Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Bruins Break Panthers

     The Florida Panthers played their final road game of the regular season as they were beat by the Boston Bruins 3-2 at TD Garden on Tuesday night. The Panthers, who finished a five-game road trip, moved to 6-4-1 in their last 11 games and now trail the Bruins by six points for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot with five games to go.
     It was late in the first period when Boston(39-25-13) scored on a giveaway during a 4-on-4 situation at 16:57. Aleksander Barkov turned the puck over on a back pass in his own right circle. Loui Eriksson controlled it behind the defense, skated in on goal and lifted a backhand shot over Roberto Luongo from the right of the crease for his 20th goal of the campaign.
     In the second period, Florida(35-27-15) struck quickly on their second power play of the game 55 seconds into the frame. Brian Campbell was at the top of the zone and he fed Brandon Pirri for a one-time slapshot from the top right circle that went by the left glove of Tuukka Rask to tie the game 1-1. Pirri, who put in his 21st goal of the season, scored for the eighth time in ten games and 18th time in the last 25 games.
     The Panthers took the lead for the first time at 12:37 of the second. Ryan Spooner drew the puck back on a faceoff in the right circle where Matt Bartkowski fanned on a shot. It led to a 2-on-1 breakaway for the Cats and Brad Boyes finished it with a snap shot from the right circle through the legs of Rask.
     The B's evened it up at 2-2 with 10:13 left in the third period. Milan Lucic backhanded a pass from the left wing behind to Spooner who put it on goal. David Pastrnak deflected it in from the left edge of the crease.
     The game was decided with 1:09 remaining in the third as the Bruins scored the go-ahead goal. Lucic picked up the puck from Pastrnak at center ice, skated into the Panthers zone and fired a wrist shot from the high slot for his 18th goal this season.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Larry Smith Goes To Washington

     Former South Florida sportscaster Larry Smith will join WJLA-TV in Washington D.C. as a morning news anchor in April. He leaves his position as a sports director and sports anchor at WGCL-TV in Atlanta which he started in July 2013. He had a short stint for several months in Cincinnati with WCPO-TV in early 2013.
     Smith first got noticed locally when he was a sports anchor at WPTV-TV Channel 5 in West Palm Beach from March 1992 until November 1993. He got on the national stage as a sports anchor at CNN from December 1993 to May 2009. Smith was a co-anchor on CNN Sports Tonight from 1993 until it was eliminated in September 2001. He remained as a sports anchor on CNN and CNN Headline News for the next eight years. Smith got a promotion as a studio host for Turner Sports from 2009 to 2012.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Habs Beat Panthers In Overtime

     It was the fourth game of a five-game road trip for the Florida Panthers as they lost to the Montreal Canadiens 3-2 in overtime at Bell Centre on Saturday night. The Panthers, who made a rare television appearance on Hockey Night In Canada, are now four points behind the Boston Bruins for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot.
     Montreal(47-21-8) got ahead 1-0 one second after their first power play expired with 2:23 left in the first period. Jeff Petry fired a slapshot from the left point which was blocked by Aleksander Barkov. It skipped to Lars Eller and he scored on a shot from the low right circle.
     In the second period, Florida(34-26-15) got two tallies from the same front line. Jaromir Jagr carried the puck into the Canadiens zone and stopped at the right point. A lead pass to Jonathan Huberdeau in the right circle was fed to Barkov where he carried it through the slot area and roofed a backhand shot by Carey Price at 6:09.
     The Panthers took the lead 2-1 on the power play at 13:11. Huberdeau sent a pass from the right wing to Barkov in the slot and he redirected it for a score and his 14th goal this season.
     The Habs responded and evened the contest 2-2 on the power play with 5:25 remaining in the second. Andrei Markov had the puck at the top of the zone and passed to Tomas Plekanec at the top right circle. He connected with Alex Galchenyuk who was alone to the right of the crease and he ripped a wrist shot over the left shoulder of Roberto Luongo for his 20th goal of the season.
     Overtime belonged to the Canadiens as they scored on a power-play goal at 2:59 for the victory. P.K. Subban passed the puck from the right point to David Desharnais below the right circle. His cross-ice pass was one-timed in by Max Pacioretty from the top of the crease for his 36th goal.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Panthers Mow Down Maple Leafs

