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McIlroy voted PGA Tour player of the year

McIlroy voted PGA Tour player of the year

LA QUINTA, Calif. (AP) Rory McIlroy sure didn't feel like the PGA Tour player of the year when he arrived at Kiawah Island for the final major of the year. He had missed three cuts, had not contended in a major and had only one win.

The last two months changed everything.

McIlroy was announced Tuesday as player of the year, and while the tour does not disclose the vote of its players, this was the equivalent of a tap-in. McIlroy wound up with four wins, including his eight-shot victory in the PGA Championship, and made a clean sweep of the biggest awards by winning the money title and having the lowest adjusted scoring average.

``It's just a great way to end what has been a great year, my best season so far,'' McIlroy said.

The 23-year-old from Northern Ireland became the youngest player to win PGA Tour player of the year since Tiger Woods at age 21 in 1997. He also was the third European to win in the last five years, joining Padraig Harrington on Ireland in 2008 and Luke Donald of England last year.

John Huh, who earned his card through Q-school, was voted PGA Tour rookie of the year in another race that was easy to predict. Huh won an opposite-field event in Mexico, but perhaps his greater achievement was becoming the only rookie to make it to the Tour Championship, a measure of good play all year. That gets Huh into the Masters next year for the first time.

He beat out Jonas Blixt and Charlie Beljan, who won in the Fall Series, Greenbrier winner Ted Potter Jr. and Bud Cauley, the only rookie who didn't win this year.

Also on the ballot for player of the year were Tiger Woods with three wins, Jason Dufner and his two wins in the spring, Masters champion Bubba Watson and Brandt Snedeker, whose second win this year at the Tour Championship allowed him to capture the FedEx Cup.

None compared with McIlroy, who pulled away from every over the final two months of the season.

After his eight-shot win at Kiawah, he won the Deutsche Bank Championship after a duel with Louis Oosthuizen, and then won the next playoff event in the BMW Championship at Crooked Stick against a leaderboard that included Phil Mickelson, Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Dustin Johnson and Woods.

McIlroy's other win came earlier in the year, when he held off Woods to win the Honda Classic and go to No. 1 in the world for the first time. McIlroy went to No. 1 three more times during an inconsistent summer until he established himself as the best in golf at the PGA Championship.

``I think everyone knows that my game wasn't where I wanted it to be through the start of the summer and leading up to the PGA,'' McIlroy said on a conference call.

He tied for fifth at Firestone the week before the final major to gain a little more confidence, though he said his expectations were lower than usual for a major considering his summer doldrums. He turned a two-shot deficit into an eight-shot win with a 67-66 weekend at Kiawah, and off he went.

``I didn't want to let this opportunity pass me because it was a great opportunity to win my second major,'' McIlroy said. ``And from that I gained a lot of confidence, knowing that I could win my second major. And I went on from there.''

PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem, who introduced McIlroy, was as impressed with his behavior off the course as his skill level inside the ropes.

``He has handled himself in terrific fashion,'' Finchem said. ``He has been very direct with the media and entertaining to the fans inside and outside the ropes. He is at a very young age already making a very solid contribution to what is the most important asset of the PGA Tour, and that is the image of its players. For that, I thank him.''

The one question McIlroy has fielded since closing out his year with a win in Dubai - giving him money titles on the PGA Tour and European Tour - is what he will do for an encore. He is about to change equipment from Titleist to Nike. McIlroy starts his season Jan. 17 in Abu Dhabi against a strong field.

``What would be a success next season compared to this one? I guess it's just trying to become a better golfer, maybe add more variety to my game,'' he said. ``But you know, we're judged on wins, ultimately. ... I won my first major in `11, I backed it up this season with another one, and I'd love to go into `13 with that same goal of trying to win another major.

``I think really what was disappointing this year for me - if there was a disappointment - that I was only in contention once in the majors, and luckily I was able to win it,'' he said. ``But next year I'd love to be in contention in all four of them.''

McIlroy has never played at three of the four majors in the rotation next year - Merion, Muirfield or Oak Hill.

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NHL Playoffs 2019: When is Capitals-Hurricanes Game 7? how to watch, date, time, live stream, TV channel

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NHL Playoffs 2019: When is Capitals-Hurricanes Game 7? how to watch, date, time, live stream, TV channel

The Carolina Hurricanes held serve at home in Game 6, beating the Washington Capitals 5-2 to force a Game 7 in their first-round series of the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Hurricanes and Capitals each won three games at home, and with the Capitals hosting the Hurricanes in Game 7 on Wednesday, April 24, the defending Stanley Cup champs seem to have the home-ice advantage. The Capitals last faced a Game 7 in the 2018 Eastern Conference Finals. Andre Burakovsky scored twice and Braden Holtby pitched a shutout to send the Caps to the Stanley Cup Final.

A win over the Hurricanes at Capital One Arena on Wednesday night send the Capitals to the second round to face off against Barry Trotz and the New York Islanders.

The game time for Game 7 on Wednesday has yet to be announced. 

