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Автор Тема: Like it or not, the Toronto Maple Leafs are well-versed in the shooto  (Прочитано 154 раз)

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TORONTO -- Like it or not, the Toronto Maple Leafs are well-versed in the shootout. Vans Shoes Sale . And unlike last season, thats actually a good thing for them. On Wednesday night at Air Canada Centre the Leafs made it through three periods and overtime yet again and managed to beat the Buffalo Sabres 4-3 for their league-leading ninth shootout victory of the year. It was Torontos third straight win, and three of their past four overall have come via the shootout. Some how, some way, they keep getting there and have it to thank for a playoff position 49 games in. "I think if our team had a choice, wed try to end the game a bit earlier," said defenceman Morgan Rielly, who scored his first home goal this season. "But I think thats just an aspect of hockey nowadays. It just turns out that were pretty good at them." Only the Washington Capitals have gone to the shootout more times than the Leafs (24-20-5), who have showed a penchant for at least forcing overtime. They have just three regulation victories in their past 28 games, yet are right in the thick of the Eastern Conference race. "Obviously were fortunate this year that our record in the shootout is a real, strong positive for our hockey club," coach Randy Carlyle said. "Theres been a lot of extra points gained by it. If we can continue to find a way to get points, thats what our job is." Whereas the Leafs went 0 for 5 and rued shootouts during last years lockout-shortened 48-game season, they keep getting the job done this season. Against the Sabres on Wednesday night, James van Riemsdyk, Joffrey Lupul and Tyler Bozak all scored and goaltender James Reimer stopped one of two attempts. Whether its Reimer or Jonathan Bernier, those shooters have experienced a lot of shootout success, so it has made sense for assistant coach Greg Cronin -- who fills out the lineup -- to keep going back to them. Lupul is six for seven, van Riemsdyk is six for nine and Bozak is three for five. "Think were confident in the guys that we can send out there to score goals and confident in our goalie," van Riemsdyk said. "We seem to have guys that are confident going in with their moves and the goaltenders are confident in the net. It makes it a good matchup in the shootout." The Sabres (13-27-6) dropped to 6-3 in shootouts this season but were thankful to get there thanks to Cody Hodgsons early-third-period, power-play goal and a strong penalty kill in overtime that included a good scoring chance for defenceman Tyler Myers. "That was huge," Buffalo coach Ted Nolan said of the penalty kill. "I thought Tyler Myers, his first game back was probably one of his best games all season long. He played with a little pizzazz. He played with some energy, and he was very aggressive." Goaltender Ryan Miller, who could again be the U.S. starter at the Sochi Olympics after leading the Americans to silver in Vancouver, was strong before the shootout in making 36 saves in regulation and overtime. He gave up goals to Olympic teammate Phil Kessel, Nikolai Kulemin and Rielly. Kessels was a pure goal-scorers goal, a perfect shot that went five-hole on Miller. "He made a nice shot," Miller said. "I didnt see. Good for Phil. Get him going for the Olympics, I guess." In addition to Hodgson, Matt Ellis and Matt Moulson also scored for the Sabres. Moulsons goal at 6:34 of the second wasnt reviewed, though it took several replay angles to show it clearly went in the net. "It went in," Carlyle said. "It hit the webbing on the top. When it hit the bar, it went up and it went into the webbing and then came back down. The angle that the camera had made it difficult to determine if it actually crossed the line because the camera angle was at a bad angle to (see) it. But when you looked at it from where he was shooting it, from behind him, you can see the top of the webbing of the net went up, so that usually indicates its got to be in then net." Just before that, Buffalos Zemgus Girgensons had a quality chance on a second-period penalty shot, which Reimer stopped in what turned out to be more practice for the shootout. Not that Reimer needed it, as he improved to 4-0 in the shootout this season. "Personally Im not a huge fan of shootouts," Reimer said. "Its something I try to practise most days as much as I can. Shootouts are important points, and theyre huge come the end of the year. Obviously regulation wins are most important, but those points are priceless." Theyre especially valuable considering the thin line between the Leafs being in a good position nearing the Olympic break and having to play catch-up in late February, March and April. This was the 16th time Toronto got to at least overtime, which is a boat load of points earned before the game is even over. The Leafs have played 72 minutes and five seconds of overtime, more than an entire extra game. Torontos knack for surviving past the 60-minute mark is hard to explain. "Thats