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In what could be the series finale, who will the Oilers and Avalanche turn to?

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The only redeeming feature to arise from Evander Kane’s one-game suspension for Edmonton Oilers fans is that they may get a look at top prospect Dylan Holloway tonight in Game 4. 

The six-foot-one, 203-pound speedster only took a brief morning skate before coming off the ice. Normally, the players not expected to play take a much longer morning workout on a game day. Winger Brad Malone — who saw his first playoff action in Game 3 — also looks to be back in the lineup. 

In typical Jay Woodcroft fashion, the head coach wouldn’t tip his hand on his lineup: “Philip Broberg is a good example of a young player that has a lot to offer and he’s healthy and available to us. Dylan Holloway is healthy and available to us,” Woodcroft said. “We’ve got a lot of great people to choose from. We’re going to make the right choice tonight.” 

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Holloway is Edmonton’s top forward prospect, and came on late in his first pro season to score eight goals and 14 assists in 33 games with AHL Bakersfield. He’s a lock to play in Edmonton next season, and with Kane out why not take a sneak peak at the 20-year-old left winger tonight?

Mike Smith starts in goal, as the Oilers do what every 0-3 team has ever done: “We have a Game 7 mindset now, right?” said Zach Hyman. 

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Fans and media may roll their eyes at the “take it one game at a time” quotes, but as Tyson Barrie said, “We’re the ones playing the game. You guys can roll your eyes all you want. 

“I’m going to go have my pre-game meal and prepare like we do for every game. You don’t play three in a row, you don’t play four in a row; it’s one at a time,” he said. “For us, it’s just a simple fact of what we’ve been doing all year. We’ll come prepared tonight to win one game and we know what we’re up against. If you look at the statistics, it’s bleak. But the only way to do it is how we’ve been doing it all year, and that’s one game at a time.”

As for the Colorado Avalanche, they’re looking to wrap up the series as quickly as possible and centre Darren Helm recognizes the significance of being a single victory away from returning to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in more than a decade.

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“I think you definitely are in the moment. You don’t take things for granted,” said Helm, who won the Stanley Cup with the Detroit Red Wings in 2008. “My first two years we went to the Final both times. So this is an exciting moment. I think everybody realizes what’s at stake and we’re excited.”

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Three games in, the injuries mount

The injuries are piling up in this series, with Avalanche star Nazem Kadri confirmed out for the rest of the round with a suspected broken right thumb, and Oilers forward Kailer Yamamoto (suspected concussion) ruled out of Game 4 after a hit from Gabriel Landeskog in Game 2.

Avs goalie Darcy Kuemper (upper-body) has missed most of the last two games but may return at any time and might even serve as the backup for Pavel Francouz in Game 4, and tonight Kane will serve his one-game suspension for a dangerous hit on Kadri.

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This series, as it turns out, is no place for a nervous person. 

“I think guys are just playing really hard and it’s a consequence of that,” said Edmonton winger Hyman. “There has been more injuries in this series than in our (entire) run, I think — on both sides. Two of their guys have blocked shots and aren’t playing, Naz is out. Yamo’s out. 

“I think it speaks to the pace of play. It’s definitely one of the fastest series in a long time, just the speed of both teams and the pace. The  puck is moving up and down the ice. It’s the playoffs, the Western Conference Final. I guess, to be expected.” 

Leon Draisaitl left Game 3 briefly after a hard slew foot from Nathan MacKinnon. He’s not holding any grudges though. 

“I don’t think anything is ever taken personally,” said Draisaitl. “Both teams want to make it to the Stanley Cup Final. You do whatever it takes. Obviously, there are situations where it’s on the line, or it’s close, but that’s the way hockey is being played. That’s the way hockey has always been played. It’s a tough game.”

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Lineup secrets

Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar took a similar approach to Woodcroft when it came to secrecy regarding the lineup.

Bednar did confirm that Kadri has returned to Denver for further evaluation, but wouldn’t come out and say who would replace him in the lineup or suggest who would move into the second-line centre role.

The most likely option for Kadri’s role is Mikko Rantanen, though J.T. Compher could be in line for a promotion from the third line to the second given how well he’s been playing (five goals in his past four games, including the game-winner in Game 3).

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“Depending on what they do with their lines, we’ll have a couple options ready,” said Bednar. “Certain matchups that I like more than others against some of their talent. We’ll look at that. We do have a bunch of different guys that can go in there.

