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Bruins clinch playoff berth in 2-1 OT loss to Blues

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Bruins clinch playoff berth in 2-1 OT loss to Blues

ST. LOUIS -- Jaden Schwartz and the St. Louis Blues waited most of the season for some late-game magic.

They finally found it.

Schwartz scored his second goal of the game 30 seconds into overtime to give St. Louis a 2-1 victory over the Boston Bruins on Wednesday night.

It was the Blues' third successive come-from-behind win in overtime. They beat Chicago 5-4 on Sunday after a 4-3 extra period win over the New York Rangers a day earlier.

Going into Saturday's game, St. Louis had a 2-23-1 record when trailing after the second period.

"We knew we had it in us," coach Mike Yeo said. "Obviously, we're finding it at the right time."

The Blues won for the fifth time in six games to move within two points of the final Western Conference wild-card spot.

Jake Allen made 21 saves to improve to 24-21-2.

Ryan Donato scored for Boston. The Bruins clinched a playoff spot and moved within four points of Tampa Bay for the Eastern lead.

Schwartz scored his third game-winning goal of the season with a nifty coast-to-coast march in the extra period. He took a drop pass from Colton Parayko and skated behind his own net to gain momentum.

Schwartz weaved through a pair of defenders and drilled a hard shot from the slot past goalie Anton Khudobin, who made 18 saves.

"I had some space and I just tried to pick up some speed," Schwartz said. "I wanted to see what was going to develop. I got a little one-on-one and just tried to change the angle."

Schwartz, who got his 15th career game-winner, missed 20 games earlier in the season with a broken ankle.

"He's a heck of a player, he's fun to watch," St. Louis defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said. "He's been so good for us this year in all aspects of the game."

Schwartz is having the time of his life during the Blues' recent come-from-behind win streak.

"We're back to believing in ourselves," Schwartz said. "We're doing a good job of playing the full 60 minutes and not giving up. We're not panicking."

Schwartz tied it midway through the third period with a wrist shot from the top of the circle.

Donato scored his second goal in his second NHL game. He had a goal and two assists in a 5-4 loss to Columbus on Monday night.

Donato, still a student at Harvard University, returned to Massachusetts on Tuesday to attend class before flying back to St. Louis to rejoin the Bruins. His father, Ted, played 528 games in two stints with the Bruins (1992-99, 2003-04).

Donato, who played for the U.S. Olympic team last month, drilled a shot past Allen in the first period. Pietrangelo's clearing attempt hit referee Brad Watson and the puck bounced right to Donato.

"That's the goal, getting that playoff point is huge for us and being able to clinch that spot," Donato said. "But obviously we would have been a lot happier if we got the win as well."

Boston, which has a game in hand on Tampa Bay, joined Nashville and Tampa Bay as only teams to have clinched playoff spots.

"Going into the season, we wanted to make the playoffs, be a Stanley Cup contender," Boston coach Bruce Cassidy said. "Going forward, we want to be in the best position possible, playing the best hockey going in."


Boston was without seven key players:- C Patrice Bergeron (fractured left foot), D Charlie McAvoy (left knee), D Zdeno Chara (upper body), LW Jake DeBrusk (upper body), RW David Backes (right leg laceration), D Torey Krug (upper body) and LW Rick Nash (upper body). They have combined for 101 goals and 161 assists.

NOTES: St. Louis RW Vladimir Tarasenko missed his second successive game after taking an elbow to the face against the New York Rangers on Saturday. ... The Bruins have least one point in 12 of their last 15 games against St. Louis. ... Only three Boston players - RW David Pastrnak, C Tim Schaller and C Sean Kuraly - have played in every game this season.


Bruins: At Dallas on Friday night in the second game of a four-game trip.

Blues: Host Vancouver on Friday night.

Celtics' Morris fined $15,000 for 'verbally abusing' official

Celtics' Morris fined $15,000 for 'verbally abusing' official

NEW YORK — The NBA has fined Celtics forward Marcus Morris of the Celtics $15,000 for "verbally abusing" an official.

The punishments were announced Tuesday by Kiki Vandeweghe, the league’s executive vice president for basketball operations.

Morris’ verbal abuse toward the official occurred at the end of the Celtics’ 108-89 loss to the Pelicans on Sunday night in New Orleans. Morris had a technical foul during the game, which turned into a blowout. The NBA said the fine was for Morris' comments to officials at the conclusion of the game. 

© 2018 by The Associated Press

Chest pains and lack of sleep lead to medical leave for Cavs coach Lue

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Chest pains and lack of sleep lead to medical leave for Cavs coach Lue

CLEVELAND - Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue is taking a leave of absence from the team to address health issues that have included chest pains and loss of sleep.

Lue said Monday in a statement that tests have offered no conclusion about what the issue is and offered no timetable for his return. The coach said he feels he needs to step away "and focus on trying to establish a stronger and healthier foundation" from which to coach the rest of the season.

Here's a portion of Lue's statement:

I have had chest pains and other troubling symptoms, compounded by a loss of sleep, throughout the year. Despite a battery of tests, there have been no conclusions as to what the exact issue is.

"While I have tried to work through it, the last thing I want is for it to affect the team. I am going to use this time to focus on a prescribed routine and medication, which has previously been difficult to start in the midst of a season," Lue said. "My goal is to come out of it a stronger and healthier version of myself so I can continue to lead this team to the championship we are all working towards."

A stress-filled season for the Cavs has taken a toll on the Lue, 40, a former Celtics assistant under Doc Rivers who led them to the 2016 NBA championship after taking over for David Blatt midway through that season. They are j40-29, third in the Eastern Conference, behind the second-place Celtics and East-leading Toronto Raptors, and have endured roster shake-ups, injuries and other distractions as they try to return to the NBA Finals.

David Aldridge of TNT reports that the plan is for Lue to return in a week. The NBA playoffs begin April 14. 

"We all want great players, we all want the best teams, but with that comes a lot of pressure as well. And what Ty Lue has had to go through this year with that team, with the trades and the injuries and the pressure, it's unrelenting," Denver coach Michael Malone said. "So I hope that he gets healthy and is able to get back in time for the playoffs and help that team win as many games as possible."

Lue spent the second half of Cleveland's victory in Chicago on Saturday in the locker room because of an illness, the second time this season he left a game because he wasn't feeling well. The former NBA guard also sat one out against Chicago at home in December.

Associate head coach Larry Drew coached the second half of Saturday's game, the finale of a six-game, 11-day road trip. Cleveland is back home to host Milwaukee on Monday.

"We know how difficult these circumstances are for Coach Lue and we support him totally in this focused approach to addressing his health issues," general manager Koby Altman said.

Charlotte coach Steve Clifford also left his team to address his health this season. He took six weeks off. Medical tests revealed that the 56-year-old Clifford did not have any internal problems, but the doctor's diagnosis was the coach was suffering from severe sleep deprivation.

AP Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds contributed to this report.

© 2018 by The Associated Press