     The Florida Panthers played the second game of a five-game road trip and finished with a 4-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night at Air Canada Centre. The Cats got the best scenario possible on the night as they closed the gap to three points behind the Ottawa Senators and Boston Bruins for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot.
     In the second period, Florida(34-26-14) compiled three goals to take a big lead. Aleksander Barkov made a drop pass and Jonathan Huberdeau converted a wrist shot from the top left circle into the top shelf of the net over the left glove of Jonathan Bernier at 4:23.
     The Panthers increased their lead to 2-0 just thirty seconds later. Jaromir Jagr took the puck off the back glass, backhanded it to the right wing and Steven Kampfer blasted in a slapshot.
     The Maple Leafs trailed 3-0 with 5:26 remaining in the period. Vincent Trocheck carried the puck into the offensive zone, passed left to Brandon Pirri and he scored on a snap shot from the top left circle.
     Toronto(27-42-6) ended up on the scoreboard at 9:13 of the third period as Sam Carrick scored his first NHL goal on a one-timer from the low slot which was fed by Morgan Rielly. Pirri capped the contest for the Panthers as he put in an empty-net goal from the left point with 1:36 left for his 20th goal of the season and his seventh goal in the last seven games.

Former WQAM Talents Host Padres Pregame Show

     Three former personalities on Sports Radio 560 WQAM-AM will host pregame shows of the San Diego Padres on XEPRS-AM in San Diego this season. It will consist of Jesse Agler, Dan Sileo and Scott Kaplan.
     Agler will be the primary studio host thirty minutes prior to all Padres games and work as a secondary radio play-by-play announcer for the team. The two others will do a 30-minute pregame show prior to the Padres Radio Network broadcasts with Sileo assigned weekday duties and Kaplan slated in for weekend duties.
     It will be the second season for Agler at his post with the San Diego Padres. He was the afternoon host of The Finsiders program on 940 WINZ-AM The Sports Animal until January 2014. Agler was the pregame host for the Florida Panthers Radio Network and Florida Marlins Radio Network on WQAM during the mid 2000s.
     Kaplan once was a sports anchor on WQAM during the late 1990s and a morning co-host on WNEW-FM in New York City before arriving in San Diego. Sileo had short stints as a sports host at WQAM and 640 Sports WMEN-AM prior to moving to California.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Panthers Fall To Lightning

     The Florida Panthers began their final road trip of the regular season and were defeated by the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3 at Amalie Arena on Tuesday night. It was the first of five consecutive road games for the Panthers who remained five points behind the Ottawa Senators for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
     The first period belonged to Tampa Bay(46-21-7) as they jumped out to a two-goal margin. Brandon Morrow scored at 5:49 then Tyler Johnson added his 26th goal this year at 7:47.
     Florida(33-26-14) compiled a three-goal rally during the second period and had a 3-2 lead at the end of the stanza. They got two goals in an 18-second span by Jussi Jokinen at 6:16 and Brandon Pirri at 6:34. The wrist shot by Pirri from the right point was his fifth goal in the last six games and his 15th in the last 21 games. Jonathan Huberdeau added his 18th goal of the season at 8:14.
     The Bolts fired back with two goals in the final period for the victory. Nikita Kucherov tied it 3-3 with his 27th goal at 1:30. Ryan Callahan scored the game-winning goal with 2:28 left in the third with a snap shot from the low left circle.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Jorge Sedano Goes Solo On ESPN Radio