“We can structure our lineup in a number of ways. We’ll pick the one that we feel suits the game tonight as we go through it and may need to change it as we go through the game, as well.”

Winger Andre Burakovsky is expected to return to the Avalanche lineup after missing the past two games with a suspected foot injury, the result of blocking a shot from Oilers defenceman Evan Bouchard.

During the regular season, the Avalanche tested out a number of different options with the line combinations, some of which were the result of not having players available.

There were also times where Colorado did some experimentation because the cushion they’d built at the top of the Central Division allowed them a bit more freedom to go through some trial and error.

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“There’s no question it helps,” said Bednar. “Going through it last year and seeing what we saw in the playoffs and some of the struggles that we had at times, you adjust on the fly and some of the things that you’re trying, we didn’t get to for long stretches in the regular season. This year, we saw early on that with a little bit more depth, (we had) a few more options. 

“Sometimes we were forced into it because of injuries and other times we had full lineups and we played with it a little bit. We were able to do that because of where we were sitting in the standings. Now, guys have a little bit of chemistry with each other and they know what to expect from one another. They’ve been in some of those combinations before and had  success. Some that we tried didn’t work, so we’re kind of going back to the ones that we liked and I think it’s good because it’s not new.”

“Now, guys have a little bit of chemistry with each other and they know what to expect from one another. They’ve been in some of those combinations before and had success. Some that we tried didn’t work, so we’re kind of going back to the ones that we liked and I think it’s good because it’s not new.”

An immaterial opinion

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There wasn’t a whole lot of news when it came to the reaction to the news of Kane’s one-game suspension for knocking Kadri out of the series.

Woodcroft said “his opinion was immaterial” while Bednar said “it was irrelevant” and his focus was solely on Game 4.

“(Bednar) already touched on it. It’s the dirtiest hit in hockey,” said Avalanche defenceman Jack Johnson. “We figured some form of suspension was going to come down.”

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Predicting the Game 4 lines

Edmonton Oilers

We’re taking a run at these Oilers lines, with no real practice held Monday morning. Yamamoto and Kane are confirmed as out, and we’ll guess that Holloway and Malone are in. 

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Woodcroft did confirm that Smith starts in goal:

Draisaitl / McDavid / Kassian 

Holloway / Nugent-Hopkin / Hyman 

Foegele / McLeod / Puljujarvi 

Malone / Ryan           

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Nurse / Ceci 

Keith / Bouchard 

Kulak / Barrie 

Russell 

Smith (Koskinen)

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Colorado Avalanche

Here are the projected lines for the Avalanche for Game 4

Landeskog / MacKinnon / Nichushkin

Lehkonen / Rantanen / Burakovsky

Newhook / Compher / Sturm

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Cogliano / Helm / O’Connor

Toews / Makar

J. Johnson / Manson

Byram / E. Johnson

Francouz (Kuemper)

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Three Stars from Day 3 of WJC: Canada’s McTavish joins elite company – Sportsnet.ca

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Canada and the U.S. dominated in their second game of the tournament while Czechia and Finland went toe-to-toe and needed a shootout to determine a winner on Day 3 of the World Junior Hockey Championship.

The Canadian team rebounded from a sluggish performance with an 11-1 win over Slovakia, a game in which captain Mason McTavish added his name to the country’s record books.

Against Switzerland, the United States took their game to another gear that their opponent could not match as they cruised to a 7-1 victory to improve to 2-0 at the tournament.

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Finland dropped a crucial point as they had to overcome a 2-0 deficit but were able to pick up the shootout win over their rival Czechia.

Here is a look at the top performances from Day 3 of the world juniors.

3rd Star: Luke Hughes, USA

Coming from a great hockey family, Luke Hughes is making most of his opportunity as one of the top defencemen for the U.S. 

The younger brother of Quinn and Jack displayed his mobility and vision against Switzerland with a three-point effort. He now has five points in his first two games of the tournament — more than either of his brothers ever achieved at this event in fewer games.

Hughes leads all defenceman in scoring so far in the tournament and is tied for fourth overall.

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The 18-year-old played 21:18 against the Swiss to lead the U.S. in ice time playing on the top pairing with Brock Faber. His play from this point will be a crucial part of his team’s success given the creativity he displayed, especially on Matt Coronato’s goal in the second period.

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He made another top-notch set up on Thomas Bordeleau’s power-play goal in the third period as he delayed enough to get the defenders to pull towards his side of the ice.

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2nd Star: Carter Mazur, USA

Coming into the tournament, Carter Mazur is looking to build off an impressive season at the University of Denver. 

