Capitals

Anthony's 31 leads Richmond past Air Force 91-68

Anthony's 31 leads Richmond past Air Force 91-68

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) Kendall Anthony made seven 3-pointers and scored a career-high 31 points Wednesday night, leading Richmond to a 91-68 rout of Air Force.

The 5-foot-8 Anthony, inserted into the starting lineup in place of injured big man Derrick Williams, missed only twice from beyond the arc in topping his previous high of 24 points. Darien Brothers added six 3-pointers and 25 points for the Spiders (10-5), who snapped a three-game losing streak.

Michael Lyons led the Falcons (8-4) with 19 points, but Air Force was taken out early after an explosive scoring burst by Anthony.

He followed a 3-pointer by teammate Deion Taylor with one of his own. After Terry Allen scored on a drive for the Spiders, Anthony hit again from behind the arc. After a free throw by Kamryn Williams for the Falcons, Anthony hit two more 3s, then made a steal and layup to give Richmond a 39-23 lead.

In all, he scored 14 of the Spiders' 19 points during a 19-5 blitz, and got the last eight in a matter of 26 seconds.

Brothers, who scored Richmond's first seven points of the game, then scored their last nine of the half to make it 48-30.

The first-ever meeting of the schools was a reunion of sorts for Spiders coach Chris Mooney, who spent five seasons at Air Force, the last one as head coach, before coming to Richmond for the 2005-06 season. The Falcons arrived ranked ninth nationally with an average of 9 3-pointers per game, but had just one in the first half while the Spiders had 10 on 15 attempts. Anthony was 5-for-6 and Brothers was 4-for-6.

The Spiders made 12 of their first 17 3-point tries and finished with a school-record 16 3-pointers in 26 tries, breaking the mark of 15 3s accomplished twice previously. In all, they shot 54.7 percent from the field (29 of 53), and 61.5 percent (16 of 26) from behind the arc.

Air Force finished just 4 for 14 on 3-pointers and shot 43.1 percent (22 of 51) overall.

In the second half, Anthony's three-point play got the scoring started again, and Brothers followed with a 3-pointer and a three-point play. It was the start of a 17-6 burst that made it a runaway, allowing Mooney to give some playing time to players who rarely see game action.

Air Force had scored six points in a row to get within 20-18 midway through the first half before Anthony caught fire.

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The Dougie Hamilton-Alex Ovechkin drama continued in Game 6 and the internet has thoughts

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NBC Sports

The Dougie Hamilton-Alex Ovechkin drama continued in Game 6 and the internet has thoughts

Alex Ovechkin's assist to Brett Connolly in Game 5 started when Carolina Hurricanes defender Dougie Hamilton shied away from Ovechkin's imminent check.

To start Game 6, Ovechkin tried to ram Hamilton along the boards again, but Hamilton sidestepped him to get the puck to safety.

After Ovechkin tumbled to the ice when he missed the hit, he made his way back to the bench, when he appeared to, well, you decide.

Ovechkin's mocking did not go unnoticed by the broadcast crew on NBC Sports Network or by fans on Twitter. "And there it is, that's what Eddie was talking about," chuckled Pierre McGuire as Ovechkin appeared to raise his arms like a clucking chicken.

The Hurricanes would respond with a goal to even the game 1-1, but Ovechkin answered back at 15:12 of the first period on an assist from Dmitry Orlov and Matt Niskanen to make it 2-1 Capitals.

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The baffling exclusion of John Carlson from the Norris Trophy finalists

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USA TODAY Sports

The baffling exclusion of John Carlson from the Norris Trophy finalists

The finalists for the Norris Trophy – awarded to the defenseman who demonstrates the greatest all-around ability in the position – were unveiled on Sunday. Somehow, John Carlson was not among them.

This is the second consecutive year Carlson was a deserving candidate and the second year he will not even be among the top three.

The Norris Trophy is voted on by members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association -- of which I am a member so I guess you can blame us -- but make no mistake, this is a snub in every sense of the word and a major oversight that Carlson cannot get the recognition he deserves.

Ballots will be made public after the awards are given out. Until then, we are not supposed to divulge exactly how we voted, but I will tell you that Carlson was in my top three, and he absolutely should have been a finalist this year.

If you had asked me prior to the 2017-18 season who the most important defenseman on the Caps was, I would have told you it was Matt Niskanen. I saw Carlson as an offensive-heavy player whose skills in his own zone were lacking. I had to eat those words later as Niskanen was injured in mid-October and missed the next month of the season. During that month, Carlson averaged 27:47 of ice-time per game, which led the entire league. He showed he could contribute offensively, defensively, on the power play and penalty kill. There was nothing he could not do.

Suddenly, the Caps’ top pairing of Dmitry Orlov and Niskanen was replaced by Carlson and whoever he was paired with. That continued into this season.

But while Carlson has reshaped his image in Washington, his reputation as an offensive first player instead of an all-around defenseman persists, and it cost him.

There is no set standard every voter sticks to when it comes to evaluating players for the Norris. You can look at whatever stats you want whether it is Corsi, Fenwick, points, PDO, defensive zone starts, high-danger chances for -- the list goes on. Here’s why Carlson was in the top three of my ballot: Not only did he play exceptionally well, but the Capitals relied on him more in more situations than any other team relied on a single defenseman.

Carlson finished the season ranked eighth in the NHL in time on ice per game at 25:04. Burns finished just ahead of him with 25:06. Both Giordano (24:14) and Hedman (22:46) played less.

Carlson was among the top 40 defensemen in shorthanded time on ice per game with 2:35, something only Giordano (2:40) could boast among the other finalists. Carlson was also first among all defensemen in power play time on ice per game with 4:05, significantly more than Hedman (3:19), Giordano (3:19) or Burns (3:17).

There is no situation in which the Caps are not comfortable putting Carlson out on the ice and no situation in which he is not expected to play heavy minutes. He has taken a bigger role defensively as the team’s top shutdown pair of Orlov-Niskanen has had a down year. Despite the heavier defensive workload, Carlson still managed to finish in the top four in points among defensemen with 70, a career-high.

I am not here saying that Burns, Giordano or Hedman are not deserving of being finalists. In fact, Carlson did not finish first on my ballot. It seems crazy to me, however, that he did not finish in the top three this season or last. All three finalists had strong seasons, but Carlson’s season was just as good and he was more heavily relied upon. He is one of the top offensive blueliners, but that’s not all he is.

Until he manages to overcome that reputation, which persists through no fault of his own, he will continue to be on the outside of the Norris race looking in. And that’s a shame considering how good he has been.

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