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Wings' home win streak ends at 23

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Wings' home win streak ends at 23

From Comcast SportsNet
DETROIT (AP) -- The Detroit Red Wings took advantage of the shootout to win three times during their NHL-record, 23-game home winning streak. Detroit's good fortune in the one-on-one duels ran out and its run ended against the Vancouver Canucks. Alex Burrows scored the only goal in a shootout, which was made possible when Daniel Sedin scored his second goal of the game with 15.4 seconds left in regulation, to lift Vancouver to a 4-3 win over the Red Wings to snap their streak that lasted three-plus months. "It's disappointing it had to end like this," Detroit's Justin Abdelkader said. Detroit hadn't lost at Joe Louis Arena since Nov. 3 against Calgary, breaking the previous single-season mark of 20 shared by the 1929-30 Boston Bruins and 1975-76 Philadelphia Flyers. "It's nice that we're the team that ended the streak," said Burrows, who lifted a backhander over Jimmy Howard when he went low. "It's remarkable to win that many games in a row on home ice." The Red Wings extended their run at home with three wins in shootouts -- a way to break ties that wasn't possible before the 2005-06 season -- but their coach said that didn't diminish the feat. "I don't care what era, it was just a real good run for the Red Wings that set us up in a good situation playoff-wise," Mike Babcock said. The NHL-leading Red Wings hold a one-point lead over Vancouver in the Western Conference. The Canucks have won a league-high 21 games on the road this season. A sold-out crowd stood during the shootout, which started with Roberto Luongo stopping Jiri Hudler's shot and Howard going low to smother David Booth's attempt. Henrik Zetterberg missed the net on Detroit's second attempt and Alexander Edler was denied on the ensuing opportunity. Todd Bertuzzi, who signed a two-year extension with the Red Wings earlier in the day, couldn't put his team ahead and Burrows took advantage of a chance to end the game -- and the streak. "It was an intense game with a playoff atmosphere," Luongo said. Luongo made 33 saves and Howard had 40. Detroit was 16 seconds from getting the win in regulation, but the Canucks pulled Luongo to have an extra skater in the Red Wings' end for a faceoff. On the next sequence, Sedin took a slap shot from the slot that Howard never saw after his teammates failed to clear the puck when it was behind the net. "We wanted to prove we could beat them on the road," Sedin said. "It was a good pass and a good screen in front of the goalie." Abdelkader scored with 6:14 left in the third period to give Detroit a 3-2 lead -- 20 seconds after Vancouver's Cody Hodgson tied the game. Newly acquired defenseman Kyle Quincey scored to put Detroit ahead 6:05 into the third period and Darren Helm had a goal 11:16 into the game to give the Red Wings a 1-0 lead. The Canucks refused to let the Red Wings get comfortable with the lead all night. Sedin tied it at 1 at 13:34 of the second and Hodgson tied it again, getting credit for a goal that went in off the right skate of Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall. Detroit led 1-0 after the first period despite being outplayed. Vancouver outshot the Red Wings 17-5 in the first, but defenseman Kevin Bieksa had the puck poked away by Helm and his fluttering wrist shot got past Luongo at 11:16. Detroit didn't do much with three power plays in the first, going scoreless and getting only one shot combined with an extra skater. "We got skated into the ground in the first period," Babcock said. "They played better for longer than us and they won the game." The Red Wings looked out of sync, missing playmaking center Pavel Datsyuk for a second game. Datsyuk, the team's leading scorer, is expected to be out for two weeks after having right knee surgery Tuesday. "The best player in the world, any time he goes out, you're going to miss him," Abdelkader said. "It's a big void." Sedin tied the game at 1 at 13:34 of the second. Detroit outshot the Canucks 15-8 in the second period, but had nothing to show for it. The Red Wings created more chances in the third period, especially when Abdelkader swiped at a puck in the crease that Luongo didn't cover, but they couldn't find a way to win again in the Motor City. "For us to come in here and play well and show that we can beat them means a lot," Burrows said. "But there's a lot of work ahead and if we face them in the playoffs, it will start 0-0." NOTES: Bertuzzi, a former Canucks forward, signed a two-year deal worth just more than 4 million. ... Vancouver tied the series at 2 in the final scheduled game against Detroit. ... Quincey played in the first game of his second stint with the Red Wings, who drafted him in 2003. They acquired Quincey for a first-round pick and prospect Sebastien Piche from Tampa Bay on Tuesday in a three-team trade with Colorado.

Manchester City brings Premier League trophy to Chicago ahead of preseason game in Soldier Field

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NBC Sports Chicago

Manchester City brings Premier League trophy to Chicago ahead of preseason game in Soldier Field

Manchester City is coming off a season in which it dominated the English Premier League to the tune of a record 100-point season.

City is kicking off the preseason of its title defense in Chicago. City takes on Borussia Dortmund at Soldier Field on Friday night.

