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Panthers-Jets Preview

Panthers-Jets Preview

The Florida Panthers snapped out of a prolonged slump last week with a flurry of late goals against the Winnipeg Jets.

That earned them some payback for their most recent visit to Winnipeg, which was one to forget.

The Panthers will try for a better showing there and a third straight win in Tuesday night's rematch with the Jets, losers of three in a row.

Florida (3-5-0) was outscored 23-5 during a five-game losing streak but matched that output in the third period of a 6-3 victory over the Jets (3-4-1) on Thursday. The Panthers registered four goals in the final 8:40.

Florida then rallied for a 4-3 win over Buffalo on Sunday, ending an 0-3-0 start on the road.

As in the victory over Winnipeg, each goal was scored by a different player. Brian Campbell and Peter Mueller were the only two to score in both games, while Tomas Kopecky had a team-best four points with one goal and three assists.

"We're starting to come as a team a bit more now and have faith in coming back," said Campbell, who had the go-ahead goal in the third Sunday. "Earlier in the season, we didn't have a whole lot of faith and confidence. But now we're starting to see our team develop."

The Panthers will try to keep building their confidence in the second game of a four-game trip as they look to avoid another miserable effort in Winnipeg. Florida lost 7-0 there March 1, giving up five goals in the third period.

With the Jets having been outscored 18-9 in the last three games, though, the Panthers would appear to have a good chance to extend their roll.

Winnipeg lost 8-3 to Tampa Bay on Friday, trailing 6-0 after the first 26 minutes. Ondrej Pavelec gave up five goals on 14 shots and Al Montoya allowed three on 11.

"Sometimes you've got to hit rock bottom or whatever to figure out that you've had enough of this stuff," coach Claude Noel said. "Our job is to find solutions to these things, and for me, I know how our team can play and that's what we have to get back to doing."

The Jets gave up three power-play goals in the first period Friday and have allowed opponents to convert nine of 18 opportunities in the last four games.

Florida was 3 of 6 with the man advantage Thursday and Alex Kovalev scored the go-ahead goal on one of those opportunities.

"We've got two choices," Winnipeg forward Alexei Ponikarovsky said. "Choice 1 is to pout and complain and moan about taking too many penalties. The second choice is go home, improve collectively and individually. That's going to have to be our focus."

The Jets have won their past two home games.

Defenseman Dustin Byfuglien, who had two goals and two assists in his last three games, has missed the past two contests with a lower-body injury.

Evander Kane powered the March 1 rout with two goals and two assists.

The Jets haven't lost four straight since an 0-2-3 skid Nov. 5-12, 2011.

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Team USA reclaims women's hockey gold from Canada in instant Olympic classic

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USA TODAY Sports Images

Team USA reclaims women's hockey gold from Canada in instant Olympic classic

GANGNEUNG, South Korea  -- The Americans' gold medal drought in women's hockey -- finally -- is over.

Even though they needed the first shootout in an Olympic women's final to do it.

Twenty long years after taking gold when the sport debuted in 1998 at Nagano, the United States snapped Canada's streak of four straight Olympic golds Thursday with a 3-2 shootout victory.

Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson scored in the sixth round of the shootout to start the Americans piling over the boards, throwing gloves in the air before huddling and hugging on the ice.

Gigi Marvin and Amanda Kessel also scored in the shootout. Monique Lamoureux-Morando tied it up with a breakaway with 6:21 left in regulation.

Hilary Knight also had a goal.

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Maddie Rooney made 29 saves for the win against their archrival. The 20-year-old goalie stopped the last two Canadian shooters in the shootout in Brianne Jenner and then Meghan Agosta on her second attempt.

It was sweet redemption for the 10 Americans who watched the Canadians snatch gold from their hands in 2014 at Sochi after tying it up with 54.6 seconds left in regulation and winning 3-2 in overtime.

Not only did the Americans snap the Canadians' stranglehold on Olympic gold, they ended a skid of five straight against their rival coming into this game, including a 2-1 loss to wrap up pool play a week ago.

Marie-Philip Poulin and Haley Irwin each scored goals for Canada. Agosta and Melodie Daoust scored in the shootout.

The Americans had been dominating in non-Olympic years, winning the last four and eight of the last 10 world championships, including a 3-2 overtime victory over Canada last spring.

Their domination on the world stage only made the lack of gold at the Olympics all the more noticeable, and Canada has been in their way since losing the inaugural gold in Nagano. Canada had won 24 straight Olympic games to go along with four consecutive gold medals. It's a streak of success in a women's team sport second only to the United States' basketball team's current streak of six straight gold.

This was the eighth time these North American rivals met in the Olympics and the fifth with gold on the line. None of the previous seven were decided by more than two goals.

U.S. coach Robb Stauber went with the 20-year-old Rooney in net for the biggest game of her career, but she was the goalie for each of the three games the Americans beat Canada last fall during their pre-Olympic exhibition tour, including Four Nations Cup title in November.

Canada had Shannon Szabados, 31, in goal for her third Olympic gold medal game, and her teammates made her job very easy by keeping the puck in front of Rooney for most of the first period by dictating play. The Americans couldn't use their speed or get organized even with two power plays until Sarah Nurse went in the box for interference late in the period.

Knight gave the U.S. a 1-0 lead with 25.4 seconds left in the first, redirecting a shot from Sidney Morin through Szabados' pads giving the Americans a jolt of energy.

That lasted only 2 minutes into the second when Irwin tipped a pass from Blayre Turnbull over Rooney's left leg for Canada. When Morin lost the puck, Melodie Daoust grabbed it and passed to Meghan Agosta who hit Poulin for the wrister into the left side of the net at 6:55 for a 2-1 lead.

 

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With Ross placed on 60-day DL, Nationals agree to 1-year deal with veteran reliever

With Ross placed on 60-day DL, Nationals agree to 1-year deal with veteran reliever

WASHINGTON  -- The Washington Nationals say they have agreed to a one-year deal with 40-year-old reliever Joaquin Benoit.

The team announced the move Wednesday, along with placing pitcher Joe Ross on the 60-day disabled list as he recovers from Tommy John surgery in July.

The Nationals didn't release terms of the agreement, though a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press on Monday that it was for $1 million.

The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the deal wasn't official at the time.

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Benoit is a right-hander who first reached the big leagues in 2001. 

He has played for eight teams, finishing last year with Pittsburgh.

He has 764 career appearances, going 58-49 with a 3.83 ERA and 53 saves.

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