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Category Archives: New Orleans Saints

Flames in must-win territory vs. Avs

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Fresh off a 5-2 road win over the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday, the Calgary Flames will look to build on that momentum when they host the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday.

Heading into the afternoon affair at the Scotiabank Saddledome, both the Flames (31-22-9) and Avalanche (32-23-5) are on the outside of the NHL’s Western Conference playoff picture looking in.

“We’re in a dog fight and we know it,” said Calgary defenseman Travis Hamonic following Thursday’s victory that ended a three-game losing streak for the Flames. “We’ve got to start collecting points and stringing some (wins) together.”

Meanwhile, the Avalanche will be looking to bounce back from a 3-2 overtime loss they suffered to the Oilers in Edmonton on Thursday.

“Every game from now on is huge for us,” said rookie center Tyson Jost, who had an assist against the Oilers to extend his point-scoring streak to three games. “Our goal is to be in the playoffs, so we’re going to have to have a lot better than we did (against Edmonton). I know our team’s capable of that.

“Everybody just has to be a little bit better and our compete (level) has to be a little higher. These points are crucial for us because our end goal is the playoffs and we’re not afraid to admit that.”

Left winger Gabriel Bourque said the Avs have extra motivation to win against the Flames because they want to finish their three-game road trip with a 2-0-1 record.

The first 20 picks were decided in Week 17, but the final 12 weren’t be determined until the playoffs were through. The four teams eliminated in the Wild Card round own picks 21-24, and so on until the Super Bowl loser, the New England Patriots, pick No. 31 and the Super Bowl-champion Philadelphia Eagles that get the No. 32 pick.

There were three ties for spots in the draft order, but only the 49ers and Raiders will go to a coin flip to decide. The ties between Washington and Green Bay, and Dallas and Detroit were decided by a tiebreaker of records against common opponents in the NFC.

“Not only did we spend a little too much time in our zone, we couldn’t generate enough offensively,” coach John Stevens said.

The day began with five teams all within three points of each other in the Western Conference playoff race, including the Stars and Kings.jays_878_b5995f17d1a37b9a-180x180

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Wolves’ Jimmy Butler leaves game with right knee injury

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Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star Jimmy Butler left Friday night’s 120-102 loss to the Houston Rockets with a right knee injury.

Butler drove into the paint with about three minutes remaining in the third quarter and missed a short jumper. After grabbing the rebound, he pivoted and planted hard on his right foot, before collapsing to the floor in pain, holding his knee.

“His first reaction was, ‘I’m OK, I’ll be OK,'” Wolves forward Taj Gibson said. “But he was smiling. That was a big thing, and it was a huge relief for everybody in this locker room. He’s a warrior, so we’ve just got to hold it down for him.”

Butler, 28, leads the Timberwolves with 22.4 points per game. He also is tops in the league in minutes played per game at 37.3, but he drew criticism for choosing to sit out the All-Star Game.

Butler told ESPN’s Cassidy Hubbarth before Friday’s game that he’d rather sit out the NBA showcase than miss time with Minnesota.

“I’m not going to say that I want to cut back my minutes [with the Wolves], but when I have an opportunity [to rest], I will,” Butler said.

Ball, who was sidelined for 15 games with a knee injury, had nine points, seven rebounds and six assists in 17 minutes. Isaiah Thomas had 17 points and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Brandon Ingram scored 15 apiece to help Los Angeles stop a three-game slide.

It was Randle’s second triple-double this season and No. 5 for his career. Josh Hart added 12 points and 10 boards as the Lakers enjoyed a 61-29 advantage on the glass.

Wesley Matthews and Harrison Barnes each scored 19 points for the Mavericks (18-41), who have dropped five of six.

Mavericks: Rookie guard Dennis Smith Jr. was one of the players identified in the Yahoo Sports story on federal documents obtained in the FBI’s investigation into college basketball corruption.jaguars_010-223x223

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