Nationals

Raiders RB Goodson eage to face former team

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Raiders RB Goodson eage to face former team

ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) Oakland Raiders running back Mike Goodson is looking forward to playing in Carolina for the first time since being traded by the Panthers in the offseason.

He just doesn't know what type of reception to expect.

Goodson spent his first three NFL seasons with Carolina, still owns property there and routinely talks to some of his former teammates. Even Panthers coach Ron Rivera considers himself a fan of Goodson's and speaks glowingly about the 2009 fourth-round draft pick.

Make no mistake, however. While he remains on friendly terms with his former club, Goodson definitely wants to make a point to the Panthers.

``It's a pretty big deal,'' Goodson said Wednesday. ``That's my old team and where I used to be for so long. (They) know me and know of me. I want to beat them just as bad as I want to beat anybody else.''

While the scenery has changed, Goodson's role has remained pretty much the same in Oakland as it was in Carolina. He has been the primary backup behind Darren McFadden and has picked up additional reps returning kickoffs.

McFadden has struggled adjusting to the zone blocking schemes the Raiders use, but Goodson has excelled in the few opportunities he has had.

Goodson's 6.7 yards-per-carry average - on only 30 carries - is nearly twice that of McFadden's 3.4. He also has a higher receiving average than any other running back or tight end on Oakland's roster, and has the team's longest kickoff return this season.

That is not surprising to Rivera, who saw Goodson have similar success in 2010 when he put together back-to-back 100-yard games after Carolina running backs DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart were hurt.

Rivera backed the offseason trade that sent Goodson to the Raiders for offensive line prospect Bruce Campbell but remains fond of his former player.

``We have always liked Mike,'' Rivera said during a conference call. ``We tried to find a spot for him last year in all the things that we did. It's not one of those things where we gave up on him. I am glad to see that he's playing and doing the things he needed to do to be out on the field. Mike is a terrific athlete.''

The timing of Goodson's return to Carolina couldn't be better. He is coming off his best rushing performance in more than two years and is trying to help the Raiders win consecutive games for only the second time this season.

That is a much different scenario than he expected to face this late in the year. Then again, not much has gone as planned for Goodson or the Raiders.

Oakland's running game has been abysmal for most of the season. McFadden and Goodson only recently returned from foot injuries they sustained in a loss on Nov. 4 to Tampa Bay. While they were out, the Raiders had to turn to fullback Marcel Reece to carry the load in the backfield.

``You just take it in stride,'' Goodson said. ``I've had a lot of practice time, so the coaches have got to see me. I just try to make plays and make all of my touches count.''

Oakland is 29th in total rushing and has had a running back reach the 100-yard mark only three times all year.

Goodson nearly did it last week against Kansas City when he ran for a season-high 89 yards on 13 carries. McFadden carried 30 times for 110 yards.

It was Goodson's most yards rushing since he had a career-best 120 against Baltimore on Nov. 21, 2010.

``I like some of the things he's done,'' Raiders coach Dennis Allen said. ``He's added an element of explosiveness. He's done a nice job in the screen game. He's had a couple games this year where he's really ran the ball pretty good. I think him and Darren are a nice complement to each other.''

NOTES: CB Phillip Adams practiced fielding punts Wednesday after being cleared by team doctors after sustaining his second concussion in three games. ... K Sebastian Janikowski was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week after making five field goals, including a 57-yarder, against Kansas City. ... DT Richard Seymour (knee, hamstring) and S Tyvon Branch (ankle) didn't practice. Of the two, Branch is more likely to play at Carolina.

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3 things to watch when the .500 Nationals head to Colorado

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3 things to watch when the .500 Nationals head to Colorado

The Nationals face the Rockies at Coors Field for the first half of this work week. Here are three things to watch for:

  1. Can the Nationals stay above .500? Stephen Strasburg’s impressive start along with Ryan Zimmerman’s two homers and two RBI kept Washington from being swept by the lowly Marlins.

  2. Who will produce with Anthony Rendon out? While the Nats 3B was sidelined with an elbow injury after being hit by a pitch in Saturday’s outing against the Marlins, Howie Kendrick started in his place. Kendrick went 1-for-3 vs Miami with one RBI and one strikeout. In terms of replacing Rendon’s hitting prowess, Victor Robles has started a streak of his own. The youngster is hot on a seven game hit streak, including a bunt over the infield Sunday.

  3. Will the Nationals ever sure up their end game? Yesterday’s ninth inning was on the brink of disaster. Kyle Barraclough allowed back-to-back walks, then Sean Doolittle loaded the bases. Luckily for the Nats, crisis averted.

Download the MyTeams app (https://www.nbcsports.com/washington/myteams-nbc-sports ) for even more Nationals content, and check out the latest episode of the Racing Presidents podcast below.

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NHL Playoffs 2019 Roundup: Blues eliminate Jets, Stars and Capitals pull ahead 3-2

NHL Playoffs 2019 Roundup: Blues eliminate Jets, Stars and Capitals pull ahead 3-2

Friday saw the Toronto Maple Leafs pull ahead 3-2 and the Colorado Avalanche eliminate the favored Calgary Flames. Saturday provided another elimination game and two teams pulled ahead 3-2 in their series.

Here are the results from Saturday.

St. Louis Blues eliminate Winnipeg Jets with 3-2 win

The Blues return to the second round of the playoffs after they were eliminated in the first round last season.

The Blues rally started 23 seconds into the game, when Jaden Schwartz put home a Brayden Schenn rebound.

Schwartz followed with two more goals, completing the hat trick. It's the second natural hat trick in a playoff series clinching game since Geoff Courtnall in 1992.

The Blues await the winner of the Nashville-Dallas series.

Dallas Stars pull ahead of Nashville Predators in 5-3 victory

The Stars were able to steal one from the Predators at Bridgestone Arena thanks to Jason Dickinson and Alexander Radulov's two goal performances.

Tyler Seguin added a goal of his own to pull the Stars ahead 4-2 at the end of the second period, and Ben Bishop recorded 30 saves.

The Stars have a chance to close the series at home Monday night.

Washington Capitals take upperhand on Carolina Hurricanes with 6-0 shutout

After dropping Game 4 in Carolina 2-1, the Caps exploded for six goals against the Hurricanes in a 6-0 win.

Nicklas Backstrom scored the opening two goals. He leads the Capitals in playoff goals with five and had a four point night.

The Caps also got production from their bottom six with Brett Connolly's goal and Nic Dowd's converted penalty shot. It's the first penalty shot a Caps player has successfully made in the playoffs.

Braden Holtby's shutout gave him seven in the playoffs, surpassing Olaf Kolzig's six for the franchise lead. The Caps have a chance to win the series in Carolina Monday night.

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