Wings' home win streak ends at 23

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Wings' home win streak ends at 23

From Comcast SportsNet
DETROIT (AP) -- The Detroit Red Wings took advantage of the shootout to win three times during their NHL-record, 23-game home winning streak. Detroit's good fortune in the one-on-one duels ran out and its run ended against the Vancouver Canucks. Alex Burrows scored the only goal in a shootout, which was made possible when Daniel Sedin scored his second goal of the game with 15.4 seconds left in regulation, to lift Vancouver to a 4-3 win over the Red Wings to snap their streak that lasted three-plus months. "It's disappointing it had to end like this," Detroit's Justin Abdelkader said. Detroit hadn't lost at Joe Louis Arena since Nov. 3 against Calgary, breaking the previous single-season mark of 20 shared by the 1929-30 Boston Bruins and 1975-76 Philadelphia Flyers. "It's nice that we're the team that ended the streak," said Burrows, who lifted a backhander over Jimmy Howard when he went low. "It's remarkable to win that many games in a row on home ice." The Red Wings extended their run at home with three wins in shootouts -- a way to break ties that wasn't possible before the 2005-06 season -- but their coach said that didn't diminish the feat. "I don't care what era, it was just a real good run for the Red Wings that set us up in a good situation playoff-wise," Mike Babcock said. The NHL-leading Red Wings hold a one-point lead over Vancouver in the Western Conference. The Canucks have won a league-high 21 games on the road this season. A sold-out crowd stood during the shootout, which started with Roberto Luongo stopping Jiri Hudler's shot and Howard going low to smother David Booth's attempt. Henrik Zetterberg missed the net on Detroit's second attempt and Alexander Edler was denied on the ensuing opportunity. Todd Bertuzzi, who signed a two-year extension with the Red Wings earlier in the day, couldn't put his team ahead and Burrows took advantage of a chance to end the game -- and the streak. "It was an intense game with a playoff atmosphere," Luongo said. Luongo made 33 saves and Howard had 40. Detroit was 16 seconds from getting the win in regulation, but the Canucks pulled Luongo to have an extra skater in the Red Wings' end for a faceoff. On the next sequence, Sedin took a slap shot from the slot that Howard never saw after his teammates failed to clear the puck when it was behind the net. "We wanted to prove we could beat them on the road," Sedin said. "It was a good pass and a good screen in front of the goalie." Abdelkader scored with 6:14 left in the third period to give Detroit a 3-2 lead -- 20 seconds after Vancouver's Cody Hodgson tied the game. Newly acquired defenseman Kyle Quincey scored to put Detroit ahead 6:05 into the third period and Darren Helm had a goal 11:16 into the game to give the Red Wings a 1-0 lead. The Canucks refused to let the Red Wings get comfortable with the lead all night. Sedin tied it at 1 at 13:34 of the second and Hodgson tied it again, getting credit for a goal that went in off the right skate of Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall. Detroit led 1-0 after the first period despite being outplayed. Vancouver outshot the Red Wings 17-5 in the first, but defenseman Kevin Bieksa had the puck poked away by Helm and his fluttering wrist shot got past Luongo at 11:16. Detroit didn't do much with three power plays in the first, going scoreless and getting only one shot combined with an extra skater. "We got skated into the ground in the first period," Babcock said. "They played better for longer than us and they won the game." The Red Wings looked out of sync, missing playmaking center Pavel Datsyuk for a second game. Datsyuk, the team's leading scorer, is expected to be out for two weeks after having right knee surgery Tuesday. "The best player in the world, any time he goes out, you're going to miss him," Abdelkader said. "It's a big void." Sedin tied the game at 1 at 13:34 of the second. Detroit outshot the Canucks 15-8 in the second period, but had nothing to show for it. The Red Wings created more chances in the third period, especially when Abdelkader swiped at a puck in the crease that Luongo didn't cover, but they couldn't find a way to win again in the Motor City. "For us to come in here and play well and show that we can beat them means a lot," Burrows said. "But there's a lot of work ahead and if we face them in the playoffs, it will start 0-0." NOTES: Bertuzzi, a former Canucks forward, signed a two-year deal worth just more than 4 million. ... Vancouver tied the series at 2 in the final scheduled game against Detroit. ... Quincey played in the first game of his second stint with the Red Wings, who drafted him in 2003. They acquired Quincey for a first-round pick and prospect Sebastien Piche from Tampa Bay on Tuesday in a three-team trade with Colorado.

