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Update December, 2019


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Captain Woods sends himself out in 1st Presidents Cup match

International captain Ernie Els, left, and USA captain Tiger Woods shake hands during a press conference ahead of the President's Cup Golf tournament in Melbourne, Australia, Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)

Doug Ferguson

Melbourne, Australia (AP) — Tiger Woods deferred the first pick for pairings in the Presidents Cup, and then made sure he was in the opening match Thursday against the Australian who led qualifying for the International team at Royal Melbourne.

Woods is the first playing captain since Hale Irwin in the inaugural Presidents Cup in 1994, and first captain to be pick himself with a wild-card selection after winning in Japan for his 82nd career PGA Tour victory.

Woods said Steve Stricker, one of his three assistants, would serve as captain while he was playing. Stricker was the U.S. captain at the 2017 Presidents Cup.

The Americans are defending champions and had the first pick who they wanted for the first of five fourballs matches. Instead, Woods let International captain Ernie Els start, and Els sent out Marc Leishman with Joaquin Niemann of Chile, one of a record-tying seven rookies on his team.

Patrick Reed, the subject of so much conversation this week from his rules violation in the Bahamas last week, is in the fourth spot with Webb Simpson. They play Hideki Matsuyama and C.T. Pan.

All five of the U.S. partnerships are new for a Presidents Cup or a Ryder Cup.

Dustin Johnson, who competes for the first time since Aug. 25 at the Tour Championship, has played with Matt Kuchar in various team events. This time he will have Presidents Cup newcomer Gary Woodland, giving the U.S. a big-hitting team on the short, fast track of Royal Melbourne. They will face Abraham Ancer and Louis Oosthuizen.

In the other matches, Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay give the Americans an all-rookie team against Adam Hadwin and Sungjae Im, while Bryson DeChambeau and Tony Finau face Adam Scott and Byeong Hun An.

Woods opted to sit out Matt Kuchar and Rickie Fowler, the last addition to the U.S. team when Brooks Koepka had to withdraw with a knee injury. Els left out Li Haotong and Cameron Smith, one of three Aussies on the International team.

Friday's second session features five foursomes matches, with four matches of each format on Saturday and 12 singles matches on Sunday.

Key for the International team is a strong start. The Americans have dominated this event, winning 10 out of 12 times and tying one event in South Africa. More telling of the one-sided nature of these matches is that the Americans have not trailed after any session since the second day in 2005.

"Whoever is out there, it's the most important match of the week for them," Scott said. "We have to get off to a good start — as long as we can hang with them. Tomorrow is not super important, but our team doesn't need to be chasing its tail out here. We don't need to be mounting a huge comeback."


Scott optimistic about ending years of Presidents Cup losses

Australia's Adam Scott tees off on the 13th during the Australian Open Golf Pro-AM in Sydney, Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019. The Australian Open begins Thursday. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

Doug Ferguson

Melbourne, Australia (AP) — No one at Royal Melbourne has more playing experience in the Presidents Cup than Adam Scott.

Not much of it is positive.

He was a rookie in 2003 and one of the strongest voices arguing for Ernie Els and Tiger Woods to keep playing in gathering darkness in South Africa until the matches were declared a tie. Looking back, that would be a small victory for Scott and the International team. It has experience nothing but losing since then.

Even so, the optimism for the 39-year-old Australian — the oldest player on the youngest International team ever — has never been greater.

"This is a great opportunity for us, it really is," Scott said Wednesday on the eve of matches that the Americans have thoroughly dominated. "I've had a good feeling for the last couple months about the way our team shaped up. I feel a very, very strong energy, which certainly over some of the past Cups we've been lacking. It's not a lot of fun getting beaten all the time."

Scott knows that all too well.

He already holds the record for most losses in the Presidents Cup with a 14-20-5 record. By the end of the week, he will trail only Phil Mickelson — whose streak of 12 appearances ended this year — for most matches played.

But it has been hard to ignore the enthusiasm of Scott and the rest of the International team, which faces a big task against an American team that has never been stronger on paper going into the matches.

The average world ranking of the U.S. team is 12.3.

Scott has the highest ranking of any of the 12 players on his International team. He's at No. 18.

Els is the captain and is keeping his strategy and how much he has relied on analytics to the team room. The Big Easy played eight times in the Presidents Cup and was part of the 1998 team at Royal Melbourne that beat the Americans for its only victory.

Scott is playing in his ninth Presidents Cup, which breaks the International team record held by Els and Vijay Singh.

"Between me and Scotty, we've played the most Cups on our side," Els said. "I've got a great, young team. Guys are naturally just standing up, guys who are quite comfortable to speak. And I like that. I like the spirit we have this week."

A large part of it starts with Scott, who has much to gain this week. He is desperate to finally win a Presidents Cup, and he can think of no better place than to hoist the trophy with his young teammates in his home country.

He is in the third of five fourballs matches that kicks off the Presidents Cup on Thursday, playing with Abraham Ancer — one of seven rookies on this team — against Bryson DeChambeau and Tony Finau.

Scott has implored the Australian crowd not to forget who the home team is this week, even with Tiger Woods as the first playing captain in 25 years. Even during two days of practice, the crowd has been enthusiastic over what many believe will be the last time seeing him Down Under.

Woods beat Greg Norman in singles during the '98 loss. He beat Aaron Baddeley for the clinching point when the Americans won at Royal Melbourne in 2011. Because the lineups for each session are done one match at a time, captains can choose who they want playing against which team.

Because of Woods' larger-than-life presence in the game, he typically gets the biggest name from the host country — Norman in 1998, Els in 2003 in South Africa, Mike Weir in Canada in 2007. The International team is so spunky that even some of the rookies, whether it's Ancer or Cameron Smith of Australia, have said they'd like a shot at him.

The most natural draw would be Woods against Scott. Woods, as U.S. captain, can make that happen.

Scott is more interested in Thursday's opening session than Sunday singles.

The International team had a one-point lead after the second day in 2005 in Virginia. That was the last time it led after any session in the Presidents Cup. Last time at Liberty National was particularly brutal, with the Americans enjoying a six-point lead going into the weekend, and they nearly clinched it on Saturday.

"A good start — that's all we're looking for tomorrow," Scott said. "Whoever is out there, it's the most important match of the week for them. Our team doesn't need to be chasing its tail out here. We don't need to be mounting a huge comeback."

Scott has achieved plenty in his two decades in golf, starting with his Masters victory in 2013 that made him the first Australian with a green jacket from Augusta National. He was the first Australian since Norman to reach No. 1 in the world. He has 27 victories worldwide.

Missing is leaving the Presidents Cup on a winning team.

"I think it would probably mean a lot more to me than I've ever thought," Scott said. "The last few years, I've put more of myself out there for the team, and so far it hasn't yielded much of a result. It's never fun leaving on Sunday with not having won the trophy. This is a real opportunity for us and it will be possibly a team that is remembered after such a long stretch. I'm really keen to kind of take that chance this week."


Johnson hopeful of quick return at Presidents Cup

 

The USA team poses for a photo ahead of the President's Cup Golf tournament in Melbourne, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019. (AP Photo Andy Brownbill)

Doug Ferguson

Melbourne, Australia (AP) — The No. 1 player in the world early in the year, Dustin Johnson didn't show up on the leaderboard the last three months of the PGA Tour and hasn't been seen at all since then.

Both can be attributed to an ailing knee.

It shouldn't take long to find out how quickly he recovers.

Johnson is part of the opening session Thursday in the Presidents Cup, his first competition since Aug. 25 at the Tour Championship. He finished last in the 30-man field at East Lake, and then had surgery on his left knee to repair cartilage damage.

"Unless I didn't feel like I could come here and help the team, then I wouldn't have come," Johnson said. "But I feel like I definitely can help the team, and the game is in good enough form to where I feel just fine."

Johnson nearly staged the biggest comeback in major championship history at the PGA Championship until Brooks Koepka held him off. Over his next eight events, he never finished better than a tie for 20th.

He didn't want to use the knee as an excuse, though it was hard to overlook. He had eight top 10s this year, his fewest since he missed the last five months of 2014 while trying to get his life back in order.

"I can't ever blame anything. It was me. I just played poorly," he said. "But obviously, it had some kind of an impact on it. Now, I mean I had a lot of time sitting on the couch, just thinking back on the year. I was struggling, and what I was struggling with in my golf swing, you definitely could relate it to the knee with what I was doing, which was hanging back too much and just not controlling the golf ball well enough."

U.S. captain Tiger Woods sent him out in the anchor match of the opening fourballs session, playing with U.S. Open champion Gary Woodland against the International side of Louis Oosthuizen and Adam Scott.

Johnson raised some concerns when he decided at the last minute to withdraw from the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas, saying he wanted one more week of rest and some practice to make sure he was ready for Royal Melbourne.

Woodland said he expects nothing but the typical game of Johnson, who has held the No. 1 ranking for more weeks than any player over the last five years. With his slump at the end of the PGA Tour season, and being off for the last three months, he now is No. 5.

"DJ looks great," Woodland said. "Not many people outside of Tiger Woods can take that kind of break off and come back and look pretty good. Yesterday, you could maybe say he was a little rusty early in the round, made some birdies late. Today he played great. I expect him to be playing quite a bit this week."

Johnson returned from his six-month hiatus at the end of 2014 by missing the cut at Torrey Pines. He finished among the top six in five of his next six tournaments, including a World Golf Championship title at Doral.

"You could see into the round his speed coming back," Matt Kuchar said. "Same today. Man, he's such a talent. You'd hardly noticed he's had time off for surgery."

Johnson has played all five matches in his last Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup appearances, and he doesn't expect that to change. He remains one of golf's biggest talents. Now it's a matter of how he performs Thursday, and what Woods has in mind for the rest of the week.

Johnson doesn't expect to play all five sessions.

"I'll play as many as Tiger wants me to play," he said. "I wouldn't be here if I wasn't ready to play."


English clubs on the march again in the Champions League

 

Chelsea's Cesar Azpilicueta celebrates scoring his side's 2nd goal during the Champions League Group H soccer match between Chelsea and Lille at Stamford Bridge stadium in London Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Steve Douglas, AP

The English are on the march again in the Champions League.

Liverpool and Chelsea completed a sweep of Premier League clubs into the knockout stage of the Champions League on Tuesday, a season after England had two of its representatives in the final.

Liverpool, which beat Tottenham in the title match in June to become European champion for a sixth time, toughed out a 2-0 victory at Salzburg to advance as the winner of Group E and stay on course in its defense of the trophy.

It's shaping up to be a huge second half of the season for the Reds, who are also eight points clear in the Premier League in their pursuit of a first English championship in 30 years.

Chelsea was one of the teams to qualify from Group H after a 2-1 home victory over Lille under Frank Lampard, a Champions League winner with the London team in 2012 and in his first season as its manager.

Manchester City and Tottenham, the other English clubs competing in the Champions League, advanced last month with a game to spare.

It is the third straight season where England has provided four of the 16 representatives in the knockout stage, as teams in the lucrative Premier League start to show the benefit of having the biggest broadcasting revenues in soccer and some of the world's most highly rated coaches.

Napoli was one of four other teams to advance on Tuesday — but it wasn't enough to keep Carlo Ancelotti in a job. He was fired by the Italian team a few hours after its 4-0 win over Genk which sealed second place in the group containing Liverpool.

Borussia Dortmund, Valencia and Lyon also reached the last 16.

 

Ancelotti's final stand

Arkadiusz Milik did his best to save Ancelotti, scoring a first-half hat trick for Napoli before Dries Mertens added the fourth against a Genk team which fielded Maarten Vandevoordt — the youngest goalkeeper ever in the competition at 17 years, nine months and 10 days.

That secured the team second place behind Liverpool, which denied Napoli a place in the last 16 in the final group game of last season's competition. But it wasn't enough for Ancelotti, who had previously failed to lead Napoli to victory in any of its last nine games in his second season as its coach.

Like Napoli, Liverpool knew a win would see them progress but found things much tougher against Salzburg. Jurgen Klopp's team survived some early scares before scoring two goals in as many minutes from the 57th, through Naby Keita — who played for Salzburg from 2014-16 — and Mohamed Salah.

Salah's goal was exquisite, the Egypt forward breaking the offside trap to round the goalkeeper and score from an acute on the right with his weaker right foot.

 

Ajax's regression

Ajax came within a last-gasp Tottenham goal of reaching the final last season. It won't even be playing in the knockout stage this time around.

The Dutch club lost 1-0 at home to Valencia to drop from first place to third in Group H and fall into the Europa League.

Rodrigo scored the 24th-minute winner for Valencia, which is through to the last 16 for the first time since 2012-13.

Tammy Abraham, with a deft backheeled flick, and Cesar Azpilicueta scored Chelsea's first-half goals against already-eliminated Lille, which pulled one back late on through Loic Remy — a former Chelsea player.

 

Inter heartbreak

For the second straight season, Inter Milan was eliminated after failing to pick up a home win in the final round of the group stage.

A year after only drawing 1-1 to PSV Eindhoven to exit the competition, Inter lost 2-1 to an already-qualified Barcelona — which was without Lionel Messi and a number of other rested players. Ansu Fati scored Barca's winner and became, at 17, the youngest scorer in Champions League history.

Borussia Dortmund capitalized, eking out a 2-1 win over Slavia Prague to qualify ahead of Inter.

Jadon Sancho scored one goal and set up another for Borussia Dortmund, which had Julian Weigl sent off in the 77th and was thankful to goalkeeper Roman Bürki for a string of saves.

 

Lyon fightback

Lyon came from two goals down at home to Leipzig to draw 2-2 and win a three-way fight with Zenit St. Petersburg and Benfica to advance from Group G

Memphis Depay's equalizer saw Lyon climb above Zenit, which lost 3-0 at Benfica and slipped to fourth — not even getting a consolation prize of a Europa League berth.

Leipzig had already qualified.


Column: Russian doping would have made El Chapo envious

Wires go to microphones above a logo of the Russian Olympic Committee during President of the Russian Olympic Committee Stanislav Pozdnyakov's news conference in Moscow, Russia, Monday, Dec. 9, 2019. The World Anti-Doping Agency has banned Russia from the Olympics and other major sporting events for four years, though many athletes will likely be allowed to compete as neutral athletes. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

Jim Litke, AP

Russia cranked up a state-sponsored, industrial-scale doping operation ahead of the 2014 Sochi Games that would have turned El Chapo green with envy.

It swept up more than 1,000 athletes and stretched from lowly lab technicians to the highest reaches of the nation's sports ministries. And despite getting busted twice since, it was never really shut down. What's clear is that someone, or several people very near the top of the sporting pyramid there, believes winning is a lot more important than "clean" sport.

The first time they caught on, Olympic officials ordered the Russians to keep their flag, anthem and junket-loving officials — but not necessarily their athletes — out of the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang. Here's how lasting an impression that made: another one of their labs got busted not long after, this time for tampering with the very data that was supposed to prove things had changed.

Handed a do-over, the pooh-bahs in charge of the Olympics proved they hadn't changed much, either. Instead of telling Russian athletes not to bother showing up, something that might spark real outrage there, they opted for tough love again.

Based on the recommendation of the World Anti-Doping Agency, Russia's flag and anthem — but again, not its athletes — will be barred from international sports' biggest arenas for the next four years. The ban begins with next summer's Tokyo Olympics and extends through the 2022 World Cup and Winter Games in Beijing — assuming the Russians don't get busted between now and then.

You could almost hear glasses clinking at the Kremlin during Monday's announcement.

"While being tough on the authorities, this recommendation avoids punishing the innocent and instead stands up for the rights of clean athletes everywhere," said Jonathan Taylor, the British lawyer who headed the WADA committee that set the punishment.

Not really. But if that rationale sounds familiar, it should. It's essentially the same one International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach trotted out when he let Russia off the hook ahead of the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Instead of a blanket ban, he handed off the tough decisions on which Russian athletes should be allowed to compete to individual sports federations. Many of those organizations rely on rubles to pay the rent and had a million more reasons to worry about reprisals than the independently wealth swells at the IOC ever did.

Not surprising, Russia sent a nearly full team to Rio, and even stripped of its flag and anthem, still mustered the third-biggest delegation in Pyeongchang. Even less surprising, the first Russian athlete to compete in those 2018 Winter Games, mixed doubles curler Alexander Krushelnitsky, failed a doping test, got disqualified and had to hand back his bronze medal.

One problem is that dopers, like burglars, rarely get caught in real time. Just last month, four U.S. sledders got their medals from Sochi upgraded retroactively. Unless something changes, those medals won't be worth the metal they're stamped on.

To be fair, every member nation of the Olympic "family" has some dopers on its team, or at least the ones serious about winning something do. But no nation this side of the old East Germany has tried to do it on the same scale as the Russians. There's no reason to believe that will change until the punishment fits the crime.

But the Russians are not the only ones who have to decide whether to really buy into "clean" sports — though "cleaner" sports would be a more accurate description for these times. It's the folks who are selling it and supposed to be enforcing it, even while getting rich in the bargain. That happens to be the IOC at the moment, because they're in the spotlight.

But you don't have enough fingers on both hands to count the number of big-time sports wrestling with the same problem. Science has made it a fact of life at the top. They all have similar rules against and no shortage of rules-breakers, too.

And so somewhere down the road, the people in charge of the rest of the alphabet soup that governs international sports — the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, FIFA and even FIDE, the international chess federation — will get more than enough chances to make a stand for clean sport.

Here's hoping they show more backbone than the IOC did.


Pakistan: No more international cricket at neutral venues

Pakistan Cricket Board Chairman Ehsan Mani speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in Islamabad, Pakistan, Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019. Pakistan will no longer look for neutral venues to stage home international cricket matches. "The onus will be on the other teams to tell us why they can't play in Pakistan," Mani said. (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)

Rizwan Ali

Rawalpindi, Pakistan (AP) — Pakistan will no longer look for neutral venues to stage home international cricket matches.

"The onus will be on the other teams to tell us why they can't play in Pakistan," Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ehsan Mani told the Associated Press on Tuesday.

"Our default position will remain that Pakistan is safe. We play cricket in Pakistan (and if) you want to play against Pakistan you have to come to Pakistan."

Pakistan's decade-long isolation from hosting test cricket ends on Wednesday when Sri Lanka will play at Pindi Cricket Stadium. The second test will be in Karachi from Dec. 19-23. The series is part of the world test championship.

