Nationals

UCLA isn't getting comfortable atop Pac-12 South

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UCLA isn't getting comfortable atop Pac-12 South

LOS ANGELES (AP) Brett Hundley knows what's going on in the Pac-12 South standings. His fellow UCLA students have told him all about it in the past two days since the Bruins climbed over Southern California to get on top.

But the freshman quarterback has been around Los Angeles long enough to know the crosstown rivalry shouldn't consume him. Even after No. 17 UCLA vaulted past the Trojans in the AP Top 25, the BCS rankings and the division standings, he's only thinking about what's in front of him - a trip to ice-cold Washington State this Saturday.

``Yeah, there has been a lot of people just talking about the SC game,'' Hundley said. ``But I try to remind everybody, they have an opponent who's not us this week. They play, I think, (Arizona State) this week, and we have Washington State this week. That shouldn't even be coming into our heads, and it hasn't. We're preparing for Washington State, and we'll play SC next week, and then we'll focus on SC.''

Hundley and his Bruins (7-2, 4-2 Pac-12) are basking in good feelings in Westwood after they routed Arizona 66-10 last weekend for their third straight win, racking up their best record through nine games since 2005. UCLA has risen quickly in Jim Mora's first season, earning bowl eligibility in October and surging ahead of USC (6-3, 4-3) at the latest point in a season for at least a decade.

But the coach says there's no danger of the Bruins overlooking struggling Washington State (2-7, 0-6). After three months of steady progress, Mora is confident his players won't get caught leaping ahead to the city rivalry game that might decide the division title, their season-ending matchup with Stanford - or even their pending postseason plans.

``Well, they haven't been distracted up to this point,'' Mora said. ``They've done a tremendous job of focusing on the here-and-now, the goal that's directly in front of them - and the goal that's directly in front of us now is the Washington State Cougars. That's what we think about.''

UCLA could be excused for lingering on last week's win a bit longer, considering it was the school's highest-scoring performance in 15 years. The 56-point blowout of a ranked opponent was among the sweetest moments in the Bruins' mediocre recent history, all the way down to the navy-blue uniforms they debuted to widespread acclaim among the players and fans.

Those special uniforms aren't the only new identity being developed by the Bruins this season. Mora and offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone have built a balanced, tough team that plays up-tempo, versatile football - and it's been enough to get the Bruins into first place.

``I was pleased with it,'' Mora said of the blowout. ``I wouldn't say that I was surprised by it, though. These guys, ever since we got here, have worked extremely hard. When you start to experience some success, I think you get anxious to get out there and do it again, and I felt that through the week. The effort was good, but the effort is expected to be good. That's what we're trying to establish as our standard.''

The Bruins have seven regular-season victories for the first time since 2006, and they're in control of their fate for a second straight appearance in the Pac-12 title game. A return would be much better than last season's trip, since UCLA only got that opportunity to get blown out by Oregon because of postseason ineligibility for USC, which beat the Bruins 50-0 and finished two games ahead in the standings.

But first, UCLA must survive probable temperatures in the 20s on the Palouse. Mora is no stranger to frigid Washington winters, but he sees no reason why it will affect his sizzling team or its sunny future.

``That stuff doesn't matter to us,'' Mora said. ``Once you let temperature, environment and the psyche of another team bother you, you've got issues. We don't address it. It doesn't matter to us. It's not in our orbit. We don't care. We're worried about the UCLA Bruins.''

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Soto makes debut in Nationals loss to Dodgers

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Soto makes debut in Nationals loss to Dodgers

WASHINGTON  -- Kike Hernandez and Yasiel Puig each hit two-run homers, and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Washington Nationals 7-2 on Sunday to complete a three-game sweep.

Hernandez's blast off Stephen Strasburg in the fifth inning put the Dodgers up 3-2. Yasmani Grandal also homered off Strasburg (5-4), who allowed three runs and five hits over 6 2/3 innings with seven strikeouts.

Alex Wood (1-4) pitched six innings, allowing just three hits and two earned runs. Wood came out to start the seventh, but returned to the clubhouse after showing some discomfort during his warm-up tosses.

