SAN JOSE, Calif. - A night after giving San Jose an opening to the Pacific Division title by winning in Anaheim, the Nashville Predators might have closed it up again by beating the Sharks. Patric Hornqvist had two goals and one assist to help the Nashville Predators put a major dent into San Joses hopes for a division title by beating the Sharks 3-0 on Saturday night. "Its a missed opportunity," defenceman Dan Boyle said. "Nashville went into their building and did their job. Unfortunately, we didnt do ours to take advantage of that." Backup Carter Hutton made 35 saves in his first career shutout and Roman Josi also scored as the Predators kept their slim playoff hopes alive by beating winning road games on back-to-back nights against Anaheim and San Jose — the top two teams in the Pacific Division. Nashville is six points behind Dallas for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference with four games remaining. "Were never going to give up," Hornqvist said. "Its a long road to make the playoffs. But as long as we have a chance, were going to work as hard as we can. Obviously beating two great teams is nice. I think both of them can win the Cup. Its a good statement for our team." The Predators win in Anaheim on Friday kept the Sharks just a point behind the Ducks in the standings but San Jose couldnt capitalize two nights after an emotional home win over Los Angeles. Now the Sharks are running out of time to catch the Ducks after falling flat again against a team likely to miss the post-season. They have only three games remaining, including their next contest in Anaheim on Wednesday, but the Ducks still have five games remaining and the inside track on the division title. San Jose is assured of at least second place. "After the game we put together against L.A. to give a showing like that is unacceptable," defenceman Jason Demers said. "We didnt come out to work. We just sat back on our heels and let them take the game to us. Its disappointing and something were going to have to obviously rectify as quick as possible here." If the Sharks do end up falling short in the division it will be their play at home against some of the leagues also-rans that will be a big reason. San Jose has lost five home games since the Olympic break, all to teams that are currently out of playoff position. "Were in a race and we have to be better than that," captain Joe Thornton said. The Predators took control of the game in a dominant second period, killing off a pair of penalties and beating Antti Niemi three times. Hornqvist struck early in the period when he whacked at a rebound of Matt Cullens shot and knocked it in to extend his goal-scoring streak to four games. He added his eighth goal in the past 11 games midway through the period just after Nick Spaling came out of the penalty box. Spaling got the puck behind San Joses net and set up Hornqvist for a one-timer from the slot for his 20th goal of the season. Hornqvist then got an assist a few minutes later when Josi beat a flat-footed Demers as he drove to the net to make it 3-0. "We were emotionally not attached to the game in the second period," coach Todd McLellan said. "Were at Game 79 and the details and the system play, you should be able to do it in your sleep at this point. We didnt do that." The Sharks pressured in the third with 19 shots and two others from Brent Burns and Matt Irwin that hit posts but couldnt beat Hutton. The Predators have put together an impressive late-season run with points in seven of their past eight games. But it likely wont be enough to overcome a 1-4 homestand after the Olympic break that put Nashville in a deep hole. "This team wont quit," coach Barry Trotz said. "It hasnt quit all year. Its not going to quit. They will play right until the end. We see when the smoke clears where we stand." NOTES: Nashville swept the three-game season series and has won nine of 14 against the Sharks. ... The Sharks last overcame a 3-0 deficit in the regular season on Feb. 1, 2011, when they rallied for a 5-3 win over Phoenix. Tiago Mendes Jersey
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.com) - The Chicago Cubs reportedly signed recently-acquired outfielder Dexter Fowler to a one-year contract on Friday, avoiding arbitration.TORONTO - Dwane Casey was visibly put off when faced with a question regarding his teams recent success and their upcoming stretch of winnable games prior to Mondays contest against the league-worst Milwaukee Bucks. "[People] keep asking that question and its not a legit question because we dont have that right, we havent arrived yet," Casey responded. "Weve got to take each game at a time, each possession at a time and look at it that way." "Thats the message Im sending to [the players]. Weve got to play basketball and be focused and not look at records." League standings are not welcome in the locker room, Casey maintained. If they were, they would show the Raptors in sole possession of third place in the Eastern Conference, just barely ahead of the Hawks, following a decisive 116-94 victory over the seven-win Bucks. Since an early-December trade reversed their trajectory, Casey has kept his team focused. They have defeated the leagues best in wins over the Thunder and Pacers, they have fought hard on the road in Indiana and Miami and, perhaps most importantly, theyve taken care of business against teams that many may have expected them to look past. They havent. "No, you cant [take anyone lightly]," DeMar DeRozan said following a 19-point, seven-rebound, seven-assist performance in his teams 22-point win. "It doesnt matter who we play, its an NBA team. Besides us theres 29 other teams in this league and we prepare for each one of them the same." Casey is getting through to his troops, whether they realize it or not. "He said that [too]?" DeRozan asked with a smile after echoing his coach. "Im just being honest. I tell my guys the same thing, we dont look at who were playing. We understand each game matters more than the last one." Its not just lip service, the Raptors have been practicing what they preach. Apart from a short-lived Bucks run that cut the home teams lead to eight at halftime, the Raptors never took their foot off the gas. Their 38-point first frame matched a sseason-high for scoring in a quarter and the game was quickly put away early in the third after Toronto adjusted to the Bucks pesky zone defence.dddddddddddd "We cant rely on that every night," Casey said of the teams second-half run. "That resolve, it doesnt win too many games against good teams so weve got to make sure we take care of business, and we did." "I think we came out with more effort in the second half and it seemed to work for us," said Kyle Lowry, who scored 11 of his team-high 23 points in the third quarter. Again, Lowry was exceptional, shooting 6-of-8 from the field, 4-of-5 from three-point range and connecting on all seven of his free-throw attempts. The Raptors point guard also recorded four steals and drew his league-leading 23rd charge of the season. "Just another night at the office for Kyle," Casey said. [The] charges are huge. If you go in there hes going to come from nowhere to get a charge so he does a great job of that, reading that, sacrificing his body for it. Hes done everything, defensively, offensively, hes set the tone." The playmaking ability of DeRozan - who registered four or more assists in a career-best sixth straight game - and John Salmons, adding five dimes along with his 10 points off the bench, took pressure off the Raptors point guard, freeing Lowry up on the weak side. As a team, the Raptors tallied 26 assists, shooting 51 per cent from the field and 12-of-23 from beyond the arch. Although Casey doesnt want to hear about it, Torontos next four opponents have losing records. The Raptors have won 10 of its last 11 games against sub-.500 teams and dont appear to be letting up. "Im going to say this again, we dont have any right, yet, to overlook anyone in this league," Casey repeated after his team improved to 19-17, two games above the .500 mark for the first time since March of 2010. "Its a tough league, were still building, were still getting there so I cant allow our guys to have that in their thought process." Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Jerseys From China Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys
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