Sri Lanka was the last team to play a test in Pakistan in 2009. Terrorists attacked the team's bus in Lahore and eight people were killed. Several Sri Lanka players and team officials were injured. The ambush shut the door on international cricket in Pakistan. The PCB organized almost all of its home matches in the United Arab Emirates.

In the last four years, the PCB staged short limited-overs tours against the likes of Zimbabwe, the West Indies, Sri Lanka and a World XI to show the cricket world it could host tours safely. Sri Lanka agreed to play two test matches in Pakistan only after it visited Karachi and Lahore three months ago and played an incident-free series of one-day internationals and Twenty20s.

"It's only logical that cricket comes home," Mani said. "People have a perception of Pakistan which is very, very different to the reality of what is happening on the ground in Pakistan today.

"The concerns that people had about Pakistan, certainly for the last year or two, were not what the ground reality is."

Top cricketing officials from Australia, England, Ireland, and the international players' association have visited Pakistan in the last six months.

"When they see the ground reality, it's a different attitude," Mani said. "In fact, it was very nicely put by the chief executive of Cricket Ireland. He said, "I have to think of a reason why we shouldn't be coming to Pakistan.'"

Mani said he's had discussions with officials from Cricket Australia and England and Wales Cricket Board and he hoped that both countries will tour Pakistan in the next three years.

"I am absolutely confident that in 2021 we'll have England and in 2022 we'll have Australia," he said.

"We're not due to play New Zealand now till about 2023-24, but our default position is that Pakistan will play all its home matches in Pakistan."

Despite the impending return of test cricket, Mani conceded there might not be a capacity crowd for the test, in stark contrast to the packed stadiums in Lahore in October when Sri Lanka whitewashed Pakistan 3-0 in the T20 series.

"Look, test cricket had been losing (crowd) support in the subcontinent, in fact around the world apart from England and Australia," he said.

"People prefer to go and watch the white-ball cricket (T20s and ODIs) but it doesn't mean that people don't follow test cricket. You'll probably find that people watch test cricket at home on television and through the telephone or whatever these days as much as they've ever done.

"We haven't had much time to do the marketing for this (Rawalpindi test) but going forward we're going to be working very hard to ensure that we can get young people in with the schools and college students, support them to come at little or no cost, give them exposure to cricket."


Eagles rally past Manning, Giants 23-17 in OT

New York Giants' Saquon Barkley (26) leaps over Philadelphia Eagles' Daeshon Hall (74) during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Dec. 9, 2019, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)

Rob Maaddi

Philadelphia (AP) — Carson Wentz relied on a bunch of guys off the practice squad and his go-to guy Zach Ertz to rally the Philadelphia Eagles.

After Eli Manning led the New York Giants to a 14-point lead, Wentz brought the injury-depleted Eagles back and tossed a 2-yard touchdown pass to Ertz in overtime to give Philadelphia a 23-17 win on Monday night.

The Eagles (6-7) snapped a three-game losing streak and moved into a tie with Dallas (6-7) for first place in the NFC East. Philadelphia takes the division title if it wins its final three games. The Eagles meet the Cowboys in Week 16.

"Guys stepped up and made plays," Wentz said. "We had guys moving around and I had no choice but to trust these guys."

The Eagles were down to one healthy wide receiver by the end of the game and were using inexperienced guys and players out of position. Ertz, a Pro Bowl tight end, had to line up at wide receiver.

"We understood as a team that we had to find a way," Ertz said.

Manning, the two-time Super Bowl MVP, threw a pair of TD passes to Darius Slayton in his first game since Week 2. Filling in for injured rookie Daniel Jones, Manning was 15 of 30 for 203 yards. But he couldn't prevent New York (2-11) from losing its ninth straight game, tying a franchise record set in 1976, when the team opened 0-9.

"I've played a lot of football games," Manning said. "I know the offense and know what I'm supposed to do. I made some good throws and didn't make some plays that I needed to."

Wentz threw for 325 yards and a pair of TDs, including a 5-yard toss to Ertz to tie it at 17 with 1:53 left.

Already missing three starters on offense, the Eagles lost wide receiver Alshon Jeffery and right tackle Lane Johnson in the first half and were booed off the field trailing 17-3 at halftime.

They went three-and-out on five straight possessions before Boston Scott caught a 10-yard pass on third-and-5 in the third quarter. Scott then ran 4 yards to the 2 on third-and-3 and scored on the next play to cut it to 17-10.

Scott, one of the former practice squad players, provided a big spark. He had 59 yards rushing and 69 yards receiving.

"Just do my job. You never know when your opportunity might come," Scott said.

Wentz drove Philadelphia to the Giants 29 with just under 10 minutes left but Greg Ward dropped what should've been a 29-yard TD pass on third-and-11. Jake Elliott then missed a 47-yard field goal wide left.

But the defense held and Wentz drove the Eagles 85 yards and connected with Ertz to tie it.

The Eagles won the toss in overtime and went 75 yards.

Ertz had nine catches for 91 yards.

Manning connected with Slayton for a 35-yard TD on a third-and-13 to give the Giants a 7-0 lead on the first play of the second quarter. Ronald Darby missed a tackle that would've stopped Slayton short of a first down.

Manning hit Slayton for a 55-yard TD on third-and-8 with 27 seconds left in the first half to give the Giants a 17-3 lead.

"I thought he battled. He did a lot of good things," Giants coach Pat Shurmur said of Manning.

Down 7-0, the Eagles got going when Wentz connected with Ertz on consecutive passes of 24 and 30 yards. Wentz then hit Ward for a 9-yard TD that was negated by a holding call on Brandon Brooks. The Eagles settled for Elliott's 34-yard field goal.

Aldrick Rosas hit a 34-yarder to make it 10-3.

Up Next

Giants: Host Miami (3-10) next Sunday.

Eagles: Play at Washington (3-10) next Sunday.


Varlamov shuts down Lightning in Islanders' 5-1 win

New York Islanders center Brock Nelson (29) celebrates his goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the third period of an NHL hockey game Monday, Dec. 9, 2019, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Associated Press

Tampa, Fla. (AP) — Semyon Varlamov stopped 31 shots, Brock Nelson scored twice in the third period, and the New York Islanders beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-1 on Monday night.

Ross Johnston, Josh Bailey and Anders Lee also scored for the Islanders, who are 18-0-1 when scoring three or more goals.

Tampa Bay got a goal from Steven Stamkos. Curtis McElhinney stopped 19 shots.

Varlamlov made an in-close rebound save on Stamkos and a diving glove grab on Pat Maroon early in the third.

In addition to Nelson's goals at 7:31 and 14:41, Lee added a power-play goal with 3:55 remaining.

 

Blue Jackets 5, Capitals 2

Washington (AP) — Cam Atkinson scored twice, including a late empty-netter, and Joonas Korpisalo stopped 37 shots to help Columbus beat Washington.

Ryan Murray, Riley Nash and Oliver Bjorkstrand also scored for the Blue Jackets, who snapped their four-game skid. Columbus won for just the third time in nine games.

Goaltender Braden Holtby made 19 first-period saves but allowed four goals on 37 shots. Alex Ovechkin scored his 21st of the season early in the third period, and Nicklas Backstrom added a 6-on-5 goal in the waning minutes.

Washington snapped a six-game winning streak with their first regulation loss since Nov. 20. The Capitals had their seven-game point streak end two days before facing the Boston Bruins in a showdown of the league's top two teams.

 

Senators 5, Bruins 2

Ottawa, Ontario (AP) — Anthony Duclair had two goals and an assist and Ottawa beat Boston.

Chris Tierney, Artem Anisimov and Jean-Gabriel Pageau also scored for the Senators, who were playing their first home game following a five-game trip (1-4-0). Anders Nilsson made 38 saves in Ottawa's first win over the Bruins (20-5-6) since April 6, 2017.

Patrice Bergeron and Jake DeBrusk scored for the Bruins, who were playing the first of four road games. Tuukka Rask made 23 saves in his first loss in regulation since Nov. 8.

 

Flames 5, Avalanche 4, OT

Denver (AP) — Sean Monahan scored 2:09 into overtime to lift Calgary past Colorado.

Matthew Tkachuk had a goal and an assist, Derek Ryan also scored and David Rittich made 28 saves for the Flames, who have won five in a row under interim coach Geoff Ward and finally broke through against Colorado this season.

Andrew Mangiapane and Michael Frolik scored 1:27 apart to start the third period for Calgary.

The Flames have struggled against the Avalanche of late, starting with the first round of the 2019 playoffs when eighth-seeded Colorado won in five games. The Avs won the first two meetings this season as well.

Nathan MacKinnon, Valeri Nichushkin, Ryan Graves and Joonas Donskoi scored for the Avalanche. Pavel Francouz finished with 28 saves.


Leicester makes another title bid with 8th straight EPL win

Leicester's Jamie Vardy smiles after scoring his side's fourth goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Aston Villa and Leicester City at Villa Park in Birmingham, England, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)

London (AP) — A club-record eighth successive Premier League victory for Leicester. An eighth straight game scoring for Jamie Vardy.

Leicester has rolled the clock back four years with another title challenge that gathered more momentum with Vardy netting twice in a 4-1 victory over Aston Villa on Sunday.

The problem for Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers is that Liverpool is eight points in front. There is still more than half the season remaining and a meeting between the top two on Dec. 26.

"I don't think anyone expects us to be near the top," Rodgers said. "After Manchester United won at Manchester City on Saturday, the caption came up about how far City are away from Liverpool (14 points). We respect that, we get on with our work and keep developing as a team."

Rodgers knows all about title challenges, winning the Scottish top flight twice with Celtic after falling just short of City in the 2014 title race while managing Liverpool.

He watched from afar as Claudio Ranieri defied 5,000-1 odds to win the Premier League for Leicester in 2016.

"We have finished ninth in the last two seasons but today we looked like a top team," Rodgers said. "It was a real historic day, to surpass the club record of straight wins in the top flight was fantastic for us."

Vardy opened the scoring in the 20th minute and Kelechi Iheanacho doubled the lead four minutes before halftime.

Jack Grealish pulled a goal back in first-half stoppage time but Jonny Evans' header after the break restored Leicester's two-goal advantage. Vardy wrapped the game up with 15 minutes left and the striker is three games from matching his record of scoring in 11 straight Premier League games in the title-winning campaign.

"Jamie is such a top-level player, he is always ready when the chances come," Rodgers said. "I don't think there's any doubt he isn't going to score."

Record Wolves

Wolverhampton matched a 57-year-old club record by going an 11th top-flight game unbeaten by drawing 2-2 with Brighton to rise to sixth place.

Diogo Jota exchanged passes with Raul Jimenez to send Wolves in front but they were 2-1 down within eight minutes.

Neal Maupay drilled home a left-footed strike after getting on the end of a long ball from Dale Stephens before Davy Propper headed Brighton into the lead from Leandro Trossard's cross .

Wolves were back on level terms by the 44th after Jota got his second goal. He received the ball from Jonny before sending a strike beyond goalkeeper Mat Ryan.

 Relegation Scrap

Villa is only out of the relegation zone due to having a better goal difference than Southampton and Norwich, who both lost 2-1 on Sunday.

Sheffield United came from behind to overcome Norwich to move into eighth place. Enda Stevens' header and George Baldock's strike inside three second-half minutes wiped out Alexander Tettey's opener for Norwich.

Newcastle jumped to 10th place thanks to Federico Fernandez's 87th-minute winner at home to Southampton.

Jonjo Shelvey had canceled out Danny Ings' opener for Southampton with his third goal in as many games as he headed in substitute Andy Carroll's cross in the 68th.


Chiefs clinch AFC West; Ravens clinch playoffs

 

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) passes in the first half an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

 

New England Patriots wide receiver N'Keal Harry runs for the goal line after catching a pass against the Kansas City Chiefs in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Foxborough, Mass. The play was not ruled a touchdown although it clearly should have been. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

 

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen, center, has the ball knocked loose as he is hit by Baltimore Ravens outside linebacker Matt Judon (99), right, during the first half of an NFL football game in Orchard Park, N.Y., Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019. The fumble was recovered by Ravens defensive end Jihad Ward. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)

Associated Press

Buffalo, N.Y. (AP) — Lamar Jackson threw three touchdown passes and the Baltimore Ravens became the AFC's first team to clinch a playoff berth following a 24-17 win over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.

Baltimore extended its franchise-best winning streak to nine and improved to 11-2, its best record through 13 games in team history.

Jackson finished 16 of 25 for 145 yards and appeared to blow open the game by putting the Ravens up 24-9 following a 4-yard touchdown pass to Willie Snead with 9:49 left.

Buffalo's Josh Allen responded with a seven-play, 78-yard touchdown drive capped by his 3-yard pass to Cole Beasley, who dived inside the left pylon. The same two then hooked up on a 2-point conversion.

The outcome wasn't decided until there were 63 seconds remaining. Facing fourth-and-8 at the Baltimore 16, Allen's pass over the middle intended for John Brown was broken up by Marcus Peters at the goal line.

Jackson upped his record to 17-3 since being selected with the final pick of the first round in the 2018 draft. Allen, drafted with the seventh pick overall, dropped to 14-10.

Buffalo (9-4) had a three-game winning streak snapped, and fell short 10 days since grabbing national attention following a 26-15 win at Dallas on Thanksgiving Day.

 

Chiefs 23, Patriots 16

Foxborough, Mass. (AP) — Kansas City clinched the AFC West when Bashaud Breeland knocked away Tom Brady's fourth-down pass attempt to Julian Edelman in the end zone.

The Chiefs survived a series of mistakes and questionable calls by the officials to hold off the Patriots. Combined with Oakland's loss to Tennessee, the Chiefs (9-4) took their division. And the loss ended the Patriots' 21-game home win streak in the regular season and playoffs, which was tied for the longest in team history. It also was the third-longest string in NFL history.

New England (10-3) has lost two in a row.

Patrick Mahomes was 26 of 40 for 283 yards, a touchdown and interception. Travis Kelce added a 10-yard TD run. Brady was under pressure all night and finished 19 of 36 for 169 yards, a touchdown and interception.

Trailing 23-16, New England got the ball back on their 32 with 5:04 to play. The Patriots immediately gained 35 yards on a pass from halfback James White to Jakobi Meyers to get into Kansas City territory. Officials appeared to miss a clear pass interference call on a deep pass to Phillip Dorsett and the Chiefs forced a fourth-and-6 at the 29.

But the 42-year-old Brady got free and scrambled 17 yards for a first down.

The Patriots couldn't get into the end zone, however, losing the rematch of January's AFC title game.

 

49ers 48, Saints 46

New Orleans (AP) — Jimmy Garoppolo passed for 349 yards and four touchdowns, Robbie Gould kicked a 30-yard field goal as time expired. Garoppolo's clutch completion to tight end George Kittle for a 39-yard gain — plus a defensive facemask penalty — on fourth-and-2 from the San Francisco 33 helped set up Gould's winning kick.

The Saints took their last lead on Drew Brees' fifth touchdown pass of the game — an 18-yarder to Tre'Quan Smith with 53 seconds left. But Brees' pass on an attempted 2-point conversion fell incomplete, leaving New Orleans' lead at one point.

The victory kept San Francisco (11-2) in strong position to capture the top seed in the NFC playoffs. The Niners can clinch a playoff berth if Seattle loses to the Rams in a night game.

Niners receiver Emmanuel Sanders had a 75-yard touchdown and added his second-career touchdown pass after taking a handoff on a reverse.

Two of Garoppolo's touchdown passes went to Kendrick Bourne. Kittle also had a touchdown catch. Sanders finished with seven catches for 157 yards.

Brees finished 29 of 40 for 349 yards and also dived across the goal line for a touchdown. Michael Thomas caught 11 passes for 134 yards and a score, but the Saints, 10-3 and already the NFC South champions, were done in by a few critical failures.

 

Rams 28, Seahawks 12

Los Angeles (AP) — Jared Goff passed for 293 yards and two touchdowns, Todd Gurley ran for 79 yards and a fourth-quarter TD and Los Angeles prevented Seattle from clinching a playoff berth.

Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp caught TD passes while the Rams (8-5) kept their playoff hopes burning and ended the Seahawks' five-game winning streak.

With an aggressive, inventive game plan on both sides of the ball, Los Angeles recaptured a measure of the excitement from its previous two seasons on offense while also playing superb defense against Russell Wilson, who was sacked five times.

The Rams won for the fifth time in seven games, while the Seahawks (10-3) fell out of first place in the NFC West with just their second loss since Sept. 22 and their first road defeat of the season.

Wilson passed for 245 yards amid constant pressure from the Rams. Quandre Diggs returned an interception 55 yards for a touchdown early in the third quarter, but it was the Seahawks' only touchdown.

Woods had seven catches for 98 yards and his first touchdown of the season, and tight end Tyler Higbee had seven catches for a career-high 116 yards as the Rams looked like the thrilling offensive unit that dazzled the NFL during coach Sean McVay's first two seasons.

 

Titans 42, Raiders 21

Oakland, Calif. (AP) — Ryan Tannehill threw for 391 yards and three touchdowns, Derrick Henry ran for two scores and the Titans won their fourth straight game.

The Titans (8-5) bounced back from a deflected interception on the opening drive to score TDs on five of their next seven possessions to improve to 6-1 with Tannehill as the starting quarterback. The win moved them into a tie for first place in the AFC South with Houston, with the teams set to meet twice in the final three weeks.

Tennessee broke open a tight game with a three-touchdown barrage in a span of just over seven minutes of the second half that all but ended the playoff hopes for the Raiders (6-7) in their final season in Oakland.

Henry, who rushed for 103 yards, broke a 21-21 tie with a 10-yard TD run midway through the third quarter to cap an 89-yard drive.

What had been a promising season for the Raiders with a three-game win streak in November that improved them to 6-4 has gone off the rails the past three weeks. They lost by 31 points in successive road games against the Jets and Chiefs and then fell apart in the second half against Tennessee.

 

Steelers 23, Cardinals 17

Glendale, Ariz. (AP) — Diontae Johnson returned a punt 85 yards for a touchdown and caught a pass for another score.

Pittsburgh's defense had three crucial interceptions in the second half — two by Joe Haden and another by T.J. Watt —- to end Arizona drives, including two that had ventured into Steelers' territory.

Pittsburgh (8-5) won for the seventh time in eight games to stay in the AFC playoff race. Rookie free agent quarterback Devlin Hodges made his third career start, completing 16 of 19 passes for 152 yards and a touchdown.

