Capitals

Locker's TD run gives Titans 14-10 lead over Jets

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Locker's TD run gives Titans 14-10 lead over Jets

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Jake Locker's 13-yard quarterback keeper around left end with 20 seconds left in the third quarter gave the Tennessee Titans a 14-10 lead over the New York Jets on Monday night.

Chris Johnson set a franchise record with a 94-yard touchdown run in the first half for the Titans.

New York was attempting to keep its faint playoff hopes alive. The Jets entered the night needing to win their three remaining games and to receive some help from others to have any hope of reaching the postseason. The Jets host San Diego and travel to Buffalo in their final two games.

The Jets took a 10-7 lead when Mark Sanchez and Jeff Cumberland connected on a 17-yard touchdown pass with 3:19 to go in the third. The Titans responded on their next possession with Locker's first touchdown run of the season, capping a seven-play, 64-yard drive.

On Cumberland's touchdown, the Jets' tight end caught a third-and-12 pass at about the 5-yard line after getting behind Titans linebacker Tim Shaw, starting in place of injured defensive captain Colin McCarthy. Cumberland headed into the end zone from there.

The Jets began that drive at the Titans 35 after Brett Kern shanked a 30-yard punt. Kern has been one of the few steady performers this season for the Titans.

The Titans owned a 7-3 halftime lead after Johnson's long scamper in the second quarter. His touchdown run was the longest by any NFL player since Minnesota's Chester Taylor had a 95-yard TD in a 31-13 victory over the Seattle Seahawks on Oct. 22, 2006.

After Robert Malone's 53-yard punt backed the Titans up to their own 5-yard line, Johnson rushed for 1 yard on first down. On the next play, he found a seam up the middle and appeared untouched on his way to the end zone.

Jets safety Yeremiah Bell chased Johnson most of the way and made an unsuccessful diving attempt to tackle him from behind inside the 15.

The previous record for the longest run in franchise history was 91 yards, a mark shared by Johnson and Sid Blanks. Johnson had a 91-yard run against the Houston Texans in 2009. Blanks also did it against the Jets in 1964.

This marked Johnson's sixth career touchdown run of at least 80 yards, giving him twice as many as anyone else in NFL history. Barry Sanders, Ahman Green, Hugh McElhenny and O.J. Simpson each had three touchdown runs of at least 80 yards.

Johnson was otherwise held in check, but he still headed into the fourth quarter with 110 yards rushing on 10 carries, giving him 32 career 100-yard games.

The Jets grabbed a 3-0 lead when Nick Folk's 22-yard field goal capped their first possession of the night. New York appeared to reach the end zone when Cumberland caught a 4-yard pass from Sanchez on third-and-goal, but the original ruling of a touchdown was overturned after replays showed the ball hit the ground.

Sanchez struggled after that opening drive and was 9 of 19 for 93 yards through three quarters. He threw a pair of interceptions to Jason McCourty, giving the slumping quarterback 21 turnovers this season.

The Jets allowed backup quarterback Tim Tebow to run the offense for a complete series in the second quarter. They picked up two first downs on that series and advanced to their own 44, but the drive stalled from there after a sack, a delay-of-game penalty and an incompletion.

Sanchez returned on the Jets' next series and promptly threw his first interception to McCourty.

McCourty picked off another pass in the third quarter when Sanchez overthrew a deep pass to Cumberland. A 28-yard return gave the Titans the ball at the Jets 46, but Tennessee couldn't get beyond the 35 and eventually punted.

Before the game, a moment of silence was held for victims of the shootings Friday in Newtown, Conn. Twenty children and six adults were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The gunman also killed his mother in her home before committing suicide.

Johnson had the names of all the victims written on the two shoes he wore for the game. He also had the words ``R.I.P. SHES'' and a cross written on each shoe. The Jets had an ``SHES'' decal on their helmets.

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3 stars of the game: Burakovsky's big night propels Caps to the Stanley Cup Final

3 stars of the game: Burakovsky's big night propels Caps to the Stanley Cup Final

For just the second time in franchise history, the Capitals are Eastern Conference Champions. They will play the Vegas Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup FInal after a dominant 4-0 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final.

Alex Ovechkin gave the Capitals the lead just 62 seconds into the game. It was a lead they would never relinquish as Braden Holtby recorded his second consecutive shutout.

Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final will be Monday in Las Vegas.

Here are the three stars of the game.

1. Andre Burakovsky: It's been a rough year for Burakovsky, but all that was erased on Wednesday with his brilliant two-goal performance to lead the Caps.

The Caps were clinging to a 1-0 lead in the second period, but the Lightning were buzzing, outshooting the Caps 8-1. They had all the momentum until Burakovsky stole a bouncing puck from Dan Girardi and fired a quick shot far-side for the beautiful goal.

Burakovsky added a second goal later in the second as John Carlson banked a pass off the boards to launch him on a breakaway. Burakovsky coolly shot it through the open five-hole of Vasilevskiy to make it 3-0.

It's incredible to think that Burakovsky had not recorded a point yet this postseason prior to Game 7, was a healthy scratch for Game 5 and was talking about seeing a sports psychologist over the summer after the morning skate for Game 6.

2. Braden Holtby: The goaltending for much of the series was Andrei Vasilevskiy who led Tampa Bay's comeback in the series with his phenomenal netminding. He was outplayed in the most important games by Holtby, however, who recorded shutouts in both Game 6 and Game 7. The last goal the Lightning scored in the series came 33 seconds into the second period of Game 5. That's 139:27 of continuous play and 60 straight saves for Holtby.

Holtby was phenomenal in Game 7 with big save after big save as the Lightning pushed to tie. His biggest save came in the second period when he denied Alex Killorn on the breakaway. The score was just 2-0 at that point.

This marks just the fifth time a goalie has recorded a shutout in Game 6 and Game 7 in a playoff series.

3. Alex Ovechkin: It took Ovechkin just 62 seconds to put the Capitals ahead and it turned out to be the goal that sent Washington to the Stanley Cup Final. How fitting for it to be Ovechkin to score the game-winner?

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Referees miss blatant boarding by Paquette on Orpik

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USA TODAY Sports

Referees miss blatant boarding by Paquette on Orpik

A rough hit to the back of Brooks Orpik left him down on the ice and slow to get up. Cedric Paquette skated back to his bench and waited for the trainer to attend to Orpik and (probably) for the referees to call his number and send him to the box.

The penalty, however, never came.

You always hear in hockey that if you can see a player's numbers, you should pull up on the hit.

What that refers to is the numbers on the back of a player's jersey. You are not allowed to hit a player directly in the back into the boards.

The official definition of boarding according to the NHL rule book is, "any player who checks or pushes a defenseless opponent in such a manner that causes the opponent to hit or impact the boards violently or dangerously." Hitting a player "in the numbers" is a defenseless position.

Apparently Cedric Paquette didn't know that and, unfortunately for the Capitals, neither did the referees.

Someone explain to me how this is not a boarding penalty:

Sometimes referees are put in a tough position because a player turns his back right before they take the hit, thus putting themselves in a vulnerable position to draw a penalty. That was not the case here. Orpik never turned.

When Tom Wilson hit Pittsburgh Penguins forward Zach Aston-Reese in the second period, the hockey world spent the next day debating whether it was an illegal hit. There is no debate here, no grey area. Just a clear board.

And no call.

You can understand referees wanting to put away the whistles for a Game 7, but you have to call the blatant dangerous plays like this. This was a bad miss by the referees, plain and simple.

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