Nationals

Brunner's shootout goal wins it for Wings, 4-3

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Brunner's shootout goal wins it for Wings, 4-3

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) Swiss rookie Damien Brunner scored in the fourth round of the shootout to lead the Detroit Red Wings to a 4-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday night before 19,206, the largest regular-season crowd at Nationwide Arena in the Blue Jackets' 11-plus seasons.

Brian Lashoff scored in his NHL debut and fellow defenseman Ian White also scored for Detroit, which finally got on the board twice in the second period after being humiliated 6-0 in their opener on Saturday night in St. Louis. Pavel Datsyuk had a goal to send the game into overtime with 6 minutes remaining in overtime, and also had an assist.

Cam Atkinson, James Wisniewski and Vinny Prospal scored goals during regulation for Columbus, which was coming off a 3-2 shootout win at Nashville on Saturday night.

Columbus was playing its first home game without Rick Nash, the team captain and franchise record holder for games, goals and points, since the end of the 2001-2002 season. He was sent to the New York Rangers along with a minor-league defenseman and a conditional third-round pick for forwards Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, defenseman Tim Erixon and a first-round pick.

Jimmy Howard had 30 saves for the Red Wings. Sergei Bobrovsky matched him stop for stop for Columbus with 39 saves.

Down 2-1 entering the third period, the Blue Jackets pulled even on a power play. Wisniewski's one-timer from just inside the blue line - a low, rising shot - beat Howard on the glove side.

They then took the lead on another man-advantage after Kyle Quincey was called for interference on R.J. Umberger - the Blue Jackets' third consecutive power play in the third period.

Cycling the puck, the Blue Jackets' Nikita Nikitin blasted a big one-timer that sailed over the cage and off the glass. It filtered all the way through congestion in front of the net. Prospal collected it at the right hash mark and scored.

The Red Wings weren't done however. As a power play was ending, Henrik Zetterberg dug the puck out of the corner and fed Niklas Kronwall who faked and then fed Datsyuk who had crept in behind Bobrovsky and the defense to score easily with just over 6 minutes remaining.

In the shootout, Atkinson opened with a goal for the Blue Jackets but it was disallowed after a video review.

Neither team scored through three rounds. After Howard stopped Matt Calvert, Brunner skated to the right and then pulled the puck back to his left and forced it under the right leg pad of Bobrovski. It also was reviewed, but was confirmed.

The Red Wings ended a scoreless string of 81:10 to start the season when Lashoff's hard shot from the left point eluded Bobrovsky, thanks in part to traffic provided in front of the net by Johan Franzen.

Lashoff had been playing for Grand Rapids of the AHL and was recalled after defenseman Jonathan Ericsson stepped on a puck and crashed into the boards, injuring his shoulder in the Red Wings' opener at St. Louis.

The 22-year-old scored just two goals in 36 games with the Grand Rapids Griffins this season.

Detroit made it 2-0 later in the period with both teams a man down. Franzen slid a pass through the slot left to right in front of the Columbus goal, setting up White who lifted the puck into the top of the net.

Just over a minute later, the Blue Jackets narrowed the gap back to a goal when Atkinson took a pass from Ryan Johansen and then slipped past defenseman Brendan Smith. He swooped in on Howard, deked and then slid a forehand under the goalie's outstretched left foot.

The Red Wings had the better of the action in the opening period, but still didn't dent the scoreboard. That was due to the play of Bobrovsky, who made several acrobatic stops while turning aside 15 shots. That was a substantial improvement for the Wings over the first period in St. Louis, where they were outshot 17-2.

Just 3 seconds after the puck was dropped at the start of the game, Detroit's Jordin Tootoo and Columbus' Jared Boll - longtime antagonists - squared off for a lengthy slugfest near center ice. That electrified a capacity crowd at Nationwide Arena.