     The 18-month partnership of the ESPN Radio evening show with Jorge Sedano and Mark Schlereth ended on March 20. Sedano will now host the evening program by himself as of Monday. They began co-hosting the show Sedano And Stink back in September 2013 after Sedano left his afternoon host and program director positions at Sports Radio 560 WQAM-AM.
     Sedano, who is a Florida International University grad, has hosted a sports show at several different radio stations in South Florida. He first co-hosted a program for several months on 1700 The Fan WAFN-AM until December 2000. Sedano would then host by himself when WRFX-AM flipped to a sports format in 2002 and held that spot until July 2004 when Clear Channel changed the format back to news/talk. He added duties as a morning sports anchor on News Radio 610 WIOD-AM, studio host for the Miami Heat Radio Network and an overnight host on Fox Sports Radio until he left in July 2007.
     He joined 790 The Ticket WAXY-AM just one month later in August 2007 as a midday host. Sedano would be elevated to morning host at that station in April 2009 and stayed there until early April 2012. He moved to WQAM in a dual position as an afternoon host and program director in August 2012 and had a one-year tenure.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Panthers Get By Bruins

     It was a game with playoff implications as the Florida Panthers beat the Boston Bruins 2-1 in a shootout at BB&T Center on Saturday night. The Panthers pulled to four points behind the B's for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Florida also snapped a nine-game winless streak to the Bruins.
     In the first period, Florida(33-25-14) got out to a 1-0 lead with 5:19 left in the frame. Jussi Jokinen forwarded the puck down the right-wing wall to Dave Bolland in the right corner. He backhanded it to the middle where Jimmy Hayes scored from the top edge of the blue paint as he beat Tuukka Rask with a snap shot. It was his 18th goal of the season after being held goalless in the last 14 games.
     Boston(36-24-12) converted on their second power play of the game at 2:52 of the second period. Dougie Hamilton set the play up as he connected with a pass from the top of the zone to Ryan Spooner at the top right circle. Patrice Bergeron received a feed in the slot area and he scored on a slapshot by Roberto Luongo for his 20th goal.
     The game was decided in a shootout where only one player was able to get a tally. On the Panthers second attempt, Brandon Pirri slowly shuffled the puck on his stick in the low slot before putting in a forehand shot underneath the right arm of Rask.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Jagr Passes Esposito As Panthers Top Wings

     Jaromir Jagr passed Phil Esposito for fifth place in NHL history with his 718th career goal as the Florida Panthers defeated the Detroit Red Wings 3-1 at BB&T Center on Thursday night. The Panthers moved to five points behind the Boston Bruins for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot.
     Roberto Luongo made his first appearance in net for the first time since March 3. He had missed the previous six games due to a right shoulder injury.
     Jagr scored his record-breaking goal at 10:55 of the second period for Florida(32-25-14) to take a 1-0 lead. Aleksander Barkov carried the puck through the neutral zone and sent a left outlet pass to Jonathan Huberdeau. Jagr followed up on the play and ripped a shot from the left circle by Petr Mrazek. Huberdeau compiled his tenth point in the last nine games.
     The Panthers made it a two-goal margin at 14:42 as Jagr almost tallied his second goal of the game. Brian Campbell fed the puck from the left point to Aaron Ekblad at the top right circle. His slapshot was saved, Jagr first poked the puck in the blue paint and Brandon Pirri tipped it into the Red Wings cage. It was the fourth consecutive game that Pirri scored and he recorded his 14th goal in his last 19 games played.
     In the third period, the Cats took a 3-0 lead on the effort of Scottie Upshall. He cleared the puck out to the neutral zone, picked it up on the left wing, skated to the left-circle dot and snapped in a shot at 6:50.
     Detroit(38-20-11) broke the shutout with 9:53 left in the third. Riley Sheahan poke checked the puck from Aaron Ekblad in the right corner and it moved to end wall. Tomas Tatar backhanded it to the middle where Erik Cole scored on a one-time shot from the right of the crease.   

