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Kirill Kaprizov has goal, three assists as Wild rout Jets



ST. PAUL, Minn. — Kirill Kaprizov scored and tied a career-high with three assists to help the Minnesota Wild rout the Winnipeg Jets 7-1 on Friday.

Mats Zuccarello scored twice before leaving with an apparent injury, Alex Goligoski, Ryan Hartman, Jon Merrill and Matt Dumba also scored in the start of a five-game homestand. Minnesota is 6-2-0 on home ice, scoring at least four goals in each win.

Cam Talbot made 30 saves.


Zuccarello went to the locker room late in the second period after an uncalled slash to the left wrist by Nathan Beaulieu. Zuccarello did not return.

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The frustrated Jets have lost four straight, are winless in the past five and the franchise-best streak of 14 games of not giving up more than three goals is over.

Pierre-Luc Dubois scored for Winnipeg. It has scored just five goals on 184 shots over its past five starts, and was blanked 3-0 in Columbus on Wednesday night.

Connor Hellebuyck, who had allowed no more than two goals in each of his previous nine starts, finished with 10 saves before getting pulled early in the second period.


They weren’t all his fault as he was the victim of a couple bad bounces and some horrendous defensive zone play.

Goligoski’s wrist shot from the blue line deflected off Nikolaj Ehlers and found its way through traffic 52 seconds in for a 1-0 lead. A long shot from Zuccarello ricocheted off the post, off Hellebuyck’s upper arm and trickled across the line at 7:47. It was Minnesota’s third shot.

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The Zuccarello-Hartman-Kaprizov line connected for two goals 45 seconds apart early in the second period for a 4-0 lead that ended Hellebuyck’s outing. He was replaced by Eric Comrie.

First, Hellebuyck stopped a shot by Kaprizov, but Hartman was left alone beside the blue paint for a rebound. Then a shot from the point by Jonas Brodin went to Kaprizov whose cross-crease pass went to a wide-open Zuccarello for a simple redirect.

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Winnipeg’s frustration began to show in the second period.

Beaulieu took a run at Goligoski along the end boards, and Evgeny Svechnikov was assessed a double-minor for slashing and roughing a couple minutes later, leading to multiple scrums. Logan Stanley and Minnesota’s Joel Eriksson Ek each went off for roughing 34 seconds later.


NOTES: Comrie finished with 21 saves. ? Dubois’ goal came on the power play, just the second in 25 Jets’ chances over 10 games since Nov. 6. ? Winnipeg C Paul Stastny returned after missing eight games with a foot injury. ? To commemorate Native American Heritage Day, the Wild wore custom sweaters during the pregame warmup. They pay tribute to the Minnesota Native American community with a specially designed Dakota emblem and writing.


Jets: At Calgary Saturday night.

Wild: Host Tampa Bay on Sunday.

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Chargers HC Brandon Staley Is Pushing The Envelope



(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)


The NFL has been changing and evolving over the years, as it has become more of a pass-friendly league through the past decade or two.

Part of that evolution has been the offensive philosophy on fourth down, which was, until recently, strictly a punt-only situation.


But now, more and more teams are going for it on fourth downs, and Los Angeles Chargers head coach Brandon Staley is one of the men who is leading the way in that department.

Last season, his team went for it on fourth down 34 times, which was third in the NFL.

But the Chargers went for it on 31.5 percent of their fourth downs, the highest percentage in the league.

Staley explained his mindset regarding such situations in an interview with Daniel Popper of The Athletic.

“There has to be a fearlessness to play in this game, and what I wanted to establish was that,” Staley says. “The history of this team when I got here, it was like someone’s going to get hurt, they’re going to blow a lead, something catastrophic is going to happen. There’s this ‘Chargering’ thing. There’s all of these external factors that I know in my life, they’re just all excuses. They’re just all excuses.

“And so, how do you change that? Well, you have to do things different, you have to have a different approach. … Our mindset’s going to be on us, it’s not going to be on the opponent. It’s going to be on us. So creating that fearless mindset of, we are going to be aggressive, we’re going to put the ball in our hands, we’re going to trust our guys to make plays.