Notes: Detroit RW Todd Bertuzzi, thought to be suffering from mononucleosis, was diagnosed Monday with the flu. He did not play, but is listed as day to day. ... The Blue Jackets came on the ice for warmups wearing jerseys numbered 1 with ``Thank You Fans'' printed where the player's name is. The jerseys were then given to fans. ... The Red Wings play their first home game Tuesday night against Dallas. After playing their first two games on the road, they play four of the next five at Joe Louis Arena. ... Five new players played their first home game for the Blue Jackets: Bobrovsky, Anisimov, LW Nick Foligno, D Adrian Aucoin and Dubinsky. ... Detroit recalled GT Tom McCollum from Grand Rapids to back up Howard in place of Jonas Gustavsson, who was also injured Saturday.

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3 Up, 3 Down: Allow Juan Soto to distract you from Bryce Harper

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USA TODAY

3 Up, 3 Down: Allow Juan Soto to distract you from Bryce Harper

Nationals fans are teetering on the edge. 

On one hand, the Nats are 3.5 games out of first place after a 10-week span full of injuries and underperformance. The team just acquired All-Star closer Kelvin Herrera, and their 19-year-old left fielder looks like an All-Star already. 

On the other hand, doom is imminent. The Monstars stole Bryce Harper's abilities at some point over the last three weeks, Steven Strasburg can't stay healthy, and the offense is pushing everyone's patience to the limit. 

So who's overperforming? Who's underperforming? Who's out there just trying their very best? LET'S LIST. 

Three Up

1. Juan Soto

Our large young son Juan continues to impress. He's now hitting .325/.411/.602 with a 1.013 OPS in 95 plate appearances over 25 games. That means we're mercifully starting to leave the 'fluky start' narrative behind. He's been the best hitter on the Nationals by a wide margain since he got called up - although that's perhaps more of an indicitment on the rest of the lineup than it is on Soto. Still, in less than a month he's probably earned the starting left field spot for the rest of the summer. Not bad. 

2. Justin Miller

Miller is 31, on his third team in four years, and owns a career ERA north of 4.50. Despite all of this, Miller's been the best reliever in baseball since coming up for the Nats. Of relief pitchers with at least 10 innings pitched (we hear your sample size comment and are not going to acknolwdge it), no one has a better FIP than Miller (0.64). He's striking out over half of the batters he sees and has yet to walk a single person this year. All the elite relief pitchers are already at 30-40 innings pitched, so Miller has a while to go before these stats mean a whole lot. If he stays even 75 percent as good as he's started, the Nats' bullpen looks scary. 

3. Michael A. Taylor

Have yourself a week or two, Michael A.! The centerfielder is slashing .500/.556/.583 over the last 14 days, the first of many "Maybe He Put It Together?!" runs we'll see from him this year. He also has six stolen bases during that span, more than anyone else on the team. His plate discipline has been better over the last two weeks, with a BB% a shade over 11 percent - only behind Juan Soto for highest on the team. Juan Soto, man. 

Three Down

1. Bryce Harper

A couple things here. We'll start with the admission that Bryce Harper is obviously not having a superb year. We've already briefly touched on why looking at only his batting average is a lazy way of judging his season, and we stand by that. With that said - Harper's had a bad season. The last month has been particularly painful. There's no way of dressing up a .189/.278/.400 slashline over the last 30 days. Still, his contact has been as great as his luck terrible - there's a positive regression coming, we promise. 

2. Pedro Severino 

And you think Harper's been slumping?? Over the same 30 days, Severino has hit .098/.179/.115 with a .294 OPS. He's essentially daring the Nats to put together a trade package for JT Realmuto at this point. He has six hits over his last 68 plate appearances and five of them are singles. 

3. Shawn Kelley

Kelley owns a 6.09 FIP and a 4.32 ERA over the last month (10 games, 8.1 innings pitched). He's walking close to nine percent of the hitters he's faced during that time. He has a 12.5 HR/FB over the last month. With the trade for Kelvin Herrera and the sudden emergence of Justin Miller, Kelley's role going forward isn't quite as clear anymore. 

