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Broduer earns 120th shutout as Devils top Flyers

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Broduer earns 120th shutout as Devils top Flyers

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) Martin Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils have started the lockout-shortened season in playoff form. The Philadelphia Flyers seem to have missed the opening bell.

Brodeur made 24 saves for his 120th NHL shutout, Ilya Kovalchuk scored on a short-handed penalty shot, and the Devils won their home opener in front of an enthusiastic sellout crowd with a 3-0 victory over the winless Flyers on Tuesday night.

It was the first meeting between the long-time divisional rivals since New Jersey eliminated Philadelphia in five games in the Eastern Conference semifinals. The Devils again had the Flyers' number and beat them for a fifth straight time.

Travis Zajac and David Clarkson scored first-period goals to provide all the offense Brodeur would need en route to his 10th shutout of the Flyers.

``It was a long time coming,'' Brodeur said. ``I thought we had a great run in the playoffs, and our fans were great. With the lockout, we didn't know how these fans would respond. They showed tremendous support.

``I thought we played pretty good and gave them some excitement. Hockey is back in New Jersey, I guess.''

The Flyers dropped to 0-3, matching their worst start since they also lost their first three games in the lockout-shortened 1995 season.

Philadelphia rebounded that year to win the Atlantic Division, and the Devils won their first Stanley Cup championship that season with Brodeur in goal.

``It's not time to panic, but we have to tighten the screws,'' Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov said. ``After the bad start we can't keep losing games anymore because you will never get out from the bottom of the standings because you don't have enough games.

``That's why we have to be with the attitude that's it's the playoffs.''

The 40-year-old Brodeur was in postseason form, especially in the first period when he stopped all nine Flyers shots.

``It shows how good an athlete he is,'' Clarkson said of Brodeur. ``Marty is one of the best athletes I've played with. It's impressive to see him at that age doing what he's doing and having fun doing it. He makes us a better team every night.''

The Devils had only three shots in the first period, but Zajac and Clarkson scored. That duo also had goals in the Devils' 2-1 season-opening win over the Islanders on Saturday.

``They only had three shots so I don't think we played bad hockey,'' Flyers forward Max Talbot said. ``The only thing we can do is keep working hard. It would be easy to panic. It's about work ethic. Yes, it's three games and we don't have a point but we need to keep working and battling.''

Kovalchuk, who played in Russia during the lockout and was a little late in getting back for training camp, brought the crowd of 17,650 to its feet on the Devils' fourth shot of the game early in the second period. He was hooked by defenseman Kimmo Timonen on a semi-breakaway and was awarded a penalty shot at 2:44.

The 29-year-old Kovalchuk wasted no time once the puck was put down at center ice. He skated quickly at Bryzgalov and beat him with a backhander to the upper part of the net for his first goal of the season.

``It's a 50-50 chance and I was fortunate to score,'' Kovalchuk said. ``He's a big goalie and I knew he would go down if I faked him. I beat him this time, but it's a long season.''

The only question after that was whether Brodeur would add to his career-leading shutout total. Wayne Simmonds had the best scoring chance with a shot from the right circle that had Brodeur out of position. However, the 19-year veteran slid across the crease and made a pad save.

It must have frustrated Simmonds because he bumped Brodeur after another glove save later in the period, sparking a little melee. Clarkson and Simmonds traded punches in a third-period scuffle.

``I didn't hit him too hard,'' Simmonds said. ``I just gave him a little push that I kind of thought he over exaggerated, and it worked. He is one of the best goalies who ever played. He can do whatever he wants in this league.''

The Flyers held New Jersey without a shot for a 12:25 span in the first period but still trailed 2-0.

Zajac gave the Devils the lead after only 67 seconds. The center who signed a $46 million contract last week, stopped a point shot by Bryce Salvador right at Bryzgalov's doorstep and tucked the puck around the goalie into an open net.

Clarkson extended the lead to 2-0 with 24.9 seconds left in the opening period with a fluky power-play goal. He centered the puck from the side of the net, and it hit off the stake of Flyers forward Ruslan Fedotenko and caromed into the net.

Brodeur had three excellent saves in the opening 20 minutes. He made a skate save on a point shot by defenseman Andrej Meszaros, stopped Fedotenko on a rebound, and made a one-on-one stop against Scott Hartnell with the Flyers coming at him in waves.

Notes: Brodeur also has 10 shutouts against the Islanders. ... Kovalchuk's goal was the Devils' first short-handed, penalty-shot score since Zach Parise had one on Oct. 21, 2011 vs. San Jose. ... Kovalchuk has scored on three of four penalty shots in his career. ... New Jersey is 17-8-5 in home openers. ... Tye McGinn, recalled from Adirondack of the AHL on Monday, made his NHL debut for the Flyers. He replaced Zac Rinaldo who sustained a cut to his right thigh against Buffalo on Sunday. ... Philadelphia RW Danny Briere missed his third straight game. He broke his left wrist playing overseas during the lockout. ... Former Islanders D Bruno Gervais, who signed as a free agent during the offseason, made his Flyers debut.

