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Steen's goal lifts Blues past Predators 4-3 in SO

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Steen's goal lifts Blues past Predators 4-3 in SO

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) T.J. Oshie and Alexander Steen scored in the shootout, and the St. Louis Blues edged the Nashville Predators 4-3 on Monday night.

The Blues won the Central Division last season, but the Predators won the season series 4-1-1 with three of those games going to a shootout.

This time, the Blues had the only goals in a shootout that lasted only two rounds. Brian Elliott, who came off the bench in the second, stopped Craig Smith and Martin Erat to get the win.

Rookie Vladimir Tarasenko had a goal and two assists for St. Louis. Andy McDonald had a power-play goal and an assist, Alex Pietrangelo's goal tied it up in the third period, and Kevin Shattenkirk had two assists.

Patric Hornqvist had a goal and two assists for Nashville. Mike Fisher had a goal and an assist, Colin Wilson a goal and Erat two assists.

Oshie scored first with a backhander over Nashville's Pekka Rinne. After Elliott stopped Erat at the front of the crease, Steen skated up and squeezed the puck between the post and Rinne's outstretched skate.

Rinne made sure the Predators at least got to the shootout. He stopped a shot from Pietrangelo from the slot, then stopped another by Oshie off the rebound laying down on his back at the post inside the final minute of overtime.

The Predators opened the season with a 3-2 shootout loss to Columbus. Now they visit Minnesota on Tuesday to start a seven-game road trip that will be their longest in this lockout-shortened season and won't play again in Nashville until Feb. 7.

St. Louis, which plays at Chicago on Tuesday night, picked up where the Blues left off in their 6-0 opening rout of Detroit, outshooting Nashville 39-24 through overtime. They started strong too with an early 6-3 edge in the first period.

But Wilson, who signed a three-year contract before the lockout, scored on the Predators' fourth shot. Defenseman Ryan Ellis started the play, passing the puck to Patric Hornqvist, who found Wilson skating up ice. Wilson beat Halak with a wrister just inside the left circle at 9:10 of the first.

Tarasenko, who scored two goals in his NHL debut, remained just as active against Nashville. He scored on a wrister from the right circle at 10:28 on assists from McDonald and Shattenkirk. Later in the period, David Legwand hooked the rookie as Tarasenko tried to score on Rinne, giving the Blues a power play in the first.

So with the man advantage, Tarasenko found McDonald in the slot with the puck, and McDonald scored with a wrister at 15:04 for a 2-1 lead. That lasted only until David Perron went to the box for slashing, and Fisher scored his first on the power play beating Halak to the gloveside at 17:13.

Nashville had more shots in the second, but the Predators needed the man advantage on an interference penalty on Shattenkirk to take a 3-2 lead.

Hornqvist took a pass from Erat, and his backhander slipped between Halak's body and his right arm stick-side at 12:53. That was Nashville's third goal on 11 shots, and Blues coach Ken Hitchcock had seen enough. He yanked Halak and put in Elliott.

This game appeared headed for extra time even with Nashville holding a lead in the third. Nashville and St. Louis have gone past overtime 12 times, including three games last season, with the Predators holding an 8-4 edge. Pietrangelo scored with a wrister at 12:10 to tie it.

Notes: Barrett Jackson played his 600th career NHL game, all with St. Louis. He ranks ninth in club history in games played and fourth among defensemen. Only Bob Plager, Barclay Plager and Al MacInnis have played more for the Blues. ... Forward Rich Clune made his debut with Nashville. ... Hornqvist has scored three points now nine times, the last on Nov. 9, 2011, at Anaheim with three assists.

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Trae Young joins Kobe Bryant in historic feat against Wizards

Trae Young joins Kobe Bryant in historic feat against Wizards

Following the passing of NBA legend Kobe Bryant on Sunday, emotions were high. 

Many current and former players paid tribute to Bryant, including Atlanta Hawks point guard Trae Young, who dominated in the Hawks 152-133 win over the Wizards. 

He ended the night with a spectacular performance of 45 points, with 14 assists, making 13-of-24 FGs and 13-of-16 free throws as well as six 3-pointers, six rebounds and one assist. 

Young is the first player to have a 45-point double-double with under 25 field goal attempts against the Washington Wizards, since Kobe Bryant on December 17, 2006.

In honor of his mentor and favorite NBA player, Young wore a No. 8 jersey and took an 8-second-violation after the opening tip. 

He even wore his shoes with a tribute to Bryant as well. 

Young was able to channel his emotions into the game, leaving everything on the floor.

In an emotional night, Young was able to keep himself composed leading the Hawks past the Wizards. 

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Isaiah Thomas: NBA should have canceled games after Kobe Bryant's death

Isaiah Thomas: NBA should have canceled games after Kobe Bryant's death

The news of Kobe Bryant's death shook the sports world to its core, and while there were NBA games scheduled throughout Sunday, some felt the league should have canceled the games in light of the tragic news. 

Isaiah Thomas was one of them. 

"It's hard to even talk about it," Thomas said. "The NBA should have just canceled all the games because that put a dent in everybody's life that he's touched."

Thomas looked up to Bryant, admired him from afar and found his love for the game of basketball because of Bryant's greatness. Spending 20 years as a Laker, Bryant won five championships, an MVP and two Finals MVP awards to go along with 15 All-NBA selections and 18 trips to the All-Star game. 

For Thomas, his relationship with Bryant started to grow when he broke out as an All-Star in Boston. When Thomas suffered the tragic loss of his sister, they grew closer. After his hip injury that cost Thomas over a year of his career, Bryant supported him throughout. 

"I started basketball because of Kobe Bryant," he said. "2017, I lose my sister, 2019 I lose one of my best friends in Nipsey Hussle, and then to lose a mentor of mine, like, that's bigger than basketball, that [expletive] hurts.

"He was one of the people that was there for me and in my corner," he said. "And then I got injured, he was one of those guys that was there for me the whole time, helping me through mentally."

The NBA had a difficult decision to make on whether or not to cancel games since there were two games already in progress.

But before, during and after the game, everyone's thoughts were with Bryant and his family and not on a basketball game. Because as Thomas said, it's bigger than basketball. 

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