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Le Batard Show Moves To ESPN

     Dan Le Batard and his television show Highly Questionable will make the switch from ESPN2 to ESPN. His show will begin on ESPN on March 23 at 4:30 PM. Highly Questionable has aired on ESPN2 since September 2011.
     Le Batard, has a longtime connection with different ESPN properties. He started as a panelist on The Sports Reporters and led to him being given a Sunday morning radio show on ESPN Radio in the early 2000's. Le Batard would also occasionally fill in as a co-host of Pardon The Interruption. He had his local radio show heard on 104.3 The Ticket WAXY-FM simulcast nationally on ESPN Radio in September 2013.
     He first became known in South Florida as a sports columnist at the Miami Herald, a position that he has held for almost 25 years. Le Batard branched out to local radio and has hosted the afternoon show on 790 The Ticket WAXY-AM since August 2004.


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Habs Punch Panthers

     The Florida Panthers started a three-game homestand against divisional opponents as they fell to the Montreal Canadiens 3-2 on Tuesday night at BB&T Center. The Panthers lost their second straight game and trail the Boston Bruins by seven points for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Canadiens moved in front of the Atlantic Division with 95 points and passed the Tampa Bay Lightning.
     All five goals in the contest were scored during the second period. Florida(31-25-14) got the initial lead at 4:20 of the frame. A Jonathan Huberdeau cross-ice pass was stopped in the high crease by Tom Gilbert, however Aleksander Barkov followed with a wrist shot from the low slot for his 12th goal and career-high 25th point this season. Huberdeau now has nine points in his last eight games.
     The Habs responded quickly to even it up just over one minute later at 5:44. Brandon Prust fed a pass from the right circle to the left point and Alexei Emelin snapped a shot into the top right corner of the net. He had been held scoreless in his last 12 games with his last tally on January 27 against Dallas.
     Montreal(44-20-7) pulled off a surprise at 8:23 with a shorthanded goal. Jacob De La Rose sent a cross-ice pass into the neutral zone where it was handled by Prust on the left wing. He skated into the Panthers zone and found De La Rose for a one-time shot from the low slot that went by the glove side of Dan Ellis.
     The Panthers tied the contest at 2-2 with 6:25 left in the second as Brandon Pirri scored his 13th goal in his last 18 games. Brad Boyes had the puck near the right corner, made a drop pass to Pirri in the top right circle where he finished the play with a snap shot by Dustin Tokarski. Pirri extended his goal-scoring streak to three games.
     P.K. Subban would score the eventual game-winning goal with 4:34 remaining in the period. After the puck was shaken off the exterior netting of the Panthers cage, Lars Eller steered it to Subban at the top right circle who then delayed and blasted in a shot for his 13th goal of the season.   

Miami Ratings February 2015

     The monthly battle between sports format radio stations for ratings was topped by 104.3 The Ticket WAXY-FM for the 18th consecutive month in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale region. A big surprise was that both of their two main competitors in the market saw a decrease in their numbers.
     104.3 The Ticket stayed flat again at a 1.6 for February. Their lineup continued to be stable considering that the Miami Heat has been in a fight for a playoff spot.
     Sports Radio 560 WQAM-AM was again in the second-place spot as they went down from a 1.1 to a 0.9 for the month. They had both the University of Miami basketball team and the Florida Panthers attempt to make strides for postseason appearances this year.    
     Miami Sports 940 WINZ-AM showed a drop in their performance as they fell from a 0.3 to a 0.2 in February. As the calendar moved away from pro football season and no Miami Dolphins games, their numbers were expected to take some hit.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Rangers Drive By Panthers

