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Crosby, Malkin lead Pens past Sens in SO

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Crosby, Malkin lead Pens past Sens in SO

OTTAWA (AP) Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and James Neal scored in the shootout to give the Pittsburgh Penguins a 2-1 victory against the Ottawa Senators on Sunday.

Neal also scored in regulation to help the Penguins snap a two-game skid.

Colin Greening scored a second-period goal for the Senators (3-2-1), and Jason Spezza and Kyle Turris beat Marc-Andre Fleury in the shootout. But Milan Michalek was stopped with Ottawa's first attempt.

Craig Anderson made 33 saves for the Senators, while Fleury stopped 31 shots.

The Senators had an opportunity to win in regulation when Erik Karlsson's slap shot from the slot sailed just wide of Fleury with less than 40 seconds to play.

Jakob Silfverberg had a chance in overtime for the Senators, but after stealing the puck at his own blue-line from Chris Kunitz, he was tracked down on a breakaway by Ben Lovejoy before he was able to get a shot off.

Greening's first goal of the season for the Senators at 13:44 of the second came after miscues from both teams. Spezza had the puck in the Penguins' end and although his shot was stopped by Fleury, Greening was there for the rebound and he tucked it in from along the goal line.

Neal's one-timer at 13:31 came after a cross-ice pass from Malkin, who has five assists this season.

Notes: Anderson has played 298 career games in the NHL and should play No. 300 at home against the Montreal Canadiens Wednesday. ... Malkin's first-period assist tied him with Rick Kehoe for seventh place on the franchise's all-time assist list with 324.

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Isaiah Thomas wants to make it clear that Marcus Smart flops

Isaiah Thomas wants to make it clear that Marcus Smart flops

When you know, you know.

Washington Wizards starting point guard Isaiah Thomas gave his take on former teammate Marcus Smart's reputation for flopping. Spoilers: he flops.

Thomas, who is returning to Boston on Wednesday for the first time as a starter, was teammates with Smart during his run with the Celtics from 2014-17. He didn't hold back from interrupting reporters to make sure everyone knows that Smart flops. (See the entire sequence play out in the video above.)

Despite being familiar with Smart, don't expect Thomas to know everything about how the Celtics will prepare for the Wizards. Thomas pointed out that only two of his former teammates are still with the team.

His history with Boston means a lot to Thomas, but his only focus on Wednesday will be earning the victory.

"The love is genuine between me and the city," Thomas said. "Hopefully we can just win the game. That's the most important." 

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Lamar Jackson’s play this season has begun to make some analysts and fans backtrack 

Lamar Jackson’s play this season has begun to make some analysts and fans backtrack 

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Lamar Jackson is starting to make people reconsider what they think of him. 

After the Ravens’ 49-13 win over the Bengals on Sunday, the rest of the NFL is starting to take notice about Lamar Jackson’s status in the NFL. Especially considering his spin move through the Bengals defense.

Hall of Fame NFL general manager Bill Polian recently admitted that he was wrong when he said that Jackson should be an NFL wide receiver during his draft process in 2018.

“I was wrong, because I used the old, traditional quarterback standard with him, which is clearly why John Harbaugh and Ozzie Newsome were more prescient than I was,” Polian told USA TODAY Sports. 

Jackson is currently building an MVP case for himself and is on-pace for over 30 touchdowns and nearly 5,000 yards of total offense. 

It’s a nice change of pace for the 22-year-old quarterback in his second year as a pro. Jackson had to face heavy criticism after he left Louisville for a variety of reasons headed into the draft. Even after he took over as the Ravens quarterback, those evaluations persisted. 

“We always knew what he was about,” Ravens center Matt Skura said. “We always knew his ability to make plays and all that stuff. I think it’s just people right now seeing it on a much larger scale and it’s just getting the attention now.”

At this point, however, it’s clear that not only is Jackson a quarterback, he might even be the MVP of the league.

Of the five quarterbacks drafted in the first round of the 2018 Draft, only four are starting and just two have led their teams to a winning record. Jackson leads all of his draft counterparts in total yards and total touchdowns. 

But as anyone in the Ravens’ locker room will say, the accolades don’t concern Jackson — only the record does.

“I think he’s more concerned with winning than anything,” Orlando Brown Jr. said. “As individuals, we’ve all got people to prove wrong and things that we used to put a chip on our shoulder. At the end of the day, I know he’s more concerned with winning more than anything.”

Still, it’s noteworthy that it only took Jackson a complete season of starts, through two partial seasons, to begin the backtracking across the NFL landscape.

“If you watch ESPN or you watch TV, it’s going to come up no matter what,” Skura said. “Even on your Instagram feed it’s going to come up. I think for a lot of us, just in one ear and out the other as far as people pumping us up. You’ve kind of got to stay level-headed and ride the rollercoaster, so to say.”

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