Hodges didn't need to make many tough throws but came through with a good one in the third quarter, hitting Johnson in the front corner of the end zone for a 2-yard touchdown that gave the Steelers a 20-10 lead.

Hodges also finished with 34 yards rushing.

Arizona's Kyler Murray completed 20 of 30 passes for 194 yards and two touchdowns, but his three interceptions were very costly.

The Cardinals (3-9-1) lost their sixth consecutive game.

 

Chargers 45, Jaguars 10

Jacksonville, Fla. (AP) — Philip Rivers threw for 314 yards and three touchdowns, including an 84-yarder to Austin Ekeler that was the longest completion of the quarterback's 16-year NFL career.

It was Jacksonville's fifth consecutive lopsided loss, all by at least 17 points. The 1986 Tampa Bay Buccaneers were the last NFL team to drop five straight by at least 17.

Jacksonville's last two have been embarrassments at home — both essentially settled before halftime.

The Chargers (5-8) scored on four of five possessions in the first half, picking apart Jacksonville's beleaguered defense and taking a 24-3 into the locker room. It was a welcome cushion for a team whose eight losses each came by seven points or fewer.

It was more of the same for the Jaguars (4-9), who trailed by as many as 25, 32, 24 and 23 in their previous four blowouts.

 

Packers 20, Redskins 15

Green Bay, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Jones rushed for a season-high 134 yards and a touchdown on just 16 carries. Jones had his third 100-yard rushing game of the season and hauled in six catches for 58 yards. With fewer than three minutes left in the game, the third-year running back had more total yards (192) than the Redskins (187).

Dwayne Haskins completed 16 of 27 passes for 170 yards and a touchdown with an interception for Washington (3-10), which was officially eliminated from playoff contention. The rookie quarterback was sacked four times.

Adrian Peterson became the sixth back in NFL history to reach the 14,000-yard mark, running for 76 yards and a score. He now has 14,036 yards in a 13-year career. Curtis Martin is fifth all-time with 14,101 yards.

Derrius Guice exited after only five carries with a knee injury.

Green Bay (10-3) leads the NFC North.

 

Buccaneers 38, Colts 35

Tampa, Fla (AP) — Jameis Winston threw for 456 yards and four touchdowns, helping the Buccaneers rally to beat the reeling Colts.

Winston overcame throwing three more interceptions and having one returned for a TD for the fifth time season to wipe out a 14-point second-half deficit. He led the Bucs (6-7) to their third straight win and fourth in five games.

The Colts (6-7) have dropped five of six following a 5-2 start, falling from first place to third in the AFC South.

Winston threw for TDs of 61 yards to Mike Evans, 3 yards to Cameron Brate and 17 yards to Justin Watson before putting the Bucs ahead for good with a 12-yarder to Breshad Perriman with 3:51 remaining.

Jacoby Brissett completed 19 of 36 passes for 251 yards, two TDs and no interceptions for Indianapolis. Darius Leonard returned one of his two interceptions 80 yards for a second-quarter TD, and Marcus Johnson had a 46-yard scoring reception and finished with 105 yards on three catches for the Colts.

 

Falcons 40, Panthers 20

Atlanta (AP) — Matt Ryan threw the longest touchdown pass of his career and became the 10th quarterback in NFL history to reach 50,000 yards.

The Panthers (5-8) were officially eliminated from playoff contention with their fifth straight loss, which ruined the debut of interim coach Perry Fewell. He took over at the beginning of the week after longtime coach Ron Rivera was fired.

Atlanta (4-9) snapped a two-game losing streak and swept the season series with its I-85 rival. The Falcons won the first meeting 29-3 at Charlotte on Nov. 17.

Throwing from his end zone, Ryan finished off the Panthers with a 93-yard touchdown pass to little-used Olamide Zaccheaus in the third quarter. It was a milestone play for both: the longest TD of Ryan's 12-year career, and the first career reception for Zaccheaus, an undrafted rookie.

Fewell and the Panthers endured a thoroughly miserable game. Kyle Allen was picked off twice and lost a fumble. Carolina fumbled another one away on a kickoff return, the ball deflecting into the arms of kicker Younghoe Koo, setting off a wild celebration as Koo bounced toward the sideline.

Koo also booted four field goals.

Ryan increased his passing total to 50,279 yards. His next target on the career list is John Elway, the NFL's ninth-leading passer with 51,475 yards.

 

Broncos 38, Texans 24

Houston (AP) — Rookie Drew Lock threw for 309 yards and three touchdowns, Kareem Jackson had an interception and returned a fumble 70 yards for a touchdown against his former team.

Lock, who made his NFL debut in a win over the Chargers last week, threw for 235 yards with three TDs in the first half. It was the most yards passing in a first half by the Broncos since Peyton Manning had 282 in Week 5 of 2014.

The Broncos (5-8) scored on their first five possessions to build a 38-3 lead early in the third quarter. They scored more than 24 points for the first time since Oct. 19, 2018.

Houston's hold on the AFC South took a hit as the Texans (8-5) came out flat in a terrible first half a week after downing the Patriots 28-22 for their first win in the series since 2010. The Texans are one-half game ahead of the Titans (7-5), who play in Oakland later Sunday.

Deshaun Watson threw for 292 yards with one TD pass and two interceptions after throwing three touchdown passes and grabbing his first career TD reception in a stellar performance against New England.

 

Browns 27, Bengals 19

Cleveland (AP) — Nick Chubb ran for 106 yards — 99 after halftime — and Baker Mayfield and Kareem Hunt had rushing touchdowns.

The Bengals have lost 10 straight AFC North games.

Denzel Ward returned an interception 61 yards for Cleveland's first score and the Browns (6-7) got a huge late break. Mayfield's third interception was reversed with a rare interference call to bounce back after a discouraging loss at Pittsburgh last week.

Cleveland needs to run the table to have any chance of ending its 17-year postseason drought, the NFL's current longest.

The Bengals (1-12) couldn't build on their win last week over the Jets and have dropped 19 of 21 over the past two seasons. Cincinnati running back Joe Mixon rushed for a career-high 146 yards and scored a TD. Bengals kicker Randy Bullock had field goals of 34, 44, 28 and 46 yards, the last with 12 seconds to go.

 

Jets 22, Dolphins 21

East Rutherford, N.J. (AP) — Sam Ficken kicked a 44-yard field goal as time expired after New York benefited from a pass interference call determined by the league's officiating office.

Sam Darnold got the winning drive going with a short pass to Vyncint Smith, who turned it into a 37-yard gain that included a high-step over a would-be tackler. After a sack two plays later put the ball at the Dolphins 46, Darnold threw an incomplete pass to Smith — but the Jets argued that Nik Needham interfered with the receiver by wrapping his right arm around Smith's right shoulder.

Officials overturned the incompletion after a video review — giving the Jets a first down and new life. A 12-yard catch by Ty Montgomery got the ball to the 26. Two plays later, Ficken won it, helping the Jets (5-8) avoid a season sweep by the lowly Dolphins (3-10).

The Jets — who lost to the previously winless Cincinnati Bengals last week — overcame a Dolphins franchise-record seven field goals by Jason Sanders, including a 37-yarder that gave Miami the lead with 1:33 left.

 

Vikings 20, Lions 7

Minneapolis (AP) — Danielle Hunter had three of Minnesota's five sacks to spearhead a resurgence by the defense to stick the Lions with their sixth straight loss.

Kirk Cousins passed for 242 yards and a touchdown in an efficient if unspectacular performance. Dalvin Cook had 75 yards from scrimmage and a rushing score on 20 touches over three quarters as the Vikings (9-4) took it easy on their star tailback after an injury to his collarbone area forced him out of the previous game.

The defense stole the show, even though the opponent was undrafted rookie quarterback David Blough. Detroit's Matthew Stafford was sidelined by hip and back injuries for the fifth straight game.

Blough went 24 for 40 for 205 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions in the second half, and the Vikings yielded their lowest score in 31 regular-season games since a 16-0 win at Green Bay on Dec. 23, 2017.

For the first time this season, the Lions (3-9-1) never held a lead.


Ford cruises in giant slalom for 1st career World Cup win

United States' Tommy Ford reacts after his run during a men's World Cup giant slalom skiing race Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Beaver Creek, Colo. (AP Photo/John Locher)

 Norway's Henrik Kristoffersen skis during a men's World Cup giant slalom skiing race Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Beaver Creek, Colo. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

Pat Graham

Beaver Creek, Colo. (AP) — Tommy Ford didn't even set an alarm Sunday morning. He never does. He's so easygoing that oversleeping for a race doesn't even enter his mind.

That's the way he feels about pressure, too. He doesn't let it get to him.

Finding himself in new territory — leading after the first run — Ford simply did what he always does and charged. Ford cruised across the finish line, glanced up at the scoreboard and immediately pumped his right glove after earning his first career World Cup win.

The American racer glided through the fog and the falling snow to finish the Birds of Prey giant slalom in a combined time of 2 minutes, 31.25 seconds Sunday. Henrik Kristoffersen of Norway was second, 0.80 seconds back, while fellow Norwegian Leif Kristian Nestvold-Haugen took third.

"I've been skiing well and on this path for a long time," Ford said. "It's led to this moment and more moments to come. I just don't know what they are."

Ford's career path was interrupted in 2013 when he broke his femur during a free-skiing mishap. It caused him to miss the entire 2014 Olympic season.

Ever so steadily, he's gotten back on course.

Ford found himself on unfamiliar ground — with the lead after run No. 1. He didn't show any hint of nerves before pushing out of the start gate for his final pass. He simply gazed down at the awaiting course for a moment.

"There are all sorts of thoughts going through the mind," Ford said. "Some nerves coming up. Just working with them. Clearing them. Working with them. Clearing them. A continual process all the way to the start. Once things get going, it just happens."

He flowed through the gates with the home crowd urging him to the finish line. Then, the celebration was on as he was greeted by rambunctious teammates. They were stoked for the 30-year-old from Oregon.

"Not many words, honestly, smiling and hugs," Ford said. "It's been really cool to be with this group."

It's been quite a start to the season for Ford. He finished fourth at the season-opening GS race in Soelden, Austria, in late October. That also happened to be his best finish — until Sunday.

Ford became the first U.S. racer to capture a World Cup men's giant slalom race on home snow since Ted Ligety won in 2014.

"Congrats to Tommy — amazing job in the second run," said Kristoffersen, who claimed his 18th career World Cup podium in the GS. "It's not easy to beat the U.S. guys on home soil, on this type of snow. You see it with Leif, too."

Nestvold-Haugen spent years in Colorado as he competed for the University of Denver ski team. He feels at home on what's referred to as "hero snow" because racers don't have to worry about it being unstable underneath their skis.

"You get a lot back from the snow," Nestvold-Haugen said.

Before his second run, the 32-year-old Nestvold-Haugen called home to say goodnight to his young kids.

"That put things in perspective — they're sleeping while I'm racing," Nestvold-Haugen said. "The second run was a little bit more of a wild run. When I get nervous, I try to compensate by being more aggressive."

Ligety, who was fourth after the first run, struggled on his final pass and was 11th. The 35-year-old Ligety is predominantly focusing on the giant slalom this season.

"It's been nice, just doing GS really," said Ligety, who has captured 24 World Cup giant slalom races. "It's a nice gear shift."

The conditions were hardly favorable with the snow falling and fog rolling in throughout the day.

Defending Birds of Prey GS champion Stefan Luitz of Germany made a mistake in the foggy conditions and didn't finish his first run.

He won his first World Cup race in Beaver Creek last December amid some controversy. Racing at an elevation of around 10,340 feet (3,152 meters), Luitz inhaled from an oxygen tank before his winning race. The International Ski Federation later disqualified him because its rules prohibit using supplemental oxygen even though the World Anti-Doping Agency does not.

But the Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld Luitz's appeal against disqualification in March and awarded him his first World Cup win.

Luitz said he never really got the chance to celebrate his achievement. That's why he's eager for another.

"Not only for the victory, but there is so much around it — for my head and my skiing," Luitz said. "That's why I'm trying so hard to get back on top."


Celtic beats Rangers 1-0 in Scottish League Cup final

Celtic celebrate with the trophy after the Scottish Cup soccer Final between Celtic and Rangers at Hampden Park, Glasgow, Scotland, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019. (Jeff Holmes/PA via AP)

Glasgow, Scotland (AP) — Celtic extended its domination of Scottish football by beating Glasgow rival Rangers 1-0 in the League Cup final on Sunday to seal a 10th consecutive domestic trophy.

Steven Gerrard's Rangers was punished for spurning scoring chances when Celtic defender Christopher Jullien knocked in a free kick from Ryan Christie in the 59th minute.

Celtic goalkeeper Fraser Forster then saved a penalty from Alfredo Morelos, after defender Jeremie Frimpong had been sent off for fouling the striker.

Rangers has now gone eight years without a major title, which covers a spell when the team was forced to start again in the bottom tier in 2012 for financial mismanagement.


Henrik Stenson delivers big moment to win in Bahamas

Henrik Stenson, left, poses with Tiger Woods, after winning the Hero World Challenge at the Albany Golf Club in Nassau, Bahamas, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Dante Carrer)

Henrik Stenson aligns his ball at the third green during the final round of the Hero World Challenge at Albany Golf Club in Nassau, Bahamas, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Dante Carrer)

Doug Ferguson

Nassau, Bahamas (AP) — Winless in more than two years, Henrik Stenson found himself in the middle of a wild chase to the finish Saturday with Tiger Woods and the elite in golf all around him.

Five players had a chance to win in the final hour. Four had at least a share of the lead at one point.

One swing changed everything.

"The shot of the day," Stenson said.

He drilled a 5-wood from 259 yards to within inches of the hole for a tap-in eagle on the par-5 15th, going from a one-shot deficit to a one-shot lead. Three pars gave him a 6-under 66 and a victory in the Hero World Challenge he might not have seen coming.

Stenson tied for 44th two weeks ago in Dubai and spent a few hours on the range that afternoon with swing coach Pete Cowen. He carried some of that to the Bahamas, and his nerves held up at Albany Golf Club.

"Sometimes, just keep on working hard and grinding it out," Stenson said. "Confidence can still be a little higher, but I'm really happy with the way I hung in there."

Woods fell out with a chip that didn't make it up the slope on the 14th hole, and he had to scramble for bogey. Justin Thomas had a pair of 12-foot birdie putts burn the edge. Defending champion Jon Rahm, in his final event before getting married in Spain, appeared to seize control with a birdie-eagle-birdie stretch to take the lead on the 16th hole.

And then Stenson struck the decisive blow with his 5-wood. He knew it was good. He couldn't see beyond a dune as it bounced onto the green, tracked toward the hole and settled about 8 inches away for eagle.

That took him from one shot behind to one shot ahead, and he closed with three pars.

Rahm had to settle for two pars to close out his 66.

Stenson won for the first time in 50 tournaments worldwide, a drought dating to the Wyndham Championship in August 2017. His world ranking plunged from No. 6 to No. 40.

"It's down, but it's not a disaster," Stenson said of his ranking. "I can compete with the best, and I guess I showed that."

Patrick Reed, under scrutiny for improving his line of play in a waste area Friday that led to a two-shot penalty, shook that off for a 66 to finish alone in third.

Woods hasn't won his holiday event since 2011, and he put himself in position with timely birdies while playing alongside Thomas. It looked like quite a battle with Woods setting the pace early, and Thomas catching and passing him with an 8-foot eagle putt on the 11th hole.

But that was as good as it got for both of them.

Woods tried to drive the par-4 14th hole and wound up in the waste area with a bad lie. He sent that over the green, and his chip up the slope wasn't hard enough and came back down the hill. His fourth shot barely made it onto the green and he holed a 15-foot putt to escape with bogey.

But he spent more time in the waste area on the par-5 15th and had to scramble for par, and that was the end of his chances. Woods closed with a 69.

The only victory — a hollow one — was finishing with a lower score than Thomas for the first time in some 15 pairings together. Even that required a double bogey by Thomas on the last hole, giving him a 70.

"I don't think that's how we wanted it to end up," Woods said with a laugh. "If I was going to get him, it would have been nice for either of us to have a chance to win the tournament."

U.S. Open champion Gary Woodland, who started the final round with a one-shot lead, ran into trouble chipping up the slope on the par-5 third hole and made double bogey. He never recovered, shot 73 and tied for seventh.

The World Challenge was just the first stop for 11 of the Americans in the field.

They had a few hours to get changed for a charter flight from the Bahamas to Australia for the Presidents Cup, which starts Thursday with Woods as the first playing captain in 25 years.

Stenson and Rahm finished 1-2 with no interest in the matches between Americans and players from countries outside Europe.

Stenson wants to patch back his game, and this was a big step. After five straight years in the top 10, the 43-year-old Swede is eager to get back.


Man City defense implodes with Liverpool on title charge

Rob Harris

Manchester, England (AP) — Manchester City's title defense is imploding in a way Pep Guardiola has never experienced before.

Losing 2-1 to Manchester United left City with 32 points in the Premier League — Guardiola's lowest haul after 16 matches in 11 years in top-flight management.

Any fading prospect of a hat trick of titles looks to have been extinguished by City's fiercest foe in a game marred by United players being targeted with racist abuse and objects thrown by home fans.

 

Manchester United's Fred reacts after objects are thrown at him during the English Premier League soccer match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester, England Saturday Dec. 7, 2019. (Mike Egerton/PA via AP)

The derby defeat left City 14 points behind Liverpool after the leaders won 3-0 at Bournemouth to nudge toward ending a 30-year championship drought.

"It is not realistic to think about catching up," Guardiola said.

Second-place Leicester is now the team to catch for City, but the 2016 champions can move six points ahead with a victory at Aston Villa on Sunday.

Chelsea's grip on fourth place weakened with a 3-1 loss at struggling Everton as Duncan Ferguson started his caretaker command with a signature success.

But the goal of the day came at Tottenham where Son Heung-min ran scored a dazzling solo goal after running from one of the field to the other in a 5-0 victory over Burnley for Jose Mourinho's sixth-place team.

United turnaround

Chelsea's collapse helped Ole Gunnar Solskjaer cap a transformative week with United up to fifth place and only five points from the Champions League spots.

Being held at home by Aston Villa last Sunday raised further doubts about Solskjaer's job prospects, especially with Mauricio Pochettino on the market after being fired by Tottenham.