     The Florida Panthers had their three-game win streak snapped as they fell to the New York Rangers 2-1 at Madison Square Garden on Sunday. The Rangers climbed to the best record in the National Hockey League with 95 points. The Cats still remain six points back for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot.
     New York(44-17-7) had the only goal during the first period at 17:44. Matt Hunwick took a shot from the right wing which was redirected twice. First by Dominic Moore in the slot followed by James Sheppard to the left of the crease for his first goal with his new team.
     Another Ranger would score his first goal with the Blueshirts as Hunwick fired a slapshot from the left point which clanked in off the right post at 8:37 of the third period.
     Florida(31-24-14) closed the margin to 2-1 with 9:49 left in regulation. Nick Bjugstad won a face-off in the right circle and put it back to Brandon Pirri. He released a wrist shot which went through the legs of Cam Talbot.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Panthers Blank Hurricanes

     The Florida Panthers played the first of back-to-back road games this weekend and shut out the Carolina Hurricanes 2-0 on Saturday night at PNC Arena. The Panthers improved to 5-2-1 in their last eight games and face the New York Rangers on Sunday.
     There was no scoring until late in the second period as Florida(31-23-14) got on the scoreboard first at 16:20. They got the initial goal on a give-and-go play. Brandon Pirri passed from the top right circle to Jimmy Hayes on the right wing and he returned it to him. Pirri then lifted a backhand shot from the low right circle over the right shoulder of Cam Ward for his 14th goal of the season.
     Carolina(25-34-8) hit the post twice in the final eight minutes of the third period and were unable to score. The Panthers got an empty-net tally with 39.1 seconds left in the third as Dave Bolland scored on a backhand from the left point. Jussi Jokinen and Derek MacKenzie were credited with assists on the play. Dan Ellis collected his 14th career shutout and his first since February 2014.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Panthers Take Out Jets

     The Florida Panthers finished a season-long sevcn-game homestand with a 4-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday night at BB&T Center.  The Cats, who played their first game in the last five days, stay six points behind the Boston Bruins for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot and completed the homestand with a 4-2-1 record.
     Florida(30-23-14) scored the only goal in the first period with 3:28 left. Dave Bolland had the puck at the right point and send a no-look backhand pass to the slot area. Derek Mackenzie dove and put in a forehand shot in one motion over the right shoulder of Michael Hutchinson.
     Winnipeg(33-23-12) evened it up midway through the second period at 9:14. Mark Scheifele carried the puck into the Panthers zone and snapped a shot from the top right circle by the left arm of Dan Ellis.
     The Panthers retook the lead on their second power-play opportunity with 2:53 to go in the second. After a close-range shot by Jaromir Jagr was saved, Jonathan Huberdeau centered the puck from the left circle. Brad Boyes shot from the top of the crease went off the leg of Adam Pardy and then he accidentally put it into his own cage in an attempt to clear it from the blue paint. It was the 12th goal this season for Boyes and the seventh point in the last five games for Huberdeau.
     The Jets once again tied the contest up at 6:13 of the third period. The puck was lobbed into the low slot by former Panther Michael Frolik and Drew Stafford scored from the top crease for his fourth goal in a Winnipeg uniform.
     The game-winning goal was scored by Aleksander Barkov with 3:53 remaining in the third period. Jagr backhanded a pass prior to the Jets blue line which was touched by Huberdeau. Barkov skated into the offensive zone and he took a wrist shot from the top slot that hit the top left corner of the net for his 11th goal. Huberdeau, who extended his point streak to five games, collected his 100th career point on the play. Nick Bjugstad scored his 24th goal from the blue line into an empty net with 45.4 seconds left for a two-goal margin.   

