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|ANAHEIM Authentic Alexander Radulov Jersey , Calif. — As the playoffs close in, teams like the Dallas Stars play out the string. Others, like the Anaheim Ducks, tune up for the postseason. These two squads meet in Anaheim on Friday night with the Ducks still vying for second in the Pacific Division.
Anaheim (42-25-13) defeated the Minnesota Wild at home on Wednesday night. The win clinched the Ducks’ sixth consecutive playoff appearance. Ryan Miller made 26 saves in the win. Ondrej Kase scored the winning goal to up his season total to 20. The Ducks are on a three-game win streak and are 8-1-1 in their last 10 contests. The Wild were playing with a depleted defensive corps due to injuries suffered by Ryan Suter and Jared Spurgeon.
Dallas (41-31-8) defeated the Sharks 4-2 in San Jose Tuesday night, coming back from a 2-0 deficit. They have gone 3-5-2 in their last 10 games but have won their last two contests. Mike McKenna got the victory on the strength of 17 saves after he replaced starter Kari Lehtonen in the Dallas goal. Lehtonen stopped 12 shots and allowed both San Jose goals. He exited after being stunned by a hard shot late in period one.
The Stars were knocked from playoff contention on Sunday. They looked disinterested in the first part of the San Jose game but tied things as the last five minutes approached. Jamie Benn scored both the go-ahead goal and the empty-net insurance marker in the last 3:06.
Benn said, “It was a tough first period and even the second, but we found a way to regroup and came out with a great effort in the third.”
McKenna is the prototype of the NHL journeyman. His last appearance was with Colorado in 2015. He last won a game in December of 2013. Upon taking the net, he immediately turned away a four-shot onslaught by the Sharks. Dallas locked the game down late, allowing only one shot on goal in the third period. This was McKenna’s sixth NHL victory.
Lehtonen is on injured reserve with day-to-day status. The Stars lost primary goaltender Ben Bishop to an injury in mid-March. He started 51 games and played in 53 this season. Coach Hitchcock said Lehtonen will likely be available for Friday, but the team announced Thursday that McKenna will play against the Ducks.
“Sometimes guys just earn it in this league — and I think, quite frankly, he’s earned it,” Hitchcock said as reported on the team’s website.
Anaheim is missing two crucial members. Cam Fowler suffered an upper-body injury versus Colorado on Sunday and is expected to miss two to six weeks. John Gibson was knocked over in his net in the first period versus Colorado. Both are on the injured reserve list.
Defenseman Francois Beauchemin said Justin Williams Jersey , “Now that we’ve clinched, it gives Gibby more freedom to really heal 100 percent before coming back.”
The Ducks can claim second place from San Jose depending on what the Sharks do in their last two games. For the past five years, the Ducks have won the Pacific. This year, injuries made that impossible.
Ryan Getzlaf said, “This whole year has been a bit of a struggle. With the start we had, and the players we had out of the lineup, it was tough to see the big picture at that point. Our guys did a good job battling throughout the whole year. We accomplished one goal we wanted.”
Coach Randy Carlyle commented, “We felt if we played the right way and gave ourselves a chance, this group was capable of putting together a longer string of wins and (qualifying) for the playoffs. Now the goal changes. Yes, we have accomplished the goal we set out, but now we’re in a position with four points available to solidify or even improve our position if we continue to have success. We want to play the right way going into the playoffs.”
The Stars finish their season on the road Saturday, playing Los Angeles. The Ducks finish their regular-season campaign with a game in Arizona that same night.
Chris Sale got an earful from the biggest crowd at Yankee Stadium this season while walking from the bullpen to the bench prior to the first pitch. The Red Sox ace said he didn’t hear the boos and insults.
By the second inning, the catcalls weren’t for him Mathieu Perreault Jersey , anyway.
Sale pitched his latest Bronx gem, Rafael Devers went 5 for 5 with a first-inning grand slam and Boston held New York to two hits during an 11-0 rout Saturday night to take back baseball’s best record.