But since then Solskjaer has masterminded victories over two of the biggest names in management: Mourinho — Pochettino's successor at Tottenham — and Guardiola.

"There's more hard times for the doubters out there," Solskjaer said, "because we'll keep on working the way we're doing and we believe in what we're doing."

United tore apart City in the first half at the Etihad Stadium.

Marcus Rashford put United ahead from the penalty spot in the 23rd minute after being bundled over by Bernardo Silva.

The second goal inside six minutes was created by a slick exchange of passes between Daniel James and Anthony Martial, who applied the final touch past goalkeeper Ederson.

City didn't even manage a shot on target until the 34th when United goalkeeper David de Gea denied David Silva.

Although Nicolas Otamendi's header reduced the deficit in the 85th, City couldn't prevent United from claiming only a second away win of the season.

City's priority after the game was working with police to identity the fans who racially abused United duo Fred and Jesse Lingard and hurled objects at them as a corner was able to be taken during the second half.

"Thank God I have a lot of friends here in the locker room who hugged me, like Lingard," Fred told ESPN. "I don't want to think about it. I just want to move on."

Liverpool on march

 

Liverpool's Roberto Firmino shoots but fails to score during the English Premier League soccer match between Bournemouth and Liverpool at the Vitality stadium in Bournemouth, England, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

Liverpool's goals from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Naby Keita and Mohamed Salah came in a devastating 19-minute spell either side of halftime to make it 33 league games unbeaten for Juergen Klopp's side stretching back into last season.

"The team performance was just really mature and professional," Klopp said. "Just what we needed."

 'Sonaldo'

Son's mazy run before scoring Tottenham's third goal against Burnley reminded Mourinho of a goal scored by Brazil great Ronaldo.

"Even before this goal my son calls him 'Sonaldo,' and today he was Sonaldo Nazario," Mourinho said. "The only thing that came to my mind was a goal where I had the honor to be sat next to Sir Bobby Robson, in 1996, and Ronaldo Nazario scored a goal against Compostela from behind the halfway line and scored a very similar goal."

Harry Kane also scored twice and Lucas Moura and Moussa Sissoko were on target as Tottenham recovered from losing to United on Wednesday.

Ferguson's emotions

Ferguson, a former Everton striker, already has the team out of the relegation zone after Marco Silva's firing.

Ferguson was charging down the touchline at Goodison Park celebrating with ball boys after Richarlison's header after five minutes against Frank Lampard's Chelsea.

"It was just relief, excitement," Ferguson said. "But you still know there is a long way to go in the game so you're not getting too carried away, although it didn't feel like that at the time. I'd have hugged the linesman if he was there. It is just emotion.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin extended Everton's lead four minutes into the second half but Mateo Kovacic's first Premier League goal reduced the deficit.

Those early wild celebrations by Ferguson were replicated in the 84th when Calvert-Lewin found the target again.

Watford halts slump

New manager Nigel Pearson watched from the stands as Watford halted a three-game losing run by drawing 0-0 with Crystal Palace.

Watford has won only once in the league this season and sits at the bottom of the standings, while Palace is in eighth place.


AP Top 25 Takeaways: Who's in CFP is easy; but who's No. 1?

Oklahoma wide receiver Nick Basquine (83) hauls in a touchdown catch in front of Baylor safety JT Woods (22) during the second half of an NCAA college football game for the Big 12 Conference championship, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019, in Arlington, Texas. Oklahoma won 30-23. (AP Photo/Jeffrey McWhorter)

Ralph D. Russo

Picking the four teams to play in the College Football Playoff will be easy for the selection committee.

LSU, Ohio State, Clemson and Oklahoma all took care of business in their conference championships Saturday — with varying degrees of difficulty.

Who is No. 1?

There could be a lot of discussion about that at the resort hotel in Grapevine, Texas, where the 13-member committee meets and will reveal the semifinal field Sunday at noon EST.

Two pieces of the playoff puzzle, the two that seemed most likely to cause problems, fell nicely into place on championship weekend, starting with an upset in the Pac-12 on Friday and the favorites winning in the Big 12 and Southeastern Conference on Saturday.

Later, Ohio State looked in the first half like a team determined to test whether it could, indeed, lose its conference championship game and still make the playoff. Then the Buckeyes went on a 27-point second-half run and buried Wisconsin.

And Clemson? Well, let's just say the Tigers are ready to defend their national championship.

After Oregon won the Pac-12 title and eliminated Utah, the only question Saturday was: Could Georgia beat LSU and force the selection committee to put two Southeastern Conference teams in the semifinals, or would the Big 12 champion take the last spot?

Oklahoma beat Baylor in an overtime thriller to start championship Saturday and LSU was too much for Georgia. We will never get back that week spent debating whether Utah or Oklahoma (or Baylor) should make the playoff.

The Buckeyes were No. 1 in the committee's last rankings, ahead of LSU and Clemson. Georgia was fourth, but Oklahoma will take that slot.

To stay No. 1, Ohio State was going to need to make a statement against Wisconsin — because LSU finished the season with a flourish.

The Tigers pounded Texas A&M and Georgia by a combined 87-17 in their final two games. The iffy defense that was supposedly holding the Tigers back looked much tighter down the stretch. And Joe Burrow, well, let's just say there will be even less drama at the Heisman Trophy ceremony next week than there was championship weekend.

The victory against Georgia gives LSU four victories against teams that will assuredly be in the committee's final top 25. Alabama, Auburn, Florida and Georgia should all be in the top-15.

Ohio State came into the Big Ten championship with four victories against committee ranked teams (Cincinnati, Michigan, Penn State and Wisconsin) and then fell behind by two touchdowns to the Badgers in Indianapolis before winning by 13.

"I don't know who's got a better resume, from front to bottom," Ohio State coach Ryan Day said. "I think we deserve to be No. 1 in the country.''

Ohio State has for most of the season been more dominant and more balanced than LSU. A more complete team to use the selection committee's lingo. LSU is looking pretty complete these days.

"Look, we'll play anybody anywhere," said Burrow, who passed for 349 yards and four touchdowns against Georgia. "You can take us to Canada, and we'll play on a gravel lot. It doesn't matter where or who we play."

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney will continue to complain that his team is being overlooked. He probably has a point, but the Tigers will likely finish the regular-season with no victories against ranked team. That should relegate Clemson to No. 3 in the committee's eyes, which is bad news for No. 2. That early season slump by Trevor Lawrence is long over. Since a shaky first quarter against Louisville on Oct. 19, Lawrence has completed 75% of his passes and accounted for 25 touchdowns and no turnovers.

The coaches and players will say they are just happy to be in, and Oklahoma will certainly be no walkover, but being No. 1 is a big deal. The top three teams, all unbeaten, are in different class than the rest of the country.

 

Projecting the New Year's Six

Peach Bowl (semifinal) — No. 1 LSU vs. No. 4 Oklahoma.

Fiesta Bowl (semifinal) — No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 3 Clemson.

Rose Bowl — Wisconsin vs. Oregon.

Sugar Bowl — Georgia vs. Baylor.

Orange Bowl — Florida vs. Virginia.

Cotton Bowl — Memphis vs. Penn State.

 

Parting Gift

The tweets came about 20 minutes apart.

First FAU proclaimed itself champion of Conference USA, having blasted UAB at home in Boca Raton, Florida. Then FAU announced a national search had begun for a new head football coach.

Lane Kiffin is headed to back to the Southeastern Conference as head coach of Mississippi.  The former USC coach (and Tennessee coach. And Raiders coach. And Alabama offensive coordinator) spent three seasons at FAU and guided the Owls to two C-USA titles. None of this was surprising. News broke about Kiffin and Ole Miss on Friday night.

Memphis was in the third quarter of its American Athletic Conference championship game against Cincinnati when the announcement was made by Florida State of a news conference at noon Sunday to formally introduce its next head coach. That will be Memphis' Mike Norvell.  That news also started to leak Friday night.

Florida State refrained for making it official while Norvell was still celebrating.

This is becoming a thing now.

Two seasons ago, news broke (though, again, it was not particularly surprising news) at the very end of UCF's AAC title game victory that then-coach Scott Frost was leaving the Knights and headed to Nebraska.

With the signing period for high school prospects just a few weeks after conference championship weekend, schools making coaching changes can waste little time getting their new guy in place.

The result is coaches barely have a chance to take a picture with their championship trophies before being whisked away to their new lives.

This does not seem ideal for anyone involved, but unless the NCAA wants to ditch the early signing period — something many coaches wanted (though maybe not in late December) — there is really nothing that can be done to fix it.

Around the country: Expect the coaching searches elsewhere to accelerate. Arkansas and Missouri are still open in the SEC and there has been speculation that a few more coaches whose teams played Saturday could get involved with those jobs, specifically Boise State's Bryan Harsin and Appalachian State's Eliah Drinkwitz. Maybe even Jim McElwain, the former Florida coach who led a huge turnaround in his first season at Central Michigan, though came up short in MAC title game. ... Boston College could also fill up quickly after Ohio State gets past the Big Ten championship. BC athletic director Martin Jarmond came from Ohio State and could look to coach Ryan Day's staff to fill the Eagles' vacancy. ... Jalen Hurts did not exactly make a Heisman statement in the Big 12 championship game, though his numbers for the season terrific. Receiver CeeDee Lamb is OU's best Heisman contender.


'Simplicity is genius': Joshua boxes smart to reclaim titles

Defending champion Andy Ruiz Jr., left, during his fight against Britain's Anthony Joshua in their World Heavyweight Championship contest at the Diriyah Arena, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (Nick Potts/PA via AP)

Steve Douglas

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Anthony Joshua jumped up and down in the ring with his massive entourage, celebrating being around $70 million richer and having three world heavyweight belts back in his possession.

For the British boxing superstar, it was well worth this controversial trip to Saudi Arabia.

In the first heavyweight title fight to be held in the Middle East, Joshua toyed with an out-of-shape Andy Ruiz Jr. over 12 unspectacular rounds to win a unanimous points decision, reclaim the WBA, WBO and IBF belts, and avenge a stunning upset by his Mexican-American opponent six months ago.

Joshua got his game plan spot on, using his lighter frame to outmaneuver Ruiz, relying on his longer reach to stay clear of trouble, and selecting his moments to go on the attack.

In the final seconds of a bout fought in the early hours of Sunday in a relatively cool 19 Celsius (66 F) for this part of the world, Joshua was almost running around the ring and Ruiz — exhausted and outfought — was planted in the middle, urging him to come closer.

"Sometimes simplicity is genius. I was outclassing the champion," Joshua said.

"I am used to knocking people out, but last time I got hurt so I gave the man his credit. I said I would correct myself again."

Two judges gave the fight to the Briton 119-110, and the other awarded it to him 119-109.

Ruiz put on 15 pounds since the first fight to weigh in at 283 pounds (128 kilograms), making him the second heaviest boxer to fight for a world heavyweight title. He said he hadn't prepared hard enough for the rematch and got "boxed around."

"The partying got the best of me," Ruiz said of his brief time as champion, during which he also went on talk shows, had an audience with the Mexican president and bought new cars for himself and his parents.

"I didn't prepare how I should have. I gained too much weight. I don't want to give excuses, he won ... If we do a third fight, you best believe I'm going to get in shape. I'll be in the best shape of my life."

Whether Joshua agrees to that remains to be seen. There is no rematch clause this time round and Ruiz, short with quick hands, is an awkward opponent.

Joshua proved he had another side to his boxing skills other than a big punch. His career is back on track, for sure, but his reputation might be sullied for other reasons.

The fight was played out to a backdrop of concerns that Saudi Arabia was using this and other big sporting events to divert attention from its human-rights violations. They include the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi last year in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Joshua has shrugged off concerns that he was being used in what some, like human rights organization Amnesty International, called a "sportswashing" exercise, and he thanked Saudi Arabia for hosting the fight afterward.

Women who attended the fight at the outdoor, purpose-built, 15,000-capacity Diriyah Arena did not appear to be segregated, as they have been in sports stadiums in Saudi Arabia since being allowed into them for the first time last year.

Indeed, it felt just like any other venue once the action got underway, with a pro-Joshua crowd chanting the usual repertoire of songs about their fighter and jeering Ruiz. To make Joshua feel even more at home, there was a rare downpour of rain in the desert just before the fight and at times during the afternoon.

Ruiz knocked down Joshua four times on the way to a seventh-round win in New York in June that was regarded as one of the biggest upsets in the history of heavyweight boxing.

There was none of that drama in the rematch, with Ruiz rarely connecting cleanly with Joshua. When he did, it was with punches to the back of the head that earned him a ticking-off from the referee.

Ruiz finished the fight with blood across his face, having been caught with a right hook by Joshua in the first round.

There were straight lefts from Joshua in the fourth and ninth that rocked Ruiz back, and a right hook in the fifth that also hurt the deposed champion.

"I just wanted to put on a great boxing masterclass and also show the sweet science of this lovely sport. It's about hitting and not getting hit," Joshua said.

"Sometimes with certain fighters you have to box smarter. I understand what Andy brought to the table so I had to decapitate him in a different way."


Mourinho loses in Old Trafford return; Liverpool wins derby

Tottenham's manager Jose Mourinho, left, reacts as Manchester United's Marcus Rashford, centre, and Tottenham's Davinson Sanchez challenge for the ball during the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford in Manchester, England, Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)

Steve Douglas, AP

Jose Mourinho was standing on the edge of his technical area near the halfway line when Manchester United midfielder Daniel James came sliding off the field and clattered head-first into the right knee of the Portuguese coach.

Mourinho just about stayed on his feet but grimaced as he clutched his knee before hobbling away.

It was a rough return to Old Trafford for the former United manager on Wednesday.

Two weeks into his time at Tottenham and Mourinho has finally lost a game — and it just had to be against the club that fired him a year ago.

United won 2-1 to end Tottenham's run of three wins since the arrival of Mourinho, with Marcus Rashford scoring both of the home team's goals and celebrating them maybe with a little dig at his old manager.

"Doubters just spur me on," Rashford wrote on Twitter after the match, potentially a reference to Mourinho who, in one standout incident during his time at United, turned his back to Rashford and folded his arms in disgust after the striker missed an easy chance in a Champions League match against Young Boys in November last year. Less than a month later, Mourinho was fired.

Tottenham, which slipped to eighth place and behind United in the standings, has now conceded two goals in each of the four games Mourinho has been in charge — a statistic that must concern a coach who usually sets his teams up to defend resolutely.

If Tottenham can't stop allowing goals, Liverpool can't stop scoring them.

The unbeaten leaders netted four goals in the first half and added a fifth late on in a 5-2 thrashing of Everton in the Merseyside derby to stay eight points clear of Leicester, which beat last-place Watford 2-0.

Liverpool scored five in a league game against Everton at home for the first time since 1965, despite leaving out two of the team's formidable attacking trio — Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino — as well as captain Jordan Henderson.

Everton couldn't take advantage and slipped into the relegation zone on another dark day for its under-pressure manager Marco Silva, who might not stay in the job after this latest loss given the manner of his team's defending at Anfield.

There were also wins for Chelsea and Wolves — the teams in fourth and fifth place, respectively — while Southampton beat Norwich in a match between relegation contenders.

 

Klopp's rotation

Jürgen Klopp claimed his 100th Premier League win in style on a night his decision to rotate his team was utterly vindicated.

The first three goals were scored by Divock Origi (2) and Xherdan Shaqiri, the players who replaced Firmino and Salah in the starting lineup.

Sadio Mane added the fourth just before halftime and Georginio Wijnaldum scored the fifth in the 90th minute to pile more pressure on Silva, whose Everton team has lost nine of its 15 league games.

"The type of mistakes we are making is because the players are playing under big pressure because of the position in the table," Silva said. "They are making some mistakes that are not normal for the level we are."

 

Vardy's streak

Leicester striker Jamie Vardy scored for the seventh straight game in the Premier League and is closing in on his record of netting in 11 in a row, set in the team's improbable title-winning season in 2015-16.

He set Leicester on its way against Watford by converting a 55th-minute penalty before James Maddison added the second goal in injury time.

With a club record-tying seventh straight league win, Leicester climbed back in front of Manchester City, which briefly moved into second with a 4-1 win at Burnley on Tuesday.

 

Abraham' scoring return

Tammy Abraham scored one goal and set up another for Chelsea in a 2-1 win over Aston Villa on his return to the team after a hip injury.

Without Abraham, Chelsea surprisingly lost 1-0 to home to West Ham at the weekend but it looked a more dangerous team with the England striker.

Having headed Chelsea in front with his 11th goal of the season, Abraham laid the ball off for Mason Mount to power home a finish high into the net from the edge of the area to give the hosts the lead again after Villa equalized through Trezeguet.

Chelsea is fourth, three points behind Man City.

 

Wins for Wolves, Southampton

Wolverhampton Wanderers consolidated fifth place and extended its unbeaten run in the Premier League to 10 matches with a 2-0 win over West Ham, whose manager Manuel Pellegrini is back under pressure for his job. Leander Dendoncker and Patrick Cutrone were the scorers for Wolves.

Southampton moved out of the relegation zone by beating next-to-last Norwich 2-1. Danny Ings gave Southampton the lead with his eighth goal of the season and Ryan Bertrand also scored before Teemu Pukki's second-half reply for Norwich.


Nichushkin, Avalanche beat Maple Leafs 3-1

 

Colorado Avalanche right wing Valeri Nichushkin (13) celebrates his goal on Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen (31) during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019 in Toronto. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP)

Associated Press

Toronto (AP) — Valeri Nichushkin scored a short-handed goal in the third period, lifting the Colorado Avalanche to a 3-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday night.

Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and an assist, Joonas Donskoi also scored and Philipp Grubauer stopped 38 shots for the Avalanche.

Zach Hyman scored for Toronto and Frederik Andersen, starting on consecutive nights for the first time since January 2017, had 27 saves.

With his team on the power play, Toronto center Jason Spezza's stick shattered on a shot and as he tried to keep the puck in with his feet at the blue line, he got caught up with teammate Morgan Rielly. That allowed Nichushkin to move in all alone and bury his third goal of the season upstairs at 6:40 to put Colorado up 2-1.

Toronto, which had Mitch Marner back after he missed 11 games with a high ankle sprain, pushed as the period wore on and pressed late, but couldn't get anything past Grubauer with Andersen on the bench before Donskoi iced it into an empty net with 79 seconds left.