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Miami Dolphins Sign Ndamukong Suh

     The Miami Dolphins made a huge splash in the free agent market on Wednesday and signed defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. It is a six-year deal worth $114 million in which $60 million of the contract is guaranteed by the club. It's the largest contract ever signed by a defensive player in NFL history.
     Suh was drafted in the first round and second overall in the 2010 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions. He was an First-Team All-Pro on four separate occasions in 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014. Suh was also a Second-Team All-Pro in 2012. He was a Pro Bowl selection in 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014.  
     The Lions made two playoff appearances while he played there in 2011 and 2014. Suh had 36 sacks, 180 individual tackles, 66 tackles for loss, 98 quarterback hits and 128.5 knockdowns/hurries in 78 regular season games with Detroit. He has led all defensive tackles in these categories since 2010.
     Suh spent his college career with the University of Nebraska where he was a 2009 Heisman Trophy finalist and finished fourth. He won the Outland Trophy, Chuck Bednarik Award, Bronko Nagurski Trophy, Lombardi Award and Associated Press College Football Player of the Year Award in 2009.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Panthers Slip By Islanders

     The Florida Panthers played there sixth game of a season-long seven-game homestand and were victorious over the New York Islanders 4-3 in a shootout at BB&T Center on Saturday night. The Panthers, who won for the third time in five games, remained two points out from the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Islanders lost for the third time in their last four games and next visit Toronto to complete a four-game road trip.
     The Cats had no shots on goal in the first nine minutes of the game. That changed when they scored first with 7:09 left in the first period. The Islanders tried to clear the puck out of their defensive zone. It was stopped by Erik Gudbranson at the right point and he threw a shot on net that slipped by Michael Neuvirth for his fourth goal this season. It was his first goal since the last time both teams met on February 3 which was a 15-game scoreless streak for him.
     In the second period, New York(42-21-4) pulled even at 4:39 on a goal by John Tavares. Nick Bjugstad had his pass in the neutral zone tipped by Anders Lee and went to Tavares at the Panthers blue line. He skated in alone on a breakaway and put a backhand shot by Dan Ellis for his career-best 32nd goal of the season.
     Florida(29-23-14) regained the lead 2-1 at 9:20 of the second. Alex Petrovic sent the puck from the right point to Jussi Jokinen on the end wall. He backhanded it to Bjugstad in the right circle who pivoted to the slot and scored on a backhand shot for his team-high 23rd goal this season. Bjugstad has compiled four points in his last five games. 
     The Isles squared it up at 2-2 while on their second power play with 4:23 to go in the second frame. There was back-and-forth passing between Nick Leddy and Tavares at the top of the zone until Leddy blasted a slapshot through traffic in front.
     The Panthers pulled ahead again at 9:26 of the third period. Jaromir Jagr connected with Aleksander Barkov at center ice and he carried the puck into the Islanders zone. Barkov gave a short pass to Jonathan Huberdeau on the edge of the left circle and he scored on a spin around snap shot that went by the right leg of Neuvirth.
     The Islanders responded and tied it 3-3 with 7:12 left in the third. Following a scramble for the puck on the left wing, Tavares backhanded a pass to Josh Bailey at the left-circle dot and he riffled in a one-time slapshot.
     The game was decided in a shootout as Jonathan Huberdeau scored in the first round for the Panthers as he used a zig-zag move and put in a delayed forehand shot.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Stars Outshine Panthers