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While he was in a scoring slump in his first NCAA season, the Detroit Red Wings prospect made a call to his NHL team’s assistant director of player development, Daniel Cleary. After that, he would go on to finish with 14 goals and 38 points in 41 games.

Those tips have now turned Mazur into a scoring machine as he accounted for two of the team’s seven goals and was also named the player of the game as the top line of Mazur, Landon Slaggert, and Thomas Bordeleau had an impressive performance against Switzerland

After a scoreless first period, Mazur wasn’t going to make any mistake on a point-blank chance in front of the net with Mackie Samoskevich making a great pass from behind the net.

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With the Americans looking to add to their lead, Mazur was once again the beneficiary of a great pass from Slaggert as he made no mistake from the front of the net.

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He added another assist on Slaggert’s goal later in the period for his third point of the game. Through his first two games at the world juniors, Mazur has four points and is tied for sixth in scoring.

1st Star: Mason McTavish, Canada

On a night where Canada dominated from start to finish, Mason McTavish joined some elite company with a night he’ll certainly remember for a long time.

The 19-year-old joined Mario Lemieux, Simon Gagné, Brayden Schenn, Taylor Raddysh, Maxime Comtois and teammate Connor Bedard as the only players to score four goals in a single world junior game for Canada. The tournament record for goals in a single game is held by Sweden’s Ola Rosander who had six back in 1987.

With his performance against Slovakia in a dominant win for Canada, McTavish now sits atop the scoring lead with eight points in two games after registering six points in this game.

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McTavish scored his first goal of the game on a breakaway — with Canada already leading 5-0 midway through the second — making no mistake to beat Tomas Bolo, who came into the game after starter Simon Latkoczy was pulled going into the second period.

His second goal came off a great play by Joshua Roy who flipped the puck in the air to Brennan Othmann who then set up McTavish as he finished with a backhander to put Canada up 7-1. McTavish would complete the second-period hat trick, a day after Alexander Blank did the same for Germany, after a selfless pass from Roy on a 2-on-0 break.

Canada would capitalize on a turnover on McTavish’s fourth goal as Othmann set him up alone in front of the net and he made no mistake.

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There was some doubt about whether McTavish would suit up for Canada after playing a fair amount of hockey last season. Making his NHL debut with the Anaheim Ducks, the third overall pick from the 2021 NHL Draft played in a total of 72 games between the NHL, AHL, OHL, Memorial Cup and the Olympics.

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Instead, McTavish decided to join the team in Edmonton and take on the role as captain where he has excelled centring Canada’s top line with Bedard and and a rotation of Roy and Othmann.

Canada will now look forward to a matchup against Czechia with a chance to improve to 3-0.

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Field of Dreams Game 2022: A celebration of baseball memories in an Iowa cornfield

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The Field of Dreams is an opportunity for fans and players alike to reflect on the people and places that taught them to love baseball, Jake Mintz writes.



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Ravens extend NFL record for consecutive postseason wins following Thursday’s victory over the Titans

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USA Today

The No. 21 is now synonymous with the longest winning streaks in NFL regular and preseason history. the 2003-04 Patriots won 21 consecutive games, an NFL record. On Thursday night, the Ravens won their 21st consecutive preseason game after securing a 23-10 decision against the Tennessee Titans

Baltimore has not lost a preseason game since 2016. Joe Flacco was their starting quarterback when the streak began, while Steve Smith Jr., who this past year was eligible for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame for the first time, was heading into his final NFL season. Baltimore’s roster also included Terrell Suggs, who was entering his second-to-last season with the franchise. 

Along with not losing preseason games, another constant in Baltimore over the past six years has been kicker Justin Tucker, who is entering his 11th season with the Ravens. Tucker’s field goals of 47, 25 and 47 yards on Thursday night helped Baltimore pull out the win after falling behind midway through the second quarter. 

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The Ravens won Thursday’s game by winning the turnover margin while holding the Titans to 1 of 3 red zone efficiency. One of those turnovers was scooped up by Kyle Hamilton, the Ravens’ first-round pick in this past year’s draft. 

Baltimore won despite the efforts of Malik Willis, the Titans’ rookie quarterback who overcame a slow start to score his first NFL touchdown, a 7-yard run early in the second quarter. Speaking of quarterbacks, the Ravens received a strong night from Tyler Huntley, who completed all but two of his 18 pass attempts that included his game-winning touchdown pass to Shemar Bridges



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