 

Penguins 3, Blues 0

Pittsburgh (AP) — Stefan Noesen celebrated his return to the NHL with his first goal of the season and banged=up Pittsburgh handed St. Louis its first regulation loss on the road since before Halloween.

Noesen, a five-year veteran who signed a minor-league deal with the Penguins in the offseason, pounded home a rebound off Jared McCann's shot with 39 seconds left in the second period for his first goal since last March when he played for New Jersey.

Teddy Blueger scored 39 seconds into the game to give the Penguins the early lead and Alex Galchenyuk got his second of the season early in the third period. Tristan Jarry stopped 28 shots to post his third career shutout as.

Jordan Binnington finished with 30 saves for St. Louis, but the Blues saw their 10-game road point streak end.

 

Senators 5, Oilers 2

Edmonton, Alberta (AP) — Tyler Ennis had a goal and two assists to help Ottawa snap a five-game skid.

Artem Anisimov, Connor Brown, Anthony Duclair and Vladislav Namestnikov also scored for the Senators. Craig Anderson, returning from a lower-body injury, stopped 24 shots.

Jujhar Khaira and Oscar Klefbom had goals for the Oilers, losers of three of their last four. Mikko Koskinen gave up three goals on 12 shots before leaving in the second period. Mike Smith finished with 11 saves.

 

Capitals 3, Kings 1

Los Angeles (AP) — John Carlson scored twice, Ilya Samsonov stopped 22 shots and Washington beat Los Angeles.

Tom Wilson also had a goal as the Capitals have won five in a row for the second time this season. They won six straight Oct. 25-Nov. 9.

Blake Lizotte had a goal and Jonathan Quick made 19 saves for the Kings, who lost for the third time in their past 10 home games.


Cochran-Siegle posts fastest time in super-G training run

Ryan Cochran-Siegle, of the United States, moves down the course during the men's World Cup super-G ski race in Lake Louise, Alberta, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)

Beaver Creek, Colo. (AP) — Ryan Cochran-Siegle of the United States posted the fastest time in a super-G training run along the challenging Birds of Prey course.

Cochran-Siegle said he flowed with the terrain as he finished in a time of 1 minute, 41.37 seconds Wednesday. He led Norway's Aleksander Aamodt Kilde by 0.24 seconds. Austrian Matthias Mayer, who won a super-G race last weekend in Lake Louise, Alberta, finished third in the training session.

The 27-year-old Cochran-Siegle is looking for his first World Cup podium finish this weekend. It was the first time he was credited with the top time in a World Cup training run. He finished third during downhill training in Bormio, Italy, last season, but on race day he didn't finish.

That's why he's not reading too much into being on top of the leaderboard now.

"I just skied well today," Cochran-Siegle said. "That's about it. Race day is a totally different ball game."

The super-G will be held Friday, downhill on Saturday and giant slalom Sunday. Cochran-Siegle is slated to compete in all three.

Cochran-Siegle hails from Vermont and is the latest member of the "Skiing Cochrans" family to shine on the slopes. His mother, Barbara Ann, won the slalom at the 1972 Olympics.


Antetokounmpo scores 35 points, Bucks win 13th straight

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) attempts a layup as Detroit Pistons guard Tony Snell (17) defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Associated Press

Detroit (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 35 points to lift the Milwaukee Bucks to their 13th consecutive victory, 127-103 over the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night.

The last time the Bucks had a longer winning streak than this was when they won 16 in a row spanning the end of the 1972-73 season and the beginning of 1973-74. They also had a 13-game run shortly after that 16-game streak ended.

Milwaukee had won its previous two games by 41 and 44 points, and the Pistons had won their previous two by 34 and 33. This one wasn't close, either. The Bucks have dominated Detroit of late.

Milwaukee won all eight matchups with the Pistons last season — four in the regular season and four in the first round of the playoffs. The Bucks also beat Detroit last month in their first meeting of 2019-20.

Andre Drummond had 23 points and 14 rebounds for Detroit.

 

Lakers 121, Jazz 96

Salt Lake City (AP) — Anthony Davis scored 26 points, LeBron James had 20 points and 12 assists and Los Angeles routed Utah.

Rajon Rondo added 14 points and a season-high 12 assists and season-high nine rebounds. Los Angeles cruised to an easy victory, outscoring Utah 32-5 in fast-break points and totaling 21 points off 19 Jazz turnovers.

Donovan Mitchell scored 29 points and Bojan Bogdanovic added 23 to lead Utah. The Jazz lost for the fifth time in six games.

 

Mavericks 121, Timberwolves 114

Dallas (AP) — Dwight Powell had 24 points on 9-for-9 shooting from the field, Jalen Brunson ignited a fourth-quarter rally with 14 of his 16 points in the period and Dallas beat Minnesota.

Powell and Brunson both had season highs as the Mavericks overcame a subpar outing by Luka Doncic to win for the ninth time in 10 games. Doncic finished with 22 points, seven rebounds and six assists after picking up a technical foul in the third quarter and seeing his team rally with most of its starters on the bench.

Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins had 26 points apiece for Minnesota.

 

Celtics 112, Heat 93

Boston (AP) — Jaylen Brown scored a season-high 31 points, Kemba Walker had 28 and Boston beat Miami to improve to 8-0 at home.

Brown connected on a season-high five 3-pointers, and Walker had seven assists and four rebounds. Jayson Tatum added 19 points

Jimmy Butler led Miami with a season-high 37 points and had six rebounds and four assists. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra left the team in the morning, flying home to be with wife Nikki for the birth of their second son. Assistant coach Dan Craig ran the team.

 

Hornets 106, Warriors 91

Charlotte, N.C. (AP) — Devonte Graham made 10 3-pointers and scored 33 points and Charlotte beat Golden State to spoil D'Angelo Russell's return to the court.

Graham was 10 of 16 from beyond the arc and also had nine assists and had seven rebounds. Backcourt mate Terry Rozier added 25 points, seven assists and seven rebounds.

Russell finished with 18 points on 7-of-13 shooting in 25 minutes after missing the last nine games with a right thumb sprain.

 

Nets 130, Hawks 118

Atlanta (AP) — Garrett Temple scored a season-high 27 points, Spencer Dinwiddie had 18 of his 24 in the second half and Brooklyn beat Atlanta.

Taurean Prince finished with 23 points against his former team, and Jarrett Allen had 20 for the Nets, who were coming off a three-point home loss Sunday to Miami but have won six of eight.

Kyrie Irving missed his 10th straight game with a right shoulder impingement and did not make the two-game trip to stay home and rehab.

Trae Young scored 39 points and rookie Cam Reddish had a career-high 25 for Atlanta. The Hawks have lost 11 of 12.

 

Trail Blazers 127, Kings 116

Portland, Ore. (AP) — CJ McCollum scored 33 points and Portland Trail Blazers pulled away in the final quarter to beat the Sacramento Kings 127-116 on Wednesday night.

Hassan Whiteside added 22 points and 16 rebounds, as well as a career-high seven assists. Damian Lillard had 24 points and 10 assists in Portland's third straight home victory. Carmelo Anthony finished with 20 points, his fourth game with 20 or more in seven games with the Blazers.

Richaun Holmes had 28 points and 10 rebounds for the Kings.

 

Magic 128, Suns 114

Orlando, Fla. (AP) — Aaron Gordon scored a season-high 32 points, Terrence Ross had 22 and Orlando beat Phoenix.

Evan Fournier added 21 points, and Markelle Fultz had 13 points, five assists and four rebounds for the Magic. Frank Kaminsky led the Suns with 23 points and five rebounds, and Devin Booker had 17 points and five assists.

 

Pacers 107, Thunder 100

Oklahoma City (AP) — T.J. Warren scored 24 points to help Indiana beat Oklahoma City.

Domantas Sabonis added 17 points and 13 rebounds for the Pacers. They have won seven of eight.

Steven Adams scored 20 points on 8-for-8 shooting and Danilo Gallinari and Dennis Schroder each added 18 points for the Thunder.

 

Bulls 106, Grizzlies 99

Chicago (AP) — Zach LaVine scored 25 points, Wendell Carter Jr. had 16 points and 13 rebounds and Chicago held of Memphis.

Lauri Markkanen added 15 points for the Bulls.

Jonas Valanciunas had 32 points and 13 rebounds for Memphis.


Smoke haze provides added hazard at Australian Open

Australia's Adam Scott tees off on the 13th during the Australian Open Golf Pro-AM in Sydney, Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019. The Australian Open begins Thursday. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

Sydney (AP) — Adam Scott, Sergio Garcia, Ernie Els and other players at this week's Australian Open could have another course hazard to contend with: smoke from nearby bushfires.

A temperature inversion which formed over Sydney on Monday night trapped smoke in the region on Tuesday and caused considerable haze during a practice round. Golf Australia said it plans to increase on-site medical staff if the fire-driven smog disrupts the tournament.

With a wind shift on Wednesday, the situation had improved during the pro-am, but Golf Australia chief executive Stephen Pitt said he was concerned with the potential for smoke affecting the health of players.

"It was pretty bad yesterday, stinging eyes and all that," Scott said after his pro-am round on Wednesday.

There were about 25 bush and grass fires burning across New South Wales state, including a large one in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney. A westerly wind on Tuesday moved a lot of the smoke from that fire over Sydney.

While Pitt said he was confident the tournament would proceed without any smoke delays, he said officials will closely monitor the weather with children and elderly spectators most susceptible to the threatening air quality.

"Firstly our issues with smoke at a golf tournament pale into insignificance with the things that home owners and property owners and people right around the country have dealt with," Pitt said of the fires which have killed six people and destroyed dozens of homes.

"So we're very aware of that fact and all our sympathies and thoughts go to them because that's the real issue."

Pitt said it was a new type of threat for the tournament.

"It's something we've never had to give consideration to before," he said. "We've had storms and rain and hail and heat and cold and all those sort of things that are your typical golf tournament issues. But this one is new and we have been in constant contact with the Bureau of Meteorology."

Scott is among the International players for next week's Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne playing this week in Sydney for team captain Els. Also in Sydney for the first time in his career is Louis Oosthuizen, the only South African player on the International team.

Other International team players at The Australian Golf Club this week are Marc Leishman, Cameron Smith, defending champion Abraham Ancer and Taiwan's C.T. Pan.

The International team's only win over the United States team was in 1998 when it was first held at Royal Melbourne.

"I think we all sort of feel Royal Melbourne is the place we've got probably the best shot," Oosthuizen said. "We've got a team that's really in form. We've got a young side coming through. I think having an Aussie crowd behind us, playing Royal Melbourne especially, I think it will be the best home course advantage we can have."


Marchessault's hat trick leads Golden Knights past Devils

Associated Press

Newark, N.J. (AP) — Jonathan Marchessault scored three straight goals in the third period to rally the Vegas Golden Knights over New Jersey 4-3 Tuesday night, hours after the Devils fired coach John Hynes.

Marchessault scored twice in the first 5:04 of the third to give the Golden Knights a 3-2 lead. He added a power-play goal midway through the period, and Vegas held on even after New Jersey's Nico Hischier scored 20 seconds later.

 

Vegas Golden Knights center William Karlsson (71) congratulates center Jonathan Marchessault (81) as goaltender Malcolm Subban (30) and right wing Reilly Smith (19) try to avoid skating over hats thrown onto the ice after Marchessault scored the third of his three goals during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the New Jersey Devils, Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019, in Newark, N.J. The Golden Knights defeated the Devils 4-3. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

The Golden Knights have won four straight to improve to 15-11-4. Malcolm Subban had 32 saves, and Chandler Stephenson scored in his first game since being acquired Monday from the Washington Capitals.

Mackenzie Blackwood stopped 26 shots for the Devils. Kyle Palmieri and Jesper Bratt also scored.

Hynes was fired Tuesday after a 9-13-4 start that left the team in last place in the Metropolitan Division and with the NHL's second worst record.

 

Flyers 6, Maple Leafs 1

Philadelphia (AP) — Claude Giroux scored the go-ahead goal midway through the third period and Philadelphia had three goals in the final 2:06 to get their fifth straight win.

Travis Konecny had a goal and an assist for Philadelphia, which has earned points in seven straight games (6-0-1). The Flyers had an NHL-best 24 points in November, going 10-2-4 to tie a franchise record for most points in a month. Carter Hart finished with 27 saves.

Scott Laughton, Joel Farabee, Shayne Gostisbehere and James van Riemsdyk also scored.

Travis Dermott scored for Toronto, which lost for just the second time in six games since Sheldon Keefe replaced the fired Mike Babcock as head coach on Nov. 20.

 

Canadiens 4, Islanders 2

Montreal (AP) — Phillip Danault, Brendan Gallagher and Shea Weber each had a goal and an assist, and Montreal beat New York to snap an eight-game losing streak.

Jeff Petry also scored and Carey Price stopped 21 shots to earn his 11th win of the season for Montreal, which ended an 0-5-3 skid.

Scott Mayfield and Matthew Barzal scored in the third period for the Islanders, and Thomas Greiss finished with 36 saves.

 

Lightning 3, Predators 2, OT

Nashville, Tenn. (AP) — Nikita Kucherov scored at 2:35 of overtime to give Tampa Bay a victory over Nashville.

Victor Hedman and Ondrej Palat also scored and Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 30 shots as the Lightning snapped a three-game skid.

Calle Jarnkrok and Kyle Turris had the goals for Nashville, which has lost three of its last four. Pekka Rinne finished with 28 saves.

 

Bruins 2, Hurricanes 0

 

Carolina Hurricanes' Brett Pesce (22) sends the puck past Boston Bruins' Anders Bjork (10) during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Boston, Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer) 

Boston (AP) — Charlie Coyle scored late in the third period, Jaroslav Halak stopped 24 shots for his second shutout of the season, and Boston beat Carolina for its eighth straight win.

David Krejci also scored for Boston, just 1:08 after Coyle got the Bruins on the scoreboard.

James Reimer finished with 32 saves for the Hurricanes.

 

Jets 5, Stars 1

Winnipeg, Manitoba (AP) — Kyle Connor had a goal and two assists, and Winnipeg handed Dallas its fourth straight loss.

Nikolaj Ehlers, Josh Morrissey, Patrik Laine and Mark Scheifele each had a goal and assist for Winnipeg, which is 4-1-0 in its past five games. Connor Hellebuyck made 27 saves.

Miro Heiskanen scored for the Stars, who are 0-3-1 since ending a seven-game winning streak. Anton Khudobin stopped 25 shots.

 

Coyotes 4, Blue Jackets 2

 

Columbus, Ohio (AP) — Darcy Kuemper stopped 33 shots and Arizona beat Columbus behind goals by Clayton Keller, Christian Fischer and Lawson Crouse.

Carl Soderberg had an empty-net goal and assisted on two of the earlier goals.

Dean Kukan and Alexandre Texier scored and Joonas Korpisalo had 24 saves for the Blue Jackets

 

Wild 4, Panthers 2

Sunrise, Fla. (AP) — Carson Soucy scored the go-ahead goal early in the third period to lift Minnesota over Florida.

Luke Kunin, Mats Zuccarello and Jason Zucker also scored as the Wild won their fourth straight game and earned a point for the 10th straight game (7-0-3). Kaapo Kahkonen stopped 44 shots in his second NHL start.

Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau scored for the Panthers, who have lost four of their past five games. Chris Driedger made 22 saves in his second straight start.

 

Capitals 5, Sharks 2

San Jose, Calif. (AP) — John Carlson had a goal and two assists in the opening period to reach 40 points for the season, Nick Hathaway and Jakub Vrana each scored twice and Washington beat San Jose.

Carlson had a hand in all three Washington goals during a span of 3:01 in the first period that put the Capitals in control in the opener of their three-game California swing. He assisted on the first goal of the game for both Hathaway and Vrana and then scored his own, giving him nine goals and 31 assists through 29 games this season.

Carlson joined Bobby Orr and Al MacInnis as the only defensemen in the expansion era to reach 40 points in the first 30 games of a season.

Braden Holtby made 23 saves for Washington.

Melker Karlsson and Evander Kane scored for San Jose. Martin Jones allowed five goals on 22 shots before being replaced by Aaron Dell after two periods. San Jose lost for just the third time in 14 games.

 

Canucks 5, Senators 2

Vancouver, British Columbia (AP) — Antoine Roussel scored in his first game back after being sidelined for eight months with an injury, and Vancouver beat Ottawa.

Zack MacEwen got his first NHL goal, and Tanner Pearson, Elias Pettersson and Oscar Fantenberg also scored for Vancouver, which won for just the fifth time in 15 games (5-8-2). Chris Tanev and Adam Gaudette each had two assists and Thatcher Demko stopped 40 shots.

Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Tyler Ennis scored for the Senators, who lost their fifth straight. Anders Nilsson gave up four goals on 15 shots in the first period, and Marcus Hogberg finished with 13 saves the rest of the way.


Pats, Ravens, Seahawks simply need win to reach playoffs

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, center, questions a call during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Associated Press

New England, Baltimore and Seattle have the simplest NFL playoff scenarios going into Week 14: Win on Sunday and they're in.

The Patriots (10-2) can clinch their 11th straight trip to the playoffs with a victory at home against AFC West-leading Kansas City. The Chiefs (8-4) are in with a win and an Oakland loss.

New England reached the postseason in 16 of coach Bill Belichick's first 19 seasons. The Patriots, a game ahead of Buffalo in the AFC East, have several ways to get in with a tie this week.

The Ravens (10-2) have the edge on New England for the AFC's top seed because of a win over the Patriots. Baltimore clinches a playoff spot with a victory at Buffalo and wraps up the AFC North with a win and a Pittsburgh loss or tie.

Baltimore and New England each have a far-fetched scenario to get in with a loss.

The Bills (9-3), who have won three straight games, need help to get in this week if they win.

The Seahawks and San Francisco are tied for the NFC West lead at 10-2. Both will qualify with victories because Seattle is playing the two-time defending division champion Los Angeles Rams. If the Rams lose, the 49ers are in with a win or tie at New Orleans.

The NFC South champion Saints (10-2) are the only team to clinch so far.


Butler, Heat win in OT to hand Raptors first home loss

Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) drives past Toronto Raptors guard Norman Powell during the second half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019, in Toronto. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP)

Associated Press

Toronto (AP) — Jimmy Butler had 22 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists, Duncan Robinson scored 22 points and the Miami Heat spoiled Kyle Lowry's return to Toronto's lineup by beating the Raptors 121-110 in overtime Tuesday.