     Dan Ellis make his season debut with the Florida Panthers as they lost to the Dallas Stars 4-3 in a shootout on Thursday night at BB&T Center. It was the fifth game of a season-high seven-game homestand for the Panthers who remained two points behind the Boston Bruins for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot. The Stars opened up a five-game road trip against Eastern Conference opponents.
     In the first period, Dallas(29-26-10) struck fast as they scored on their second shot of the game at 2:33. Shawn Horcoff dropped a pass at the top right circle to Jason Demers who slapped a shot toward the net. Curtis McKenzie redirected the puck in for a tally through the legs of Ellis for his second goal of the year.
     Florida(28-23-14) allowed another goal at 12:41 and found themselves in a hole down 2-0. Horcoff skated down the left side on a 2-on-1 breakaway and tried to connect a pass across the low slot. However his pass accidentally went off the stick of Brian Campbell and by Ellis.
     The Panthers got on the scoreboard with 3:00 left in the first to cut the margin. Vincent Trocheck had the puck at his own blue line and fed a left-outlet pass to Brandon Pirri in the neutral zone. He dashed in by himself to the left-circle dot and fired a shot through the pads of Kari Lehtonen for his 13rd goal of the season. It was his fourth goal in the last four games.
     Florida tied the game following being shorthanded at 8:15 of the second period. Dmitry Kulikov had just served a two-minute holding penalty when he bursted out of the penalty box. Jussi Jokinen sent a long lead pass from his own defensive zone to Kulikov at the Stars blue line. He hustled through the slot area and snapped a shot over the left glove of Lehtonen.
     The Cats took their first lead of the game 3-2 with 7:32 to go in the second. Nick Bjugstad made a short pass to Jonathan Huberdeau at the blue line. Huberdeau went to the left circle and scored on a wrist shot from the face-off dot. Kulikov was credited with an assist to complete a Gordie Howe hat trick. Lehtonen was pulled from the net by head coach Lindy Ruff and was replaced by Jhonas Enroth.
     The Stars pulled even with 7:39 to go in the third period. John Klingberg skated around with the puck on the left wing, passed to Alex Goligoski on the right point and he flicked a shot through traffic in front for the score. The Panthers had just two shots on goal during the third period, which included one shot on their second power play of the game.
     There was only one successful attempt during the shootout. Dallas got the victory as Collon Sceviour went with a backhand shot which beat Ellis to the blocker side.   

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Heat Drop Lakers

     There is usually national hype when these two clubs meet during the regular season as the Miami Heat got by the Los Angeles Lakers 100-94 at American Airlines Arena on Wednesday night. The game did not have the same feel as it has in recent years without the participation of Kobe Bryant for the Lakers and Chris Bosh for the Heat.
     The first quarter began as Los Angeles(16-44) jumped out 11-4 by the 8:22 mark, but Miami(27-33) responded with nine straight points and were up 28-25 after one quarter. The Lakers, who are now 1-10 in the second part of back-to-back games, would close out halftime ahead 51-46.
     Dwyane Wade scored ten points in the third quarter as the Heat stayed ahead 76-73 at the end of the period. Los Angeles started the fourth quarter on a 11-4 spurt and got up 84-80 with 7:28 to go. Goran Dragic put in his 500th career three-point shot to give the Heat a 90-88 lead with 3:30 remaining.
     Miami was able to get a three-point margin twice in the final stretch. Hassan Whiteside dropped a one-handed slam off an ally-oop from Wade to make it 95-92 with 57 seconds left and then Wade connected with Whiteside on a lead pass in the lane for a lay-up with 21 seconds to go and gave the Heat a 97-94 lead.
     Wade had a team-high 25 points for the Heat and six assists in 31 minutes while Dragic added 21 points along with six assists. Whiteside compiled a career-high 25 rebounds and also had 18 points. It was the fourth time this season that he put together at least 20 rebounds in a game.
     The Lakers were able to get seven players who scored in double digits. Two of their reserves had double-doubles as Ed Davis landed 14 points with 12 rebounds while Jordan Hill dropped 13 points along with ten rebounds. Jeremy Lin fell short of a double-double as he had 12 points and nine rebounds.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Maple Leafs Hold Off Panthers