a good question," van Riemsdyk said. "Theres some games where we seem to get a lead and end up losing that lead or games where you battle back and go to the shootout. Its part of the game, and you just come with whats given." So while the Leafs have taken what theyve earned in shootouts, Miller and the Sabres were left to wonder about a point lost. "Unfortunately, I wasnt very good in the shootout," Miller said. "Thats the difference." Being so good in the shootout has made a major difference in the Leafs fortunes this season. "When you win them its a positive, when you lose them its a negative," Carlyle said. "Thats the bottom line. Thats what you play the game to gain points and to win, and a shootout gives you a win." NOTES -- Enforcer Colton Orr returned to Torontos lineup after missing Tuesdays game in Boston with the flu, which has affected several players. Frazer McLaren was scratched to make room for Orr. ... Sabres forward Matt DAgostini left the game early in the first period with an upper-body injury and did not return. DAgostini skated just three shifts for 2:19, and Nolan said he expects him to be out for "a little while." ... This was the fifth and final meeting between the Leafs and Sabres this season. Vans Shoes Outlet Sale .J. -- Richard Sherman, Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch deservedly draw the attention for what theyve done in getting the Seattle Seahawks to the Super Bowl. China Vans Shoes Wholesale .Y. - For once, Clayton Kershaw was glad to see a long shutout streak end. http://www.vansoutletsale.com/ . -- Without Carey Price, the run for a first Stanley Cup in 21 years got steeper and longer for the Montreal Canadiens.SAN DIEGO -- The first-round Davis Cup match between Britain and the United States will be played on a clay court in left field at baseballs Petco Park from Jan. 31-Feb. 2. While organizers havent decided if itll be red or green clay, they feel their choice of surface will give the Americans an advantage over Britain, which is expected to be led by defending Wimbledon champion Andy Murray. "The feeling is that Murray and anyone below him would have trouble on clay," Jeff Ryan of the U.S. Tennis Association said after a news conference on the infield at the downtown ballpark, home to the San Diego Padres, on Tuesday. "Its not their preferred surface. In between now and then, with Andy still recovering from his surgery and going to Australia and playing there, I dont think theyll have a lot of clay court experience. The home court advantage is right there. Thats it. Were used to getting it against us all the time. Were getting much more comfortable on clay." Organizers havent decided whether itll be red clay, which is made from crushed bricks, or on Har-Tru green clay, which is made from crushed stone. Playing the match on clay probably is a lesser of three evils decision. Murray is best on the speedier surfaces of hard courts and grass, as evidenced by his Grand Slam titles at Wimbledon this year and the U.S. Open in 2012. But hes not afraid of clay, having trained from his teen years on the slow red surface in Spain. He once reached the semifinals at the French Open, something none of the current crop of American men has come close to doing. In addition to that run to the final four in 2011 -- before losing to Rafael Nadal, which is no shame at Roland Garros -- Murray also made it to the quarterfinals in Paris two other times, in 2009 and 2012. Discount Vans Shoes. Capacity will be about 8,000. Some 2,000 permanent seats in the left field stands will be augmented by about 6,000 more in a temporary stadium built around the court. "I think it creates a lot of excitement," said Bill Kellogg, president of the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club. "Davis Cup is all about crowd and people and cheering, which is not what people usually think tennis is. That national pride, I dont think it gets any greater than it does in a ballpark." Itll be the first time a Davis Cup match will be played in an open-air ballpark in the United States. The United States is undefeated in six Davis Cup matches in the San Diego area. The Britain-U.S. rivalry is the oldest in Davis Cup history, dating to the first competition in 1900, when the Americans beat the British in Boston. The United States last faced Britain in the 1999 World Group first round in England, winning 3-2 when Jim Courier rallied in the fifth match to beat Greg Rusedski in the fifth set, 8-6. Courier, now the U.S. captain, also won in five sets on the opening day of that match, beating Tim Henman in 4 hours, 12 minutes. The one drawback is that the final day of the match is Super Bowl Sunday. "We would prefer not to have it conflicting with the Super Bowl, but fact is, it will be largely decided by the time the Super Bowl starts," Kellogg said. "Its really not a huge factor in diminishing the appeal of the Davis Cup. In fact, I think it will turn into a great sports day. You get to watch what could be a dramatic finish to the Davis Cup, followed by the Super Bowl." 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