Backup comes up big in Pittsburgh... Blackhawks and Senators advance
UNDATED (AP) — Backup goalie Tomas Vokoun (voh-KOON') came up big in the nets and the Pittsburgh Penguins are on the verge of moving on to the second round of the NHL playoffs.
Vokoun, playing in place of slumping Marc-Andre Fleury (marhk-ahn-dray FLOOR'-ee), stopped 31 shots in his first playoff start in six years and the Penguins blanked the New York Islanders 4-0 to take a 3-2 series lead in their first-round NHL playoff series. Sidney Crosby, Tyler Kennedy and Douglas Murray scored during a seven-minute stretch in the second period.
Game 6 is Saturday night on Long Island.
In other NHL playoffs:
__ The Chicago Blackhawks eliminated Minnesota in five games with a 5-1 win at United Center. Marian Hossa (HOH'-sah) scored twice to back a strong effort by goalie Corey Crawford, who made 21 saves. Chicago is moving on in the postseason for the first time since the championship run in 2010, and will face either San Jose or Detroit if the Red Wings get past Anaheim.
__ Ottawa eliminated Montreal in five games with a 6-1 triumph over the Habs and their backup goalie Peter Budaj (BOO'-dy), who was forced into action when Carey Price suffered a lower body injury Tuesday night. Cory Conacher (KAHN'-uh-kur) scored twice. It's Ottawa's first playoff series triumph since 2007 when the Senators reached the Stanley Cup finals. The Canadiens had five players injured in the series, including Price and forwards Brian Gionta (JAHN'-tah), Lars Eller, Brandon Prust and Ryan White.
Preds Rinne has surgery
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Predators goalie Pekka Rinne (PEH'-kuh RIH'-nuh) has had arthroscopic surgery on his left hip and will need approximately four months to recover.
General manager David Poile says that Rinne had surgery Wednesday to correct a situation resulting from the wear and tear from playing goaltender.
Rinne tied for second in the NHL with 43 appearances in the lockout-shortened season, tied for fourth with 42 starts and ranked sixth in minutes played. The 6-foot-5, 204-pound Finn tied for the NHL-lead with five shutouts.
Poile says they hope Rinne is ready by training camp.
Crosby among Lindsay finalists
TORONTO (AP) — Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby, Washington's Alex Ovechkin (oh-VEHCH'-kihn) and Tampa Bay's Martin St. Louis (saynt loo-EE') have been nominated as finalists for the Ted Lindsay Award. The honor is presented annually to the most outstanding player in the NHL as voted by fellow members of the NHL Players' Association. Crosby, Ovechkin and St. Louis have all previously won the award.
PGA-THE PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP
Big first round for Castro
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Roberto Castro tied the course record with a bogey-free 9-under-63 to grab the opening round lead at The Players Championship. His round featured seven birdies and an eagle on the par-5 second hole.
Rory McIlroy and Zach Johnson are currently the closest in the clubhouse after shooting 66s.
Tiger Woods strung together four birdies midway through his round but bogeyed his final hole en route to a 5-under 67. Woods is in a six-way tie four shots off the lead.
Indians and Nats in sweeps week...Braves take opener in San Francisco
UNDATED (AP) — Cleveland completed a four-game sweep of the Athletics with 9-2 victory. The Indians got home runs from Nick Swisher, Mark Reynolds and Jason Kipnis in the win. The benefactor of all the offense was Scott Kazmir, who upped his record to 2-1. He went six allowing one run and five hits with 10 strikeouts. Reynolds' blast was his 11th of the season, most in the American League.
During the game, Major League Baseball acknowledged that an "improper call" was made by umpires in the ninth inning of Wednesday night's game between the Indians and A's. However, MLB executive vice president Joe Torre says the incorrect judgment call by umpire Angel Hernandez and his crew "stands as final."
Oakland's Adam Rosales hit what appeared to be a game-tying home run in the ninth, which was ruled in play by the umpires. After a replay review, the umps upheld the call on the field, keeping the Athletics from tying the game and setting off manager Bob Melvin, who was ejected.
In other MLB action:
__ In an early season battle of division leaders, the Atlanta Braves beat San Francisco 6-3 in the opener of a four-game series at AT&T Park. The East Division-leading Braves touched Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong for six runs on seven hits in four and a-third innings. Brian McCann hit a two-run home run and drove in three.
__ CC Sabathia (suh-BATH'-ee-uh) and five relievers combined on a four-hitter and the New York Yankees beat Colorado 3-1 in a game delayed more than two hours by rain at Coors Field. Robinson Cano (kuh-NOH') homered and also had a single for his 1,500th career hit.
__ Minnesota spanked Boston 5-3. Oswaldo Arcia hit a two-run homer off John Lackey, who fell to 1-3. He didn't help himself by committing a costly throwing error on a potential inning-ending double play. The Red Sox have lost six of seven.
