CHICAGO -- Corey Crawford is playing so well right now that nothing seems to bother him. Penguins Jerseys China . When the Chicago Blackhawks had a goal waved off in the second period Sunday, Crawford picked up the slack for his disappointed teammates. Crawford made 25 saves, Jonathan Toews had a big goal in the third and the Blackhawks beat the Los Angeles Kings 3-1 in Game 1 of the Western Conference final. "Confidence has always been there," Crawford said. "Really the first thing is being prepared, having that preparation to try and have my game at the highest level it can be each time I get out there." He is on quite a roll right now, allowing only one goal in each of the past three games. The 29-year-old Crawford leads the NHL with a 1.90 goals-against average and a .933 save percentage in the playoffs. "He does a good job of never getting too high or too low because tomorrows another day," teammate Brandon Saad said. "He did a great job tonight." Saad had a goal and an assist for defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago, which remained perfect in seven home playoff games this year. Duncan Keith had a tiebreaking score in the third period. Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is Wednesday night. Playing just two days after a Game 7 victory over Anaheim, the Kings got a second-period score from Tyler Toffoli and outshot the Blackhawks 26-20 in the opener of a rematch from last years Western Conference final. But Crawford made a couple of solid stops in another terrific performance. "I think we can do a better of getting in front of the net and make it harder on their goalie because we had some pretty good shots, but nobody was hanging around, so he was able to see everything," Kings centre Anze Kopitar said. With the Blackhawks clinging to a 2-1 lead in the third, Toews, Marian Hossa and Johnny Oduya got loose on a 3-on-1 break. Toews one-timed Oduyas pass right by Jonathan Quick for his sixth playoff goal at 16:10. Quick made 17 saves after he played a key role in Los Angeles rally from a 3-2 deficit in the series against the Ducks. The Kings also battled back from a 3-0 hole against San Jose in the first round. "We had a chance," Los Angeles forward Mike Richards said. "We shot ourselves in the foot a bit on their goals, and give them credit, theyre an opportunistic team. But we made a couple of mistakes and it ended up in our net." Toews 26th career playoff goal came after he had one waved off in a confusing stretch in the second period. It looked as if Chicago had a 2-0 lead when Toews rush to the net resulted in the puck going off the skate of Kings defenceman Slava Voynov and into the goal. But it was waved off after a conference by the officials, prompting a round of boos from the crowd of 21,832 and a waving, yelling display from Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville. According to the NHL, the original call of good goal was changed because the officials decided Toews made incidental contact with Quick before the puck crossed the goal line. The league said the ruling was not reviewable, so the call on the ice remained in place. The sequence seemed to wake up the Kings while deflating the Blackhawks. Los Angeles got its first goal about a minute later, with Tanner Pearson making a terrific pass to the middle to Toffoli for his fourth of the playoffs at 4:35. "I thought we lost a little momentum there," Quenneville said. The Kings then had a couple of chances to take the lead, but Crawford stepped up each time. He denied Kyle Clifford on a 2-on-1 break with 13:42 remaining, and stopped Marian Gaborik and Dustin Brown in rapid succession midway through the period. Crawfords solid play bought Chicago some time to shake off the disallowed goal, and it paid off when Keiths slap shot went off the stick of Kings forward Trevor Lewis and bounced past Quick for a 2-1 lead at 11:54. Crawford made another big save on Jeff Carter in the first minute of the third, and Toffoli had a backhander go off the outside of right post on a breakaway opportunity in the final period. The Blackhawks turned a bad roughing penalty by Kings defenceman Alec Martinez into Saads power-play goal with 5:14 left in the first. The Kings had a prime scoring chance with 2:42 to go in the period, but Nick Leddy tied up Richards at the end of a 2-on-1 break. NOTES: Kings D Willie Mitchell was active for the first time since Game 6 of Los Angeles first-round series against San Jose, but D Robyn Regehr remained out with an injury. He has missed the Kings last seven games. ... Chicago killed off two power-play chances and is 44 for 48 on the kill in the playoffs. ... Blackhawks D Michal Rozsival was active after he was a healthy scratch for the last two games of their second-round series against Minnesota. Stitched Penguins Jerseys . The Gatineau Olympiques head coach will lead Canada in its quest to end its gold medal drought at the 2015 world junior hockey championship held in Montreal and Toronto at the end of this year. Fake Penguins Jerseys . -- Alex Anthopoulos spoke volumes with what he didnt say on right-hander Ervin Santana.MADRID, Spain -- Barcelona stumbled to a 3-2 home loss against Valencia on Saturday, giving Atletico Madrid a chance to move into sole possession of first place in the Spanish league. The Spanish champions decision not to sign a defender during the January transfer window may have backfired after Valencia took advantage of a lethargic, uninspired effort by its hosts at the Camp Nou, where former Spain coach Luis Aragones -- who previously coached the Catalan side -- was honoured after his death on Saturday. Barcelona led through Alexis Sanchezs eighth-minute goal but Dani Parejo equalized for Valencia before the break. Pablo Piatti headed Valencia ahead after the restart before Lionel Messis penalty -- and first league goal since September -- levelled the game again. But Barcelonas defence let Sofiane Feghouli burst free into the area to set up Paco Alcacers 59th-minute winner. Barcelona played with 10 men from the 78th after Jodi Alba was shown a second yellow card. The defeat means Atletico can lead the league alone for the first time this season if it does not lose at home to Real Sociedad on Sunday, when Real Madrid can also overtake its greatest rival with a victory at fourth-place Athletic Bilbao. Also on Saturday, Levante and Rayo Vallecano played to a scoreless draw, as did Getafe and Valladolid, while Malaga rallied to beat Sevilla 3-2 in an entertaining encounter. At the top of the standings, Atletico and Barcelona share 54 points, while Madrid has 53. Valencia provisionally moved into eighth. Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino was preoccupied by Barcelonas drop in play after just half an hour. "Im always worried after every one of our losses," Martino said. "Despite us having played well for a while against Valencia, Im very worried, much like the players are." Messi set up the opener after slashing a pass across the box beyond the far post where Alexis connected oddly to float it over goalkeeper Diego Alves. Valencia took control from the 44th when Parejo exploited a turnover inside the Barcelona half to lead a breakout with Feghouli, who returned a pass inside the area for Parejo to score easily. Penguins Jerseys 2019. "Their goal hurt us and, in the second half, the team failed to respond," said defender Javier Mascherano, who refused to blame the off-field distractions that have enveloped Barcelona. "Today it wasnt the distractions that beat us, but Valencia. The margin of error (to be champion) is zero." Valencia went ahead in the 48th when the 1.63-meter (5-foot-3) Piatti held off Dani Alves to jump high and head a looping ball over goalkeeper Victor Valdes. Valencia was unlucky as Pedro Rodriguezs shot came off Ricardo Costa to set up the spot kick, even though it appeared Costa had no chance of getting out of the way as the ball grazed his shoulder. Messi slotted home his ninth league goal in the 54th, and first since Sept. 28 against Almeria. Barcelonas defence was dormant five minutes later as Feghouli moved past three players to the goal line before cutting back to meet Alcacer, who blasted past Valdes for the winner. Messi had a golden opportunity to draw Barcelona even in the second minute of stoppage time, but he shot wide after precisely combining with Dani Alves and substitute Andres Iniesta to get free into the box. Valencia, which was Spains most active team in the January transfer, snapped a five-game winless run to deal Barcelona its first home league defeat in nearly two years. Malaga captain and winger Duda proved the hero at Rosaleda Stadium as he took advantage of Alberto Morenos silly clearance attempt to gather inside the area and lift the winning goal past goalkeeper Beto in the 82nd. Dudas penalty put the hosts ahead after half an hour before Sevilla scored a pair of unanswered goals through Carlos Baccas 10th of the season and Federico Fazios header in the 66th. Samuel Sanchez pegged home the equalizer in the 77th as Malaga rallied for an emotional victory during which coach Bernd Schuster was red-carded in stoppage time. Malaga moved four points clear of Valladolid and the last relegation spot. ' ' '
15 nov. 2019
KANSAS CITY, Mo. Joe Crede Jersey . -- The Royals shook up their coaching staff Thursday in an attempt to jumpstart their failing offence, making Dale Sveum the hitting coach and Mike Jirschele their third base coach. Pedro Grifol, who took over as hitting coach last season, will now instruct catchers. The moves were announced after the Royals finished off a disastrous homestand that included a sweep at the hands of Houston, and before they opened a four-game series in Toronto. Sveum said the Royals havent done a good enough job this season of hitting pitches in the upper half of the strike zone. "The bottom line is weve struggled with elevation and weve swung at pitches down in the zone probably way too much," he said. "From thigh high to the top of the strike zone, were not doing enough damage." The Royals began the day last in the majors with 21 homers, putting them on pace to match the 1976 club for the fewest in franchise history for a non-strike-shortened season. Theyre also last in the American League in runs and slugging percentage. "There is not one man in the lineup thats hitting the ball well," Royals designated hitter Billy Butler said Wednesday. "Were just cold." Yost said "a different voice can make a difference," to struggling batters, but the Royals have heard plenty of voices about hitting: Sveum is Kansas Citys fifth hitting coach in less than three seasons. The Royals let go of Kevin Seitzer two years ago in the hope that somebody else would help the club generate more power. Seitzer was eventually hired by the Blue Jays, who currently lead the majors with 76 homers -- more than Kansas City is on pace for all season. Jack Maloof and Andre David were hired before last season, but they only made it a couple of months before they were reassigned within the franchise. It was at that point that the Royals hired Grifol and Hall of Famer George Brett on an interim basis. The Royals showed signs of life once that duo was in charge, slowly climbing into playoff contention. Grifol was given the job on a full-time basis after Brett stepped down in July, but lasted less than a year in the role. "Hes the one that pulled us out of our trouble last year," Yost said of Grifol Thursday. "A year later, we find ourselves in the exact same spot." Sveum, a former Brewers and Cubs manager, had been serving as the Royals third base coach. But he also has plenty of experience as a hitting coach, helping Milwaukee finish in the top three of the National League in homers in each of his three seasons. "Hes got experience, he studies hitting," Yost said. "Hes got a lot of knowledge. He helped Prince Fielder get, in my opinion, to the next level as an offensive performer." Ross Detwiler White Sox Jersey . The goals took Liverpools tally in the Premier League this season to 70, overtaking Manchester City as the top scorers, and left the fourth-place team just four points behind league leader Chelsea. Hugh Duffy Jersey . The thinking at the time was Clowney could have already been promised he would be selected first overall by the Houston Texans, therefore negating any need to meet with any other teams. The plot took another twist this week.Toronto Blue Jays relief pitcher Steve Delabar is going back to the minors. The righty was sent back down to Triple-A Buffalo for the second time this week in order to make room for Liam Hendriks who will get the start Friday night against the Cincinnati Reds. Delabar waas sent down Tuesday but was called back up for Thursdays game against the New York Yankees when Brett Cecil went to the disabled list. Jack Mcdowell White Sox Jersey . The 30-year-old has appeared in 30 games this season, recording a 4.91 earned run average and a 3-0 record. ' ' '