Capitals

Kadri, Bozak lead Maple Leafs past Canadiens 2-1

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Kadri, Bozak lead Maple Leafs past Canadiens 2-1

MONTREAL (AP) Nazem Kadri and Tyler Bozek scored power-play goals as the Toronto Maple Leafs opened the lockout-shortened NHL season with a 2-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night.

The Maple Leafs went 2 for 5 with the man-advantage and held Montreal to 1 for 5 on Brian Gionta's goal - and that was the difference in a sloppily played game by both clubs.

Michael Kostka, playing his first NHL game at 27 years old, earned an assist on Kadri's goal and was second only to fellow defenseman Dion Phaneuf in ice time for the Maple Leafs in a strong debut performance.

The Leafs outshot the Canadiens 26-22.

Montreal's anemic power play was so disjointed for most of the game, it had many in the crowd of 21,273 chanting ``We want P.K.'' - in reference to holdout point man P.K. Subban. But at 13:51 of the third period, Gionta banged in the rebound off Rafael Diaz's point shot with a man advantage to make it a one-goal game

The Canadiens dominated the early going, but the Leafs took momentum when they scored on their first shot of the game at 4:51.

Phil Kessel's pass hit a skate and went to Kadri, who lifted the puck into an open side with goalie Carey Price moving the wrong way.

Montreal's Tomas Plekanec was off for unsportsmanlike conduct after spraying goalie Ben Scrivens with ice when Bozak made it 2-0 at 8:12 of the second frame. A rebound off Kessel went into the slot for the Leafs center to lift over Price's glove.

A pregame ceremony saw Canadiens legends including Henri Richard and Yvon Cournoyer descend from the seats with a torch, which was passed on to 1950s and 1960s great Jean Beliveau, who finally gave it to current captain Brian Gionta to carry out to center ice.

The loudest cheers in pregame introductions were for Price, returning defenseman Francis Bouillon and rookie Alex Galchenyuk, who saw limited action on the second line but was dropped to the third unit for the final period.

Notes: Before the game, Toronto named Clarke MacArthur and Joffrey Lupul as alternate captains. ... The Leafs' home opener is Monday against the Buffalo Sabres.

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Capitals roster cuts: Draft picks Connor McMichael, Aliaksei Protas headline initial round

Capitals roster cuts: Draft picks Connor McMichael, Aliaksei Protas headline initial round

The Capitals made their first round of training camp cuts on Thursday, trimming 18 players from the team’s roster including preseason standouts Connor McMichael and Aliaksei Protas.

McMichael was Washington’s first-round draft pick in 2019. He tallied an incredible assist in Monday’s preseason opener, backhanding a no-look pass to a wide-open Damien Riat. His solid performance earned him another game on Wednesday where he moved up to the third line. The highlight of the night was McMichael attempting a between-the-legs shot on Stanley Cup champion goalie Jordan Binnington.

“It’s a pretty good goalie he was trying that move on,” head coach Todd Reirden said. “He has some swagger to him, he has some confidence. He’s not afraid to try plays. That’s some of the stuff that pushes guys into the first round.”

McMichael’s strong play in camp and in the preseason opened the door perhaps for him to compete to stay in Washington for the start of the season.

With the suspension to Evgeny Kuznetsov, Washington finds itself down a center for the first three games. With Lars Eller moving up to the second line, that leaves an opening on the third between Carl Hagelin and Richard Panik, where McMichael played on Wednesday.

That, however, does not appear to be in the cards as McMichael is headed back to his junior team, the London Knights.

Protas, who scored a goal and two assists on Monday, was also among the players cut. A third-round draft pick in 2019, Protas was extremely impressive in the preseason for his all-around game. He showed good awareness, vision and speed. His skating form needs work, but this is a player who looks like he has an NHL future ahead of him which is not always the case for mid-round draft picks.

The fact that McMichael and Protas were among the first cuts should not be seen as an indictment of their play by the team. Junior players are usually among the first cuts so they can return to their teams during training camp. The only reason this was a question was because of Kuznetsov’s suspension, but ultimately the team has other candidates to turn to at third-line center. With a brutal October schedule, the first week of the season may not be the best time to get cute or creative with roster choices.

Here are all of the cuts the Caps made on Thursday:

Loaned to their junior teams:

Eric Flrochuk (Saskatoon, WHL)
Alex Kannok-Leipert (Vancouver, WHL)
Connor McMichael (London, OHL)
Aliaksei Protas (Prince Albert, WHL)

Released from their ATOs:

Hayden Hawkey
Beck Warm

Assigned to Hershey:

Casey Bailey
Erik Burgdoerfer
Tommy Hughes
Kale Kessy
Chris McCarthy
Matt Moulson
Logan Thompson
Matthew Weis
Steven Whitney

Kody Clark and Riley Sutter, who are both dealing with upper-body injuries, were reassigned to Hershey as well to continue rehab.

In addition, Damie Riat has been returned to his European team EHC Biel-Bienne of the NLA in Switzerland.

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Local teams, stars congratulate Elena Delle Donne on historic second WNBA MVP award

Local teams, stars congratulate Elena Delle Donne on historic second WNBA MVP award

Elena Delle Donne is, once again, the Most Valuable Player in the WNBA.

She's the first player in WNBA history to earn the honor with two different teams.

"I am extremely proud of this honor, but we still have work ahead of us and we’re all focused playing our hardest to bring a championship to Washington," Delle Donne said in a release.

After the announcement of Delle Donne's historic achievement, her teammates and the greater D.C. sports community showered her with praise all over social media.

Delle Donne and the Mystics will take on the Las Vegas Aces in Game 2 of the WNBA Semifinals at 8:30 p.m. on Thursday night.

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