Butler scored eight consecutive points in 55 seconds to begin the extra session as the Heat recovered after blowing a seven-point lead in the final two minutes of the fourth quarter. 

Bam Adebayo scored 18 points, Justise Winslow had 17 and Kelly Olynyk 16 as the Heat snapped the Raptors' season-high winning streak at seven games, and became the first visitor to win north of the border this season.

Pascal Siakam had 15 points and 12 rebounds, Norman Powell scored 23 points and Fred VanVleet had 19 for Toronto, which had won a franchise-record nine straight home games to begin the season.

The Raptors missed all nine of their field goal attempts in overtime.

 

Spurs 135, Rockets 133, 2 OT

San Antonio (AP) — Lonnie Walker IV had a career-high 28 points and San Antonio overcame James Harden's 50 points by rallying from a late 10-point deficit to beat Houston.

DeMar DeRozan added 23 points, nine assists and five rebounds as the Spurs won their second straight at home and snapped the Rockets' two-game winning streak.

Harden played a season-high 49 minutes coming off a 60-point outing Saturday over three quarters against Atlanta. He was whistled for two charges in the second overtime. The second came against DeRozan with 0.8 seconds remaining, sealing San Antonio's victory.

 

Lakers 105, Nuggets 96

Denver (AP) — LeBron James had 25 points, nine assists and a crucial dunk off a miss late in the fourth quarter to lead Los Angeles over Denver.

Anthony Davis shook off flu-like symptoms to score 25 points and add 10 rebounds for the Lakers.

Both teams were coming off losses that ended long winning streaks, but it was Los Angeles that bounced back behind James and Davis.

Davis missed the morning film session and his status for the game was questionable until before tip. He showed no effects of illness, scoring 13 points in the third while shooting 5 of 7 in the period.

Jamal Murray scored 22 points and Paul Millsap had 21 points and eight rebounds. Nikola Jokic was held to 13 points but added eight assists.

 

Clippers 117, Trail Blazers 97

Los Angeles (AP) — Montrezl Harrell scored 26 points, Paul George added 25 and Los Angeles pulled away in the second half to beat Portland.

Kawhi Leonard added 11 points in helping extend the Clippers' franchise-best start at home to 13-1.

The game was tied 10 times in the first half before the Clippers eked out a 62-59 lead at halftime.

George and Leonard took over to start the third. They each hit 3-pointers and George had a steal and a dunk to go with a free throw from Leonard as part of a 14-3 run that gave the Clippers a 76-62 lead.

CJ McCollum scored 20 points, Hassan Whiteside had 18 points and 13 rebounds, and Damian Lillard added 16 points on 5-of-15 shooting for the Blazers, whose three-game winning streak ended. Carmelo Anthony had nine points and six rebounds.

 

Mavericks 118, Pelicans 97

New Orleans (AP) — Luka Doncic scored 15 of his 33 points in the third quarter and grabbed 18 rebounds in just 28 minutes to power Dallas over New Orleans.

Doncic shot 9 of 18 from the field, making five 3-pointers, and hit 10 of 13 free throws to lead the Mavericks to their eighth victory in the last nine games.

Doncic had 12 points the first quarter and then broke open a three-point game by scoring 15 of the Mavericks' 25 points in the final 9:18 of the third, when Dallas built a 84-75 lead. Two of Doncic's jumpers came from at least 25 feet with no defender in his face.

Dallas led by as many as 18 points in the fourth quarter and coasted home.

Seth Curry added 19 points off the bench for the Mavericks, and Tim Hardaway Jr. and Maxi Kleber each had 12.

Brandon Ingram scored 24 points and Jrue Holiday had 18 for New Orleans, which lost its sixth consecutive game.

 

Magic 127, Wizards 120

Washington (AP) — Evan Fournier scored 31 points, D.J. Augustin added 16 of his 24 in the fourth quarter and Orlando beat Washington.

Bradley Beal scored 42 points for the Wizards, who have lost five of six.

Markelle Fultz added a career-high 20 points for the Magic, who have won three of four after earning just their second road victory of the season.

Davis Bertans added 21 points and Isaiah Thomas scored 20 for Washington. The Wizards were without starting center Thomas Bryant, who was diagnosed with a stress reaction in his right foot Tuesday and will be re-evaluated in three weeks.

 

Pistons 127, Cavaliers 94

Cleveland (AP) — Blake Griffin scored 24 points, Andre Drummond had 17 points and 14 rebounds, and Detroit routed Cleveland to win consecutive games for the first time this season.

Griffin played just 24 minutes and was 8 of 13 from the field, including 6 of 7 from deep. Drummond played 31 minutes as Detroit's starters were on the bench for the fourth quarter.

Griffin scored 16 points in the first quarter with four 3-pointers. Detroit hit 10 3-pointers in the first half and built a 57-38 lead, a margin that steadily grew throughout the game and reached 35 in the fourth quarter.

Cleveland has lost 10 of 11. Collin Sexton scored 22 points, and Tristan Thompson had 10 points and 14 rebounds.


Seahawks take over 1st place in NFC West, beat Vikings 37-30

Minnesota Vikings' Kyle Rudolph reaches to catch a pass for a touchdown as Seattle Seahawks' K.J. Wright (50) reaches toward him during the second half of an NFL football game, Monday, Dec. 2, 2019, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Minnesota Vikings' Kyle Rudolph reaches to catch a pass for a touchdown as Seattle Seahawks' K.J. Wright (50) reaches toward him during the second half of an NFL football game, Monday, Dec. 2, 2019, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Tim Booth

Seattle (AP) — By the time the playoffs arrive, the Seattle Seahawks are going to feel just fine in a close, tight game.

Even when they're comfortably ahead, the Seahawks have a way of making the final minutes more than a little unnerving.

"Close games are cool, aren't they? I like them," Seattle coach Pete Carroll joked. "Maybe the 17 points was too much. Maybe we shouldn't have been ahead by that much."

Thanks to the combo of Rashaad Penny and Chris Carson, and one big strike from Russell Wilson, the Seahawks built a big second-half lead before holding off the Minnesota Vikings for a 37-30 win Monday night.

Penny scored one touchdown rushing and one receiving, and Wilson hit David Moore on a 60-yard touchdown pass as the Seahawks scored 24 straight points to take control before needing to hold on late as the Vikings tried to rally.

Seattle (10-2) moved into a tie with San Francisco atop of the NFC West but holds the tiebreaker. The Seahawks have the inside track to the division title with four games left.

"Just couldn't be more excited to have that kind of win and put us at 10 wins, that's a nice spot for this time," Carroll said. "We kick it into the fourth quarter and now it's finish time."

Minnesota (8-4) fell a game behind Green Bay in the NFC North and is only one game ahead of the Los Angeles Rams in the wild-card race. They lost star running back Dalvin Cook to a shoulder injury when he fumbled midway through the third quarter in what became a major turning point.

Cook said he believes he should be able to play next week and took responsibility for the fumble.

"Everybody acts like this is the end of the world, we lost one game tonight," Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer said. "We're 8-4 we have four games left, three division games. This isn't the end of the world, we still have a lot of good football left to play."

Wilson wasn't great, but he came up with key plays as Seattle won its fifth straight. He had a forgettable first-half moment trying to bat down a deflected pass only to watch Anthony Harris intercept the ball and return it for a touchdown. Wilson was 21 of 31 for 240 yards.

The key was the running of Penny and Chris Carson. Seattle rushed for 218 yards, the most allowed by Minnesota this season. Carson had 102, including a 1-yard TD. Penny added 74. The Vikings were giving up just 94 yards per game rushing.

"Our running game has been a staple of our offense. That's our foundation and both of those guys are amazing backs. They're really coming on," Seattle offensive lineman Duane Brown said.

Minnesota quarterback Kirk Cousins was 22 of 38 for 276 yards but couldn't connect with Irv Smith Jr. on fourth-and-3 at the Vikings 42 with 2:31 left. Jason Myers' 36-yard field goal with 21 seconds left provided the final margin for Seattle.

"I think we have a football team that can go on the road in a tough environment and get a win. I think this is an opportunity we missed. It's disappointing," Cousins said.

It was a wild second half featuring 40 combined points and four key turnovers — three by Minnesota.

Seattle pulled even at 17 on Penny's 1-yard TD run. On Minnesota's first play of the next possession, Cook was stripped by Rasheem Green, and Bradley McDougald recovered. It was the first of two critical turnovers that led to 10 points for Seattle.

The Seahawks were held to a field goal following Cook's fumble but took a 27-17 lead on their next possession when Moore ran free through the Vikings secondary and Wilson hit him in stride. Minnesota cornerback Xavier Rhodes appeared to think he had safety help over the top, but no one was there as Moore sprinted for his second TD catch of the season on the next-to-last play of the third quarter.

The first play of the fourth quarter was forgettable for the Vikings as well. Cousins' pass for Stefon Diggs was intercepted by Tre Flowers, who may have gotten away with pass interference, but deflected the pass and made a juggling interception at the Minnesota 25. Three plays later, Wilson found Penny on a screen pass and Seattle had a 17-point lead.

Minnesota's rally started with Seattle's own blown coverage as Cousins hit Laquon Treadwell for a 58-yard TD. Seattle seemed poised to add on, helped by a fake punt that Travis Homer took for 29 yards, but DK Metcalf fumbled and the Vikings recovered at their 28 with 9:34 left.

It took barely 2 minutes for Minnesota to pull within 34-30 as Cousins connected with Kyle Rudolph for a 3-yard touchdown and another brilliant one-handed catch by the Vikings' tight end. But that was as close as Minnesota would get.

"We're in control and that's a great thing. We like having that," Wilson said.

Up next:

Vikings: Return home to host Detroit on Sunday.

Seahawks: Travel to Los Angeles to face the Rams on Sunday night.


New Zealand draws 2nd test vs. England, wins series 1-0

New Zealand's Kane Williamson bats during play on the final day of the second cricket test between England and New Zealand at Seddon Park in Hamilton, New Zealand, Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

 New Zealand players pose for a team photo with the trophy following play on the final day of the second cricket test between England and New Zealand at Seddon Park in Hamilton, New Zealand, Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019. New Zealand won the series one nil after rain ended the game early. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

Hamilton, New Zealand (AP) — Kane Williamson posted his 21st test century and Ross Taylor his 19th in a record partnership which ensured New Zealand drew the second cricket test against England and secured a 1-0 win in the two-match series.

New Zealand's most successful test batting stymied the tourists attack until shortly after lunch Tuesday when rain began to fall and washed out the last two sessions.

By that stage Williamson, who was 104 not out, and Taylor, 105 not out, likely had already done enough to save the match. Their unbroken 213-run partnership — New Zealand's best for the third wicket against England — had steered the home team to 241-2, a lead of 140 after it had started its second innings 101 runs behind England.

Both reached their centuries in the short passage of play — about 17 minutes — between lunch and the rain.

Williamson brought up his from 230 balls in just over five hours and with 11 boundaries.

Taylor did so, more spectacularly, with a six off the bowling of England captain Joe Root, from 184 balls, in 274 minutes with 11 fours and two sixes. At 83 he became, in his 96th test, only the second New Zealander after Stephen Fleming (7,172) to surpass 7,000 runs in tests.

"It was a great fighting effort over the last couple of weeks," Williamson said. "We know what a great unit the England side is and to lose both tosses and show that fight that we demand of ourselves as a unit was really pleasing."

Root must have known at the start of the day that his team's chances of achieving a win to tie the series was slight at best. New Zealand was already 96-2, just six runs behind, and the real threat of rain that hung over the day meant time wasn't on his side.

England needed early wickets and a vital break through literally slipped through its hands when Joe Denly dropped Williamson from the bowling of Jofra Archer when the New Zealand captain was 64 and the score was 154, a lead of 53.

Williamson ballooned a catch to Denly at short mid-wicket, probably the easiest chance he will ever receive, and the fieldsman had two grabs at the ball before putting it down.

As Taylor and Williamson ground on relentlessly through the lunch break and as storm clouds crept up on Seddon Park, Root saw his team's chances dissolve.

"It was a shame about the rain today," Root said. "It was a shame about losing sessions earlier in the match. We felt if we didn't lose those the pitch might deteriorate slightly quicker and might have done a little more for us coming into this last day."

Root had done everything in his power to give his team a winning chance. His 226 in England's only innings, his third double-century in tests and his first as captain, lifted his team, along with Rory Burns' 101 and Ollie Pope's 75, to 476 in reply to New Zealand's 375.

With New Zealand 28-2 in its second innings late on the fourth day, Root must have felt some confidence in England's chances.

But Williamson and Taylor stood in his way and proved an impassable roadblock.

England now heads to South Africa for a challenging four-test series. With its performance in Hamilton its confidence will be higher than after its first test defeat which came hard on the heels of is Ashes defeat at home.

"I think we've learned a lot as a group," Root said. "We learned about people in these conditions, how they go about different situations, how they react to it and what their characters are.

"There's been a lot of information and we need to take that forward, carry the lessons we learned here into South Africa."

New Zealand also will take some confidence into its impending three-test series against Australia, though it meets an Australian team in exceptional form after its recent 2-0 series win over Pakistan.

The New Zealanders have no warm-up games before their first test against Australia, a day-night match at Perth, starting Dec. 12 and have to overcome the fact that none of its current 15-strong squad has played a test in Perth, Melbourne or Sydney.


Hawks top Warriors in matchup of teams with worst records

Atlanta Hawks guard DeAndre' Bembry (95) shoots as Golden State Warriors forward Kevon Looney (5) defends in the first half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Dec. 2, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Associated Press

Atlanta (AP) — Trae Young scored 24 points, rookie De'Andre Hunter added 18 and the Atlanta Hawks snapped a 10-game losing streak with a 104-79 win over the Golden State Warriors on Monday night in a matchup of teams with the worst records in the NBA.

The Warriors (4-18) finished with a season low in points (4-18). It was the lowest point total allowed by the Hawks (5-16).

Golden State dressed just nine players, even with center Kevon Looney returning to action after missing 19 games with a nerve condition.

Rookie Eric Paschall led Golden State with 24 points, but his teammates combined to shoot 24 of 72, and the Warriors were slowed by 25 turnovers, which the Hawks converted into 25 points. The Warriors were missing Draymond Green, DeAngelo Russell and Stephen Curry, among others.

Hunter scored 13 of his 18 points in the first half. He left the game midway through the fourth quarter with what appeared to be a wrist injury.

 

76ers 103, Jazz 94

Philadelphia (AP) — Tobias Harris scored 26 points and Philadelphia beat Utah for its eighth win in nine games and 10th straight at home.

Al Horford had five baskets in the first quarter for 12 of his 17 points. James Ennis III finished with eight points.

Rudy Gobert scored 27 points for the Jazz, who trailed by 40 points to Toronto a night earlier and faced an 18-point deficit against Philadelphia at the break.

Philadelphia's Joel Embiid had another off night, scoring 16 points on 5-for-13 shooting.

 

Suns 109, Hornets 104

Charlotte, N.C. (AP) — Kelly Oubre Jr. scored 23 points, including two clutch 3-pointers in the final minute that lifted Phoenix over Charlotte.

Devin Booker added 23 points and Dario Saric had 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Suns, who snapped a three-game skid.

Marvin Williams led the Hornets with a season-high 22 points and Devonte Graham had 15 points and 12 assists.

The Suns led by 20 at the break, but squandered that lead and trailed by five in the final minute. That's when Oubre knocked down back-to-back 3s to put the Suns ahead with 19.8 seconds left.

 

Bucks 132, Knicks 88

Milwaukee (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo needed only 14 minutes to record another double-double, finishing with 29 points and 15 rebounds as Milwaukee won its 12th straight game.

The Bucks (18-3) led by as many as 47 and cruised behind Antetokounmpo.

The reigning MVP shot 10 of 14 from the field, including 3 of 4 from 3-point range, while playing 22 minutes.

Milwaukee's winning streak is the longest in the NBA this season and the franchise's longest since the 1981-82 season.

D.J. Wilson added a career-high 19 points, Khris Middleton had 16 and George Hill 14 for the Bucks, who improved to 9-1 at home.

Julius Randle paced New York with 19 points and Damyean Dotson had 15.

 

Pacers 117, Grizzlies 104

Memphis, Tenn. (AP) — Malcolm Brogdon scored 19 points, Domantas Sabonis added 18 and Indiana beat depleted Memphis.

Seven players scored in double figures for the balanced Pacers, including Myles Turner with 17 points. Jeremy Lamb and Justin Holiday had 15 apiece, with Holiday missing only one of his six 3-point attempts.

Jaren Jackson Jr. led Memphis with a season-high 31 points. Solomon Hill moved into the starting lineup and added 22, also a season best. Dillon Brooks finished with 19 on 7-of-16 shooting.

The Grizzlies were short-handed as five players — all key parts of the rotation — sat out with various ailments. That left reserves to try and play with any kind of rhythm.

 

Bulls 113, Kings 106

Sacramento, Calif. (AP) — Zach LaVine scored 28 points and made four free throws in the final 11 seconds, and Chicago overcame a sloppy fourth quarter to beat Sacramento.

Lauri Markkanen had 20 points and seven rebounds, Wendell Carter added 10 points and 10 rebounds, and Tomas Satoransky scored 14 points as Chicago snapped a three-game losing streak.

Buddy Hield finished with 26 points for Sacramento. Richaun Holmes added 20 points and nine rebounds.


Allen gets shutout, Blues blank short-handed Blackhawks 4-0

St. Louis Blues' Mackenzie MacEachern (28) watches his shot score past Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford as Calvin de Haan watches during the first period of an NHL hockey game Monday, Dec. 2, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Associated Press

Chicago (AP) — Jake Allen made 38 saves, Brayden Schenn scored his team-leading 14th goal and the St. Louis Blues beat the short-handed Chicago Blackhawks 4-0 on Monday night for their fourth consecutive victory.

Jaden Schwartz, Tyler Bozak and Mackenzie MacEachern also scored for St. Louis, which improved to 13-3-3 since star forward Vladimir Tarasenko was sidelined by a left shoulder injury that required surgery.

It was Allen's first shutout of the season and No. 20 for his career, matching Jaroslav Halak for second on the franchise list. Brian Elliott leads the way with 25.

Chicago lost for the sixth time in seven games since a four-game win streak.

The last-place Blackhawks played a man short because of injuries and the salary cap, going with 11 forwards and six defensemen.