The last time the reigning Premier League champions were in Chicago was when rivals Manchester United came to Soldier to take on the Chicago Fire in 2011.

The Citizens won’t have the full arsenal of stacked stars for its U.S. tour, which also includes stops in New York and Miami as part of the International Champions Cup. Many of the team’s best players are getting a break after playing in the World Cup. Belgium’s Kevin De Bruyne, one of the stars of the tournament, is one of six Man City players to reach the semifinals.

Paul Dickov, who played for City for nearly 10 years between 1996 and 2008, is on tour with the team and talked about City’s preparations.

“The reason the clubs want to come to the States and play in International Champions Cup is the facilities are fantastic, the training facilities, the hotels, the treatment they get and just give them the best preparation going into what’s going to be a hard season,” Dickov said. “Nobody has won the Premier League back-to-back titles for nearly 10 years now so it’s going to be tough. Coming here and being able to prepare the way they can in the United States is going to put them on a long way to regain the title again.”

City brought the Premier League trophy to Wrigley Field on Thursday for the Cubs-Cardinals game. Dickov got to throw out the first pitch. The Scotsman threw a strike, much to his relief.

“I was quite calm beforehand, but I must admit when I got out there and I had to walk out there both hands started getting a bit sweaty,” he said. “I managed to make it and I got a fantastic reception off the Chicago Cubs fans so thank you to everybody at Chicago Cubs for having me there. It was great. Something I’ll never forget.”


Dickov compared Cubs fans to City fans in the way both teams struggled for a long time before finding success.

“They stuck by us through thick and thin when things weren’t as great,” Dickov said of Man City fans. “I suppose it’s a little bit like the Chicago Cubs here in Chicago. The fans turn out, they get 30-40 thousand, great atmosphere, back their team.”

While promoting the game, the Premier League trophy made multiple stops in Chicago, including with the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field on an off day.

City also took the trophy and new signing Riyad Mahrez, who just joined Man City from 2016 champions Leicester City, to Haas Park in Logan Square. Haas Park includes a soccer field donated by Manchester City and the American embassy of the United Arab Emirates in 2012.

“The outcome of it has been great,” Dickov said. “Thousands of children and families benefiting, not just from the soccer part of it, but the education program as well. To be down there the other day for the full day and seeing the joy in the kids face seeing soccer here and the other activities that are on is great because, yeah, football is fantastic, soccer is fantastic and when you’re out there and you play you want to win, but it’s important, especially from Manchester City’s point of view, the city and the community. The stuff that they do off the field is second to none and it’s giving something back.”

Joe Maddon is liking the look of Cubs 'backwards' lineup

Joe Maddon is liking the look of Cubs 'backwards' lineup

No matter how much people complain and Tweet, Joe Maddon will never go with a set lineup every game.

But that doesn't mean he won't let certain spots in the lineup settle in for a couple weeks in a row.

That's what may be occuring right now with Anthony Rizzo holding serve as the "Greatest Leadoff Hitter of All-Time" once again.

Rizzo made his 5th straight start atop the Cubs order Friday after collecting a pair of doubles and a walk in Thursday's 9-6 victory.

Initially, moving Rizzo from the heart of the order to the top was in part to help the Cubs first baseman get going. Maddon is a big fan of hitting guys leadoff to help them reset mentally and find their stroke again.

But it is working — Rizzo entered play Friday 8-for-16 with 5 doubles, 3 walks, 3 runs and 3 RBI in the leadoff spot over the last week. The promptly reached on a hit-by-pitch and walk his first two times up Friday.

He's also been the team's biggest cheerleader:

So how long will Maddon keep this unconventional lineup?

"I don't know," he said, smiling and shaking his head. "I don't know. He came up again in crucial moments [Thursday]. He looks really good out there. I don't know. That's my exact answer."

Yes, Rizzo is looking good in the leadoff spot, but his insertion atop the order has given the Cubs lineup a new dynamic. 

With Rizzo first and Kris Bryant second, the guys that are historically the Cubs' top two run producers are hitting atop the order and "behind" the pitcher's spot. 

But they're also the Cubs' top two on-base guys and Maddon is liking the look of Jason Heyward and Ben Zobrist — two high-contact guys — following Bryzzo in the order, as they have done recently. (It doesn't hurt to have the NL leader in RBI — Javy Baez — hitting cleanup, either.)

"It's almost a backwards way of doing this right now that I'm finding fascinating," Maddon said. "So I'm just gonna let it play for just a little bit and see where it takes us."

It's taken the Cubs on a 4-game winning streak endcapping the All-Star Break, though the Cardinals got up big early Friday afternoon.

For a team that leads the NL in just about every important offensive category, it's going to be a huge key moving forward if Rizzo gets going on a consistent basis in the second half.