Nikola Mirotic, Bulls show some moxie in road win over Bucks

Nikola Mirotic, Bulls show some moxie in road win over Bucks

Whacked on his ailing left hand by Khris Middleton, Jimmy Butler shook off the pain to hit a rare triple in transition while Middleton was complaining for a foul a couple possessions later.

Butler then darted into the passing lane for a pass intended for Jason Terry like a linebacker jumping into the flat for an interception, then trotted down for an uncontested dunk to give the Bulls an unlikely 17-point lead.

For the man who claims he’s the best football player in the NBA, playing through the pain and doing so with his team’s playoff hopes dwindling, Butler may finally have some believers to his boasts.

Not only did the Bulls avoid a season sweep to the Milwaukee Bucks with a resounding 109-94 win at the BMO Bradley Center Sunday afternoon, they restored a slight sense of pride after looking like they had none of it Friday night in their loss to the Philadelphia 76ers.

Butler scored 20 with a career-high 13 assists in a grinding 39 minutes, but he could play the role of a semi-closer, making those big plays in the fourth when the Bulls pulled away.

Instead, it was March Madness as Nikola Mirotic played up to his career numbers in his favorite month on the calendar, drilling five triples on his way to 28 points and eight rebounds in 35 minutes.

Mirotic and Rajon Rondo helped the Bulls to a decisive double-digit lead in the third quarter with Rondo scoring 14 of his 18 points in the period, hitting a triple, getting into the lane for layups and dishing out a few of his eight assists.

It was an offensive masterpiece for the Bulls, a prospect that seemed highly unlikely given the opponent and the way they played coming into Sunday’s contest. And with the Bucks getting Giannis Antetokounmpo going early along with Middleton, it looked like a nightmare of a different kind was in store for the Bulls.

But Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg wasn’t about to let an instant replay occur, having seen his own version of a “Nightmare on Madison Street” Friday night against the woeful 76ers when his backups let time stand still for minutes at a time, squandering a double-digit lead.

Hoiberg decided not to mess around with the second unit as the Bucks began pulling away in the same manner the 76ers did Friday night. He brought the starters right back in when the lead ballooned to 45-33 at the 8:29 mark.

Then the Bulls went to work to finish the half, with a 23-10 run, along with starting off the third as efficient as they had been in awhile against a worthwhile opponent, shooting 14 of 21 in the period to take a 91-79 lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

Mirotic was seven of eight from the field before halftime and his first miss of the third—a 30-foot triple that went wide right, wound up in a 3-point opportunity for Rondo, who scooped the ball and scored on a layup while being fouled.

It was that kind of afternoon for the Bulls, a team that can’t seem to decide who they want to be on a nightly basis—making it that much harder for an opponent to predict, that much more difficult to eliminate from the playoff conversation.

Cubs expect Ben Zobrist and Addison Russell to be ready for Opening Night

Cubs expect Ben Zobrist and Addison Russell to be ready for Opening Night

MESA, Ariz. – The Cubs expect Ben Zobrist and Addison Russell to be ready for Opening Night, downplaying any health concerns about their All-Star middle infielders. 

One week out from facing the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium, manager Joe Maddon spent part of Sunday's media session saying how he had no concerns with his World Series MVP's stiff neck and his franchise shortstop's stiff back.

"You can tell with 'Zo,'" Maddon said at the Sloan Park complex. "He'll come around and let me know specifically if he feels it's going to be anything longer than that. He's talking either tomorrow night or the next day."

Zobrist, who spent nine seasons with Maddon's Tampa Bay Rays, hasn't appeared in a Cactus League game since March 19. Maddon also signaled Russell is close to returning to action after being a late scratch from Friday's lineup.

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Not like this, but the Cubs already planned to schedule extra rest for Zobrist, given his age (36 in May), the playoff stress on his body from back-to-back World Series titles and emerging options like Javier Baez on a mix-and-match team. 

All along, Maddon hasn't worried about finding enough at-bats for Baez, knowing that injuries are inevitable and the Cubs have insurance policies up and down the roster that should pay off across a 162-game season. But in this case, it doesn't sound like the Cubs are testing that theory with Zobrist and Russell.

"None of this stuff is really threatening," Maddon said. "The trainers have no real strong issues with anything. It's almost like you'll be overly cautious right now. And that's all we're doing."