Sale (8-4) allowed only Giancarlo Stanton’s clean single over seven innings, striking out 11. He has a 1.73 career ERA against the Yankees, best among pitchers with at least 10 starts against them since 1920. His ERA at Yankee Stadium is 1.86, second only to Seattle’s Felix Hernandez among pitchers with five starts.
”He looks like the best pitcher in the big leagues right now,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said.
Boston is a major league-leading 56-28, just ahead of the Yankees at 53-27. New York held the best mark by percentage points after winning Friday’s series opener 8-1.
Yankee Stadium hosted a season-high sellout of 47,125, and the crowd ripped into starter Sonny Gray (5-6) after he gave up six runs in 2 1/3 innings. The right-hander dropped to 0-4 with a 9.35 ERA against Boston since being acquired by New York from Oakland last season.
”I expect to come out and perform and make it fun,” Gray said. ”The way I’ve thrown the ball, I don’t think it’s been fun. I feel like we’re the best team in baseball four out of five days, and then I come out and do that.”
Devers had a career-best five hits. He nearly socked another homer in the seventh, but right fielder Aaron Judge reached over the wall and knocked Devers’ shot back into play with his glove. Devers ended up with a double following a video review.
Since June 5 Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Jersey , the 21-year-old Devers has raised his OPS from .675 to .741.
”We take it for granted because he’s talented and did what he did last year, but he’s still a kid,” Cora said, adding that Devers has been working hard with Boston’s staff to shore up the holes left in his game from racing through the minor leagues. ”He’s staying with the program.”
Sandy Leon brought in Devers with a two-run homer into the second deck in right field. J.D. Martinez had three hits and three RBIs, and Mookie Betts added two hits and two walks as Boston piled up 17 hits.
Heath Hembree and Hector Velazquez closed it out with a hitless inning each. Velazquez gave up a groundball single to Gleyber Torres in the ninth for New York’s second hit.
New York had won seven consecutive games against left-handed starters and was a major league-best 19-5 against them this season, but Sale had them spinning. The Yankees hit just four balls out of the infield against Sale, and he retired his final 16 batters.
”Got punched in the face last night, so you obviously want to respond well,” Sale said.
Judge struck out three times against the lefty in three at-bats, giving him 13 punchouts in 18 career at-bats against Sale. That’s the most strikeouts for Judge against any pitcher.
Torres also struck out three times against Sale during his first career start in the leadoff spot. This was the fourth time New York was shut out this season, all in the past 18 games.
Gray quickly disposed of Betts and Andrew Benintendi to open the game, but a well-placed grounder by Martinez sparked a big first inning. After Martinez’s infield single, Mitch Moreland’s walk and Xander Bogaerts‘ single Kailer Yamamoto Jersey , Gray floated a waist-high 1-2 curveball that Devers lofted just over the left-field wall. It was Devers’ second career slam – both this season – and his 14th homer of the year.
Benintendi and Martinez each added an RBI in the second, and Yankee Stadium fans jeered loudly as Gray walked off in the third.
Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. caught Aaron Hicks’ drive in the third while leaping and slamming into the wall in front of New York’s bullpen.
Red Sox: Boston reliever Tyler Thornburg pitched two innings for Double-A Portland on Friday and a clean inning Saturday with Triple-A Pawtucket, perhaps a final hurdle for the right-hander before he returns to the majors following surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome last June.
Yankees: Hicks was visited by a trainer after being hit by a pitch on his right foot or ankle in the first inning. He remained in the game. … C Austin Romine was pulled in the seventh inning and sent for a precautionary MRI with left hamstring tightness. Results were negative, and he is day to day.
After the game, the Yankees optioned RHP Giovanny Gallegos to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Boston LHP David Price (9-5, 3.66 ERA) and Yankees ace Luis Severino (12-2, 2.10) square off in prime time Sunday. Price is 7-1 with a 2.72 ERA in nine starts since being diagnosed with a mild case of carpal tunnel syndrome that caused him to miss a turn against the Yankees in early May. Severino had his worst start this season vs. Boston on April 10, allowing five runs in five innings, but then matched a season high with 11 strikeouts in a strong outing against the Red Sox on May 8.
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