Nationals

Oilers beat Coyotes 2-1 in overtime

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Oilers beat Coyotes 2-1 in overtime

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) Nail Yakupov followed the puck after it hit teammate Taylor Hall and swiped it into the goal a split second before it hit the ice.

After blowing the shutout with 19 seconds left in regulation, another big goal from the Russian rookie was just what the Edmonton Oilers needed.

Yakupov scored his fourth goal of the season on a power play at 3:52 of overtime, helping the Oilers fight back after giving up the late goal to beat the Phoenix Coyotes 2-1 on Wednesday night.

``Dealing with that late goal and to be able to get the two points showed a lot of character,'' Oilers coach Ralph Krueger said. ``It was another real big growth opportunity for our team tonight.''

Edmonton's Devan Dubnyk appeared to be on his way to his fifth career shutout after stopping the first 26 shots he faced. The Oilers put their goalie in a bind, though, when Sam Gagner was called for a penalty and the Coyotes pulled goalie Chad Johnson.

Nick Johnson took advantage of the two-man advantage, whipping a shot past Dubnyk's glove side with 19 seconds left in regulation after teammate Radim Vrbata failed on a backhander.

Yakupov, already establishing himself as a clutch goal-scorer, ended it in overtime, punching in a rebound after a shot by Ryan Whitney appeared to carom off Hall's hand.

Instead of racing away from his teammates and sliding down the ice, as he did after scoring late against the Kings last week, the No. 1 pick in last summer's NHL draft called the Oilers in for a group hug to celebrate.

``I think guys were expecting him to skate away,'' Gagner said. ``It's another big goal for Nail and he seems to have a knack for scoring those.''

Dubnyk stopped 27 shots and Lennart Petrell scored his first goal since Feb. 27, helping the Oilers end a five-game losing streak to Phoenix.

Coming off their best game of the season, the Coyotes found themselves in a familiar position: Wondering what will happen after the latest chapter in their ownership saga.

Since a new lease agreement with the City of Glendale was reworked in November, it appeared former San Jose Sharks CEO Greg Jamison would have no trouble buying the team from the NHL before a Jan. 31 deadline. Jamison told the Arizona Republic this week that he expected to have the deal done in time.

But on Wednesday, a league official told The Associated Press it was unlikely Jamison would have the money or investors he needs to purchase the team before the midnight Thursday deadline, leaving the team in limbo yet again.

Of course, the Coyotes have played well against the backdrop of uncertainty in the past, reaching the playoffs each of the past three seasons - making the Western Conference finals for the first time last year - while potential owners come and go.

``It's status quo for us,'' Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. ``I don't think this is a surprise to anybody around here, so we deal with it like we've dealt with it for 3 1/2 years.''

Phoenix got back to its defense-first style in a 4-0 win over Nashville on Monday night, and limited Edmonton's chances in front of Johnson.

Johnson did give up a big rebound on a shot by Ryan Smyth in the first period and Petrell jumped on it, punching in the puck from just outside the crease. Johnson was steady after that, finishing with 19 saves after notching his first NHL shutout two days earlier.

``Johnson played well again,'' Tippett said. ``It's unfortunate not to get two points out of that because I think we deserved two points.''

Dubnyk was sharp his last outing, turning away 38 shots - 24 in the third period - in a 4-1 win over Colorado on Monday. He was just as good against the Coyotes, finding pucks easily through traffic and making a couple of snatching glove saves on hard shots by Phoenix.

Dubnyk appeared to be headed toward his first shutout in nearly a year, but Johnson scored his second goal of the season to send the game to overtime.

``It's unfortunate he didn't get the shutout because he played so well,'' Gagner said.

The Oilers at least got the win, thanks to Yakupov's quick hands.

NOTES: Gagner had an assist on Petrell's goal, extending his points streak to six games. ... Oilers LW Ben Eager missed his fifth straight game with a concussion. ... Coyotes G Mike Smith is expected to come off injured reserved from a lower-body injury and could possibly start on Friday.

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The forgotten home run: Kurt Suzuki’s go-ahead blast in Game 2 of the World Series

The forgotten home run: Kurt Suzuki’s go-ahead blast in Game 2 of the World Series

The Nationals and Astros were in the midst of a pitching duel between two all-time greats.

Stephen Strasburg and Justin Verlander had each tossed six frames with just two runs allowed. Verlander took the mound for the top of the seventh to face the bottom of the Nationals’ lineup. 36-year-old catcher Kurt Suzuki stepped up the plate 1-for-2 with a single on the night.