Trea Turner homered for Washington, which swept Arizona last weekend and then went five days without playing a full game because of rain before getting swept by the Dodgers.

Los Angeles, after losing six consecutive games, has now won four straight overall and five of six over Washington this season.

Washington's Juan Soto, at 19 the youngest active player in the majors, made his debut in the eighth as a pinch-hitter and struck out against Erik Goeddel.

The Dodgers added two runs in the ninth. Josh Fields recorded the final four outs for his second save of the season.

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George McPhee's Vegas Golden Knights advance to Stanley Cup Final

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George McPhee's Vegas Golden Knights advance to Stanley Cup Final

WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- Ryan Reaves scored the winning goal, Marc-Andre Fleury made 31 saves and the Vegas Golden Knights pushed their remarkable expansion season into the Stanley Cup Final, beating the Winnipeg Jets 2-1 on Sunday in Game 5 of the Western Conference final.

Alex Tuch also scored for the Knights. They lost Game 1 in Winnipeg before winning four straight to become the first expansion team since the 1968 St. Louis Blues -- when the six initial expansion teams were put alone in the West -- to get to the final.

Vegas will meet the Tampa Bay Lightning or the Washington Capitals in the final. Tampa Bay leads the Eastern Conference final 3-2, with Game 6 set for Monday night in Washington.

Josh Morrissey scored for the Jets, and Connor Hellebuyck made 30 saves.

Reaves, the bruising Winnipeg native acquired from the Pittsburgh Penguins before to the trade deadline in February, snapped a 1-1 tie with 6:39 left in the second period when he tipped Luca Sbisa's point shot past Hellebuyck for his first goal of the playoffs.

Winnipeg got a power play early in the third, but couldn't muster much of anything. The Knights smothered much of the Jets' attack for the next 10 minutes, with Hellebuyck having to come up with big stops on William Karlsson and Eric Haula to keep his team within one.

The Jets pressed with under 4 minutes to go, with Fleury stopping captain Blake Wheeler on the doorstep, but it wasn't nearly enough as the Knights closed out their third straight series on the road.

The Jets beat the Knights 4-2 in Game 1, but Vegas snatched home ice with a 3-1 victory in Game 2 before picking up 4-2 and 3-2 wins at T-Mobile Arena.

The Knights, whose jaw-dropping inaugural 109-point campaign included a Pacific Division crown, swept the Los Angeles Kings in the first round, and knocked out the San Jose Sharks in six games.

The Jets had the NHL's second-best record with 114 points in the regular season. They advanced to the first conference final in city's history with a five-game victory over the Minnesota Wild in the opening round before topping the Presidents' Trophy-winning Nashville Predators in Game 7 on the road.

The usual raucous, white-clad crowd at Bell MTS Place -- not to mention the thousands of fans outside the arena attending a street party on a sun-drenched spring afternoon -- were silenced just 5:11 into Game 5 when Tuch jumped on Morrissey's turnover and fired his sixth past Hellebuyck.

The Jets were tentative to start and it got worse after the opener as Vegas dominated the next couple of shifts, forcing some good saves from Hellebuyck before Winnipeg got its feet moving.

After being outshot 7-1 in the first 7 minutes, the Jets finally pushed back and turned the tide with the next nine attempts on goal, culminating with Morrissey making amends for his early gaffe with 2:46 left in the period.

Bryan Little won a faceoff in the offensive zone straight back to second-year defenseman, who blasted his first career playoff goal past Fleury's glove.

One of Winnipeg's downfalls in the series through four games was an inability to maintain momentum. The Knights scored within 1:28 of a Jets' goal in each of the first four games -- a crushing 12 seconds after Winnipeg tied Game 3, and an equally gut-wrenching 43 seconds after the Jets knotted Game 4 -- but they managed to take the game to the locker rooms tied 1-1.

Both teams had chances in the second period before Reaves made it 2-1, with Jets center Mathieu Perrault just missing on a pass from Little that had too much speed.

Right after Reaves scored the second playoff goal of his career -- and first since 2015 with St. Louis -- Winnipeg's Nikolaj Ehlers rang a shot off the post on Fleury.

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