__ Kansas City beat Baltimore 6-2 to avoid a three-game sweep. Alex Gordon and Eric Hosmer homered in a four-run fourth inning off loser Freddy Garcia.
__ Tampa Bay nipped Toronto 5-4 in 10 innings. Luke Scott drew a bases-loaded walk with two outs in the 10th inning to drive in the winning run.
— Center fielder Juan Lagares robbed Andrew McCutchen of a go-ahead hit in the top of the ninth inning, then pinch-hitter Mike Baxter's single in the bottom half sent the New York Mets over the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-2.
__ Washington finished an abbreviated two-game interleague sweep by holding off the Detroit Tigers 5-4. Ryan Mattheus, Drew Storen and Rafael Soriano combined for shutout relief after Dan Haren nearly squandered a four-run lead. Soriano closed it out for his 12th save in 13 chances.
__ The L.A. Angels rallied with three in the eighth to beat last-place Houston 6-5 to end a four-game losing streak. Mark Trumbo hit a two-run double in the eighth inning before Alberto Callaspo's go-ahead sacrifice fly. The game took 4 hours, 7 minutes —longest nine-inning contest in the majors this season, according to STATS.
__ Arizona nipped Philadelphia 2-1. Patrick Corbin threw six-plus strong innings and drove in a run. Corbin is 5-0.
Deng practices, sort of...Two series resume tonight
DEERFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Luol Deng (LOO'-ul dehng) returned to the Chicago Bulls practice but appeared to be in no shape to rejoin the team for its playoff series with Miami. The All-Star forward had to be hospitalized after suffering from bad headaches and weakness during the first-round series with Brooklyn. He looked drawn at practice and didn't appear to be able to do much more than take a few jump shots. Deng has lost 15 pounds.
The Bulls are home for Game 3 tonight tied up with Miami at a game apiece. The Bulls will be trying to shake off a lopsided 37-point loss to the Heat Wednesday night.
Also tonight, Golden State goes back home tied up a game apiece when it plays top-seed San Antonio in Game 3 of that Western Conference semifinal. The Warriors are coming off a 100-91 road win in Game 2 Wednesday night.
NBA-EXEC OF YEAR
Nuggets GM honored
DENVER (AP) — Denver Nuggets general manager Masai Ujiri (muh-SY' yoo-JEER'-ee) has been named the NBA's executive of the year, a day after George Karl was named the league's top coach. Ujiri, the first African-born GM in major American sports, built the Nuggets team that won a franchise-record 57 games and was an NBA-best 38-3 at home.
Vikes get part-time stadium
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Vikings and the University of Minnesota have announced an agreement that will allow the NFL team to play all their home games at the Golden Gophers stadium in 2014 and 2015. The contract calls for the Vikings to pay the university $250,000 for every game and an additional $50,000 in concession and advertising revenue. That could add up to as much as $3 million per season above all expenses.
The Vikings will use the university facility while they wait for their new stadium to be built.
Rookie linebacker lands deal with Chicago...Ravens and Colts deal... Te'o signs
UNDATED (AP) — Florida's Jon Bostic, a second-round draft pick of the Bears, has agreed to a four-year contract with the team. A linebacker at Florida, Bostic started every game his final two years in the middle for the Gators and figures to compete with veteran free agent acquisition D.J. Williams for Brian Urlacher's (UR'-lah-kurs) old job.
The Bears' only unsigned pick is first-rounder Kyle Long, an offensive lineman from Oregon and the son of Hall of Famer Howie Long.
In other NFL news:
— The Baltimore Ravens have acquired center A.Q. Shipley from the Colts for a conditional 2014 draft pick. The trade will be finalized after Shipley passes a physical. Shipley played in 14 games last season with the Colts, getting five starts. He participated on special teams for Indianapolis in an AFC wild-card game in Baltimore last season. Shipley was selected in the seventh round of the 2009 draft by Pittsburgh.
__ Manti Te'o (MAN'-ty TAY-oh) is one of four draft picks who've signed contracts with the San Diego Chargers. Te'o, the linebacker from Notre Dame, was picked by the Chargers in the second round.
Hollywood Park to close
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Hollywood Park will close by year's end and the 75-year-old racetrack property in Inglewood will be developed by its owner. Track President Jack Liebau says the land in the Los Angeles suburb now is worth more, and racing will end when the autumn meet concludes on Dec. 22.
The track opened in 1938 under the direction of movie moguls Jack and Harry Warner. Among the star horses that ran at Hollywood Park were Seabiscuit, and Triple Crown winners Citation, Seattle Slew and Affirmed.
British sailor dies in America's Cup practice
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A 72-foot-long Swedish sailboat capsized yesterday in San Francisco Bay while practicing for the upcoming America's Cup races, killing an Olympic gold medalist from the United Kingdom and injuring another sailor.
Artemis Racing said Andrew "Bart" Simpson died after the capsized boat's platform trapped him underwater for about 10 minutes.