 

Islanders 4, Red Wings 1

Detroit (AP) — Jordan Eberle scored two goals and Semyon Varlamov made 30 saves as New York handed Detroit its 10th straight defeat.

Anders Lee and Anthony Beauvillier also scored for the Islanders, who were outshot 31-25 but never trailed.

Dylan Larkin had the only goal for the Red Wings.

 

Golden Knights 4, Rangers 1

New York (AP) — Alex Tuch scored twice in the first four minutes and Vegas went on to a win over New York.

Reilly Smith and Max Pacioretty also scored to help the Golden Knights get their first three-game winning streak of the season. Malcolm Subban stopped 29 shots as Vegas improved to 5-2-1 after a season-high five-game skid (0-4-1).

Brendan Lemieux scored and Henrik Lundqvist finished with 28 saves for the Rangers, who were 4-0-1 in their previous five games.

The Rangers went 0 for 6 on the power play against a Vegas team that came in tied for fifth in penalty-killing.

Subban got the start while Marc-Andre Fleury is away from the team following his father's death.

 

Sabres 7, Devils 1

Buffalo, N.Y. (AP) — Jack Eichel had a goal and two assists, and Buffalo used a five-goal first period to beat New Jersey.

Eichel scored 2:46 into the game, and Conor Sheary scored twice during the first 20 minutes. Jeff Skinner and Rasmus Asplund also had goals in the first, and Victor Olofsson and Henri Jokiharju scored in the second. Linus Ullmark made 44 saves for the Sabres.

Louis Domingue was pulled after allowing five goals on 15 shots. He was replaced by Mackenzie Blackwood, who made 15 saves.

The Sabres blew out New Jersey while celebrating the 50th anniversary of the birth of the franchise. Buffalo was awarded an expansion team on Dec. 2, 1969.

 

Ducks 4, Kings 2

Anaheim, Calif. (AP) — Derek Grant scored two goals, Ryan Miller made 34 saves and Anaheim beat Los Angeles in the first Freeway Faceoff rivalry game of the season.

Jakob Silfverberg scored his team-leading 10th goal, Hampus Lindholm had three assists, and Carter Rowney had a goal and an assist as the Ducks won for just the third time in 13 games.

Anaheim hung on through a tense third period with a few big saves from Miller, who filled in for the ailing John Gibson, before Grant scored an empty-net goal from center ice with 38 seconds left.

Kurtis MacDermid and rookie Nikolai Prokhorkin scored for the last-place Kings, who have lost four of six after a previous run of solid play. Jack Campbell stopped 16 shots.


Leicester late winner vs Everton; Ljungberg starts with draw

Associated Press

London (AP) — Leicester continued another improbable Premier League title run with a last-gasp 2-1 win over Everton on Sunday, while Arsenal great Freddie Ljungberg couldn't end the Gunners' winless streak in his first game as interim manager.

Kelechi Iheanacho's 94th-minute winner completed a comeback victory for second-place Leicester, which is eight points off league leader Liverpool and three ahead of Manchester City.

Leicester fans got another boost as manager Brendan Rodgers appeared to brush off speculation linking him to the vacant Arsenal job.

"Yes, very much so," he told BBC radio when asked if he wanted to stay. "I'm at a great club. I absolutely love it here."

Earlier, Ljungberg got off to a rocky start as a double from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang salvaged a 2-2 draw for Arsenal at Norwich.

Arsenal's first game since the firing of Unai Emery as coach extended its winless run to an eighth match in all competitions.

Manchester United is another big club struggling this season, and that continued in a home 2-2 draw with Aston Villa.

 

Foxes on prowl

 

 Leicester City players celebrate after Leicester's Kelechi Iheanacho scoring his side's second goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Leicester City and Everton at the King Power Stadium in Leicester, England, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)

Leicester didn't play like title contenders for most of its game against Everton, but got the result when it mattered.

Everton led until the 68th minute thanks to Richarlison's goal, before Jamie Vardy — part of Leicester's 2016 title-winning team — leveled for the hosts with help from Iheanacho.

Iheanacho scored deep into added time off a pass by Ricardo Pereira. Offside was given, but the video assistant referee system allowed the goal.

"I've been waiting for this opportunity and I knew one day it was going to come so I've been working hard in training every day to make sure I keep up to this standard," Iheanacho said. "So I'm happy today - getting a goal and assisting Jamie."

 

Winless Arsenal

Instead of a morale-boosting win over a team second from last in the Premier League, Arsenal had to come from behind twice just to draw.

Norwich snatched the lead in the 21st minute with Teemu Pukki's deflected shot.

Arsenal seemed to have wasted a chance to level when Aubameyang's penalty — awarded for handball by Norwich's Christoph Zimmermann — was saved by Tim Krul. But VAR caught Max Aarons encroaching on the penalty area as the kick was taken, and Aubameyang scored at the second attempt.

Arsenal went into the interval 2-1 down when Todd Cantwell scored in first-half stoppage time off a pass from Onel Hernandez. Cantwell has made a habit of scoring against bigger clubs, with three of his four Premier League goals this season coming against Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City.

Aubameyang leveled the game for a second time when he scored on a rebound in the 57th. Norwich nearly took the lead again soon after but Cantwell hit the post.

 

United underwhelms

 

Manchester United's Juan Mata, right, in action during the English Premier League soccer match against Aston Villa at Old Trafford, Manchester, England, Sunday Dec. 1, 2019. (Martin Rickett/PA via AP) 

Even by the standards of recent Manchester United seasons, this one is looking disappointing.

United failed to find a cutting edge in its draw with Aston Villa, whose defender Tyrone Mings played a vital role with a goal.

Villa also displayed a style United lacked, typified by Jack Grealish's excellent top-corner finish for the opening goal and Mings' volley to make it 2-2.

United's first goal was a header from Marcus Rashford that went in off the post and goalkeeper Tom Heaton, who was unfortunate to be credited with the own goal.

United is ninth and has won just two of its last nine games in the Premier League.

"We have had the lead in so many games and we haven't been able to win those games. Six or seven times we've been 1-0 up, or 2-1 or 3-2 like last week," was United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's verdict.

"We should be better at seeing those games into wins."

 

Wolves draw

Lys Mousset continued his run of good form with his fourth goal in six Premier League games but it wasn't enough to give Sheffield United the win in a 1-1 draw at Wolverhampton Wanderers.

French forward Mousset needed just two minutes to score from a cross by George Baldock, but Wolves leveled through Matt Doherty in the 64th.

Wolves are unbeaten in six games in all competitions and nine in the Premier League, while Sheffield United hasn't lost in seven games in all competitions and remains unbeaten on the road. Both teams have impressed this season with sixth-place Wolves immediately above Sheffield United.

 

 Sheffield United's Jack O'Connell, left, and Wolverhampton Wanderers's Raul Jimenez battle for the ball during the English Premier League soccer match at Molineux, Wolverhampton, England, Sunday Dec. 1, 2019. (Bradley Collyer/PA via AP)


Hamilton seals easy 11th victory of F1 championship season

Jerome Pugmire

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (AP) — World champion Lewis Hamilton's 11th victory of another dominant season proved so easy that the driver who finished way back in second place at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix joked that he should have eased up a bit.

Hamilton's 84th career win saw him finishing around 17 seconds clear of Max Verstappen. The Red Bull driver had started from second place behind Hamilton.

"I wasn't expecting to have the pace advantage to that extent," Hamilton said.

After Hamilton pulled clear from pole, he was five seconds ahead within 10 laps and Verstappen never got remotely close to catching his Mercedes in a season-finale resembling more of a coronation procession for the six-time Formula One champion.

"I do wish we had some battles," Hamilton said to Verstappen, sitting alongside him in the post-race news conference.

"You could have slowed down," Verstappen joked, after his ninth podium of the season saw him consolidate third place in the standings behind the Mercedes pair of Valtteri Bottas and Hamilton.

 

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain celebrates on the podium after wining the Emirates Formula One Grand Prix, at the Yas Marina racetrack in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Sunday, Dec.1, 2019. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

Although Verstappen had reliability issues approaching the midway point of the 55-lap race, the 22-year-old Dutchman conceded it had little impact on who won.

"We drove around the problem," he said. "But it wouldn't have made any difference today (in terms) of winning the race."

Hamilton is now just seven wins behind seven-time F1 champion Michael Schumacher's all-time record of 91, and could realistically overtake the F1 great next season.

After clinching a record-extending 88th career pole, Hamilton won on the Yas Marina circuit for the fifth time in his career— four with Mercedes and once when driving for McLaren in 2011.

This was the opposite of the season-ending thriller in 2016, when former Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg beat Hamilton to the title in dramatic fashion.

The fans watching as the sky darkened and the floodlights flickered on saw no overtaking, except for Verstappen's clean move on Charles Leclerc's Ferrari on Lap 33. It was typical Verstappen, already a young master at overtaking and arguably the best in F1.

Leclerc finished third for a 10th podium in a strong first season with Ferrari, which included an F1-leading seven poles — two more than Hamilton and Bottas — and two wins.

However, Ferrari was summoned for a post-race investigation because there was a difference between the amount of fuel in the car declared by the team and the amount inside the car.

Ferrari was found to have inaccurately declared the amount and fined 50,000 euros ($55,000), but no action was taken against Leclerc.

Leclerc only just held off Bottas, who climbed 16 places to fourth after starting last.

Sebastian Vettel started fourth and finished fifth in a disappointing end to a season where the four-time F1 champion won only once — in Singapore — out of 21 races.

Hamilton finished with 413 points with Bottas on 326, followed by Verstappen (278), Leclerc (264) and Vettel (240).

After Hamilton's clean getaway, Verstappen was overtaken by Leclerc and just held off Vettel on the first lap, which saw Pierre Gasly's Toro Rosso sandwiched between both Racing Point cars and forced to pit for a new front wing.

Ferrari pitted both drivers for new tires on the 13th lap, but while Leclerc's tire switch was relatively good, Vettel's took several seconds too long because the mechanics struggled to fit his front left tire on.

It was the latest basic mistake from Ferrari in yet another season marred by errors following similar blunders in the past two seasons.

Ferrari replaced Maurizio Arrivabene with Mattia Binotto as team principal, but Binotto has not managed to stem the flow of mistakes.

Leclerc finished fourth in the standings and Vettel was a lowly fifth.

"We didn't have the year we were hoping for, full stop. The reasons are clear, the lessons are clear and it's up to us to take them on board," said Vettel. "As a team we must perform stronger, and as an individual I can do better."

Although dull, Sunday's race underlined the superiority shown by Hamilton for much of the year.

When he pitted about halfway through the race, such was his comfort zone that he still came out six seconds clear of Leclerc, while an anxious Verstappen complained about engine, braking and throttle issues.

Still, the audacious Dutchman found some extra speed to overtake Leclerc and assuredly held the Monegasque driver off as he tried to overtake him back down the right.

Ferrari pitted both drivers simultaneously again on Lap 39, and this time the tire changes were both fairly smooth.

Leclerc finished a massive 43 seconds behind Hamilton but had built up just enough of a lead to hold off Bottas by .9 seconds.

"Valtteri was very quick towards the end," Leclerc said. "I was pretty worried at one point."

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain leads on Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc of Monaco during the Emirates Formula One Grand Prix, at the Yas Marina racetrack in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Sunday, Dec.1, 2019. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)


Jackson, Ravens beat 49ers 20-17 to extend win streak to 8

David Ginsburg

Baltimore (AP) — Neither rain, wind nor the San Francisco 49ers' top-ranked defense could prevent Lamar Jackson from guiding the Baltimore Ravens to their franchise-record eighth straight win.

Jackson weathered miserable conditions to run for 101 yards and Justin Tucker kicked a tiebreaking 49-yard field goal as time expired to give the Ravens a 20-17 victory Sunday in a possible Super Bowl preview.

The combination of driving rain, a stiff wind and San Francisco's rugged defense was difficult for Jackson to handle. He completed only 14 of 23 passes for 105 yards and lost a fumble.

Asked afterward to describe the weather, Jackson bowed his head, lifted it slowly and peeked over the podium to declare, "Horrible."

Certainly, not the kind of weather that benefited the passing game.

"Oh, man. I was throwing passes behind my receivers. It was ticking me off," Jackson said. "A lot of passes getting away from me. The weather, it messed with me a lot."

 

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) flips after being tripped by San Francisco 49ers cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon (23) in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019, in Baltimore, Md. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

But the double-threat quarterback was solid when it counted. Not only did Jackson fuel the NFL's top-ranked rushing attack, but he directed a clutch drive that lasted nearly 6½ minutes before Tucker ended it with a kick that tore through the raindrops and between the uprights.

Jackson knew that after he had done his job, Tucker would do his part.

"That golden leg. I got all the faith in him," Jackson said. "I'm on the sideline praying, but at the same time I know Tucker can do it."

Tucker, the most accurate field goal kicker in NFL history, now has 15 game-winners over an eight-year career.

"That's the guy you want in that situation," coach John Harbaugh said.

Baltimore (10-2) improved to 16-3 with Jackson as a starter and 12-0 when he rushes for at least 70 yards. In addition, Jackson became the first quarterback in NFL history to have four 100-yard rushing games in a season.

Raheem Mostert ran for a career-high 146 yards and a touchdown for the 49ers (10-2), now tied with New Orleans for the best record in the NFC.

"We had every chance to win that game. Came up a little bit short there at the end," coach Kyle Shanahan said. "Credit to them. Hopefully, we can earn an opportunity to maybe get the chance to play them some other time again."

Jimmy Garoppolo went 15 of 21 for 165 yards for San Francisco. 

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo looks to pass the ball during the first half of an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019, in Baltimore, Md. (AP Photo/Gail Burton) 

Jackson lost a fumble for the first time this season when Marcell Harris yanked the wet ball from his grasp at the San Francisco 20 in the third quarter.

The 49ers subsequently got a game-tying 32-yard field goal from Robbie Gould, who missed the previous three games with a quad injury.

In the fourth quarter, both teams failed to convert on fourth down before the Ravens faced a fourth-and-1 from their 44 with 4:39 left. Jackson ran off right guard for 3 yards to extend the drive.

A 12-yard pass to tight end Mark Andrews gave Baltimore a first down at the San Francisco 39, and the Ravens soon summoned Tucker to end it.

Mostert ran for 89 yards before halftime — surpassing his previous career high in a game — but Gould missed a 51-yard field-goal attempt as time expired in a second quarter that ended with the Ravens ahead 17-14.

A 33-yard touchdown pass from Garoppolo to Deebo Samuel concluded San Francisco's first drive and made the 49ers the first team to score in the first quarter against Baltimore since the Bengals on Oct. 13.

It was also the first time the Ravens trailed since the second quarter of their game at Seattle on Oct. 20.

Baltimore tied it with a 20-yard pass from Jackson to Andrews after Garoppolo lost the ball while being sacked. It was the Ravens' 48th touchdown of the season, breaking the franchise mark set by the 2009 team.

Jackson scored on a 1-yard run before the 49ers pulled even on Mostert's 40-yard sprint to the end zone.

But San Francisco managed only 119 yards and three points after halftime.

"On offense, we were beating ourselves," Mostert insisted. "It's not like they were beating us down. … We just got to keep our heads up."

Up Next

San Francisco faces New Orleans on the road, the 49ers' third straight game against a first-place team.

Baltimore travels to Buffalo for a matchup with the Bills, who beat Dallas on Thanksgiving and have the inside track on an AFC wild-card berth with a 9-3 record.


Backes, Pastrnak lead Bruins past Canadiens 3-1

Associated Press

Boston (AP) — David Backes scored the deciding goal in his first game in nearly a month, David Pastrnak added his league-leading 25th goal, and the Boston Bruins won their seventh straight game, beating the Montreal Canadiens 3-1 Sunday night.

Backes' first goal of the season came off a feed from David Krejci through the right circle, with 9:31 remaining in the third period.

Boston Bruins' David Pastrnak goes around Montreal Canadiens defenseman Shea Weber during the second period of an NHL hockey game Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019, in Boston. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson) 

Backes was in the lineup for the first time since being injured during a scary collision with Ottawa's Scott Sabourin on Nov. 2.

Jake DeBrusk added his sixth goal of the year on a give-and-go with Charlie Coyle two minutes later.

Tuukka Rask made 28 saves for the Bruins.

Boston extended its point streak to 11 games (8-0-3) and entered the third month of the season as the only team without a home regulation loss (11-0-4).

Joel Armia scored, and Carey Price had 31 saves for Montreal. The Canadiens extended their season-high losing streak to eight (0-5-3).

 

Wild 3, Stars 2, SO

St. Paul, Minn. (AP) — Mikko Koivu scored the shootout winner in his 1,000th career game and reached 700th career points with a second-period assist in Minnesota's win over Dallas.

Koivu, playing his 15th season with the Wild, beat Ben Bishop with his trademark move, a backhand over the goalie's left shoulder. Then Alex Stalock, who made 26 saves, stuffed Corey Perry to seal the victory.

Kevin Fiala had a goal and an assist and Zach Parise also scored for the Wild. Both also scored in the first three rounds of the shootout, but Joe Pavelski and Tyler Seguin countered for Dallas.

Blake Comeau and John Klingberg scored for Dallas and Bishop stopped 27 shots. The Stars have lost three in a row after a 14-1-1 run.

 

Oilers 3, Canucks 2

Vancouver, British Columbia (AP) — Leon Draisaitl scored two power-play goals and Edmonton snapped a two-game losing streak with a win over Vancouver.

Josh Archibald also scored for the Oilers (17-9-3). Connor McDavid and Alex Chiasson each had two assists. Mikko Koskinen stopped 30 shots.

Josh Leivo and Brock Boeser scored the Canucks (13-11-4), who are 3-3-0 in their last six games.

Goaltender Jacob Markstrom, making his first back-to-back start of the season, stopped 26 shots for Vancouver.


Liverpool opens up 11-point lead over Man City in EPL

Steve Douglas, AP

Liverpool's march to a first English league championship in 30 years is turning into a procession.

Manchester City certainly looks in no state to stop it happening.

The gap between the two main title contenders in the Premier League grew to a remarkable 11 points on Saturday, with a match-winning performance by Liverpool's commanding center back, Virgil van Dijk, highlighting the difference between the teams.

Hours after City's shaky defense conceded an 88th-minute equalizer in a 2-2 draw at Newcastle, Van Dijk ventured forward to power home two headed goals from set-pieces and lead Liverpool to a 2-1 win over Brighton at Anfield.

