a core of young scorers, started to flow instead of sputter.

Arizona went 17-9-3 over its final 29 games, finishing 29-41-12 with 70 points. The Coyotes were still last in the Pacific Division, but managed to finish ahead of Ottawa and Buffalo among the league’s bottom dwellers.

”I’ve got all the confidence in this group,” said Stepan, who had 14 goals and was second on the team with 56 points. ”They’ve learned a lot this season and you’ve got to be able to carry that over into next season and continue to learn, and the older guys got to learn from the younger guys. It’s got to be a balanced group.”

RAANTA’S RIDE: Raanta had a rough ride his first season as a No. 1 goalie, battling through separate injuries. Once he was healthy, the Finnish goalie played like the Coyotes had hoped he would after trading for him from the New York Rangers.

Raanta finished the season 21-17-6 with a 2.24 goals-against average and a save percentage of .930. He was scheduled to become a restricted free agent this offseason, but the Coyotes locked him up for the next three years with a $12.75 million contract just before the season ended.

”He stops the puck Marquez Valdes-Scantling Jersey ,” Coyotes GM John Chayka said. ”He just seems to, when he’s on, he’s locked in and he’s reading everything and making the game look easy. You put up his numbers both this season and over his career, he’s a high, high-end goaltender in terms of stopping the puck.”

KELLER’S RISE: Clayton Keller got his rookie season off to a sizzling start, went through a dry scoring spell and finished strong to put himself in the Calder Trophy conversation.

The No. 7 overall pick in the 2016 draft was the NHL’s leading rookie scorer during the season’s first month with nine goals and 15 assists before going 17 games without a goal into December. Keller closed strong with six goals and 15 assists in March and April, finishing with 23 goals and 65 points to lead the Coyotes in both categories.

SIGNING OEL: One of the Coyotes’ top offseason priorities will be trying to sign All-Star defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson as he heads into the last year of his contract.

Once thought to be a trade target during Arizona’s rebuilding process, the Finnish defenseman remained a core player for the Coyotes, finishing fourth on the team with 42 points. He wants to stay in the desert and the Coyotes want him, so it’s a matter of coming to terms.



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