MORE NATS NEWS:

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Wizards 2018 NBA Draft prospect profile: Jerome Robinson

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USA TODAY Sports

Wizards 2018 NBA Draft prospect profile: Jerome Robinson

The Washington Wizards hold the 15th and 44th overall picks in the 2018 NBA Draft. Here is the latest in our series on draft prospects projected to be picked around where the Wizards will select...

2018 NBA Draft Wizards Prospect Preview: Jerome Robinson

School: Boston College
Position: Shooting guard
Age: 21
Height: 6-5
Weight: 188
Wingspan: 6-7
Max vertical: N/A

2017/18 stats: 20.7 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 3.3 apg, 0.9 spg, 0.1 bpg, 48.5 FG%, 40.9 3PT% (2.3 3PT/5.7 3PA), 83.0 FT%
Player comparison: Danny Green
Projections: NBC Sports Washington 29th, NBADraft.net 16th, Bleacher Report 19th, Sports Illustrated 17th

5 things to know:

*A three-year player at BC, Robinson developed into a big-time scorer before making the leap to the NBA. He averaged 18.7 points as a sophomore and then 20.7 points as a junior while improving his shooting percentages across the board. He went from 42.3 percent from the field as a sophomore to 48.5 in 2017-18.

*Robinson turned himself into an excellent three-point shooter. After shooting just 33.3 percent as a sophomore, he got that up to 40.9 percent as a junior and on 5.7 attempts per game. That trajectory bodes well for Robinson's chances at the next level.

*He has a quick release on his jumper, giving him the ability to be effective on catch-and-shoot plays off screens. Robinson could develop into a reliable scorer who doesn't need the ball in his hands as a primary focus of the offense. He also showed the ability to throw down some powerful dunks and finish with creativity at the rim. He didn't record a vertical leap at the NBA Combine, but playing above and around the rim didn't appear to be a problem in college.

*Though it didn't show in his last season at Boston College, Robinson was adept at forcing turnovers in his first two years. He averaged 1.6 steals per game across his freshman and sophomore seasons and 16 times in his career had three steals or more in a game.

*Questions for Robinson would include his versatility and speed. Some draft evaluators wonder if he will be able to get separation off the dribble at the NBA level. Also, he put up decent rebounding and assists numbers in college but didn't exactly stand out in either category.

Fit with Wizards: Robinson would give the Wizards depth at the shooting guard position and they need that. He could help Bradley Beal pare down his minutes and offer a scoring punch off the Wizards' bench. The Wizards could use a reliable shooter to help space the floor for Kelly Oubre, Jr. and others in the second unit.

The problems with Robinson's fit would be his lack of positional versatility and what appears to be a relatively low ceiling. He's not the freak athlete that some of his counterparts are at shooting guard. If the Wizards are choosing between Robinson and guys like Zhaire Smith and Lonnie Walker IV, they could view the latter two as more enticing because of their potential. Robinson would represent a safer pick while others could pay off big-time and have a greater impact on the franchise in the long-term.

Best highlight video:

More draft prospect profiles:

Kevin Knox, PF, Kentucky

Miles Bridges, SF, Michigan State

Robert Williams, PF/C, Texas A&M

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG, Kentucky

Zhaire Smith, SG, Texas Tech

Landry Shamet, PG/SG, Wichita State

Gary Trent, Jr., SG, Duke

Lonnie Walker IV, SG, Miami

Anfernee Simons, PG/SG, IMG Academy

Khyri Thomas, SG, Creighton

Chandler Hutchison, SG/SF, Boise State

Kevin Huerter, SG, Maryland

Mitchell Robinson, C, Western Kentucky

Troy Brown, SG/SF, Oregon

Donte DiVincenzo, SG, Villanova

Moritz Wagner, PF/C, Michigan

Aaron Holiday, PG, UCLA

Keita Bates-Diop, SF, Ohio State

For more on the NBA Draft, check out our latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast:

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