Liverpool finished the match with 10 men after goalkeeper Alisson Becker was sent off in the 76th for handball outside the area, from which Brighton scored its goal at a free kick.

If third-placed Leicester, which was tied on points with Man City, fails to beat Everton on Sunday, Liverpool will own a double-figure lead after just 14 of the 38 rounds.

 Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk celebrates after scoring during the English Premier League soccer match between Liverpool and Brighton at Anfield Stadium, Liverpool, England, Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019. (AP Photo/Jon Super)

"We don't think about these things," Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said. "It was just to win this game."

Even with their recent history of agonizing misses in Premier League title races, the Reds would be hard-pushed to mess this one up — especially with their class of 2019-20 still unbeaten and having dropped only two points all season.

Kevin De Bruyne's rasping strike that flew in off the crossbar gave City a 2-1 lead at Newcastle in the 82nd but it proved to be in vain as Jonjo Shelvey, a former Liverpool player, equalized after makeshift City center back Fernandinho conceded a sloppy free kick.

How City, deprived of star center back Aymeric Laporte because of a long-term knee injury, would love a defender like Van Dijk to shore up its creaky backline that's also missing Vincent Kompany after the long-time captain's departure at the end of last season.

"To concede the goals we did today was frustrating," City defender John Stones said. "It's something that is hard for me to explain."

City failed to win at St. James' Park for the second straight season. Pep Guardiola's side lost 2-1 in January, which sparked a 14-match winning run that took City to the title — a point ahead of Liverpool.

City might have to go unbeaten for the rest of this season to even get close to threatening Liverpool this time round.

Mourinho wins again

It's three straight wins for Jose Mourinho as Tottenham manager — and much of that is down to Dele Alli.

The midfielder has been revitalized since Mourinho replaced Mauricio Pochettino last week, playing in a more attacking role close to striker Harry Kane. He starred in the 3-2 win at West Ham in Mourinho's first game in charge, scored the goal that started Spurs' recovery from 2-0 down in the 4-2 win over Olympiakos in the Champions League, and on Saturday scored twice in a 3-2 win over Bournemouth.

"He plays in a position where he feels happy and comfortable," Mourinho said of Alli. "We give him space for his creativity which he always has."

Alli scored the opening two goals before Moussa Sissoko volleyed in a third.

Harry Wilson netted twice late on but Spurs held on for a win that lifted them to fifth place, having been in 14th place when Mourinho took over.

The Champions League qualification positions are suddenly in sight for Tottenham after a surprise loss for Chelsea.

Dream debut

 West Ham's Aaron Cresswell celebrates scoring West Hams first goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Chelsea and West Ham at Stamford Bridge Stadium in Lonodn, England, in London, England, Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019. (AP Photo/Leila Coker)

Knowing he was in line to make his Premier League debut at age 33 for the club where his father was a great, David Martin struggled to eat for the past two days.

Martin didn't show any nerves in goal for West Ham on Saturday, keeping a clean sheet as the team upset London rival Chelsea in a 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge.

Aaron Cresswell scored West Ham's winner in the 47th to leave fourth-placed Chelsea six points ahead of Tottenham.

Martin, whose father Alvin played 20 straight years for West Ham from 1976, replaced Roberto after a series of woeful performances by the Spanish goalkeeper, and said he was just glad "I didn't let anyone down."

The victory ended West Ham's streak of eight matches without a win in all competitions, stretching back more than two months.

Wins for Palace, Southampton

Wilfried Zaha scored for the second straight game as Crystal Palace won at Burnley 2-0 to climb into the top half.

Southampton rallied to beat Watford 2-1 at home and move four points clear of the last-place visitor in a match between teams in the relegation zone. James Ward-Prowse curled in the 83rd-minute winner from a free kick.


England 269-5 at stumps on day 3, 2nd tests vs. New Zealand

England's Joe Root hits the ball past New Zealand's Tom Latham during play on day three of the second cricket test between England and New Zealand at Seddon Park in Hamilton, New Zealand, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

New Zealand's Kane Williamson is airborne as he throws the ball at the stumps during play on day three of the second cricket test between England and New Zealand at Seddon Park in Hamilton, New Zealand, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

Hamilton, New Zealand (AP) — With a streaky shot England captain Joe Root brought up his first test century in more than nine months Sunday, just when it was most needed on the third day of the second test against New Zealand.

When stumps were drawn due to rain 10 minutes before scheduled stumps, Root was 114 not out and England was 269-5, still trailing New Zealand by 106 runs on the first innings. Ollie Pope was four not out.

Root's broad grin when he reached his milestone — his 17th test century — showed his mixed relief and elation that his inside edge from the bowling of Neil Wagner missed the stumps and broke his long drought after a day of hard labor on his team's behalf.

Runs haven't come easily for Root since his last century, 122 against the West Indies at Gros Inlet in February. In his 14 innings since, encompassing the home Ashes series against Australia, Root has made four half-centuries and three ducks and has averaged 26.5.

He has seen his average as England captain drop below 40 and has fallen out of the top 10 of the batting world rankings for the first time since 2014.

Root made two and 11 in the first test against New Zealand at Mount Maunganui where England was mauled by an innings and 65 runs. On Sunday, by sheer force of will, the England captain battled his way back into form just as his team needed him most.

Needing to win the match to share the two-test series, England started the third day in a desperate position at 39-2 in reply to New Zealand's first innings of 375.

With the support of opener Rory Burns, who posted his second test century and was out immediately afterwards for 101 to a hairline run out call, Root put on 118 for the third wicket and gave backbone to England's reply.

Root started the day six not out, with Burns on 24, and batted throughout the day, sometimes fluently but mostly with care and watchfulness to protect his wicket and give his team a faint hope of winning the match and saving the series.

Burns reached his half-century from 97 balls, taking advantage of a docile pitch. He curbed the instinct to drive which caused him problems before stumps on the second day when he was dropped at slip on 11, then at mid-wicket on 20. Burns worked shorter balls into the on-side for boundaries while Root preferred to drive on the few occasions the New Zealand bowlers erred and gave him that option.

Root needed 145 balls and almost three hours to reach his fifty. He had a fright at 47 when he was given out caught by wicketkeeper B.J. Watling from the bowling of Daryl Mitchell but successfully challenged the decision and replays showed the ball missed the bat and grazed the pad.

Burns reached a tidy century from 208 balls, in 317 minutes with 15 fours. He had a reprieve at 87 when a New Zealand fielding error spared him from an almost certain run out.

He wasn't granted a second chance and was run out for 101 when he was beaten by Jeet Raval's throw from the outfield. Television umpire Bruce Oxenford from Australia needed several minutes and many replays to decide the stumps had been broken, a bail dislodged a split-second before Burns gained his ground.

"Obviously pleased to get a hundred, obviously I'd like to still be out there and obviously a disappointing end to it," Burns said. "I felt like I played very nicely today.

"I got my tempo back to how I wanted to bat and my rhythm to how I wanted to bat."

Root was stuck on 87 for several minutes then moved toward his century with authority. He went from 87 to 91 with a cover-driven four off Wagner, then 91 to 95 with a boundary off Tim Southee through third man. A further boundary took him to 99 before an inside edge off Wagner narrowly missed his off stumps and sped to the fine leg boundary for four.

Root lost two partners before stumps. Ben Stokes was out for 26, caught by Taylor off Southee, and Zak Crawley fell for one in his first test innings.


Hamilton says he's flattered by Ferrari's praise

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain steers his car during the qualifying session at the Yas Marina racetrack in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A laughing Lewis Hamilton did little to quash rumors of a potential move from Mercedes to Ferrari by acknowledging he was flattered by comments from the Italian team principal.

Mattia Binotto called the six-time world champion "an outstanding driver" on Friday and then added "knowing that he's available in 2021 can make us only happy."

Hamilton is one of several F1 drivers, including both current Ferrari drivers, whose contracts expire at the end of next year. This has only fueled speculation that there could be a significant shake-up ahead.

"I think it's the first compliment I've had from Ferrari in 13 years ... Thank you. I'll take it," Hamilton said, laughing, when responding to Binotto's open flattery. "It's taken all these years for them to recognize me. I'm grateful ... It's positive. I think it's never a waste of time to ever be nice to someone."

The 34-year-old British driver, who reportedly earns more than $50 million a year at Mercedes, was pressed further as to whether he would be interested in moving to the famed Italian team.

"(Ferrari is) a team I've always appreciated. To earn the respect from them is obviously very high up, is not a bad thing," Hamilton said after taking a record-extending 88th career pole position for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Saturday. "Who knows what the driver market's going to be doing over the next year? (But) if I'm really honest, I'm not really focused on that right at this second."

Binotto also said "honestly it's too early for any decision."

Hamilton added that Ferrari already has "two great drivers" in four-time F1 champion Sebastian Vettel and the highly promising 22-year-old Charles Leclerc.

But Vettel, who joined in 2015, has so far failed to deliver Ferrari its first drivers' title since Kimi Raikkonen in 2007 and the famed Prancing Horse team has not worn the constructors' crown since 2006.

By contrast, Mercedes has won six straight doubles since team principal Toto Wolff and Hamilton joined the Silver Arrows together in 2013 — an inspired move which has helped Hamilton add five F1 titles to his first with McLaren in 2008.

"I am totally relaxed about the situation," Wolff said when asked about the speculation linking his star driver to Ferrari. "I am absolutely open to everybody exploring options. If the relationship ends one day, I would be the first one to cheer (wish him luck)."

Wolff added that "conversations are going to begin" with Hamilton over a potential new contract, without giving details as to when.

He would not be drawn into whether Red Bull driver Max Verstappen — who has won three races this season and eight overall — would be a suitable replacement if Hamilton does join Ferrari.

"We will not embark on a potential fishing mission before Lewis and I have a discussion," Wolff said.

Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas, who has won four races and taken five pole positions this season, and the 22-year-old Verstappen are also yet to sign contracts beyond 2020.


Georgiev makes 33 saves, Rangers shut out Devils 4-0

New York Rangers goaltender Alexandar Georgiev, right, celebrates with teammates after defeating the New Jersey Devils 4-0 during an NHL hockey game Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Noah K. Murray)

Associated Press

Newark, N.J. (AP) — Alexandar Georgiev stopped 33 shots for his third career shutout, leading the surging New York Rangers to a 4-0 win over the short-handed New Jersey Devils on Saturday.

New York improved to 4-0-1 in its last five games. Mika Zibanejad had a goal and an assist, and Jesper Fast, Adam Fox and Brady Skjei also scored.

Georgiev had 11 saves in the first, 10 in the second and 12 in the third to get New York's first shutout of the season.

Mackenzie Blackwood had 19 saves for New Jersey, which went 0 for 8 on the power play while giving up two short-handed goals. It lost for the fourth time in six games.

 

Flyers 4, Canadiens 3, OT

Montreal (AP) — Ivan Provorov scored 31 seconds into overtime, and Philadelphia earned its fourth straight victory.

Oskar Lindblom, Kevin Hayes and Travis Konecny also scored for the Flyers (15-7-5), who were coming off a 6-1 win over Detroit on Friday. Brian Elliott made 39 saves.

The Canadiens (11-9-6) dropped their seventh consecutive game. Tomas Tatar had two goals, and Joel Armia also scored. Keith Kinkaid stopped 25 shots.

Provorov used a nifty move to get around Max Domi before beating Kinkaid for his sixth of the season.

 

Maple Leafs 2, Sabres 1, OT

Toronto (AP) — John Tavares scored at 1:45 of overtime and picked up his 400th NHL assist as Toronto split a home-andhome series with Buffalo.

Tavares' 10th goal of the season helped Toronto improve to 4-1-0 in its last five games. William Nylander also scored for the Maple Leafs (13-11-4). Frederik Andersen made 29 saves in victory.

Rasmus Ristolainen scored for Buffalo (12-10-5). Carter Hutton made 41 saves in defeat and fell to 0-5-3 in his last eight games.

The game marked the home-coaching debut for Sheldon Keefe. The former NHLer from Brampton was named head coach of the Maple Leafs on Nov. 20 after the team dismissed Mike Babcock.

 

Flames 3, Senators 1

Calgary, Alberta (AP) — Elias Lindholm scored the deciding goal late in the third period and added an empty-netter, leading Calgary past Ottawa.

New Flames coach Geoff Ward won for the second time in as many games. He was also a winner on Wednesday night, when Calgary beat Buffalo 3-2 in overtime.

Calgary head coach Bill Peters resigned on Friday amid allegations of racial slurs and physical abuse of players in previous jobs. Peters' resignation came after a lengthy process that included investigations by the Flames and the NHL.

Dillon Dube also scored for Calgary (13-12-4). The Flames improved to 3-0-1 in their last four games.

Jean-Gabriel Pageau had his team-leading 14th goal for Ottawa (11-15-1), which lost its fourth straight. David Rittich made 26 saves and improved to 12-7-4.

Marcus Hogberg had 24 saves for Ottawa in his first start of the season and the fifth of his career.

 

Hurricanes 3, Lightning 2

Tampa, Fla. (AP) — James Reimer made 36 saves, Sebastian Aho and Jaccob Slavin each had a goal and an assist, and Carolina beat Tampa Bay.

Carolina also got a goal from Jordan Martinook. Dougie Hamilton had two assists.

Brayden Point and Tyler Johnson scored for the Lightning, who have lost three straight (0-2-1). Curtis McElhinney stopped 21 shots.

 

Islanders 2, Blue Jackets 0

New York (AP) — Mathew Barzal had a goal and an assist, Semyon Varlamov got his second shutout of the season, and New York beat Columbus.

Anders Lee also scored to help the Islanders get a win in the return from an 0-2-1 California trip that ended their franchise-record 17-game point streak. Thomas Greiss started and made nine saves before leaving with 5:54 left in the first period. Varlamov came on and stopped all 30 shots he faced to earn his 27th career shutout.

Elvis Merzlikins finished with 25 saves as the 25-year-old Latvian fell to 0-3-3 in his rookie season for the Blue Jackets.

 

Panthers 3, Predators 0

Sunrise, Fla. (AP) — Chris Driedger posted a shutout in his first career start, Anton Stralman scored his first two goals of the season and Florida beat Nashville.

Driedger stopped 27 shots in his first appearance with Florida. The 25-year-old appeared in three games for Ottawa between 2014-17 but had never started in the NHL.

Aleksander Barkov added his eighth goal as the Panthers won for the first time in four games. It was the Predators' first loss in regulation in the past five games.

Juuse Saros stopped 24 shots for Nashville.

 

Capitals 5, Red Wings 2

Detroit (AP) — Alex Ovechkin completed a hat trick with two empty-net goals and Washington dealt Detroit its ninth straight loss.

Ovechkin reached 20 goals for the 15th consecutive season to start his career, a feat previously achieved by Marcel Dionne, Mike Gartner, Jaromir Jagr and Mats Sundin. The 34-year-old Ovechkin also had an assist.

T.J. Oshie had a goal and an assist, Tom Wilson also scored and Evgeny Kuznetsov had three assists for the Capitals. Ilya Samsonov stopped 25 shots.

Robby Fabbri and Luke Glendening scored for Detroit, which has been outscored 24-4 in its last five games. Jonathan Bernier made 29 saves.

 

Blues 4, Penguins 1

St. Louis (AP) — Justin Faulk and Nathan Walker each scored for the first time with the Blues, and St. Louis beat Pittsburgh.

Jaden Schwartz had a goal and an assist and Ivan Barbashev and Mackenzie MacEachern also scored for the Blues, who won their third straight game and have points in their last four. Jordan Binnington made 28 saves and improved to 13-4-4.

Sam Lafferty and Kris Letang scored for the Penguins, who lost their second straight game. Matt Murray, playing for the first time since Nov. 7, made 22 saves.

 

Sharks 4, Coyotes 2

Glendale, Ariz. (AP) — Logan Couture scored twice and San Jose got four unanswered goals to rally past Arizona for ITS 11th win in 13 games.

Couture bookended San Jose's comeback, starting it midway through the first period and completing it with an empty-netter. He has five goals and 14 points in his past 10 games.

Dylan Gambrell and Timo Meier also scored for San Jose.

The Sharks extended their NHL record by winning their 45th consecutive game in which they have allowed fewer than three goals. They broke the mark in a 4-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Friday.

Nick Schmaltz and Derek Stepan scored on the Coyotes' first two shots, but Martin Jones stymied the Coyotes the rest of the way. Jones made 21 saves while starting on back-to-back days for the first time this season.

 

Avalanche 7, Blackhawks 3

Denver (AP) — Mikko Rantanen had a goal and three assists in his return to Colorado's lineup after missing 16 games due to injury, and Nazem Kadri and Joonas Donskoi each scored twice in the win over Chicago.

Nathan MacKinnon added a goal and two assists and Tyson Jost also scored to help Colorado sweep the two-game set.

Robin Lehner had nine saves before being replaced by Corey Crawford, who didn't do much better.

Patrick Kane scored his 14th goal late in the third to extend his points streak to 15 games, the longest of the season in the NHL. Brandon Saab and Dominik Kubalik also scored. Crawford stopped 13 shots.

 

Kings 2, Jets 1

Los Angeles (AP) — Joakim Ryan and Nikolai Prokhorkin each scored and Los Angeles beat Winnipeg.

Jack Campbell made 33 saves for the Kings, who have won six of their past eight home games.

Jack Roslovic scored but the Jets were unable to pick up an 11th win in their record-setting November. Winnipeg went 10-3-1, the most wins this month in franchise history. Laurent Brossoit made 32 saves.

Dustin Brown got his fourth point in the past four games with an assist.

 

Canucks 5, Oilers 2

Edmonton, Alberta (AP) — Tanner Pearson recorded the first four-point game of his career, leading Vancouver over Edmonton.

Pearson had two goals and two assists, and Tyler Graovac, Loui Eriksson and Josh Leivo also scored for the Canucks. Bo Horvat also chipped in with three assists to help Vancouver snap its three-game losing streak.

Connor McDavid and Zack Kassian scored for Edmonton, which dropped its second straight.

Edmonton slipped to 16-9-3, and holds the Pacific Division lead. The Canucks are five points back at 13-10-4.

Jacob Markstrom (8-6-3) made 27 saves in the victory, while Mike Smith (7-7-1) turned aside 33 of 38 shots for Edmonton.
 


DAILY UPDATE

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