Nationals

Giants LB Mark Herzlich ready for possible start

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Giants LB Mark Herzlich ready for possible start

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) New York Giants middle linebacker Mark Herzlich isn't preparing any differently for Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. It's just a little more exciting for the cancer survivor who was the feel-good story of last season after making the Giants' roster.

Herzlich has a chance to get back in the starting lineup with Chase Blackburn nursing a hamstring injury.

Blackburn, who was hurt in the Giants' 29-24 win over Dallas, did not practice Wednesday. He spent the warm-up riding a stationary bike.

It's a big game for the Giants (6-2), who have used a four-game winning streak to open a 2 1/2-game lead in the NFC East.

Pittsburgh (4-3) will be bringing a two-game winning streak to its first game at MetLife Stadium.

``This week is a big week for our team and for me especially,'' said Herzlich, who started two games last season before being sidelined with an ankle injury. ``If I get a chance to go out there and start, then I'll go out there and make the most of it.''

Herzlich had a tackle and two special-teams tackles against Dallas on Sunday, and he knows how important his job will be against the Steelers.

``A lot of the focus every week goes toward getting ready to go in just in case Chase's shoe comes untied or something like that and I have to go in and get some plays,'' Herzlich said. ``So the preparation will be basically the same. Obviously, it's going to be a little bit more intense during practice, which is what I would rather have anyway.''

The big concern for Herzlich would be running back Jonathan Dwyer, who has rushed for more than 100 yards in each of the Steelers' last two games. The Giants are not going to beat Ben Roethlisberger unless they can make him more of a one-dimensional quarterback.

Coach Tom Coughlin believes Herzlich will be ready to go. There was a point in training camp when the second-year player from Boston College was going to push Blackburn for the starting job.

``He's obviously studied and been in the same room with Chase and knows a lot of those mannerisms,'' Coughlin said. ``If Chase is able to go, fine. If he's not able to go, I'm sure he'll be a big help to Mark this week or to any number of linebackers depending on the personnel set that we're in.''

Besides Blackburn, center David Bass (ankle-elbow), running back Ahmad Bradshaw (foot), tight end Bear Pascoe (ankle), linebacker Keith Rivers (calf), safety Antrel Rolle (concussion) and linebacker Jacquian Williams (knee) did not practice.

Defensive tackle Rocky Bernard (quadriceps) and receiver Victor Cruz (calf) were limited, while safety Kenny Phillips (knee) practiced full-time for the first time in a month.

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Soto makes debut in Nationals loss to Dodgers

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USA TODAY Sports

Soto makes debut in Nationals loss to Dodgers

WASHINGTON  -- Kike Hernandez and Yasiel Puig each hit two-run homers, and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Washington Nationals 7-2 on Sunday to complete a three-game sweep.

Hernandez's blast off Stephen Strasburg in the fifth inning put the Dodgers up 3-2. Yasmani Grandal also homered off Strasburg (5-4), who allowed three runs and five hits over 6 2/3 innings with seven strikeouts.

Alex Wood (1-4) pitched six innings, allowing just three hits and two earned runs. Wood came out to start the seventh, but returned to the clubhouse after showing some discomfort during his warm-up tosses.

Trea Turner homered for Washington, which swept Arizona last weekend and then went five days without playing a full game because of rain before getting swept by the Dodgers.

Los Angeles, after losing six consecutive games, has now won four straight overall and five of six over Washington this season.

Washington's Juan Soto, at 19 the youngest active player in the majors, made his debut in the eighth as a pinch-hitter and struck out against Erik Goeddel.

The Dodgers added two runs in the ninth. Josh Fields recorded the final four outs for his second save of the season.

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George McPhee's Vegas Golden Knights advance to Stanley Cup Final

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George McPhee's Vegas Golden Knights advance to Stanley Cup Final

WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- Ryan Reaves scored the winning goal, Marc-Andre Fleury made 31 saves and the Vegas Golden Knights pushed their remarkable expansion season into the Stanley Cup Final, beating the Winnipeg Jets 2-1 on Sunday in Game 5 of the Western Conference final.

Alex Tuch also scored for the Knights. They lost Game 1 in Winnipeg before winning four straight to become the first expansion team since the 1968 St. Louis Blues -- when the six initial expansion teams were put alone in the West -- to get to the final.

Vegas will meet the Tampa Bay Lightning or the Washington Capitals in the final. Tampa Bay leads the Eastern Conference final 3-2, with Game 6 set for Monday night in Washington.

Josh Morrissey scored for the Jets, and Connor Hellebuyck made 30 saves.

Reaves, the bruising Winnipeg native acquired from the Pittsburgh Penguins before to the trade deadline in February, snapped a 1-1 tie with 6:39 left in the second period when he tipped Luca Sbisa's point shot past Hellebuyck for his first goal of the playoffs.

Winnipeg got a power play early in the third, but couldn't muster much of anything. The Knights smothered much of the Jets' attack for the next 10 minutes, with Hellebuyck having to come up with big stops on William Karlsson and Eric Haula to keep his team within one.

The Jets pressed with under 4 minutes to go, with Fleury stopping captain Blake Wheeler on the doorstep, but it wasn't nearly enough as the Knights closed out their third straight series on the road.

The Jets beat the Knights 4-2 in Game 1, but Vegas snatched home ice with a 3-1 victory in Game 2 before picking up 4-2 and 3-2 wins at T-Mobile Arena.

The Knights, whose jaw-dropping inaugural 109-point campaign included a Pacific Division crown, swept the Los Angeles Kings in the first round, and knocked out the San Jose Sharks in six games.

The Jets had the NHL's second-best record with 114 points in the regular season. They advanced to the first conference final in city's history with a five-game victory over the Minnesota Wild in the opening round before topping the Presidents' Trophy-winning Nashville Predators in Game 7 on the road.

The usual raucous, white-clad crowd at Bell MTS Place -- not to mention the thousands of fans outside the arena attending a street party on a sun-drenched spring afternoon -- were silenced just 5:11 into Game 5 when Tuch jumped on Morrissey's turnover and fired his sixth past Hellebuyck.

The Jets were tentative to start and it got worse after the opener as Vegas dominated the next couple of shifts, forcing some good saves from Hellebuyck before Winnipeg got its feet moving.

After being outshot 7-1 in the first 7 minutes, the Jets finally pushed back and turned the tide with the next nine attempts on goal, culminating with Morrissey making amends for his early gaffe with 2:46 left in the period.

Bryan Little won a faceoff in the offensive zone straight back to second-year defenseman, who blasted his first career playoff goal past Fleury's glove.

One of Winnipeg's downfalls in the series through four games was an inability to maintain momentum. The Knights scored within 1:28 of a Jets' goal in each of the first four games -- a crushing 12 seconds after Winnipeg tied Game 3, and an equally gut-wrenching 43 seconds after the Jets knotted Game 4 -- but they managed to take the game to the locker rooms tied 1-1.

Both teams had chances in the second period before Reaves made it 2-1, with Jets center Mathieu Perrault just missing on a pass from Little that had too much speed.

Right after Reaves scored the second playoff goal of his career -- and first since 2015 with St. Louis -- Winnipeg's Nikolaj Ehlers rang a shot off the post on Fleury.

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