“If we lose, we’re going to do it on our terms, not someone else’s terms.”

There is certainly an argument to be made for leaving your offense on the field during a fourth down, but some feel the Chargers overdid it last season, and in doing so, possibly cost themselves a playoff berth.


Live By The Sword, Die By The Sword?

For most of the NFL’s century-plus history, teams usually only went for it on fourth down if it was in a desperate situation at the end of a game where it was down to its last chance.

But over the last several years, that has been changing, as fourth-down attempts have been rising, as have fourth-down conversion rates.


Analytics, which have taken over multiple team sports over the past decade-plus, has been a big factor in this change in philosophy.

Staley is absolutely right when he says that fearlessness must be present in order to win in the NFL, even more than in baseball, basketball, hockey or any other team sport.

But sometimes, one’s aggressiveness can go from his greatest asset to his greatest flaw, as it can be a double-edged sword.

With quarterback Justin Herbert running and gunning his way to a Pro Bowl appearance in just his second pro season, L.A. forged an 8-5 record and had a real shot at finishing first in the AFC West.

Its next contest in Week 15 versus the Kansas City Chiefs was billed as the that would likely decide the division winner.


But in the first half, the Chargers failed to convert on two fourth-down situations inside the Kansas City 10-yard line, and they trailed 14-10 at intermission.

They failed on another fourth-down conversion attempt in the second half, and given that they lost 34-28 in overtime after leading 21-13 in the fourth quarter at one point, those failed attempts look bad in retrospect.

Then came the season-finale versus the Las Vegas Raiders, which was a doozy.

The Chargers converted six of seven fourth-down attempts, but the one they failed on was one even Staley may have wanted to take back.

The argument in his favor is that Herbert is an MVP-caliber QB who is turning into a clutch signal-caller, as evidenced in that contest against the Raiders.

But even with someone as talented as Herbert on your side, sometimes a bit of caution is a good thing.

The post Chargers HC Brandon Staley Is Pushing The Envelope appeared first on The Cold Wire.

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Kevin Durant shuts down 'comical' retirement rumors | UNDISPUTED



According to Marc Stein, an NBA executive was hearing that Kevin Durant was more apt to retire than play for the Brooklyn Nets again. However, Durant went to Twitter to shoot down that notion, tweeting quote: ‘I know most people will believe unnamed sources over me but if it’s anyone out there that’ll listen, I don’t plan on retiring anytime soon.’ Durant would go on to say the situation as a whole is quote: ‘comical.’ Shannon Sharpe weighs in on the soap opera-like reports, including why it is not a good look on KD.

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MLB Insider Shares A Yankees Silver Lining



(Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)


For the New York Yankees, things keep going from bad to worse.

Since the start of the second half, they have stumbled out of the gates and have lost a few very important series, the most notable ones being the series losses to the Seattle Mariners and the sweep they suffered at the hands of the St. Louis Cardinals.


That recent slide has caused them to lose their hold on the best record in baseball and in the American League.

However, there is one silver lining to all of this, as pointed out by Bob Nightengale.

The Yankees remain at the top of the AL East and lead it by 10 games.



A Silver Lining

That’s one way of looking at it.

It’s better to be glass half full than glass half empty.

The AL East is beyond a shadow of a doubt, the toughest division in all of baseball.

The fact that four teams are above .500 and the Yankees still lead the division by a full 10 games should be somewhat reassuring for Yankees fans.

However, it does not change the fact that they have struggled to start the second half.


Injuries have proven to be costly, most notably the right elbow fracture suffered by stalwart reliever Michael King.

Chad Green is also down for the season thanks to elbow troubles.

The Yankees are on a slide, and that’s putting it simply.

They’ve lost 10 of their last 12, including last night’s 4-0 loss at the hands of their division rivals, the Tampa Bay Rays.

It’s been hard to stomach for Yankees fans.


At the very least though, they still have command over the AL East, but if they’re not careful, that lead could start to shrink.

The post MLB Insider Shares A Yankees Silver Lining appeared first on The Cold Wire.

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