     The Florida Panthers were in an unusual circumstance in which they almost used three different goaltenders in net and fell to the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2 on Tuesday night at BB&T Center. It was the fourth game of a seven-game homestand for the Cats. The Maple Leafs were able to snap a franchise record 16 consecutive road losses. They last won a road game on December 31 in Boston.
     Florida(28-23-13) moved ahead 1-0 with 17.2 seconds to go in the first period. Jimmy Hayes was in the left circle and fed Brandon Pirri in the slot and his snap shot went through the legs of Jonathan Bernier. Roberto Luongo left the contest at the end of the first frame after he suffered an injury from a shot by Leo Komarov which hit him in the right clavicle.
     In the second period, Toronto(26-33-5) scored on their second power-play opportunity at 4:40. Phil Kessel put a wrist shot on net from the left circle which was saved by Al Montoya, but Tyler Bozak pounced on the rebound from the top of the crease.  
     The Panthers bounced back at 13:12 and retook the lead 2-1 with their first attempt on the power play. Jonathan Huberdeau had the puck in the right corner and sent it to Aaron Ekblad at the top of the zone. He fired a slapshot for his 11th goal this season and broke a tie with Ed Jovanovski for most goals by a rookie defenseman in franchise history.
     It took just 22 seconds into the third period for the Maple Leafs to tie it up at 2-2. Jake Gardiner blasted a shot from the blue line which went wide right and rebounded off the back boards. Nazem Kadri swept in the puck from the right edge of the blue paint for his 16th goal. Montoya was injured on the play and would be replaced ten minutes later by Luongo. Florida goaltender coach Robb Tallas was considered to replace him as their third goalie of the night because Luongo was already dressed in street clothes.
     The Leafs added another goal at 5:28 to pull ahead 3-2. Former Panther David Booth carried the puck through the left circle, placed a cross-ice backhand pass to Peter Holland in the right circle and he smacked it into the Florida cage.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Marlins Television Adds Jessica Blaylock

     The Miami Marlins have named Jessica Blaylock as their new sideline reporter for game broadcasts on Fox Sports Florida for the 2015 regular season. She replaces Allison Williams who had a five-year tenure with Marlins telecasts in that position and as a backup studio host.
     Blaylock has worked as a sideline reporter for Sun Sports and Fox Sports Florida on game broadcasts from Central Florida and North Florida. She was a sideline reporter for the FHSAA high school football state championship games at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando until December 2012. Blaylock has spent the last several years in radio as a sports anchor and reporter at WJXL-AM in Jacksonville.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Jagr Ties Esposito As Panthers Win

     Personal milestones were set by three Florida players as the Panthers held on to defeat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3 on Sunday night at BB&T Center. The most noteworthy was that Jaromir Jagr scored his 717th career goal to tie Phil Esposito for fifth all-time in NHL history. The Panthers, who snapped a five-game losing streak to the cross-state rival Lightning, improved their Atlantic Division record to 11-3-4 this season.
     Jagr scored his first goal as a member of the Panthers at 10:24 of the first period to give Florida(28-22-13) a 1-0 lead. Jonathan Huberdeau brought the puck through the left circle on a 2-on-1 break. His cross-ice pass was stopped by a defender and Jagr followed with a wrist shot that beat Ben Bishop to the glove side.
     Tampa Bay(38-20-6) came back quickly and tied the contest at 12:08. Jonathan Drouin held the puck on the low left side, dropped it off to Anton Stralman and he snapped home a shot from the left wing.
     The Panthers put together two goals during the second period to take charge. Jagr took a shot from the slot area which was saved then Aleksander Barkov dove and flicked in a backhand shot from the blue paint at 5:31.
     Brad Boyes finally picked up his 200th career NHL goal after a 17-game goal drought with 3:00 to go in the second. He last scored a goal back on January 27 against Detroit. The puck went around the end wall to him in the right corner, he shot it on goal where it bounced it off Bishop's right knee and into the net.
    In the third period, the Cats made it a three-goal cushion on the power play at 4:18 as Aaron Ekblad scored his tenth goal this season on a one-time slapshot from above the left circle. He tied Ed Jovanovski for the club record for most goals in a rookie season by a defenseman. Jovo set the mark in 1995-96 when Florida won the Eastern Conference championship.
     The Lightning closed the gap with two goals in the remainder of the frame. Steven Stamkos compiled his 35th goal of the season at 8:31 on a snapshot from the low slot which got by Al Montoya. The Bolts pulled to within 4-3 with 2:44 left as Tyler Johnson redirected a pass in front from Nikita Kuckerov on the left side.