Capitals vs. Hurricanes Game 7 How to Watch:

What: 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs. Eastern Conference First Round. Game 7: Washington Capitals vs Carolina Hurricanes
Date: Wednesday, April 24, 2019
Time: TBD.
Location: Capital One Arena, Washington D.C.
TV Channel: TBD (Channel Finder)
How To WatchStream pregame and postgame coverage Game 7 of Capitals vs. Hurricanes on the MyTeams by NBC Sports app or tune into NBC Sports Washington.
Radio: Capitals Radio Network (106.7 The Fan FM)

Don't already have the MyTeams By NBC Sports App? Click to download here and stream the Capitals-Hurricanes live!

Capitals vs. Hurricanes Game 7 TV Schedule:

NBC Sports Washington Daily TV Listing

Tune into Capitals FaceOff Live 90 minutes before Game 7 puck drop, with an extended, 60-minute edition of Caps Pregame Live to follow. After the game, tune in to another extended version of Caps Postgame Live, and Caps Overtime Live, only on NBC Sports Washington.

Capitals vs. Hurricanes Game 7 Injury Report:

Capitals: Michal Kempny (torn hamstring, out for season), T.J. Oshie (broken clavicle, out)

Hurricanes: Andrei Svechnikov (Concussion, day-to-day)

Capitals vs. Hurricanes Game 7 Players to watch: 

Braden Holtby, G, Capitals

Holtby has been stellar in must-win games, but had a poor showing in Game 6. Can he pitch a shutout in Game 7 like he did a year ago? With the defense still figuring itself out, Holtby will need to unleash the beast0

Warren Foegele, F, Hurricanes

Warren Foegele has been a Capitals killer in the playoffs thus far, scoring three times and assisting on two others. If the Hurricanes eliminate the Capitals from the playoffs, it's going to be due in large part to Foegele's efforts.

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Carolina forces Game 7 in controversy-filled win

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Carolina forces Game 7 in controversy-filled win

This series is going seven. The Capitals were not able to close out the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday as a potential game-tying goal in the third period was waved off allowing Carolina to roll to the 5-2 win.

Both teams remain hot at home as the home team has gone 6-0. This game marks the first time the team to score first did not win, however. It also saw the first lead change of the series.

Game 7 will be on Wednesday at Capital One Arena.

Here are six reasons the Hurricanes won.

Warren freakin’ Foegele

Raise your hand if you had Foegele as Carolina’s biggest offensive threat heading into this series.

Foegele was leading the Hurricanes with three goals leading into Game 6 and he scored his fourth in the first period to tie the game at one.

Brett Connolly gave Washington the 1-0 lead just over five minutes into the game, but Foegele tied the game just after a Nic Dowd penalty expired with the Caps trying to clear out the puck. Dougie Hamilton had his shot blocked in the high slot, but Foegele picked it up and fired a shot as he spun around, beating Holtby who was having trouble seeing the puck through all the bodies.

Sebastian Aho gets a stick on Jonas Siegenthaler

Alex Ovechkin gave the Caps the 2-1 lead, but the Hurricanes tied the game less than two minutes into the second period thanks to Aho’s forecheck on Siegenthaler.

Siegenthaler chased down a puck behind the goal line, but was pressured by Aho who got his stick on Siegenthaler’s just as Siegenthaler meant to clear the puck around the boards. Aho picked up the loose puck and found Teuvo Teravainen in the slot for the quick shot and goal.

Two near misses at the end of the second

In Game 4, the Caps dominated the play in second, but gave up a goal late in the period that took the wind out of their sails and proved to be the game-winner for the Hurricanes. We nearly saw a role reversal on Monday as Washington was outplayed in the second frame, but had two great chances in the final 30 seconds in a 2-2 game.

Nicklas Backstrom found John Carlson for a short breakaway. Carlson tried to beat Pert Mrazek 5-hole, but Mrazek stopped it with the pad. A few seconds later, Tom Wilson a Carlson pass that beat Mrazek, but hit the cross-bar to stay out.

A failed clear

It was anyone’s game in the third period when Jordan Staal parked himself right on Braden Holtby’s doorstep and battled with Matt NIskanen. An initial shot was  blocked and Niskanen tried to clear it, but failed as it hit off Brock McGinn. The puck bounced past Niskanen and Dmitry Orlov who came to assist and Staal reached his stick and knocked it beneath Holtby into the net to give Carolina its first lead of the game. That marked the first lead chance in the series.

A controversial no-goal

Washington thought they had tied the game in the third period as Ovechkin came into the crease and knocked a loose puck into the net…at least he thought so. The puck was underneath the pad of Mrazek and Ovechkin caught a piece of the pad as he went for the puck. The goal was waved off immediately.

By rule, a player cannot push the goalie’s pad to push the puck into the net. The contact, whether incidental or not, was enough to have the goal waved off.

Justin Williams

The former Cap and current captain of the Hurricanes was a man possessed on Monday. He was all over Holtby all night long and was a physical pest. He nearly had a goal in the second period when he chipped a breakaway puck over a Holtby poke check, but the goal was waved for a high stick. Williams finally got rewarded in the third period with a deflection goal that bounced through Holtby’s 5-hole and proved to be the knockout punch.

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