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Bradley Beal makes most of his opportunity in first All-Star Game

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Associated Press

Bradley Beal makes most of his opportunity in first All-Star Game

Bradley Beal may have had a slow start in the three-point contest on Saturday night, but in Sunday's All-Star Game he worked quickly to make the most of his relatively small window of playing time.

Beal checked in for the first time with 5:45 left in the first quarter and less than 25 seconds later had his first points on a two-handed dunk assisted by LeBron James.

In his All-Star debut, Beal helped lead Team LeBron to a 148-145 victory over Team Stephen as the league utilizied a new format for the annual showcase.

RELATED: BEAL BOUNCED EARLY IN THREE-POINT CONTEST

Beal finished with 14 points and a steal in a productive night. He shot 5-for-10 from the field and an impressive 4-for-8 from long range. 

Beal also tried to get a travelling call from the refs on Karl-Anthony Towns. Yeah, that's not likely to happen in an All-Star Game:

Beal more than held his own and only played 16 minutes, which was good considering he has logged the fifth-most minutes of any player so far this season. A realistic best-case scenario was a strong showing and a short night and that's exactly what he got.

Not only does Beal play a lot of minutes, the Wizards need him now more than ever with John Wall's injury. He needs whatever rest he can get during this All-Star break.

Speaking of Wall, he was in the house despite being in the middle of his rehab from left knee surgery. Per usual, Wall was shining bright:

RELATED: BEST WIZARDS/BULLETS MOMENTS ON ALL-STAR SATURDAY NIGHT

The All-Star Game wasn't all about Beal, of course. Here are some other things that stood out...

*The new format and increased financial incentive were intended to make the game more competitive and that's what happened late in the fourth quarter. Usually, that's how these things go where the players will start trying at the end. But this time it seemed to be up a few levels and it was fun to watch. 

Both teams scored in the 140s, so it wasn't exactly a defensive battle. No matter what the league does, the players will only try so hard for so long. The main goal of everyone's is to not get injured in a game that ultimately doesn't count for anything. Still, this was different and appears to have been a success.

*While everyone was focusing on the reunion of LeBron and Kyrie Irving the best beef was Joel Embiid vs. Russell Westbrook. Those two have traded waves to taunt each other at the end of wins in head-to-head matchups and it was clear on Sunday they still don't like each other. Westbrook tried to dunk all over Embiid in the first half, only to get blocked at the rim.

Westbrook's determination to dunk on Embiid was out of the ordinary for an All-Star Game. It was obvious what was on his mind:

*Irving's handles are simply ridiculous. Check out this fake behind-the-back move he pulled with Giannis Antetkounmpo guarding him. Yes, it didn't fool the defender but it was impressive nonetheless:

*LeBron is 33 years old, yet he was still running up and down the court faster than anyone and leaping above the rim to thrown down alley-oop after alley-oop. It is truly amazing and everyone should enjoy watching him while they can, regardless of whether they like the guy or not.

This was one of his dunks:

LeBron took home MVP with a game-high 29 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists and a steal.

*The pregame show was quite bad. It was anchored by comedians Kevin Hart and Rob Riggle and, though they had some funny jokes, it lasted nearly 30 minutes. The whole thing was pretty much universally panned on social media. Fergie's national anthem was also roasted by the masses.

*The halftime show was much better. It began with N.E.R.D taking it back to their older days with 'Lapdance,' went to Migos performing 'Stir Fry' and swung back to N.E.R.D. who did their latest hit 'Lemon.' 

RELATED: LATEST 2018 NBA MOCK DRAFT

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The NBA All-Star pregame introductions were, uh, something

The NBA All-Star pregame introductions were, uh, something

Whoever put together the NBA All-Star Game player introductions has some 'splainin to do. 

The NBA introduced a kinda-full Staples Center to their 2018 All-Stars about an hour ago, and boy was it weird. There were a lot of dancers in different themed costumes. Kevin Hart was screaming. Rob Riggle was screaming. Ludacris showed up? Hey! Did you know that the Barenaked Ladies are still a band? The NBA would like you to know they're still around.  The whole thing was like when you're at an art museum and you're told that abstract piece in the corner is actually really meaningful but you gotta be honest, you don't get it. 

Anyways, the internet hated it. Here are some highlights from the internet hating it:

The lesson here is that you never need Kevin Hart and Rob Riggle. One will do.