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Halak leads Blues to 3-0 win over Predators

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Halak leads Blues to 3-0 win over Predators

ST. LOUIS (AP) Patrik Berglund scored on a penalty shot and goalie Jaroslav Halak bounced back from a poor game to lead the St. Louis Blues over the Nashville Predators 3-0 on Thursday night.

The Blues have won three of four this season, including a 4-3 shootout win in Nashville on Monday.

Vladimir Tarasenko and T.J. Oshie also scored for St. Louis, which has at least one point in 11 of its last 13 meetings with Central Division rival Nashville.

The Predators lost for the first time in regulation this season. They began the campaign with shootout losses to Columbus and St. Louis.

Halak, who made 13 saves, was pulled three days earlier after allowing three goals on 11 shots in Nashville. He rebounded to record his second shutout of the season and the 24th of his career. Halak made 14 saves in a 6-0 win over Detroit on Jan. 19.

Tarasenko, who made it 3-0 in the third period, has four goals and two assists in four games.

Berglund was hauled down from behind by Mike Fisher midway through the second period.

Berglund also scored on a penalty shot Jan. 24, 2012, in a 3-2 loss to Pittsburgh.

Oshie poked in a rebound of a drive by David Perron to give St. Louis a 1-0 lead midway through the first period. The power-play goal was the Blues' seventh of the season in their first 11 chances. Oshie has three goals in four games.

St. Louis had 18 of the game's first 22 shots on goal and held Nashville without a shot for a stretch of 16:10 in the opening period.

Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne had lost only once in regulation in his previous seven games against St. Louis.

The Blues improved to 4-1-1 in their last six games at home against Nashville. The Predators have not scored in the last 182 minutes, 44 seconds of regulation play in St. Louis.

NOTES: Nashville is on a seven-game road trip, tying a franchise record, that ends Feb. 5 in St. Louis. The Predators also played seven successive road games from Oct. 30 to Nov. 12, 2002. ... St. Louis D Wade Redden played his first NHL game since April 11, 2010. He was signed by the Blues on Jan. 18. ... Predators RW Patric Hornqvist has five goals and eight assists in 19 games against the Blues. ... St. Louis is a league-best 32-6-5 at home since the beginning of last season.

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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.