On his 100th pitch, Verlander threw a 1-0 fastball over the heart of the plate and Suzuki got every bit of it. With a smooth uppercut, Suzuki sent a pitch 381 feat off the facing of the brick wall above the leftfield seats at Minute Maid Park. It silenced the crowd of 43,357 and gave Washington the momentum it so desperately needed.

It was a moment that could’ve lived in Nationals lore forever, had the team gone on to win a nail-biter. But the Nationals’ offense exploded, scoring nine more runs over the next three innings to blow out the Astros 12-3 in front of their home crowd. Adam Eaton and Michael Taylor joined the home run parade. Every starter not named Victor Robles ended up reaching base at least twice.

Three months later, Suzuki was at the Nationals’ annual WinterFest event at their home stadium. He sat down with NBC Sports Washington’s Nationals Talk crew and reflected on his big moment getting buried under the offensive onslaught his team brought upon Houston.

“Honestly, I was hoping we’d score a ton of runs because I didn’t want to play a nerve-wracking game,” Suzuki said. “I wanted it to be a nice, easy win, go right back into it and to tell you the truth, when I hit that home run it was just like—I was just so in shock that I was just like, ‘Oh, I just hit a home run. Cool, we’re winning. Like, what?’

“You weren’t just really like, ‘Ahh, this is so exciting.’ You’re just kind of in shock that I’ve hit a home run in the World Series and it gave us the lead in the seventh inning. It was pretty neat.”

CLICK BELOW TO LISTEN TO KURT SUZUKI'S FULL INTERVIEW ON THE NATIONALS TALK PODCAST

It may not be an iconic moment in Nationals history, but Suzuki’s home run brought the team one step closer to winning the World Series. It was without a doubt the biggest hit of his career.

"It feels great," Suzuki told reporters after the game. "I've waited 13 seasons for this moment to be able to play in the World Series. I kind of joked with a lot of the guys, Anthony [Rendon] in the training room, 'Now I've got energy now.' This is the last series of the season now, no matter what. We're playing for it now. If you can't get up for these games, I think you're in the wrong sport, you should retire or something, because this is it."

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One important thing that Ron Rivera will bring to the Redskins, according to an NFL agent

One important thing that Ron Rivera will bring to the Redskins, according to an NFL agent

What will Ron Rivera bring to the Redskins in 2020 and beyond (well, besides lots of people who worked with him in Carolina)? That's a question everyone's trying to figure out.

Many are hoping for more wins, obviously. Washington's been one of the league's worst franchises for the past decade, while Rivera was a two-time Coach of the Year with the Panthers who made it to the playoffs four times in nine seasons there.

Beyond that, however, there's an expectation that Rivera can also elevate the Burgundy and Gold's day-to-day operations, making the organization more professional, consistent and stable — words that haven't been used to describe their operations in a long time.

In an interview with the Redskins Talk podcast, longtime NFL agent Andy Ross spoke to that second point.

"I will say this," Ross, who reps players such as Morgan Moses and Taysom Hill, told the podcast. "The one thing that Ron really instilled in the players, because I've had players on Carolina, was accountability. These are young men that are growing into men, so he wants to teach them to be strong men, be strong leaders. And I think that's something he's going to bring into Washington."

CLICK BELOW TO LISTEN TO THE FULL INTERVIEW WITH ANDY ROSS ON THE REDSKINS TALK PODCAST

The 2019 campaign was beyond chaotic for the Redskins, and one of its major turning points came when Dan Snyder made the decision to fire Jay Gruden after five straight losses to open the year. One of the most popular criticisms of Gruden was a lack of accountability. According to Ross, that won't occur now that Rivera's in charge.

The 58-year-old also possesses another quality that'll be incredibly valuable as he tries to turn around the Redskins, a place that's been plagued by distractions, leaks and fracturing season after season.

"He doesn't allow the outside influence to affect his football team," Ross said. "So I think you're going to see, with the Redskins going forward, that everything is going to be really kept in-house."

Rivera's reputation precedes him. Right after he was hired by Snyder, in fact, Panthers defensive lineman Gerald McCoy said he would tell players in Washington that "one of the best things in your career is about to happen."

Ross is yet another person to echo that kind of praise for the head coach. With each passing day, it sounds more and more like the Redskins landed someone with an approach that's precisely what everyone involved with the team needs.

"They have some really good, young talent," Ross concluded. "And I think he's really going to mold a lot of these young players into really strong men, and that should be good for the culture."

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